If you ignore the fact that Prime looks obviously evil in the poster…it’s hard to disagree with the message. If one planet is going to die then shouldn’t it be Earth? Those guys are always picking on the Autobots and destroying themselves anyway. Even if the Transformer movies have not been all that good historically they do certainly have great posters and trailers. If nothing else, they always do a good job of drawing you in. On that note, I went to the theaters to watch this latest installment, but could it hold its own against the last few and even surpass them? Time to find out!
Well, the film starts off with a prolonged action scene back in the days of the 12 knights. It’s as boring as you’d expect with very generic bombs being thrown and people stabbing each other. Films like this one keep reminding me why action scenes should all take place in the modern day alongside big buildings and cool effects. The drunk Merlin gets the Autobots to help him so they destroy the other side. Merlin is even given the staff of power which has the ability to destroy and recreate whole planets. He literally takes it to the grave.
We cut away to the present day where a girl by the name of Izabella is saving a few kids who broke into a government protected site with killer machines running around. They shoot to kill and that includes kids, but fortunately Cade and his resistance pals like Bumble Bee show up and finish off the government robots. The kids run off, but Izabella stays with Cade since she wants to fight. The two characters trade sob stories while Cade has a beer (The film made sure to show that it was a Budlight) and then Mr. Edmund shows up to tell the heroes that they have to find the scepter of power and stop the incoming invasion. He has also located and brought in a lady named Viviane who is a descendant of Merlin and the only one who can wield it. Naturally Viviane and Cade don’t get along, but none of the characters do. Can they at least stop the invasion or will their not so subtle insults against each other take top priority? Oh yeah, Megatron’s also around.
This is 100% a Michael Bay film. You can tell because it follows all of the classic tropes. The only good one is that we get a ton of explosions. There’s constantly something catching fire and blowing up. Everyone gets to be in an explosion at some point or other and that was interesting. Well, interesting isn’t the right word, but at least it’s something to catch your attention even if you know that it’s just trying to cover up the lack of a plot.
Unfortunately the other cliches are here. Naturally when Viviane is brought to the castle, she decided to bring along a rather inappropriate outfit for business. It’s not as if it would be a huge deal but of course Cade brings it up and they have a pretty sad conversation about it. Keep in mind that these two were enemies at first, but Cade quotes a random philosopher once they’re okay. He shows off his 6 pack once and they are immediately past the friend zone. The flirting and fanservice were pretty sad and while not as bad as in previous films, I had a feeling the film would bring this into the picture.
Then there’s the writing. I don’t want to say it was the worst yet, but there must have been over 50-100 s words in the film. It was used in almost every single sentence. It’s as if the keyboard warriors from reddit and twitch were the main characters in this film. It was incredibly awful and took you out of the film every time. Why does everyone have to use swear words to express every idea that they get? It’s painfully bad and would have doomed the film to a low score even without all of the other negatives.
It’s also hard to know who to root for. The Autobots are anything but likable. They spend the first half of the film doing more damage to each other than the Decepticons possibly could. Bumblebee even destroys one of his fellow Autobots for no good reason. I don’t remember his name but it was one of the minicons, Bumblebee just crushed him without remorse. The others don’t get along either so there’s a ton of threats among them. We get about 20 minutes of the Autobots just yelling at each other and the humans deciding to follow their example. The insults get pretty personal throughout and one guy even brings up the race card to counter Cade. Well, I shouldn’t say “even” that was another guarantee in this film. Viviane doesn’t get along with her parents and relatives either for more drama and they care more about her love life than the alien invasion. Edmund is constantly threatening to destroy his butler and his butler tries to choke Cade to death, but is stopped at the last second. These are our heroes.
Think about that for a second. Our heroes are the ones who keep threatening each other, actually destroy one member, blackmail other members, and basically just live to destroy. They destroy Decepticons not for honor or victory, but just because they like to murder stuff. Optimus Prime isn’t exempt either as his terribly conceived plan to head to Cybertron winds up getting him frozen. Fortunately, he crash lands there and the ice chips off. I think he suffered a severe concussion though because he doesn’t remember that Cybertron was destroyed so he rushes over and attacks the metal lady who’s there because he thinks she destroyed it. She casually beats him in one hit with her lightning and forces him to kneel before her. She then easily mind controls him to turn evil and be her slave. It’s hinted that it’s mind control since he grew a red scar and she did the same to Megatron. Oh yeah, Megatron gets mind controlled so he’s a subordinate yet again.
Prime doesn’t stay evil for long though as a quick “Martha!” sort of line gets him to turn good again. The heroes decide to kick him a few times while he’s down so he learns a lesson though and everyone just stands there and watches it happen. I get the feeling Prime isn’t too popular on Earth sometimes even if the Autobots claim that they look up to him. While Quintessa (The metal lady) was pretty awesome and it was nice to see her wreck everybody, the film forgot about that. Instead of blasting Viviane and ending the film in an instant, she orders Megatron to do it and doesn’t do anything herself. She gets blasted by Bee and that’s basically the end of her story. It’s a sad way to go.
Hot Rod is actually in this film, but you’ll barely care since he’s nothing like his classic self. He’s just a guy with a french accent who likes blasting stuff. His time stop ability is useful, but he rarely ever remembers to use it so he may as well not have it. The Decepticons are all fairly generic. We have a scene inspired by the Suicide Squad where we see him release his favorite cons and they all team up, but half of them die in their first action scene and even Megatron himself isn’t all that impressive. He seems about as durable as your average con and has slightly more firepower. He never really seems like a threat.
Despite the writing being so bad, some of the humans are all right. Izabella is reasonable for a kid. At least she knows what she is doing and managed to survive for so long as the government base. Her robot even looked a lot like Bumblebee and I could have sworn that it was him the whole time. Why do they have the same design? If Bumblebee had died in such a random way like that I’m sure the fanbase would have gone nuts though. I didn’t really care for Viviane much though. She seemed to overreact a lot and the 180 personality shift once she got along with Cade was sad. Cade also wasn’t that great as he drinks too much beer and also takes things too personally. The whole plot with his daughter was made to be way too dramatic.
The government is also bad as always. They decided to turn against all of the Transformers yet again. Sure, they’re all pretty mean, but why pick a fight that you can’t win? Their weapons are finally strong enough….well who are we kidding. Their weapons are always strong enough to beat Transformers. They’ll still lose in the end if they go with a frontal assault so it’s just not a smart move. It’s a rather half baked one. The only good member of the army was the physics guy who kept mocking the heroes for relying on magic. He’d point out that magic wasn’t real and that the team should use physics to win. It didn’t work of course as magic is the whole point of the film, but the guy made some good points and had a lot of excellent burns.
The film relies pretty heavily on being half comedy and action. Unfortunately, the humor doesn’t work very well. The funniest scenes were the unintentional ones like the heroes constantly bickering or Optimus Prime getting frozen just by flying. The actual humor just tends to fall flat like the flirting and all of the characters acting like jerks. I suspect the guy on the telephone trying to be a knight was supposed to be funny as well, but it didn’t really work. Also, how come this guy seems to know everything? I like that he didn’t panic like the others and just decided to hang out at the beach instead of stressing out, but it felt like filler. Of course, over half of the film is basically prolonged to extend the run time. I suppose there could be some charm in seeing the characters all insult each other in a reverse friendship kind of way. Perhaps Bay is going for that as you just enjoy all of the insults, but even that would need better writing. Bad writing holds everything back.
Aside from the opening action sequence, the fight scenes aren’t bad I suppose. They all start to blend together after a while and we don’t really get any prolonged fight though. Most fights end with a few hits. Bumblebee vs Optimus is probably the only really long fight in the movie and that would probably be the best one. The ending was rather anticlimactic though.
This film does have an after credits scene by the way so you should stick around for that. It’s the kind of scene that would be hype in a different series but not for this one. The villain that they’re hyping up is not someone I want to see. I was practically wincing there because I assumed that by grabbing the scepter they had hopefully destroyed this person too. Ah well, at least the cool person who is giving out the intel should be a good villain. Perhaps that is all I can ask for.
Overall, Transformers delivers another blunder. It’s just a bad film that is crammed in with every plot imaginable. The plots could have been good except the writing is terrible. The script is so bad it hurts and the characters are all made out to be villains or unlikable. The romance is as rushed as it ever was since the characters have only known each other for around a day or less. The film can be funny at times but for all the wrong reasons. There’s just no reason to have hope for another film, but they’re going to come out anyway. I like to think that the next film will be better, but it’s hard to even think that at this point. I suppose the films deliver on being mindless action blockbusters where you just try to enjoy the experience and keep it moving, but all of the films feel the same in that regard. They’ll hold your attention but never come close to being a good film. If the next film wants to be better, it should finally make the Autobots heroic, Strengthen the Dinobots a bit so they don’t keep losing, strengthen all of the Transformers so humans aren’t constantly beating them, and make the humans more likable. The films may just be doomed though and your best bet is looking at the original animated series again. At least that one was quality.