‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’ Review

Published 10 months ago by , Updated October 7th, 2014 at 1:18 am,

Transformers Age of Extinction Poster Optimus Prime Transformers: Age of Extinction Review

Still, for audience members that enjoyed prior films in the series (even while acknowledging their faults), Transformers: Age of Extinction is the biggest Robots In Disguise movie yet.

In Transformers: Age of Extinction the world has turned its back on Optimus Prime and his Autobot companions. Following the Battle of Chicago, covert special forces team “Cemetery Wind” has begun rounding up (and subsequently executing) the remaining Transformers hiding on Earth – both Autobot and Decepticons, alike. Ambushed by the black ops agency, Optimus Prime is gravely wounded, barely escaping with his spark intact. Sending a message to the rest of his allies, Optimus instructs his friends to stay hidden – and avoid humans at all costs.

While some humans remain grateful to the Autobots for their part in stopping Megatron and Sentinel Prime’s invasion four years back, others have become obsessed with unlocking Cybrertronian secrets by any means necessary – giving rise to improved Transformers that are engineered by mankind. However, when a dangerous enemy arrives on Earth, Optimus must team up with a new group of human allies  – led by robotics inventor Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) – as well as legendary Cybertronian warriors, to once again defend our world.

Michael Bay returns to direct his fourth Transformers film – from a script by Ehren Kruger (who previously worked on Revenge of the Fallen as well as Dark of the Moon) and, by now, viewers should have a pretty clear idea of what to expect from Age of Extinction. Some relish in the eye-popping action visuals, while others can’t stomach the human drama or Cybertronian designs – and the latest film will do little to change minds on either side. Bay introduces several new story lines, people, and robot warriors that successfully reinvigorate the franchise, but for every fresh element, rushed backstories and/or underdeveloped threads will prevent the film from winning over skeptics. Still, for audience members that enjoyed prior films in the series (even while acknowledging their faults), Transformers: Age of Extinction is the biggest “Robots In Disguise” movie yet.

Mark Wahlberg Optimus Prime Transformers Age of Extinction Transformers: Age of Extinction Review

Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) and Optimus Prime in ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’

Even though Age of Extinction forges a new direction for the series, the story relies heavily on human/Transformer relations after the invasion of Chicago to provide some intriguing angles and themes to explore in the follow-up. The plot cracks Transformers movie mythology wide open, introducing arcs with much broader reach than the core Autobots vs. Decepticon battles that fueled the first three films. While the movie doesn’t address or develop every included plot line (or name-drop), Kruger evolves the established formula with some interesting additions – especially when it comes to the origins of the Cybertronians, as well as humanity’s attempts to harness Transformer tech.

The choice to free Optimus Prime and Bumblebee from the snare of Sam Witwicky’s youthful exploits is a welcome one. Cade Yeager’s involvement in the story can be heavy-handed at times, but he’s a much more convincing human action hero – especially considering the increased scale of the storyline and battle sequences. Wahlberg is fine in the role, selling both action as well as comedy beats, and decreasing the amount of eye-rolling drama that was included in the last entry. Yet, despite his best efforts, a handful of Yeager lines will undoubtedly turn up as Internet memes.

Optimus Prime Grimlock Transformers Age of Extinction Transformers: Age of Extinction Review

Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) and Grimlock in ‘Transformers Age of Extinction’

The rest of the supporting cast offers a mix of solid (albeit campy) or adequate performances. Stanley Tucci (as inventor Joshua Joyce) is an entertaining parallel for Wahlberg – driven by the same curiosity and goals as Yeager, while simultaneously becoming slave to his obsession. Kelsey Grammer (as Harold Attinger) fleshes out an otherwise one-note evildoer part – ultimately depicting a convincing, and often chilling, portrayal of paranoia and fear mongering in the post-Fall of Chicago (and post 9/11) world.

This round, Bay ensures that his new robot characters are given slightly more development than many of the CGI heroes and villains of Transformers 1-3 – but fans should temper expectations. While the four Dinobots have been featured heavily in the Age of Extinction marketing, their actual screen time is lower than some might anticipate. Above all else, the Dinobots serve the film’s primary goal: upping the onscreen visual spectacle. In that way, they are a smashing success, but longtime fans will, without question, be left hoping the characters are revisited with more depth in the next entry.

Lockdown Transformers Age of Extinction Transformers: Age of Extinction Review

Lockdown (Mark Ryan) in ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’

On the other hand, Lockdown is easily one of the series’  most memorable and interesting Transformer characters. A Cybertronian bounty hunter armed with advanced weaponry and a ship full of otherworldly beasts, the villain is unimpressed by ongoing Autobot/Decepticon feuding – adding unique perspective to the series’ two-sided conflict. After Megatron’s repeated attempts at enslaving Earth, Lockdown’s ambivalence toward humankind is a refreshing change of pace – especially given the antagonist’s unwavering focus on his assigned mission (unconcerned with the ramifications).

As for the rest of the robot cast, newcomer Autobots Hound, Drift and Crosshairs are each given time in the spotlight – and, as mentioned, the plot makes room to actually feature their personalities (even if each one still relies on movie warrior archetypes). Franchise favorite Bumblebee is, once again, given more to do than other supporting Autobots; but more than any other installment, Age of Extinction is centered on Optimus Prime. Fortunately, Bay makes smart use of The Greatest Leader of All Time – both in action and drama. After humankind betrays the Autobots, Optimus begins to question his idealistic beliefs in Earth and its people, revealing a dark and cynical side to the hero’s otherwise unshakable personality. The Autobot leader has mourned the loss of fallen allies in the past, but for the first time, audiences will be forced to confront the toll those sacrifices have taken on Optimus Prime.

Bumblebee Transformers Age of Extinction Transformers: Age of Extinction Review

Bumblebee in ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’

Transformers: Age of Extinction is also playing in 3D as well as 3D IMAX and for existing fans of the franchise, a premium ticket is recommendable (though not essential). 3D IMAX is the best return on added investment – viewers will pay more but the added screen size definitely enhances the experience, offering scale to the robot cast (especially the Dinobots) along with powerful sound that highlights the Transformers’ unique audio design. On a standard screen, 3D will add immersion, but Age of Extinction adheres to the subtle (as opposed to pop out) approach to 3D – meaning that frugal viewers who expect noticeable “3D moments” may be underwhelmed – even though Paramount Pictures invested in a quality 3D presentation.

Returning franchise fans will find certain additions to be a welcome change of pace, but for viewers who have written off the Transformers movies, Age of Extinction‘s refreshed storyline and cast will not be enough reason to give Bay’s live-action toy series another shot. As with every prior installment, Age of Extinction is designed to be a rowdy piece of summer blockbuster escapism – moving quickly through plot points to setup the next explosive action set piece. For that reason, Bay succeeds at giving his audience what they are looking for – unmatched CGI spectacle.


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Transformers: Age of Extinction runs 165 minutes and is Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, language and brief innuendo. Now playing in 2D, 3D, and 3D IMAX theaters.

Let us know what you thought of the film in the comment section below. If you’ve seen the movie and want to discuss details about the film without worrying about spoiling it for those who haven’t seen it, please head over to our Transformers: Age of Extinction Spoilers Discussion.

For an in-depth discussion of the film by the Screen Rant editors check out our Transformers: Age of Extinction episode of the SR Underground podcast.

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for future reviews, as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.

Our Rating:

3.5 out of 5
(Very Good)

Follow Ben Kendrick on Twitter @benkendrick
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  1. “I CAN’T HELP, but lose a little bit of respect for anyone who says otherwise? Trust me I’m fully aware of how crazy that is…”

    You aren’t the crazy one, Meh. If you see someone gleefully shoving feces into their mouth while declaring how much they love it, there’s no conversation you can have which will fix them.

  2. Worst installment, yet, in the Tranformers franchise. Hands down.

  3. This movie was AWESOME! It was a long but entertaining as heck. Can’t wait for the next one. Bring on Unicron. I guess Mr. Freeze was wrong. The Ice Age didn’t kill the dinosaurs, the alien, transfomer, thingies did. Mike bay entertains and educates.

    • I can’t believe how awful this movie was. Mike Bay sucks and the fact that he keeps making these short attention span idiotic flicks is nauseating. No plot? Check. Hot chicks that are there for nothing more than eye candy? Check. Lots of CGI? Check. Terrible one liners? Check. This guy is to film what TMZ is to entertainment news. Short on substance and a waste of your time. I really wish some people would raise their standards. Until then Mike bay will just keep cranking out crap movies. All that money spent going to film school and this is the best he can do? Barf.

        • @Nitram AMEN to that! Dont like it dont watch it and dont read the articles,revi
          ews and comments about it. Simple as that. Let others enjoy what they want. Instead of attacking the directOr or writer. At the end of the day. T4 is still a major box office hit and mike bay is making his money with the degree he got from film school that makes @Martin barf.

    • Wat?….

    • It just a movie and I agree with you this morvie is awesome.

  4. i feel the storyline wasnt gripping enough, i really didnt like that they changed the transformers font, would have enjoyed a linkin park song for this movie,i love transformers like i love the other 3, but i was left disappointed for most of the movie, well until the ending for the fight scene, it would have been good if there was military people all for the autobots, the movie had its bits of greatness but i really wish there were still some more of the original autobots

  5. I seriously loved this one so much!!!

  6. Just watched the movie tonight! 165 minutes of action packed fun with just the right amount of humor to keep the movie interesting. I’m laughing at all the haters. On a weekday the cinema was full packed and everyone left the cinema applauding. Only the few nitpickers online disapprove of this movie. This movie is the biggest block buster this year for a reason. It was pure FUN and enjoyment and i encourage people watch it. 😀

  7. I feel as if bay didn’t really explain the past as he shouldve. I mean (SPOILER ALERT) but bay kind of left out some things. Like what happened to the autobots from the last movie. Im not talking about optimus prime or bumblebee. I’m talking about the wreckers, sideswipe, and dino. By the way the movie is portraying it they were all hunted and killed by the humans. Either way I feel like I should be able to know a bit more information. Not just In age of extinction, but the whole entire trilogy. For example, bucket and skids, they were in revenge of the Fallen. But they suddenly disappeared in dark of the moon. And you also have autobots and decepticons appearing out of no where in the next movie. I am just asking for a little bit more information of the movies. But overall age of extinction was actually pretty good.

    • In the case of Mudflap and Skids, they were actually written out of Dark of the Moon. Initially, they were to be killed by Sentinel Prime during his betrayal. You can actually see both vehicles in the back of the line as they are entering the NEST base early in the movie.

      I believe it was due to the controversy over the characters, but it’s been a while, so I don’t completely remember.

  8. Personally, movies made with a vibrator attached to the camera make me sick. I don’t know why so many “action” movies are made with a cameraman with caffeine jitters or delerium tremens, riding an out-of-control floor buffer.

    Also, the story makes no sense. Lots of color.

    If you’re into this sort of thing, ok, fine. I’m not asking for a period piece stage drama with a stationary camera. Or maybe I am. But I do like action. I think Godzilla was better with the camera movement. Godzilla didn’t make me violently ill like this movie did.

  9. I saw a Mash-Up of PAIN GAIN, Fast and Furious and Transformers, can’t complain about that except their were too many moments with talking humans and not enough Autobots. They also ran out of paint in in the budget for the Dino-bots.

  10. I personally thought it was the worst of all the transformers movies. I know these are just action movies, but there’s a certain point at which shallowness and no story interfere with the the viewers ability to enjoy the action. That point was reached with this movie. I was bored out of my mind during most action sequences, realizing that the plot hadn’t advanced in the past twenty minutes or so. An action sequence has to be done right: it has to have build up, and it has to lead to something which will affect the story of the movie. So many times we got sudden action sequences that lead nowhere.

  11. 3.5 Star for yet another NOT Optimus Prime. If Kruger couldn’t bear with Optimus being the robot version of Superman like Snyder, than get yourself Ultra Magnus/Optimal/invent your own Transformer. Hell, have Grimlock temporary disguise as a truck and return to his T-Rex form later would serve the plot just as well.

  12. Good:
    -Michael bay
    -ehren kruger

  13. While probably not a critical masterpiece, I was able to enjoy the first film. I think the writing was good enough to keep me entertained in spite of other flaws. But the other two I struggled to sit through, especially the last one, so I’ll probably just pass on this one.

  14. Why do Bay and these screen writers keep getting a pass for these plot holes. The beginning of every movie there’s a new intro of how the transformers came about or a new power as to how they are made or can be made. Part 1 it was the All Spark, part 2 it was The Matrix, part 3 you had the pillars that can teleport Transformers back and forth and bring Cybertron to earth, part 4 you have The Seed. It’s ridiculous how every story changes how they came about or how long they been on earth. First Megatron crashed here, then part 2 The Fallen showed up in the cavemen days, part 3 they landed on the dark side of moon years ago, part 4 The Creators are the ones who killed off the diosaurs. I could go on forever but I just have one question, Optimus Prime came to earth as himself no space ship or nothing after Bumblebee called for them. Part 2 and 3 now he needs a space pack to fly around, part 3 they need a spaceship to leave earth, now part 4 he has jet packs built in somehow and he just flies into space out of the blue, DID I MISS SOMETHING???

    • In order to understand the origins of the transformers you must understand what the different terms used for the origins are. In other words you must ask, what is The All Spark, The Matrix, The Seed and the Pillars? The All Spark is the spark from which the transformers obtain life, The Matrix is the Source in which the All Spark Existed, The Seed refers to that which can bear fruit or productivity and in this case it is producing transformers, and the Pillars is the means by which transformers, etc are transported or teleported. We also have the cube which is capable of producing more transformers. So you have to understand the meaning of each term in order to not be confused about the origin of the transformers.

      • So VP in saying all of that how can you make one w/o the other. In every movie they get destroyed. My question was ignored thgough. So does the creator possess all of these? Or how can you make one without the other. Why do some transformers need to be teleported when others can choose their own mode and fly in or out into outter space. and you ignored the Optimus Prime question too

      • I’m with Jake.. why before every movie they get to tell a diff origin story? And what happened to Sam Witwhicky in 5 yrs… Where was the bounty hunter 3 movies ago? First the Fallen pops up, then Sentinel Prime shows up, now the bounty hunter. Just a bunch of plot holes forget understanding the order if they’re not presenting it in a better storytelling way…

        • right these people keep poppin up out the blue. Lockdown is tracking down transformers so are transformers on other planets too? Like he’s traveling thru space and where was The Fallen hiding at? And if Megatron can be brought back to life every movie why can’t they bring back the other autobots who get killed? The plot holes are senseless. So the seed produces the metal needed so if the all spark is the only thing can give them life and it has been destroyed what is going on here. And the creators what are they? This is crazy

  15. Amazing, this is one of the highest grossing movies ever which indicates people are seeing it multiple times, then come on hear and complain about it…So pathetic

  16. A 3 hour product placement film with an underage girl almost showing her vagina to all the paedos in the audience…. When Mark Whalberg continually says ‘your 17 years old’, is that a reminder we can’t actually fancy her even though pervy bay wants us to? And when that Beats Pill (possibly the worst sound device in history) is held up front and centre I was expecting a price below it…. The whole thing was blatant, a Japanese samurai robot that transforms into a German made Bugatti Veron? An out world transformer that is a lamborghini aventador?? Gucci sun glasses, bill boards of every brand, bud light, Pepsi, it was worse than back to the future…. To give this monstrosity 3.5 out of 5, shame on you screen rant… I trusted you

  17. I just wanted to escape from cinema. It wasn’t even ridiculously bad, it made me sad for the time I’ve spent on this garbage. Only thing Michael Bay should be allowed to do professionally is editing on Top Gear USA. It’s about cars and nobody watches it really.

    Sad that the name Transformers now brings negative connotations every time I hear it.

  18. Honestly…? Am I the only one that’s bothered by the fact that the directors keep killing the actually IMPORTANT characters??

    Frankly, if the movies were to follow the cartoons it wouldn’t really matter which of the many enemies they’re fighting. The biggest problem is that the cartoons always directed the most attention to the robots, giving them some bloody personality. The movies on the other hand keeps focusing on the humans and therefore you. get. b l e h. I fraking loved the original team members on the autobot side and wanted soo badly for them to have more individual screentime. Instead you meet one of em, see him do a five minute battle and them WHACK, he’s dead.
    First jazz, then (totally unforgivable) Ironhide and now (are you kidding me) ratchet.

    I hated the new characters and therefore didn’t really care if they died or not. Ergo the movie should no longer be called Transformers, but “Humans battling with(and sometimes against) a bunch of random robots that come from outer space”

    • I sooooo agree with this can’t understand why there are a kazillion decepticons and like 5 to 10 autobots tops how do they even win any battles and why is it now our human weapons can actually take them down hard and fast while in other movies it took like concentrated fire efforts to kill a bad bot

  19. Just finished watching it and it feels closer to 10 hours than 3.
    It was a harrowing experience and somewhere, I hope Michael Bay has just caught crabs, or maybe had a pretty bad migrane.
    The score and soundtrack were distractingly poor. Nothing matched anything and I wouldn’t even notice something like that normally.
    The part where the Dino-bots were introduced was painful to watch, my inner child was having a whitey.

  20. I found it funny that the only movie that promotes China and even has the balls to call US made Transformers the “cheap knockoffs” that everybody keeps pretending China makes is given universally horrible reviews. This movie got a worse rating on rotten tomatoes than Transformers 2! I mean really? At least Bay laughed his ass off all the way to the bank with a screw you hollywood

  21. Just saw this on DVD and was surprised. Better than the last sequels and could’ve been really good with more editing. Definitely worth 3/5 stars considering what they did with the new setup.

  22. It was good Still think it should have had the original actors to and the dude marky mark killed his acting sucked

  23. It was good Still think it should have had the original actors to and marky mark

    • *spent watching this movie. An entertaining first half, but things get bloated thereafter.