Age of Extinction is a breath of fresh air into the Transformers franchise. This film is a sequel that differs from others. Whilst it relies on its predecessors for its source material, it separates itself in a way from the original films, to make it almost a standalone film with great results. The shift in story and a brand new cast help to make this film worthy of enjoying, and a more satisfying sequel than expected. However Director Michael Bay’s excessive explosions and special effects are everywhere, and while they are incredibly impressive, at some points they feel like a little bit overkill. But for the most part, your eyes are dazzled and delighted by the spectacle before you.
The film centers around mechanic and inventor Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg), his assistant Lucas (T.J. Miller), Cade’s daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz), and her boyfriend Shane (Jack Reynor). Cade happens upon a broke down truck, for parts for his next project, which turns out to be Optimus Prime. Since the events that occurred in Transformers: Dark of the Moon, the government has disassociated themselves from any Transformers, Autobot and Decepticon alike. Once the authorities are made aware of Optimus’ location, all hell breaks loose and Cade and co. find themselves caught up in the war between Transformers and mankind.
To make matters worse, the CIA leading the operation against the Transformers, headed by the corrupt and misguided Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammer), have made secret dangerous deals with a Decepticon named Lockdown, a bounty hunter who is after the Autobots; and Joshua Joyce (Stanley Tucci), who as the head of his own company, wishes to create his own Transformers, after he was able to discover what they are made of and how to make more.
What is really cool to see is the development of Optimus Prime’s character – after all the mess of the first three films, and now with humans willingly hunting him down, he has almost reached the point where he does not care about the fate of our race. He takes charge with attitude. And despite all this, he still upholds his honour and does what is right, adding a dimension to him we haven’t really seen.
The human-made Transformers are stunning to watch transform on screen. They move fluidly, looking like pixelated metal liquid, and give the Autobots a fair run for their money. Joyce thinks they can be programmed to be under his control, but like all foolish ego-maniacs in these kind of films, he soon realises he is sorely mistaken, as his masterpiece Galvatron goes AWOL and recruits the 50 other new Transformers to fight for him against the Autobots.
A major treat Mr. Bay has given us is the introduction of the Dinobots – who are totally badass. Unfortunately you don’t get to see them until towards the end of the film, but I’m sure they will be included more in inevitable future sequels.
The climax of the film comes when we learn of the existence of a ‘seed’ – in effect a nuclear bomb that can be used to create more ‘transformium’ to build more robots. Joyce wanted it for this purpose only, however Galvatron has other ideas, and if he can get his steel claws on it, he can wipe out an entire city, and then with his endless army, destroy the human race.
There aren’t any major plots holes from what I could see, the film is long, but action packed so you are never bored. The non-action scenes are interesting too, providing the perfect balance between Transformer storyline and Human storyline – both mesh well together, one never detracting from the other, which can happen in films such as this.
All in all, Age of Extinction is a great addition to the Transformers series. It is well written, a little cliché in some parts yes, but not horribly so. The cast is wonderful – standouts include Mark Wahlberg, Kelsey Grammer, and Stanley Tucci. Any action or sci-fi fan will enjoy this film.