Transformers: Age of Extinction

Optimus Prime. Image: courtesy of Paramount Pictures.

Optimus Prime. Image: courtesy of Paramount Pictures.

The fourth instalment in director Michael Bay’s Transformers franchise is much of what audiences expect from the action-packed, explosion-filled films.

This time around Bay’s trying something different by switching Shia Lebouf’s Sam Witwicky for Mark Wahlberg’s single father/inventor, Cade Yeager, and thankfully, it’s a massive improvement.

Disappointingly, though, the character arcs are non-existent and the half-realised subplots are plentiful – which really shouldn’t be lamented in this style of film but for some reason it’s more noticeable. Perhaps all those extra explosions blasted bigger holes in the story?

Stanly Tucci and Kelsey Grammer as the villains, respectively redeemable and not so much, lend a chunk of credibility to Age of Extinction. Sadly, most of the female characters are either underutilised or irrelevant.

An attempt at creating motivation for Yeager falls flat. His daughter, Tessa (Nicola Peltz), is simply eye-candy filling a Megan Fox/Rosie Huntington-Whiteley shaped gap. It’s a source of comedy, rather than tension, as Yeager makes occasional quips about her skimpy clothing and choice of boyfriend.

Mark Wahlberg: An improvement to the franchise. Image: Andrew Cooper. Courtesy of Paramount Pictures.

Mark Wahlberg: An improvement to the Transformers franchise. Image: Andrew Cooper, courtesy of Paramount Pictures.

The Transformers films are not meant to be cerebral-challengers and audiences will largely ignore the flaws to appreciate it for the easy entertainment that it is.

Let’s face it, there is nothing quite like hearing that soaring theme music as Optimus Prime returns, rolling across a stunning landscape to transform in a flourish of low-angle shots and glory.

It’s definitely worth seeing at IMAX to get the full effect.

***1/2 /5

Does Mark Wahlberg make the Transformers franchise better? I would love to hear what you think in the comments below.

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