My review of Transformers 4 is below, but first, some additional things:
1. I saw this movie with my dad. He’s what you might consider a low-level nerd: he introduced me to Star Wars and 2001: A Space Odyssey and he loves Lord of the RIngs, but he’d never read Robert Heinlein. He also doesn’t know much about Transformers, but he was still pretty fairly impressed. Though he didn’t like the length of the battle scenes, either.
2. This is the first TF movie I’ve seen in theatres since the first one back in 2007. That definitely had an impact on how I viewed things.
3. If I had to rank the movies at this point, it’d be this, then Dark of the Moon (it’s the king of the general crud pile that was the first three), then the first film (decent, but a Michael Bay film trying to be a Spielberg film just makes little sense) and Revenge of the Fallen (which is an utter mess).
The expectations for the Michael Bay-directed Transformers films are set in stone at this point. Audiences love them and throw hundreds of millions of dollars at them, hailing them as breezy escapist entertainment. Critics pan the films and dismiss them as technically exciting but incoherent schlock.
For lifelong, hardcore fans of the Transformers like myself, that’s disappointing. At their best, the various Transformers cartoons and comics have transcended the toy-commercial roots of the franchise to offer thoughtful nuanced, compelling science fiction. To have people outside of the fandom think of it in such stark terms is upsetting.
That’s why it’s heartening that Age of Extinction exists. It’s good. Quite good. While still having the same problems as the earlier films, enough course correction has been made to make this the first in the series that can truly be called decent.
Four years after the battle of…
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