“Transformers: Age of Extinction” stars Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor, Titus Welliver, and T.J. Miller. Released on June 27, 2014, the film has Optimus Prime and his new Autobot team teaming up with their new human friends to take down an intergalactic bounty hunter.
The film is directed by Michael Bay, and it is the fourth installment in the live-action Transformers film series. Well, guys, this is it. One more film for me to check out before The Last Knight comes out. Now this isn’t the first time I reviewed this film. You see, during my early days of reviewing movies, I usually type up reviews on my Facebook status and share them with my friends and family. Keep in mind that this was before I decided to create my own website to house my reviews. The first time I watched it, I thought it was really good. In fact, I liked it well enough for me to warrant a second viewing, even though it was over two and a half hours long. This was also one of those films that got me to stop listening to the critics because the Rotten Tomatoes rating for Age of Extinction was one percent below the rating of Revenge of the Fallen. You heard that right, one…flipping…percent…below Revenge of the Fallen! I know that Rotten Tomatoes only shows the percentage score and I shouldn’t make a big deal out of it, but come on! What has Bay ever done to them besides making films that they don’t like? Anyway, despite its negative reviews, it became the second film in the franchise to gross over a billion dollars worldwide despite being the lowest-grossing film domestically. Now that I’m reviewing it for the second time, is it really as bad as people say it was?
Taking place five years after the events of Dark of the Moon, the Transformers are now classified as threats to the human race, and they are hunted down by a rouge black ops division known as Cemetery Wind. To make matters worse, a company called K.S.I. is using an alloy known as Transformium (I know, it sounds pretty dumb) to create their very own Transformers. Now, I know what you’re thinking. How can they tell a story like that in a Transformers movie? Simple, by making it longer. Once again, the running time still hasn’t been fixed for this franchise, with this installment being the longest film in the series. I wasn’t really bored of it, to be honest, but I think there were some scenes that needed to be trimmed down in order to get an appropriate running time and not the ones that don’t need any editing. As for the story, it’s basically like the previous installments. Giant robots and human allies teaming up to save the Earth from impending doom. You can’t get much different than that, except for its execution, which was pretty mediocre, but not as disappointing as Revenge of the Fallen. One of the plot points that were shown in the film is the new human characters. Yep, Sam Witwicky has served his purpose and now Mark Wahlberg is stepping in to save the day. Wahlberg portrays Cade Yeager, a struggling inventor who is trying to earn money from his inventions in order to send his daughter, Tessa (played by Peltz), to a good college. Another new character joining in on the fun is Tessa’s boyfriend, Shane, played by Jack Reynor. While the performances from these three actors were somewhat passable, their efforts of making us care for their characters were pretty weak, especially Tessa and Shane. There were also some other new characters that managed to carry the film forward. Stanley Tucci was pretty good as Joshua Joyce, the head of K.S.I. who wants to make his own Transformers, and Kelsey Grammer was a convincing human villain as Harold Attinger, who was responsible for organizing Cemetery Wind to rid the world of the robots in disguise. There’s nothing really new about Attinger, really, he’s just a regular antagonist who wants to save the human race, but does more harm than good in the process. Is he connected to President Donald Trump? The human characters aren’t the only ones that they changed, however. They also changed the Autobot lineup, except for Optimus Prime (who was once again amazingly voiced by Peter Cullen) and Bumblebee. The new Autobots consist of Hound (voiced by John Goodman), Drift (Ken Watanabe), and Crosshairs (John DiMaggio). I thought the new Autobots were fun to watch compared to the human characters, with Hound being the most entertaining. Aside from Attinger, a new villain makes an appearance and he has his sights set on Prime. That villain is known as Lockdown, who, to me, was a formidable opponent for the Autobots to face and was nicely voiced by Mark Ryan. Like the previous installments, the visual effects and the action are the main stars of the film. While the visuals aren’t as remarkable as the ones in Dark of the Moon, they’re still pretty solid nonetheless, especially the new designs of the robots, although there were some sequences where the CGI became a bit noticeable. The action sequences were once again entertaining for what they were, with some nice moments here and there, especially the Dinobots. Speaking of which, one of the biggest complaints that the film had received was the fact that it included the Dinobots in the last act. I really didn’t mind that flaw at all because it did its part in making the Dinobots look awesome, mostly by design. It would be cool to see them earlier in the film, but what can you do?
Overall, “Age of Extinction” has its usual robot-vs-robot action and its visual, explosive flair that the franchise is known for, but due to its exhausting running time, some weak characters, and its mediocre storytelling, it can lead some people to question whether or not this series needs to go extinct. To answer the question above, is it really as bad as people say it was? Well, in terms of the story and its running time, I would answer that with a maybe. In terms of the visuals and its entertaining moments, however, not really. I would still consider it to be a bit better than Revenge of the Fallen because the humor wasn’t as irritating or inappropriate as the previous installments and the final battle here wasn’t as rushed as the final battle in Revenge. Once again, if you like the previous installments for what they are, then you may or may not like this one. If you’re already tired of the franchise, this one’s not going to change your mind.