Warning: This story contains “massive spoilers” but honestly, you’re doing yourself a favor by not seeing Transformers: Age of Extinction. The first three Transformers movies are comparatively works of genius.
I’ve never laughed out loud so much, at times I was not supposed to be laughing, as I did in the theater for Transformers: Age of Extinction.
Even having been prepared for another loud, vapid Michael Bay production, the movie is a trainwreck. But I don’t regret a penny of the ticket price. Age of Extinction was funnier than most Hollywood comedies I’ve seen over the past decade, even though it didn’t mean to be.
Here’s a look at some of the most disastrous moments and revelations:
1) The alien race that created the Transformers were also responsible for wiping out the dinosaurs.
The dinosaurs went extinct when a meteor hit the Earth and made a huge crater in Mexico, blotting out the sun with a massive dust cloud, right? Nope. It was actually a race of aliens dropping little bombs which turn organic matter into the malleable metal that Transformers are made from.
2) The autobot Drift looks like a samurai and speaks with a Japanese accent.
Remember when pretty much every critic who saw Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen slammed the film for portraying two autobots, Mudflap and Skids, as racist black stereotypes?
Apparently Michael Bay and his production team learned nothing from the experience. Age of Extinction introduces Drift, an autobot the filmmakers decided to style after a stereotypical Japanese samurai.
OK, the Autobots have had a lot of free time on their hands. And maybe Drift spent the last five years watching Kurosawa movies. But why would someone who’s spent five years watching his people get murdered by humans want to emulate humans in any way?
Right. Because only Japanese people fight with swords.
3) The humans are making civilian models of Transformers.
In Age of Extinction CIA agent Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammer) is hunting down the Transformers because he wants to melt them down and give the raw material, which is called “transformium,” by the way, to an evil Steve Jobs-type technologist, Joshua Joyce, played by Stanley Tucci.
Joyce is using the metal to make human-constructed Transformers, some of which will go to market as civilian models.
What the hell are Tom, Dick, and Harry going to do with their own, private Transformer? Ask it to mow the lawn? Send it out for groceries? Get help washing the dishes?
4) There was a human-sized weapon on Lockdown’s ship.
Lockdown, a Transformer bounty hunter assisting Attinger, captures Optimus Prime in the middle of the movie. Our heroes, including Mark Wahlberg, playing down-on-his-luck inventor Cade Yeager (which almost deserves a spot on this list), infiltrate Lockdown’s ship to rescue Optimus.
During the rescue, Wahlberg discovers a cache of Transformer weapons, including one that’s just about the size of an assault rifle.
I remind you how big the Transformers are. Wahlberg finding that gun is like you finding tweezers that shoot bullets in a weapons locker.
5) Lockdown’s ship is held in place by some flimsy cables.
Our heroes need to buy time to get off Lockdown’s ship, which is spinning up its dark matter drives to escape Earth. So, they fire some flimsy mooring cables into the skyscrapers of downtown Chicago, which is apparently enough to hold the ship in place.
Later in the movie, we see that Lockdown’s ship is so powerful it can produce a magnetic field to lift multiple, huge cargo ships into the air and suspend them, before dropping them on the hapless bystanders below. Yet some wispy cables are enough to hold this powerful spaceship in place.
6) The people of Chicago are out running errands.
The last Transformers movie, Dark of the Moon ended with Chicago pretty much devastated during a massive fight between the Autobots and the Decepticons.
In Age of Extinction, when the Autobots finally make their escape from Lockdown’s ship, which has been hovering over downtown Chicago for a good 20 minutes or so, a running, aerial firefight ensues, during which little Transformer gunships fly over major roadways.
Roadways filled with civilian vehicles. Because no one remembers the aliens who tore their city apart five years ago. “Honey, I need a new sportcoat. I’ll be back later. Big spaceship hanging over downtown, you say? It’ll be fine. I really need a new sportcoat.”
7) Mark Wahlberg has evil Steve Jobs’s phone number.
Joshua Joyce’s company has been designing civilian Transformers based on knowledge pulled from the head of Megatron, the leader of the evil Decepticons. This, of course, worries no one on a team of highly intelligent human technology engineers. Yet Mark Wahlberg understands that Megatron is corrupting these human-built Transformers, and turning them into latent Decepticons.
Wahlberg tells Joyce this by making a phone call. How, pray tell, does Mark Wahlberg have the phone number of an ersatz Steve Jobs? This is like you or I placing a call to Bill Gates to ask what the weather’s like in his neck of the woods. Because, you know, his number is listed.
8) Mark Wahlberg kills a CIA agent with a football.
During the penultimate fight scene, Kelsey Grammer sicks his CIA attack dogs on those pesky humans foiling his plans. Wahlberg finds himself in a tiny apartment in a poor neighborhood in Hong Kong face-to-face with a CIA black ops agent.
When the CIA agent pulls a wicked-looking knife out of his pocket, Wahlberg takes a football (why is an American football sitting on a shelf in a poor family’s apartment in Hong Kong?) and throws it at the head of said CIA agent, who then falls out a window to his death.
9) Where did the Dinobots come from?
While Wahlberg is tossing CIA agents out windows, Megatron has activated his new Decepticon army, and they’re hunting down the Autobots.
Optimus Prime crashed the shuttle he used to escape from Lockdown’s ship, and the shuttle is filled with prisoners in cells. Optimus lets some of them out, tells them they’re free, and then beats them up until they agree to help him fight the Decepticons. It turns out these are the Dinobots.
That means they were captured 65 million years ago at the end of the Cretaceous Period. Lockdown hasn’t had a chance, over 65 million years, to drop the Dinobots off at Transformers jail?
Optimus also seems to recognize the Dinobots. But if they’re 65 million years old, and if Optimus didn’t visit Earth before 2007… oh, forget it.
10) Optimus Prime flies into space with his adorable rocket boots.
At the end of the movie, having helped the Autobots slaughter the Decepticons (other than Megatron, who is actually now Galvatron, who… never mind), Optimus Prime announces he is going into space to find the aliens who killed all the dinosaurs.
He does so only with the aid of these cute little rockets attached to his feet. Optimus Prime doesn’t need a spaceship to travel the vast reaches of the galaxy! He has rocket boots!
It was around this time I was laughing so hard I was seeing spots. I felt kind of bad for the people in the row next to me, but they were also clappy and cheering at the time. I think we’re even.
If you're wondering why they even keep making these films, just look at the box office returns. Age of Extinction had a $41 million opening day domestically at the box office, better than X-Men: Days of Future Past ($35.5 million), Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($36.9 million), and Godzilla ($38.4 million).
Photo via Paramount Pictures | remix by fern