Pauls Valley, Oklahoma — As someone who has taken devious pleasure in poking rabid fans as they foam at the mouth over changes in their beloved universes, I admit at first I was looking forward to a little ribbing of those who would undoubtedly be enraged with today’s title. Having found something I enjoyed to some extent in all three prequels, I figured it was a long shot that the filmmakers would screw it up so much that even I couldn’t find a way to lavish praise.
That was before I sat through two hours and forty minutes of content so ADHD, that an entire season of SpongeBob Square Pants seemed focused in comparison. Just as one might be amazed with a choreographed fight in one scene, the next we’d be wondering whether everyone needed to be treated for bipolar disorder as they couldn’t decide if the characters wanted to smash or hug each other (Optimus: I hate all humans and I want to crush you into goop. Human guy: Hey we all make mistakes. Optimus: Ok, I’ll get my chest cavity blown out again for you). “Transformers 4: Age of Extinction” appears to struggle mightily to escape the events of the previous trilogy, but can’t seem to build enough of a foundation to ever actually become a standalone chapter.
After a brief introduction that reveals how aliens systematically wiped out the dinosaurs with lava guns, the story picks up four years following the battle of Chicago with all of the transformers, including Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen), hiding from humans who want to ethnically cleanse their kind. Enter super nerd inventor Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg), a man who says he is doing whatever he can to put his daughter, Tessa (Nicola Peltz) through school (short of actually getting a real job, but you stop caring and wish she would be the first casualty of the movie), who finds and helps partially jumpstarts the battered and junked Optimus back to life.