Michael Bay realized how much money he was going to be missing out on when he initially claimed that Transformers 3 was going to be his last Transformers. Well, he made a fourth one and it’s pretty much what you’d expect.
Picking up 4 years after the events of Dark of the Moon, Transformers: Age of Extinction is more of what we’ve come to expect from Michael Bay and his seemingly endless barrage of robot films. The Transformers are being hunted by a special CIA task force; they are considered threats that need to be reported on sight, and the battle of Chicago has become a sort of rallying call. In lieu of Shia LaBeouf we now have Mark Wahlberg who plays Cade Yeager, a man who has lost his wife and has raised his only daughter (Nicola Peltz) the best he could despite being a failed inventor. He happens upon an old truck in an abandoned movie theater, which turns out to be Optimus Prime. One thing leads to another and we are led on a global adventure, following the Autobots trying to stop an intergalactic bounty hunter as well as trying to stop the production of a line of human-made Transformers, and also dealing with a device that could destroy all life on Earth.
If that plot sounds confusing and a little over-excessive, you’re right because it is. The film suffers from what the previous films suffered from: a script packed with pointless—and often unfunny—jokes, overly-convoluted plots, gaping plot holes, and horrendous dialogue (“My face is my warrant”). Mark Wahlberg is probably the highlight of the film, but even still he has to struggle along with the awful writing. He brings a more mature main character than LaBeouf did, and this new dynamic helps make it a little more interesting. Other than that, the characters are so poorly written that they seem like generic pawns that only serve to carry the plot forward without adding anything more than a few cringe-worthy lines. Stanley Tucci’s character, the eccentric billionaire who owns the company that is producing the new robots, is so painfully written that he is almost a caricature of what an eccentric billionaire should be like. An even bigger example of poor writing is Kelsey Grammer’s character who appears to get from place to place without any explanation or consideration of time taken to travel. It’s almost like the writers took a page from what the Heroes writers did for TV.
When things finally get explosive, there is no stop to them. Though this one felt far more tame than its predecessors, it is actually the longest. The Battle of Chicago in the third film still holds out as the biggest battle, but this one is just a series of small skirmishes in various locations. The combat is still fun, just nowhere near what we have seen before. Even though it’s tamer, Bay thought he would balance it out by adding more slow-motion footage. The amount of slow-motion in this film is equivalent to the solar-flares in a JJ Abrams film. Looking back on it, it seemed like despite the huge budget, there wasn’t nearly enough concern about the cities of Chicago and Beijing being destroyed. Both cities appear near desolate during the fighting, and we do not even get a glimpse of people being terrified on the streets as huge robots destroy their buildings. The army does not even get involved until a brief glimpse of fighter jets after the final battle of the film. Oh, and did I mention that there are Dinobots? Their inclusion in the final battle saved it from being a complete repeat of what we’ve seen before.
In the end, Transformers: Age of Extinction is exactly what you expect it to be: another mindless action movie from the man who loves explosions and big budgets. It suffers from the same problems that the previous films suffered from, and nobody seems to care about fixing these issues because even as these movies have been getting continuously worse, more and more tickets are being sold. I am not saying this movie is not entertaining, it just simply is not a good movie by the standards of what a movie should be. The film is fun, and that’s what we have also come to expect, just don’t expect it to be any better than the others.