Age of Extinction delivers a new cast and a much, much darker tone. Mark Wahlberg takes over the lead role as failed inventor and single father, Cade Yeager. Along with his teenage daughter (Nicola Peltz), her boyfriend (Jack Reynor), and a Steve Jobs rip-off (Stanley Tucci), he gets caught up in the action after stumbling upon a nearly destroyed Optimus Prime. But before you go thinking it’s the usual Autobots vs. Decepticons explosion fest, there are some things you should know that’ll make you believe me when I say that this is easily the second best film in the franchise thus far.
Well, for one thing, the villains are a major upgrade. Set five years after part three, the chaos from the previous installment has caused humans to not only distance themselves from the Autobot heroes, but to actually hunt them in order to successfully build Transformers of their own. Then there’s Lockdown, a nasty bounty hunting Decepticon who is much more interesting and menacing than Megatron ever was in the previous movies. These livelier adversaries make for more interesting heroes. Gone is the wise, God-like Optimus Prime. In this movie, he is both angry and weary after years of dealing with human screw ups. As for the rest of the Autobots, for the first time since part one, there’s actually interesting members other than Bumblebee (especially John Goodman’s Hound).
Like with all Transformers movies, there are hefty problems. Oddly enough, the CGI seems really shoddy at times. It almost feels like they rushed the animation for this one. And as for the Dinobots that were so heavily marketed throughout the film’s promotion?
FINAL GRADE: B-