WARNING: Spoilers ahead!
Transformers is back with director Michael Bay bringing his excessive use of CGI and explosions along with it. Transformers: Age of Extinction is the fourth movie in the franchise and takes place four years after Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
Out is the whiny, screaming Shia LaBeouf who played the leading role in the first three installments, and in is Mark Wahlberg. Wahlberg plays Cade Yeager, a single dad and inventor, who discovers Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) disguised as an old truck in a decrepit movie theater.
The plot, like all of the Transformers films by Bay, is a bit convoluted. But the gist is that it’s been four years since the Autobots and Decepticons leveled Chicago. The U.S. government is angry at all of the humans lives lost and wants to eradicate all of the remaining Autobots that went into hiding. With the help of the Lamborghini Transformer Lockdown, the CIA tracks Optimus Prime to Cade’s Texas home and attempts to capture Prime. At the same time, KSI (Kinetic Sciences Institute), led by Joshua Joyce (Stanley Tucci) has figured out how to harvest information from captured Transformers and reverse engineer Transformium, the basic molecular metal in which they’re made of.
Without spoiling the entire movie, Cade, Tessa (his daughter played by Nicole Peltz), Shane (Tessa’s boyfriend played by Jack Reynor) and Prime regroup with the remaining Autobots (Drift the Japanese Samurai Bugatti voiced by Ken Watanabe; Hound, the tactical vehicle voiced by John Goodman; and Crosshairs, the Corvette C7 voiced by John DiMaggio) to fight Lockdown and stop Galvatron, KSI’s man-made Transformer (who later turns out to be Megatron’s new body). The Autobots also have to stop Joshua from detonating the “Seed” — a bomb that would be used to create 100 years worth of Transformium — in order to create even Transformers.
Age of Extinction takes moviegoers across the world from Texas to Beijing and Hong Kong where the Transformers duke it out. In IMAX 3D, the explosions are wilder and the destruction more extreme than before. I found the 3D to be really well done (and this is coming from a guy who isn’t a big fan of 3D movies).
Wahlberg does an excellent job replacing LaBeouf, since his tough-guy persona makes for a more believable character. (However, that weird alien sword blaster he uses is just way too silly.) While the movie does drag on, especially when our human stars are poking around inside of Lockdown’s spaceship, Tucci’s Joshua character provides some very hilarious comic relief. Tucci really nails the squeamish, douchey part really well.
If there was one thing I would have liked more, it would be more screen time for Grimlock the T-rex Dinobot and his dino pals. They don’t show up until 30 minutes before the end of the film, which was kind of disappointing. The trailers made them out to have a larger role.
Overall, I found Age of Extinction to be a fun movie. It doesn’t deviate from Bay’s signature style at all. You’re not going to watch Age of Extinction for its plot depth; it’s once again lots of robots, and lots of explosions and city destruction. And of course, it wouldn’t be a Bay Transformers movie without the beautiful girl (Tessa) kissing her boyfriend in front of an orange sunset.