Michael Bay’s live-action “Transformers” trilogy has run the gambit for film fans. Some people — like me — love ‘em, some people hate ‘em. Regardless of opinion, it can’t be denied that the films have become a global success and have upped the ante for big scope summer blockbusters.
Now we have “Transformers: Age of Extinction”,” which Bay claims is a fresh start for the franchise with a new cast and a new setup. It’s still a “Transformers” film, but this time, Bay has somehow managed to outdo himself in terms of scale and pure summer fun.
Four years after the climactic battle in “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” in which the majority of the Decepticon army, including their leader Megatron, was killed, the United States government has ended their alliance with the Autobots. The remaining Transformers on Earth have either been apprehended or executed.
Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) has lost his faith in humanity and is in hiding as a run-down truck. He’s picked up by down-on-his luck inventor Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg), hoping to restore the truck to put his daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz) through college.
After Cade discovers that the truck is a Transformer, he and Tessa are immediately targeted by government agents who want to take Optimus by any means necessary. Also on their tail is intergalactic bounty hunter Lockdown, who wants to take Optimus for his own reasons.
First thing’s first: “Transformers” haters, this is not the movie for you. At two and a half hours, it does get tiring, especially in the action-heavy climax. The human characters do fall by the wayside in terms of development and some of the new additions to the robot ranks feel added on.
But gosh darn it if this movie isn’t the most fun two and a half hours you’ll experience this summer.
When it comes to this franchise, you get the feeling that nothing is too tough for Bay and his cohorts. Blowing up buildings? We do that every day! Putting our main stars in the center of explosions? A walk in the park! How about dropping cars, buses and boats onto a busy street? We haven’t done it yet, but we’ll find a way!
If you’re coming to see this movie for the mind blowing, “That is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen” action scenes, it doesn’t get better than this. The stunts are more death-defying than ever, including, but not limited to, people hanging from wires suspended over Sears Tower, Mark Wahlberg plummeting through the roof of an apartment complex, a body incinerating explosion, and enough car crashes to keep insurance salesmen busy for a year — believe it or not, the film actually makes a joke about the last one.
On a story level, Bay and screenwriter Ehren Kruger (“The Ring”) take a few risks here. This is probably one of the more serious “Transformers” films, with at least two key characters biting the dust. The idea of having humanity turn against the Autobots who once fought for them is interesting and the film takes time to explore that. There are also hints at a grander plan for this new direction for the franchise, so don’t be surprised if not everything is neatly resolved by the end.
“Transformers: Age of Extinction” may not be the best movie you’ll see all year, but it’s easily one of the most fun. It’s a movie made for the fans who have stuck with the franchise for seven years, and with that in mind, it delivers.
Bradley Burgess can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org