Review

If you don’t like Michael Bay and his stylistic choices than I am almost positive this movie is not for you. This movie will most likely just confirm and justify your reasons for disliking Bay and the direction he has taken with this franchise. Despite all it’s flaws, I personally found the movie enjoyable. From a critical perspective it’s pretty much impossible to recommend ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’ to anyone outside of fans of the franchise.

As humanity picks up the pieces, following the conclusion of “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” Autobots and Decepticons have all but vanished from the face of the planet. However, a group of powerful, ingenious businessman and scientists attempt to learn from past Transformer incursions and push the boundaries of technology beyond what they can control – all while an ancient, powerful Transformer menace sets Earth in his cross-hairs.

The movie introduces a bunch of new characters and potentially interesting plot points but never spends the time to develop into anything more than a semi-cohesive story. Five years after the Battle of Chicago and following a complete new set of human characters, the film is centered around Cade Yager (Mark Wahlberg), his daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz) and her boyfriend Shane (Jack Reynor). Actors T.J Miller and Stanley Tucci also join the cast, both delivering excellent and entertaining performances.

These characters are ridiculously stereo-typical, and give cause for plenty of eye-rolling moments throughout the film. I mean it really doesn’t even seem like the writers tried to create original characters. Still Mark Wahlberg is strong actor, and given the right supporting cast is completely capable of carrying this franchise. The humor is exactly what you would expect from a Michael Bay film, and although it’s terribly cheesy throughout the film, there are a lot of little moments that work, particularly the banter between Cade and Shane.

The big selling point of this new installment has definitely been the dinobots. Sadly the introduction of the prehistoric alien robots falls short and despite a few major action scenes the addition of the dinobots is completely wasted. The entire prehistoric story line is really weak and under-developed. The movie opens with a scene set in prehistoric times and creates a new plot line designed to introduce the dinobots and where they came from. Like most plot threads in this film, it is quickly abandoned and forgotten about and feels rushed and incomplete.

We also see the return of certain fan-favorite Autobot’s such as Bumble Bee and of course Optimus Prime, plus the addition Hound, Drift and Crosshairs. It’s always fun to see new Transformers and their capabilities, but the movie doesn’t spend enough time showcasing their talents. Instead the film gets bogged down in human story lines, much like it’s predecessors. Still you would think that a movie with a 2 hour, 45 minute run time would have ample time to highlight both human and alien characters.

Kelsey Grammar does a great job portraying the role as the villainous government agent Harold Attinger, but the characters motivations are convoluted and flat out contradictory at times. Grammar’s character teams-up with the evil bounty-hunter alien known as Lockdown, as they set out to capture and kill any transformer they can find. The interactions between Grammar and Lockdown become exceedingly ridiculous as the movie progresses.

1397258063_hr_Transformers-_Age_of_Extinction_Character_Guid_10Lockdown was an interesting villain and one of the strongest additions to new cast, but by the end of the movie his character feels like a mis-step, designed only to explore other aspects of the Transformer universe. The dialogue scenes between Lockdown and Optimus kept eluding to a larger universe and other types of aliens but by the end of the movie nothing really comes of it. The same can be said for the decepticons and the role they play in the advancement of “human technology”. This all leads to the introduction of Galvatron, one of the most anticipated moments of the film. The battle sequence between Galvatron and the Autobot’s is visually stunning but after a few cool action moments, this story line is also completely abandoned.

In comparison to the other Transformer films; I would personally say the first film is still the best in the franchise, telling the most focused and interesting story. It’s universally agreed the second film is by far the worst installment in the franchise. The third film has concepts that make for a cool story but the visuals were the real selling point here. At the time ‘Dark of the Moon’ was supposed to be Director Michael Bay’s final installment, and he really went all out with the visuals. The movie is without a doubt consistently focused on style over substance but in my opinion it still stands as one one of the best 3D movies to date. The fourth installment gave us plenty to get excited about, but ultimately failed to introduce any of it properly. The visuals are still stunning, but never quite ground-breaking and seem to lack some of the flare the third film focused so heavily on.

I completely except and acknowledge all the flaws with this film and the franchises’ over arching story. Despite the under developed characters, continuity issues and unnecessary run time, I still found this to be an entertaining installment in the Transformers universe. ‘Age of Extinction’ spends more of its time setting up larger plot points for future installments rather than a compelling chapter in the ongoing saga. I know I am one in a few here, but I can honestly say I am still excited to see where this story goes. Will all of these unresolved plot threads eventually pay off? Probably not. But at least we will get some cool visuals along the way!


 



About the Author

Sean McAloon
I am a Philadelphia based journalist, who is obsessed with movies and television. I is also a comic book enthusiast , although i can't keep up with everything. I like to spend my free time trying to working on short films. I currently work as an editor for popculturemadness.com and darkmediaonline.com, focusing on entertainment news, interviews and public relations. I studied business management & marketing at Goldey Beacom College.