The Age of Extinction is almost upon us, but is Michael Bay’s fourth Transformers movie a thrilling reboot, or more of the same?
The massive, metal sequel held its world premiere in Hong Kong last weekend, giving media and fans their first look at Transformers: Age of Extinction -- a film that’s supposed to launch a new trilogy. Instead of dragging the no-longer-famous Shia LaBeouf out of mothballs, Michael Bay turned the keys to Optimus Prime over to Pain & Gain leading man Mark Wahlberg, hoping to inject fresh gas into a franchise that – while financially successful – needed to change gears.
Was it successful? Early reviews have been the textbook definition of "mixed." Currently, as of Monday morning, Michael Bay’s Transformers: Age of Extinction has three Fresh reviews (but no "official" score). Writing for Variety, film critic Maggie Lee seems to give the latest Transformers film a positive review, yet admits "the human characters are even more dispensable and the plot even more scattershot than usual." Thumbs up?
The Hollywood Reporter takes a similar approach, pointing out the potential in said film but quickly denouncing the end product. "Occasional glimpses of hope for a fresh reboot are extinguished by a generally bloated and dull spectacle," writes Clarence Tsui, noting that the film’s 165-minute run time, the "the longest of the lot — suggests that Michael Bay and his team are struggling to rejuvenate the whole premise."
The most favorable review out there for Transformers: Age of Extinction, currently belongs to HitFix’s Drew McWeeny, who takes the pre-emptive strike of critiquing the critics before addressing the film. "You're going to read a lot of reviews of Transformers: Age Of Extinction that will exist primarily to give the critic writing the review a chance to entertain other critics. That drives me crazy."
And it’s true. Michael Bay brings his own baggage to each new feature, and it’s complicated talking about his latest film without referencing feelings about his previous movies – particularly his work in the first three Transformers movie, which should inform the choices he makes in Age of Extinction. Ultimately, McWeeny writes of this sequel.
A recommendation? Half-heartedly. If you like these movies, then you’ll like this movie. We’ll continue to cover Transformers: Age of Extinction all week as we build up to the release of Michael Bay’s latest assault of Bay-hem. Are you excited?
Your Daily Blend of Entertainment News
Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.