The general consensus seems to be that this has been a disappointing summer movie season. That either means that the standards of moviegoers are going up or they’ve just become spoiled brats. Come on, people. “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” and “Godzilla” might not have been blockbuster masterpieces, but for what they were, they did provide perfectly solid entertainment. The same cannot be said about “Transformers: Age of Extinction.” Now that the latest from Michael Bay is in the mix, the summer movie season must be graded on a curve.
While the first “Transformers” wasn’t technically good, it was the best movie we could have hoped to get from Bay. “Revenge of the Fallen” and “Dark of the Moon” were the worst “Transformers” we could have hoped to get from Bay. “Age of Extinction” is another overblown, overlong orgy of cars, explosions, slow motion, beautiful women without a shred of personality, sunsets, product placement, cringe-worthy humor and repetition. To its credit, at least the characters in this “Transformers” aren’t nearly as annoying as Shia LaBeouf and his band of tools. At least this one makes an attempt to say something and evoke an emotion or two. At least it’s not quite as painful as the previous two sequels. But at this point, I’m just scraping to find something redeemable. It’s still awful, making every other summer movie that’s come out this year look like grade-A filmmaking.
Mark Wahlberg tries his best to give an actual performance as Cade, a boring inventor with a boring daughter (Nicole “The Last Airbender” Peltz) who has an even more boring boyfriend (Jack Reynor). Their lives become slightly less boring after discovering a broken-down truck. It turns out that the truck is none other than Optimus Prime, who is hiding from the government. Overcome with fear and ignorance, humans begin hunting the Transformers, which includes Bumblebee, green Transformer, samurai Transformer, Transformer that’s somehow able to smoke a cigar, Dinosaur Transformers, and the always-popular jive-talkin’ Transformer.
The closest things “Age of Extinction” has to interesting characters are Stanley Tucci as Joshua Joyce, an eccentric billionaire building his own line of Transformers, and Kelsey Grammer as Harold Attinger, a CIA officer driven to destroy every Autobot at any cost. This premise could have possibly sparked a smart, meaningful story about prejudice similar to the “X-Men” films. As we all know, however, Michael Bay and screenwriter Ehren Kruger aren’t smart or meaningful filmmakers. They aren’t even very good at delivering quality mindless entertainment. So it’s just sheer incompetence all around.
Aside from that, there isn’t much to say about this new “Transformers” movie. Everyone should know exactly what they’re going to get walking into the theater. If you’re a 12-year-old boy or have the mindset of a 12-year-old boy, you’ll be in heaven. If you’re not, be prepared to check your watch for 165 straight minutes. The only aspect of the film that’s false advertising is the title. “Age of Extinction,” my behind! This franchise isn’t going extinct any faster than those Madea movies are. So allow me to leave you with this laundry list of more appropriate titles.
“Transformers: Age of Irritation,” “Transformers: We Fixed a Truck,” “Transformers: Dawn of the Explosions,” “Transformers: You’d Be Better Off Watching ‘Beast Wars’ on Netflix,” “Transformers: At Least Megan Fox Isn’t in This One,” “Transformers: The Fourth Movie,” “Transformers: Give Us Your Money,” and “Transformers: Hopefully ‘Ninja Turtles’ Won’t Be As Bad.”
• Nick Spake is a graduate of Arizona State University. He has been working as a film critic for the past nine years, reviewing movies on his website, NickPicksFlicks.com.