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A Man Undercover

I'm Autistic and suffer from ADHD & OCD, but I'm very high-functioning and capable of taking care of myself if I need to.

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My Movie Review on Transformers: Age of Extinction · 9:17pm May 23rd

Greetings and salutations, my friends.

This is your friendly film, TV show, and episode reporter here with another review.

Today, I'm gonna give you guys my take of "Transformers: Age of Extinction".

Here's the rundown of it:

After the Battle of Chicago, the American government decides to shutdown NEST and break the alliance between humans and Autobots, especially when the vast majority of humanity has come to view all Transformers as a threat. As a result, the last Autobots are being hunted down by a CIA black ops division called Cemetery Wind, lead by Harold Attinger, who believes all Transformers to be dangerous.

Five years later, a struggling inventor and single father named Cade Yaeger discovers a wounded Optimus Prime, who went into vehicle mode stasis after being terribly wounded in a battle. However, when it is discovered that Cemetery Wind is particularly after Optimus, and that they've teamed up with a Cybertronian assassin named Lockdown, Optimus realizes that something big is going on and that Earth may once again be at risk of destruction. Especially when he, the last of his Autobot troops, and their new human allies find out that KSI, a science organization run by Joshua Joyce, is also involved.

In all honesty, I wasn't sure whether I wanted to watch or review Age of Extinction and The Last Knight. I thought that Dark of the Moon served as a perfect sendoff and conclusion for Michael Bay's "Transformers" movies, and after I watched it, I began to wonder why Paramount and Hasbro couldn't let the series stop there and allow Bay to move on from the franchise. And yes, I do think it was obviously because Paramount and Hasbro were being typically money-hungry.

But, after I read some of the positive comments Age of Extinction received, particularly from TheClownPrinceofCrime and tyrannosaurianrex9 of FiMFiction.net, I figured to myself "What the heck? Why not check out the film?". So, I did just that. In preparation for reviewing this sequel, I watched the film two times while it was available on Amazon Prime just to get my brain going and be 100% sure on what my thoughts on this motion picture were.

Coming from a guy who watched this sequel twice recently, the main thing I'd like to confess regarding both experiences is this:

Unfortunately, in all the times I watched the film, and no matter the time of day I saw it, I was unable to get myself engaged. I hoped that the movie would be enjoyable before actually checking it out, and I wanted to see if I'd like it after giving this motion picture a gander more than once, even if doing so proved to be a workout in many ways. In the end, though...I just didn't find it to be all that enjoyable.

The biggest reasons for why revolve around Michael Bay's direction, and the story by Ehren Kruger.

Bay did an excellent job directing the previous three Transformers movies, and Kruger's work writing for the 2nd & 3rd films was deeply spot-on. In Age of Extinction, though, all the passion and creativity Bay and Kruger put into the previous movies was missing. It had all the qualifications to be a greatly noteworthy effort, but for some reason, the film was far from such a thing.

Looking back on Bay's work directing the sequel's three predecessors, it became clear that there's a certain pattern he often follows:

  1. The film starts off with a prologue taking place decades before the present, and later delves into some history regarding the Cybertronians.
  2. Megatron is the primary antagonist.
  3. There’s a Cybertronian relic that the heroes and villains fight over.
  4. There are action sequences that come with enormous explosions.
  5. A climactic battle between the heroes and villains takes place in a big city setting, with innocent lives amidst the crossfire and destruction at an all-time high.

When Bay was using this pattern in the last three films, I didn't see anything wrong with its usage because he approached the formula with a sense of passion and ambition, often creating something fun and interesting out of it no matter how commonly used the things I listed were. In Age of Extinction, not so much. Call me crazy, but most of the time, it felt like Bay was just going through the motions. His fatigue from helming the franchise was incredibly apparent, especially to where he appeared to be completely low on steam. Even the formula I mentioned just now came across as too by-the-numbers in this sequel. The action sequences were amazing, but the times they'd happen and what the outcomes ultimately were proved to be too predictable. Heck, it was even easy for me to guess when a gigantic explosion was gonna happen.

Here and there, the film's editing and scene-timings got me disoriented. There were parts where the cinematography appeared to be green and fuzzy looking, sunlight shining past human characters as they're talking, and voiceovers sounding off right when everything is switched to a scene no longer focusing on the character that's talking. Not to mention camera angles and shots that were either questionable or bewildering, such as this one shot focusing on Cade Yaeger from right next to Tessa's butt!

The film's runtime wasn't particularly well-worked either. Despite not being the slowest film around, this sequel was far from evenly paced, an example being that 15 to 30 minutes of watching it felt more like an hour. It was one of the biggest reasons as to why I had trouble getting myself engaged, and I still wasn't able to do so.

Plus, while the film did have plenty of humorous moments worthy of a chuckle, they weren't good enough to make this sequel entertaining. The dramatic, emotional, and heartfelt aspects were great, and it was interesting to see how Bay and Kruger were making the film darker than its predecessors, yet I found myself wondering "Why bother?". Even the themes and morals, regardless of how meaningful they were, got weighed down by the film's predictability and lack of human-creativity.

Other aspects in its story and direction also became questionable as I thought about it more:

For instance, the return of Brains the mini-Transformer was a very big head-scratcher for me. Everything about that felt like a needless and unnatural retcon, because it openly contradicted the fact that he clearly died with Wheelie in the Battle of Chicago following that ship crash in Dark of the Moon. And what really doesn't help the matter is that it was never explained how he survived or why he never regrouped with the Autobots.

The usage of Galvatron, and the revelation of him being Megatron reincarnated, were also the most pointless parts in the entire story. He's supposed to be the ultimate mastermind behind the hunt for Optimus Prime, the Seed being handed to KSI, and the planned destruction of humanity, yet Galvatron/Megatron hardly does anything besides barking orders and making proclamations. As the story progressed, the character himself became little more than an afterthought compared to the other antagonists this sequel featured. Had there been a 2nd and final fight between Galvatron/Megatron and Optimus Prime, then the character's incorporation would've been more meaningful and memorable.

In addition to this, the subplot revolving around the Transformers being created by aliens was openly questionable. Whenever I thought back on that element, I'd find myself asking how it ties in or correlates with the Transformers lore and mythology. I'm not an expert on the franchise, but the very idea of aliens creating the Transformers also doesn't seem particularly faithful to the series in general.

In spite of these shortcomings, I'd like to mention that the film wasn't without its highlights.

Among the positives, the special effects were as spectacular as ever.

All of the robotic characters were as realistic-looking as in the previous films, and the space ships and outer space sequences were an astonishing sight to behold. Even the dinosaur sequences, despite their lack of necessity, were extraordinary. The parts where Transformium was used and molecularly took the form of something were the biggest standouts, such as the part where a stuffy of Rainbow Dash from "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic" transforms into a gun.

Finally, the voicing acting and onscreen performances, characters, and character development were brilliant.

Admittedly, most of the human characters in this sequel weren't particularly compelling. They all had distinct personalities, but they weren't enjoyable to where I'd put them on a list or anything like that. However, when it comes to which human characters that I believe had the greatest of developments, it'd definitely be Cade Yaeger, Harold Attinger, and Joshua Joyce; the performances of Mark Wahlberg as Cade, Kelsey Grammar as Harold, and Stanley Tucci as Joshua were also the live-action portrayals I enjoyed the most.

In regards to the vocal performances, Peter Cullen killed it with his reprisal of Optimus Prime. I loved how he managed to reflect the character's war-torn, broken, and battle-weary state, and he imbued so much emotion into every piece of dialogue he had. Optimus himself was the Transformer who developed the most throughout this feature. Plus, the performances of John Goodman as Hound, John DiMaggio as Crosshairs, and Ken Watanabe as Drift were pretty splendid, and the three characters themselves were decent additions to the series.

And I really can't deny it, Lockdown the Cybertronian assassin and bounty hunter was the best of the new additions. Whenever the character was onscreen, I'd immediately perk up with interest. His personality, design, abilities, beliefs, and motivations make him an instantly intriguing antagonist, and Mark Ryan's performance as the character was not only phenomenal but successfully helped Lockdown be someone with depth.

In fact, I enjoyed Lockdown so much, I became interested in seeing the character appear in more Transformers media completely unrelated to Michael Bay's film series. I'm pretty open to seeing the character return in a future live-action Transformers film or an animated installment, that's for sure. Plus, I'm surprised that Mark Ryan hasn't decided to engage in voice acting more often, because he's clearly a very talented and overlooked voice artist.

In the end, though...regardless of the positives I mentioned just now, "Transformers: Age of Extinction" was more underwhelming than entertaining. Everything was clearly in place, but the film was completely weighed down by uninspired direction, predictable storytelling, and signs of both a director and a franchise getting tuckered out.

So, I rate "Transformers: Age of Extinction" 2½ out of 5 stars.

As for if I'm gonna review "Transformers: The Last Knight"...well, that prospect is pretty inevitable, so it'll be coming up next.

Comments ( 10 )

Thank you so much for making this review! I completely understand why you felt underwhelmed by this film, considering all the massive flaws it contains. Even though I love this film, I can agree it needed a lot of improvements.

In fact, I enjoyed Lockdown so much, I became interested in seeing the character appear in more Transformers media completely unrelated to Michael Bay's film series. I'm pretty open to seeing the character return in a future live-action Transformers film or an animated installment, that's for sure.

In that case, you should watch “Transformers: Animated” when you get the chance. That’s where he makes his official debut as an antagonist within the franchise. Trust me, you’ll love it.

The usage of Galvatron, and the revelation of him being Megatron reincarnated, were also the most pointless parts in the entire story.

I agree. It felt like they needed to bring back Megatron in one way or another, but as “Bumblebee” shows us, you don’t need to have Megatron in a movie every single time, and I’m perfectly fine with that. So the fact you said he felt like an afterthought in this movie is 100% spot-on.

I'm not an expert on the franchise, but the very idea of aliens creating the Transformers also doesn't seem particularly faithful to the series in general.

It’s a reference to the original G1 animated series where all the Cybertronians were created by the Quintessons, an ancient race of evil mechanoids. This film series did a very flimsy job in trying to adapt that storyline, and you’ll see why in the fifth film. That’s all I’m gonna say.

I find Age of Extinction my favorite in the Bayverse because of the character development and the Dinobots.

🙂I’m glad that you enjoyed this review. Also, I’d be glad to check out “Transformers: Animated” when I eventually find the time.

Honestly I agree with this review.

I enjoyed the movie too, but some parts people hate about it and the others are what I honestly don’t understand

Not gonna lie, Transformers: Age of Extinction fails regarding bringing a solid plot as well connecting to its predecessors in timeline and events wich contradicts in many scenes as the movie is displayed.

Most people went to their near theaters because for the first time in a Transformers film the Dinobots were appearing and the expectation of having them screentime were high only for them to play their role in the last minutes of the film.

However the Transformers' designs, voice actors and action sequence were remarkable. Sadly, as it happened in the previous installement, was overshadowed by human protagonism, lack of the true Autobots' enemy, Bumblebee, millitaries, dumb jokes and so.

Thank you for your review, and let me know when you post your review of The Last Knight. I'm going to complain a lot about that movie.

I think the fundamental problem with Bayformers was Bay was trying to be too serious with the concept and moved through adding all the familiar plot beats too fast. Transformers is at its best when it's not taking itself seriously in my opinion, and telling smaller stories can often help. Case in point; if the first Transformers movie had focused primarily on the relationship between Sam and Bumblebee, with Barricade being the only real antagonist, that would be grounds for quite a compelling character driven story.

Based on what we've seen so far, Rise of the Beasts is what Age of Exctinction should have been.

I suggest to keep cautious as one good friend recommended me. Rise of the Beasts could be a fail as well a success, but neither of us would assure it until watching it.

I'm inclined to agree, hence the caveat 'based on what we've seen so far'.

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