When it comes to the Transformers franchise, there are plenty of things that just don’t add up. Some might argue, “They are robots that transform into cars. What is there to make sense?” Touche. Yes, it’s science fiction, but there are still plenty of reasonable demands to make from a Transformers film. (Besides, how far are we from cars transforming into robots, really?)
For starters, the films could largely stick to their predecessors in terms of characterization and plot, not to mention terminology. Plot holes, which accompany most modern films to some extent, bullet the films, making fans tilt their heads and squint. Even the most die-hard fans who enjoy the films (and let’s face it, with Revenge of the Fallen grossing $402,111,870, so there are plenty of us) still find fault with issues here and there.
Fans have complained about everything from general sloppy movie-making to unnecessary characters that do nothing but instill the Jar Jar annoyance factor when they were intended for comic relief.
From dumb takes on various Autobots, to drastic changes from the classic Transformers fans know and love, here are 16 Things About The Transformers Movies That Make No Sense.
15. Albert Einstein Robot
Adding in a few interesting new Autobots and Decepticons is one thing, but modeling one after a human scientist is quite another. In the comics, this character, known as Wheeljack, looks like your standard Autobot, but in the cinematic world, well, he’s pretty rough around the edges, to say the least. He has white, wild hair (are these fiber-optic cables or what?), glasses, and a “mustache” that makes him appear to be a cross between Short Circuit’s Johnny 5 and some kind of toothy, techie Cryptkeeper.
It seems like in both the cartoon and comic versions of the Transformers, no one ever needed to stretch quite so far for jokes as Michael Bay has. This brand of humor translates into juvenile slapstick at best, turning the kind of lovable but mad scientist (think Doc Brown) that fans love into a groan-inducing trope. Some of the more inappropriate characters do that and much worse (see #7).
14. Bumblebee Was A Camaro
Hot Rod fans went up in arms over Bubmblebee’s portrayal of his character. Instead of the lovable and groovy VW Bug that fans knew to be Bumblebee, Bee was introduced as a muscle car instead, leaving fans to not only complain about the switch but to also demand, “Where is Hot Rod?” It would make sense to keep Hot Rod out of the timeline with Optimus Prime, since he takes over the role of Prime following the leader’s death, but if they’re going to introduce a Camaro Autobot, that’s who it ought to be.
Fans of the bold and almost arrogant Hot Rod can rejoice, since he will be appearing in Transformers 5. Although he never was as popular of a character as Optimus Prime, it does appear that he will at least be visually true to his 1986 appearance. In The Last Knight, he will work with Sir Anthony Hopkins’ character, which may make him much more interesting.
13. The Matrix Is The AllSpark
Any longtime fan of Transformers knows that the source of their power is known as the Matrix. This sounds so much more sophisticated than “AllSpark.” AllSpark sounds like the terms that a two-year-old uses to describe fireworks or what happens when he sticks a fork in the one outlet that Mom and Dad forget to protect with a cover. AllSpark does NOT sound like advanced alien technology.
Some fans say that the Matrix comes from the AllSpark, while others say to wait and see for the filmmakers to explain the difference sometime in the movies, but in 1999, Transformers writer Robert N. Skir confirmed that the Matrix is the AllSpark, which is “made up of every Spark that ever was, and every Spark that ever will be.” The description sounds rather primitive for Transformers and plenty of fans wish that a spherical Matrix was utilized instead.
Yes, we get the “Matrix of Leadership” in Revenge of the Fallen, but come on. Regurgitated plot, anyone? Another issue with it in the films is that it seemed to only bring evil to life instead of life in general.
12. Robots Are Impossible To Distinguish From Each Other
While you have to give an action movie some clearance in order to portray lots of, well, action on a single screen, the action has no value if you can’t tell what the heck is going on. Unfortunately, this happens a lot in the Transformers movies.
The clinking of robot metal and the roar of explosions may titillate the audience, but some viewers have expressed confusion over following what’s going on between the different robots and their movements. It is a lot of metal-on-metal without much color variation, making it difficult to not only tell what’s going on at any given moment, but also which robot is which.
11. Dinobots Come From Outer Space
It’s bad enough that the Dinobots were even included in Transformers: Age of Extinction. One might argue that they are pretty much necessary for the plot of the film, but another might say that they did the same thing for Transformers that they did for Doctor Who. In the movie, they are referred to as the greatest warriors in all of the galaxy, yet they really aren’t even on screen for that long. Sure, some of the visuals they brought to the action were cool to watch, but overall it was underwhelming.
For longtime fans, however, what really made no sense was the origin of the bots. They didn’t come from another planet originally; they were built by Ratchet and Wheeljack, which could’ve made for an interesting scene or two in the movie.
10. Agent Simmons
The very existence of Agent Simmons and Sector Seven make zero sense. It would have been simple to have an already-established relationship between the Transformers and the military; why did the military just not work with the Autobots in the first place, as they did originally?
No offense to John Turturro, who has done excellent work in other roles, but the character just sucks. He’s too over-the-top and caricatured to either fear or hate, and with creepy lines like, “Criminals are hot!” in response to high school children, he can’t even be taken seriously.
Simmons just doesn’t belong in the movies. He doesn’t measure up to similarly purposed characters like Jeffrey Tambor’s Tom Manning in Hellboy. He was even still annoying when Bumblebee peed on him (perhaps even more annoying).
9. Autobot and Decepticon Rivalry
Why is there a rivalry between the Autobots and Decepticons? This all-important motive for the films’ existence is never explained in the movies. To be fair, the reason why they fight depends largely on what universe you were following. That’s just how it goes for a franchise that exists in TV, movies, and comic books. The thing is, any one of these causes would’ve worked fine. How hard is it to just pick one?
Even a simple Goofus and Gallant explanation would have went down fine with the audience, especially since this was sometimes the explanation for the animosity the Decepticons harbored for the Autobots (and since most fans of Transformers also grew up inhaling Highlights at the doctor’s office): The Decepticons simply couldn’t stand do-gooders. It really could have been that simple, but nope, an explanation never seemed warranted in the movies.
8. The Frenzy Bot
The annoying little Frenzy bot that was sent to collect in the original Transformers film was obnoxious, obvious, and loud instead of stealthy, which pretty much set the tone of the movie. Instead of the danger that the audience should have felt, they were left wondering one primary thought: why would the Secret Service not notice a boombox on a plane?
Sure, this was before everyone had an iPod or mobile phone for music, but any unexplained electronic would be under suspicion when it comes to Air Force One… right? Decepticons kind of need to be deceptive by definition.
Then, of course, there was also the hyper-annoying bot Wheelie, who fell in love with Mikala’s boots, which was almost as bad as Agent Simmons’ referral to Devastator’s “scrotum“– just another example of the witty one-liners found in the movie.
7. Insulting Racial Portrayals
Between the characters Jazz, Deep Wang, Skids, and Mudflap, the Transformers series has enough racist stereotypes to offend or at least exasperate plenty of people of color. Whether they sprang from the idea to create a more diverse cast or not is beyond the point, since all they did was stereotype the cultures they attempted to personify. Skids and Mudflap may have been the most terrible examples with their large ears and teeth, “urban” voices, and lines like, “We don’t do much readin’.”
The thing is, everyone in on the films knew it was happening and nobody seemed to challenge it. When interviewed, each person, from screenwriters Alex Kurtzman to Michael Bay himself, passed the blame onto someone else. In Bay’s case, the actors were blamed! Kurtzman eventually said that Bay had the “strongest lead” for the twins and the team’s job was to keep up with him on the characterization. Not cool.
6. A Woman Decepticon
One movie moment that had fans particularly baffled occurred when Isabel Lucas portrayed Alice, a girl who apparently crushed on Sam. Also? She was a Decepticon. Since when are women Decepticons? Apparently since Bay and co. decided it would make for a great plot device. kay, female Decepticons eventually joined the ranks in later versions of Transformers, but but they most definitely didn’t look like Isabel Lucas. The fact is that Alice wasn’t even really a Decepticon but a Pretender, which was never explained in the film, resulted in more confusion.
Pretenders are specialized Transformers that feature armor known as Pretender Shells. These function much as a glamor would for supernatural beasts: it hides the fact that they are robots from unsuspecting people. Since this was never explained in the course of Revenge of the Fallen, most people walked away wondering how Isabel Lucas got to be both a robot and a human while the rest of the ‘bots couldn’t. The term “cyborg” was even tossed around by some moviegoers!
5. Robot Heaven
Having a place for robots to retire when they die is like having an amusement park for your toaster. There’s nothing to indicate that Autobots have souls, so what part of them goes to Robot Heaven, exactly? It’s not even enough that these robotic creatures have their own version of Valhalla, but it gets even more incomprehensible when you realize that Sam Witwicky was allowed to visit when he was about to die. Did the visit cure him somehow?
This is one of the most ridiculous scenes in all of the Transformers films. It feels like a literal Deus Ex Machina for both explanatory purposes as well as the visual effects. Hmm, we don’t know how to heal this hole in LadiesMan217’s chest, so let’s sprinkle some magic dust on him and send him to ‘Bot Nirvana, where he’ll have his units restored.
4. Lack Of Government Cover-Up
There’s no explanation as to how the government covered up the events of the first film, which leads to continuity issues as well as a clunky lack of connection as the second film begins. Fans of the first film may remember that Southern California was practically destroyed during Transformers, but there’s no mention of it at all during Revenge of the Fallen. In fact, we see that a) the Autobots are working with the U.S. government and b) Sam is off to college.
Given how massive the events during the first film were across a huge portion of the state, you might think that there’d be some sort of cohesive tie-in with the beginning of the second movie. Instead we got what could’ve really just been a standalone movie instead of a true sequel.
3. Humans Outrun Robots
It is downright hilarious how humans can outrun Decepticons over and over again in the Transformers films. In fact, if actual Transformers (or any alien race, for that matter), visited Earth today and decided to binge watch the Michael Bay films (because that’s a highlight of the Earthling experience), they would have to conclude that humans are physiologically advanced creatures that can outrun anything. They might even demand a blood sample to take this adaptation home to their own carbon-based lifeforms.
Not only do humans outrun the robots in the movies, but they can also somehow run away from an explosion, a ludicrous concept that, to be fair, plenty of action movies throw in as a means to excite viewers and become a viral GIF. People shoot at the robots, too, which is also funny, given that, as Roger Ebert said, guns typically do nothing to aliens in the history of film.
2. Sam’s Big AllSpark Fail
It’s like that age-old question: why didn’t Gandalf just send the hobbits to Mount Doom on eagles? Unlike that question, however, the All-Spark fail does not have a great answer. (Sauron would’ve seen them! Duh.) When Sam didn’t use his piece of the AllSpark to resurrect Optimus Prime following his death, it made people raise their eyebrows, to say the least.
The government was perfectly able to utilize their portion of the Matrix (ahem, AllSpark) in order to resurrect Megatron, so why not use the same technology to bring Optimus Prime back, too? There is some logic to it: Sam may not have known how to use the AllSpark, and the Decepticons used their own parts to repair Megatron, which the Autobots aren’t about to slay a teammate in order to do. Nevertheless, it makes for a confusing moment that fans still argue about.
1. Zero Continuity
No matter which angle you approach them from, the Transformers films have feature very troubled continuity, making for a highly confusing film experience. Some of the films are even considered disappointing on this point alone. Fans have made entire video essays debating whether or not the films are even related to each other at all.
Then there are the standard continuity mistakes within each film. From the appearance, disappearance, and reappearance of Lockdown’s dogs in Age of Extinction to Sam’s clothing changes mid-scene after handcuffing the agents in the first Transformers film, there are dozens of little moments that just don’t add up. Every film has its issues like this, but these instances only further highlight the rest of the continuity issues of the Transformers cinematic universe.
What part of Transformers confuses you the most? Sound off in the comments!