In this semi-reboot we are introduced to a new main cast of humans and a whole new slurry of Transformers (Dinobots!). That means no Shia, no Josh Duhamel, and no Tyrese.
The only familiar faces this time around are the Autobots.
Taking place roughly five years after the events of the last film, the Transformers are no longer our allies, they are the enemy. No matter if Autobot or Decepticon, they all must be destroyed. Humans are finally fed up with the death and destruction that the Transformers have bestowed upon Earth, and the government has taken it upon themselves to hunt down and kill any one of them that remains. Using the help of a Transformer bounty hunter named Lockdown (voiced by Mark Ryan), the CIA is able to successfully take down Transformers that are in hiding. Be prepared to see some pretty intense scenes of Autobots getting brutally mutilated as they beg for their lives. This film really wants you to know that Autobots have souls.
While the government is doing their best to clean up, a technology company called Kinetic Solutions Incorporated, led by Joshua Joyce (Stanley Tucci), has been using information collected from the destroyed Transformers to build their own Transformers. With the discovery of the creatively named “Transformium”, a metal that is essentially the core of every Transformer, KSI is able to fabricate their own. One of those fabricated Transformers being Galvatron, which was created using data found inside of Megatron’s head.
Cut to Texas where we’re introduced to single father and out of work inventor, Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) and his daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz). Cade ends up buying a busted up semi-truck in the hopes of stripping it for parts, but quickly discovers that he is actually dealing with a severely injured Optimus Prime (voiced by Peter Cullen).
Immediately the government and Lockdown get word of Optimus and set out to find him. Once confronted, Optimus and his new human friends manage to escape, where they then reunite with more Autobot friends. Bumblebee, Drift (voiced by Ken Watanabe), Crosshairs (voiced by John DiMaggio), and Hound (voiced by John Goodman) all bind together with Optimus Prime to take down the KSI project.
While the storyline is a little weak and we frequently bounce around from location to location with little explanation as to how or why, I found myself not really caring. Most people don’t go to a Transformers movie for the plot, they go for the patented Michael Bay over-the-top action sequences. And this installment had plenty. From start to finish there is just enough Transformer action eye-candy to make the almost 3-hour runtime not drag on.
The acting wasn’t extremely memorable, but it wasn’t bad either. Mark Wahlberg does a solid job as the new lead human, though I could have used a little less of the cliché “I’m an overprotective father” lines that he frequently uses when engaging with his daughter and her boyfriend (Jack Reynor). I blame the writer for that though, it’s not Wahlberg’s fault. As expected, Stanley Tucci does a solid job in a role that you can tell he had fun with, T.J. Miller was great but should have had a larger part, and Kelsey Grammer was very fitting as the angry face of the CIA (close your eyes when he’s on screen and it’s like Sideshow Bob is a part of the action).
Overall I’d say that if you’re going into this film expecting an amazing storyline and in-depth character development, you should probably save your money on this one. However, if you’re going into it expecting the same formulaic movie as it’s three predecessors and just want to shut your brain off for three hours as Autobots, Decepticons, Dinobots, aliens, product placement, and explosions fill the screen, you’ll probably leave feeling satisfied.
Transformers: Age of Extinction stars Mark Wahlberg, Nicola Peltz, Stanley Tucci, Jack Reynor, Kelsey Grammer, and T.J. Miller. Featuring the voice talents of Peter Cullen, Frank Welker, John Goodman, Ken Watanabe, John DiMaggio, Mark Ryan, and Reno Wilson. Written by Ehren Kruger, and directed by Michael Bay. In theaters June 27.