Five years have passed since the battle between the Autobots and Decepticons, which all but destroyed Chicago and changed the relationship between the humans and Transformers forever. CIA agent Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammer) has secretly joined forces with the bounty hunter Transformer Lockdown to hunt down the remaining Autobots, particularly Optimus Prime. Optimus is found by farmer and inventor Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg), who soon finds himself, his teenage daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz), and her boyfriend Shane (Jack Reynor) in the middle of a new war between the remaining Autobots and both Lockdown and a new group of human built transformers, lead by Galvatron.
After nineteen years, love him or hate him, Michael Bay knows how to blow stuff up real good. The best elements of Transformers: Age of Extinction involve the many action scenes, most notably, a climatic battle in Hong Kong. Michael Bay’s films are the very definition of mindless summer blockbusters and is perfect for those just wanting to spend a fun time at the movies.
As entertaining as the action in the film is, the dramatic element somewhat falters. Particularly, the father/daughter relationship between Cade and Tessa Yeager is cringe-inducing. Michael Bay has a history of casting women more for their looks than acting ability, and Nicola Peltz is worse than any other female lead in the Transformers series. It probably doesn’t help that the film plays her off as a somewhat shallow person, who ignores her father’s heroism and keeps running to her Irish racecar driver of a boyfriend played by the equally awful and useless Jack Reynor. Another criticism is that this seems like a commercial to sell products, whether it be the Transformers themselves, the countless product placements, or even the soundtrack by Imagine Dragons. The endless commercialism is exhausting but expected.
That said, Transformers: Age of Extinction still has enough to please longtime fans of the series. Those familiar with the Transformers mythos would likely immediately recognize the character of Galvatron and be happy that, animated series voice actor, Frank Welker has returned to voice the character. Some other familiar voices in the film include John Goodman as commando Autobot Hound and Ken Watanabe as the samurai-like Drift. The heavily advertised Dinobots don’t really factor in the plot until the climax, but are still a blast to watch in action when they do eventually show up for a brief but exciting moment.
Sure, Transformers: Age of Extinction is far from a perfect film, but it is still an entertaining action spectacular.