On the run in the year 1987, Bumblebee finds refuge in a junkyard in a small California beach town. On the cusp of turning 18 and trying to find her place in the world, Charlie Watson discovers Bumblebee, battle-scarred and broken. (IMDb)
An endearing, multi-faceted lead (complete with emotional coming-of-age arc–see the big dive–and awkward and sweet summer crush), an unlikely friendship, a simple plot, cheesy alien robots, a charming 80s setting (the many song breaks are great), and classic Americana side characters (cue geeky stepdad named Ron and sniveling younger brother) all add up to a great family movie night movie, equal parts corny and cool and always fun. Cena’s Agent Burns never quite clicks with it though.
7.5/10 (Really Good)
Autobots and Decepticons are at war, with humans on the sidelines. Optimus Prime is gone. The key to saving our future lies buried in the secrets of the past, in the hidden history of Transformers on Earth. (IMDb)
The plotting is either incomprehensible or downright cheesy (or both–see the climax at Stonehenge with the staff of Merlin), character movements are difficult to make sense of (see Duhamel’s Colonel and co. chase, then join forces with their target; the Earl suddenly ditching), and besides that, it just goes on too long. The action’s good though, and some surprising and genuinely funny moments of levity (see Merlin’s opening plea; Cogman’s organ playing; Agent Simmons in Cuba) help break it up.
Autobots must escape sight from a bounty hunter who has taken control of the human serendipity: Unexpectedly, Optimus Prime and his remaining gang turn to a mechanic, his daughter, and her back street racing boyfriend for help. (IMDb)
Excepting the increased amount of shameless product placements and flat one-liners, this is the most mature of the series thus far: Wahlberg is a steady lead, the father-daughter central relationship is refreshing, Tucci’s villain gives us an actual dynamic character, and the plot is easier to follow, even if it ends in yet another bloated (but still impressive) final action sequence featuring Transformer dinosaurs of all things (though KSI’s far-fetched tech almost tops them in ridiculousness).
The Autobots learn of a Cybertronian spacecraft hidden on the moon, and race against the Decepticons to reach it and to learn its secrets. (IMDb)
A few new faces, a lot of the same old shit (cars, explosions, a model to take by the hand everywhere, a plot that’s cheesy and/or confusing and exposited by boring dialogue) with some new things to groan at (enough pop songs and product placement already) but some saving graces too (Sam’s restlessness, the Dylan twist, the hopeless feeling before the final battle–the latter of which finally paired the impressive CGI with some coherent and cool action sequences; see the glass building collapse).
Sam Witwicky leaves the Autobots behind for a normal life. But when his mind is filled with cryptic symbols, the Decepticons target him and he is dragged back into the Transformers’ war. (IMDb)
The worldwide setting-shifts lend the film an air of excitement, but the plot is too convoluted and lamely exposited to match it, and the shaky-cam explosion-riddled action is tiresome and impossible to follow (see the lengthy final fight). Elsewhere, the humour has dried up (Leo and the twins don’t help) and Fox’s presence is still cringe-worthy (matched here by the awful Hickey): Again exploited for her looks while now playing a desperate girlfriend for the now less-likeable Sam.
An ancient struggle between two Cybertronian races, the heroic Autobots and the evil Decepticons, comes to Earth, with a clue to the ultimate power held by a teenager. (IMDb)
An epic-feeling triple-perspective narrative makes things exciting, and welcome shots of humour injected into the sci-fi war plot continually keep things fun (see Anderson’s hyper hacker; LaBeouf’s lovable loser, quirky parents, sensitive car). The Transformers can be cheesy though (see Optimus’ speeches), and both Fox’s turn and the final fight leave something to be desired (see her puzzling tow-truck escapades; Sam having to run with the cube), so it’s not the perfect film, but it’s enjoyable.