Michael Bay’s Transformers: Age of Extinction is exactly what you would expect from a Transformers film. It is a film about giant robots who are trying to save the Earth and themselves from what is essentially self-destruction and do it in a stylistic way that causes maximum amounts of destruction.
This entry into the series focuses on Mark Wahlberg’s character Cade, a robot inventor, who finds an old truck in his small town in Texas who just happens to turn out to be Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) in disguise. His daughter Tessa(Nicola Peltz), assistant (T.J. Miller), and his daughter’s boyfriend(Jack Reynor) along with Cade himself, all get caught up trying to help Optimus get away from the people hunting him. The government agent Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammar) has enlisted the help Joshua Joyce (Stanley Tucci) to create his own transformers to battle against Optimus and his friends. However, Joyce’s transformers have been created using the brain of old Decepticons, including Megatron, who has actually tricked Joyce into making him a new body named Galvatron. Meanwhile, Attinger has also made an alliance with a transformer named Lockdown (Mark Ryan), who wants Optimus for himself and will do anything to get him. In order for Optimus to fight these new enemies he needs the help of not only Cade and his friends, but also those of the other Autobots including Bumblebee, Hound(John Goodman), Crosshairs( John DiMaggio), Drift(Ken Watanabe), and Brains(Reno Wilson). The actors do a decent job of portraying the characters they are given with Lockdown being the one that probably is the most surprising addition to the cast. As much as I disliked Megaton in the previous Transformers titles, I actually think I disliked Lockdown even more. From the beginning of the film to the end, even more than that of the evil government agent, Lockdown is the one that I was most hoping to see the Autobots take down. Although the storyline does have its moments where it is actually pretty decent, most times it is over the top and a little ridiculous, which seems to be the norm for these films. Also, note to Michael Bay…NEED MORE DINOBOTS! They were featured for a little bit during the end of the film but not nearly enough to satisfy the love that myself and many other old school Transformer fans appreciate about the giant dinosaurs in metal form.
The best part, by far, of Transformers is the visuals. Everything that you think might be able to explode, does, and Bay makes sure every moment of the explosion is visually stunning. From Texas to China to Lockdown’s ship, the places that the transformers travel to during their adventure look beautiful as well. Lockdown’s ship, especially, is awe inspiring in the scope and futuristic look of it. Every room has a dark and dingy style that akins back to how advanced the technology of the alien race of the Transformers is compared to that of the people of Earth.The fact that the ship can pick up all metal and drop it like a rock to obliterate whatever is below it is also a nice addition. Destruction is definitely the name of the game in this entry into the series even more so than the others before, I’d venture to say. I am fairly certain that I even saw water explode at some point, which I did not even know was entirely possible! The transformers themselves and the vehicles that they embody are, of course, great to look at too. When you go into a Transformers film, it is fairly obvious that you are mainly going for cool cars, exploding things, and diverse locales, which this film delivers on.
The main downside of this film is probably the runtime. It definitely starts to feel a little long at the end with a total screen time of 165 minutes. As much as I love explosions and Transformers in general, that was even getting a bit on the long side for me. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing and this film reaches that limit. It would have been easy to completely get rid of almost the entire last half an hour if the fight scenes would have been more concise and controlled, which would have made them that much more enjoyable as well. As was the case with Godzilla, sometimes less, if even slightly less, is better.
Overall, Transformers: Age of Extinction is exactly what you expect from a Michael Bay Transformers film. It has an over the top yet somehow still enjoyable storyline, fantastic visual sequences, and is just plain fun. My love of explosions, jaw-dropping cars, and giant tail kicking robots trumps the bad parts of this film. So, if you are like me and enjoy chaos and destruction caused by giant bada** looking robots, this film is definitely for you!
-Megan Highwind has left the party.