While Transformer fans will still find fault with some of the characters and their designs, this is the most cohesive and coherent of the franchise to date.
Plot: Ex-military electronics expert Noah Diaz (Anthony Ramos) and artifact researcher Elena Wallace (Dominique Fishback) aid the Autobots as they seek a key that the Terrorcons want to enable Unicron to consume Earth.
Review: To be clear, other than the animated Transformer movie, there hasn’t been one Transformer movie I’ve seen that I’ve liked. Not one. Even part 1. Even Bumblebee. If I want my Transformer fix, I’ll throw on one of the animated series or the animated movie. But the live-action movies have been either horribly bland or complete nonsense. At its worst, watching one will ensure your brains are dribbling out of your ears.
That being said, I gave this movie a shot because I didn’t know much about the Primals, so I figured at least I won’t get pissed off at how my childhood has been trampled – again. You know what? It actually helped. I can’t get angry about the Primals because I don’t know them, didn’t watch Beast Wars. I stopped after Gen 1. There’s more to this movie, and even though it has its warts, overall, I enjoyed it.
Part of it was they made the human characters actually useful. I’m not saying they were terrific. I don’t think they’ll write songs about Noah Diaz or Elena Wallace, and if they don’t appear in the next Transformers movie, I won’t cry. However, for the plot of the movie, they actually served a purpose which is more than I can say for the Shia LaBeouf or Mark Wahlberg characters who were heroes because, well, the story needed a hero.
As for the Transformers, they were alright. I wasn’t wild about what they did with Optimus Prime, but at least I understood where he was coming from. Bumblebee was fun, though he continues to irk me as the clown of the ensemble. Wheeljack and Stratosphere were kinda lame. Mirage was cool, though, and Pete Davidson added some humour to the character. Arcee was cool. At least I could distinctly tell who everyone was, unlike the Michael Bay designs, which looked like a series of metallic inkblots.
The Primals were cool, though we only saw them in animal form. At least they didn’t make them stupid. There was little in the way of toilet or immature, frat-boy humour, which was nice. Their inclusion in the movie made sense, though I feel that fans of the Primals may complain.
As for the villains, they were pretty good. Scourge was a bastard, and I hated his guts. I was glad whenever someone got some shots in because he was annoying as hell. Unicron was awesome and came as advertised. He wasn’t in the movie much, but when he was, it brought a palatable chill to the proceedings. They did show him eat a planet, and yeah, it was great.
As for the action, there are some fights here and there, but the main action takes place over the last 25 minutes, and it’s a terrific, titanic battle. Again, the main characters show some use, and though I was prepared to roll my eyes, everything made sense. You didn’t have the human characters suddenly get unexplained powers, and the main human good guy doesn’t magically kill the main villain – the final battle is as it should have been.
The movie looked terrific. There were some night scenes, and those will always annoy me, but I could see everything. The soundtrack featured hits of the 90s, which made sense as the movie was set in ’94, so at least I didn’t hear songs that didn’t fit the timeframe. The ending, I’m sure, will make some people roll their eyes and scream about another shared universe, but I thought it was fun.
Again, I didn’t have high expectations, so maybe I’m giving it too much credit, but maybe I’m happy it came in at just over two hours (which is nice after the 3-hour Bay-a-thons). This won’t blow your socks off or make you want to go back and see the other live-action Transformer movies. It won’t forgive all the mistakes made previously. However, this one stands out above the rest in the sea of dreck that has been the live-action movies.