Director: Michael Bay
Writers: Art Marcum, Matt Holloway, Ken Nolan
Cast: Mark Wahlburg, Josh Duhamel, Stanley Tucci, Anthony Hopkins
Genre: Action, Adventure, Science Fiction
First off, let me start by stating my unabashed love for this movie. In fact, I have loved every entry in the Transformer’s franchise to a varying degree. Taking it one step further, I love most of Michael Bay’s movies. Just like Chili’s and Taco Bell, I have never left a Michael Bay movie disappointed. You may be saying, “Well that’s a terrible example because both of those restaurants are poor or at most mediocre,” to which I will say that you are wrong. There’s an argument to be made for comforting mediocrity. So much so that I could make a strong argument that Chili’s is the greatest restaurant of all time, but that is a different conversation for a different time.
Violence/Scary Images: Very little actual blood and gore is shown. We see almost constant robots fighting using guns, swords and fisticuffs. The beginning sequence is of a medieval battle scene with people getting stabbed and impaled, but little to no blood or gore.
Language/Crude Humor: Several uses of s***, d*** and one barely audible f-word.
Spiritual Content: None.
Sexual Content: A female character wears a dress that is very fitting and reveals cleavage. A group of women, when talking about finding a date for someone, read dating ads with the terms “BBWs” and “dungeons” used. The same group of women listen in on what they think is two characters having sex.
Drug/Alcohol References: The Transformer Hound is constantly seen smoking a cigar. A character has a beer towards the beginning of the movie.
Other Negative Content: None.
Positive Content: Friendship, family, and loyalty play a large role throughout the film. Qualities such as chastity, loyalty, and courage are portrayed in a positive light.
We pick up right where we left off after Age of Extinction. The Transformers are still considered enemies of the state and are being hunted and killed by the government. Optimus Prime still hasn’t returned from his spirit quest to find the creators of his race (Did Prometheus teach them nothing?) while Cade Yeager is a criminal in hiding who harbors and fixes any remaining Autobots he can find. Being a Michael Bay film, there are many more plot points, but they are too confusing and convoluted to get into in this review. All you need to know is that this the Michael Bay-iest of Michael Bay films, featuring: giant robots fighting, copious amounts of slow motion, and seizure inducing pacing.
This entire paragraph will be dedicated to one of the greatest actors of the last thirty years. A man who needs no introduction and shall hence forth be referred to by his given name, Marky Mark aka Mark Wahlberg. From his earliest days with the Funky Bunch, Marky Mark has always carried the kind of charisma and swagger that women want and men are jealous of. Our generation has been privy to watch this statuesque man have blossom as an actor in his early days with Boogie Nights to his later critically acclaimed roles in The Departed and The Fighter.
Unfortunately, Marky Mark is not immune to the occasional flop with the bad (Max Payne) and the awful (The Happening). As bad as The Happening was, it did help us finally recognize what had been under our nose, but above Marky Mark’s, this whole time: his eyebrows. Yes, that’s right. The best part of Marky Mark is his eyebrows. Able to tell stories and exhibit even the most complicated of emotions with a slight raise, this man has mastered what few could. And I am so proud to say that in this movie, his brows are doing some serious leg work, so to speak. So let’s raise a glass to yet another great performance from Marky Mark and the brows behind the man. Here’s to you.
Besides Marky Mark and his eyebrows, the acting is over the top as usual. Josh Duhamel returns as Col. William Lennox and does a respectable job bringing back the rough edge the franchise was missing. Among the remaining human cast, Anthony Hopkins is the only one worth mentioning. Old, wise, and sometimes strange, his presence brought some much needed pathos to the film. And of course I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention those rascally robots, the Transformers. Bumblebee continues to be the standout Transformer with his “little brother” antics and attitude that helps keep him fresh and entertaining. Optimus, like Bay himself, is left to his usual attributes: great leader, innate ability to monologue at any moment, and brazen love for the humans. John Goodman again brings his booming voice to Hound and helps add some personality to an otherwise bland Transformer.
The biggest selling point of any Transformers movie is going to involve robots fighting some more robots. Said fights will be shot using “epic” camera angles in legitimately epic locales. Up to this point, no Transformers film has failed at this. From the beautiful English countryside to on top of a giant underwater ship, Michael Bay knows how to stage fight scenes. And maybe this is part of the reason to blame for the Michael Bay hatred. Yeah his movies aren’t a gold mine of standout acting and exquisite writing, but it’s not like he’s Nickleback. He, unlike Nickelback, doesn’t deserve all the hate.
Hear me out on this one. If you are reading this review, odds are you have some vested interest in the Transformers franchise. It’s also likely that you have seen other Michael Bay movies. And like Chili’s and Taco Bell, you know exactly what you are getting. The man has been essentially making the same movie for the past twenty-five years. He has even recycled footage from his own movies! They are called Bay-isms because they are in every Michael Bay movie: convoluted plots, incredible action sequences, over the top acting, frenetic pacing, bad writing, cheesy humor, the feeling that every take is some sort of epic moment within an even bigger epic story, among other more controversial elements.
To others, this may not be their cup of tea, but for a longstanding Michael Bay fan this was a great flick. Autobots, roll out!
+ Amazing action sequences and special effects + Adds some interesting twists to the Transformers mythos
- Convoluted plot - Over the top acting
The Bottom Line
At this point in the series, you know what to expect. If you are a Michael Bay fan and have seen all the Transformers movies, then you will not be disappointed. I enjoyed it and look forward to what Mr. Bay has in store next.