We’ll try to keep this short, since “Transformers: Age of Extinction” didn’t.
Clocking in just shy of three hours, the fourth movie in the “Transformers” series trades up, with Mark Wahlberg replacing Shia LaBeouf as the hero tasked with saving the human race from extinction.
Wahlberg – as chiseled as any Autobot – plays the spectacularly named Cade Yeager, a widowed inventor lives on the farm with his teenage daughter.
As a clear stand-in for Megan Fox – we’ll all just agree to forget that nasty Rosie Huntington-Whitely business – Tessa (Nicola Peltz) is consistently clad in tight white tops and short shorts and her only goals include “getting a tan and getting wasted.”
At one point Cade offers that he taught Tessa valuable skills like French braiding her hair and throwing a spiral, but sadly, the movie never follows through on showing us either.
Finding a beaten up truck that might just be one of America’s trusty Autobots, he and his daughter get entangled in a worldwide conspiracy – and an alien one, to boot.
The biggest misdirect about “Age of Extinction” is that it’s more reboot than sequel. See, the Autobots have been in hiding since the deadly Battle of Chicago, and the government is hunting down and killing them with assistance from alien mercenary Lockdown.
Kelsey Grammer and Titus Welliver play corrupt government agents who mostly spout lines about how the Autobots are “here illegally” and how helping them is like betraying your “flesh and blood brothers for alien metal.”
It’s enough to make you stop and think that the “Transformers” is really an allegory for immigration reform, before the next explosion causes you to shake it off and get back to the action.
Together, along with a businessman played by Stanley Tucci, they’re trying to track down the Seed, and it’s here where director Michael Bay finally gets around to telling the Autobots’ origin story.
The Seed is an ancient bomb that would raze the surrounding area and turn it into Transformium, the substance from which the iconic ‘bots were created.
Fans of the animated series will be happy to know that the hushed whispers about the primitive Dinobots weren’t wrong, but to be clear, Optimus Prime and company still get top billing.
And while it was touted as a father-daughter relationship story, make no mistake: when it’s not all about the Transformers, it’s really about Tessa and her secret Irish boyfriend, Shane (Jack Reynor) – whom Cade refers to as “Lucky Charms” throughout the movie.
As a crowd-pleaser, “Transformers: Age of Extinction” more than does its job. With a surprisingly solid entry four films in, there’s no way this franchise is headed for extinction.