Transformers: Age of Extinction certainly offers spectacle, thanks to great special effects and sound design. It is a pity that not as much effort was put into the plot of Michael Bay’s film.
Five years after the battle between the Autobots and Decepticons took place in Chicago, all alien robots are considered to be a threat by the US government. With Autobots being hunted down, when an self-styled inventor buys an old truck, he thinks he has found a Transformer…
Like the previous Transformers movies, Age of Extinction suffers from the problem of visual style over narrative substance. It seems like a lack of thought has gone into the story and plotting, which detracts from the positive aspects of the film.
The plot of Transformers: Age of Extinction is riddled with holes. There are elements that are introduced at the beginning of the film that are swept aside, or not really dealt with in any tangible way. There are various narrative strands at play, which explains the lengthy run time. However, some of these strands do not tie in successfully with others.
Transformers: Age of Extinction suffers from the problem of having to juggle various narrative elements, yet even with this abundance of activity the film lacks depth and purpose. Bay’s film feels overlong; there is too much in the first half of the film that could have been trimmed down.
With the various elements being introduced at the beginning of the film, at one point it appears as if screenwriter Ehren Kruger may have something interesting to say about threat and the nature of alien. However this gives way to the everyman story of Mark Wahlberg’s Cade and his family, which simply is not engaging. At least Stanley Tucci’s character shows some personality. Any hopes of a more tangible narrative are dashed by the undisguised product placement and the most overt political propaganda (in order to appease or appeal to a specific market).
Transformers: Age of Extinction redeems itself slightly with the climactic action scenes, which offer spectacle and some excitement. Visual effects are superb, with action scenes looking fantastic on an IMAX screen. Sound also works well to cement a sense of spectacle.
Most viewers who flock to see Transformers: Age of Extinction will not care what the reviews say. However, even these cinemagoers may hanker for a little more depth and narrative coherency.