Can a film be critic proof? Does such a thing exist outside of social media bantering? The term is drenched in wishy-washy-ness with a loose working application of serious box office success versus critic hate. It’s something director Michael Bay is renowned for – surely it’s common knowledge by now who he is – almost all of the Transformer movies have been universally hated. (The first is still admired in some sectors for those brave enough to admit it.) A week after release and the film is going absolutely mental at the box office and the rest of us are predicting Armageddon. Does it matter?
The latest finds Mark Wahlberg as a buff repairman, doing what’s best for his daughter. The character names aren’t important and neither is his trade, really. He finds a rusted out truck in an old cinema – is this Bay being ironic? – and carts it back home. As you do. Amidst working on it he learns it’s a little different to other trucks because, holy shit, it’s Optimus Prime!
From here the military get involved (classic Bay) because Autobots are now jerks and are a real threat to humanity and Prime is on another rescue mission to save his Autobot friends but god damn it the Decepticons keep making life difficult for him so they fight and fight some more and it makes little sense but Prime ends up on a Transformer T-Rex which is pretty cool and there’s another big fight and Transformers 5 arrives in a few years to continue the fight.
You’ve seen the first three, you’ve seen Age of Extinction. But you know this. You continue to rubbish the movie but to what end? The first one had Shia’s friend climb a tree apropos nothing and Revenge of the Fallen had a scene where his mother was high, saying “Hey Professor! I’d do anything for an A.” Wink, wink.
A bad movie is a bad movie and deserves to be reviewed as such. But at this juncture, four blockbusters in, what’s the point? You’re either seeing it or you’re not. Complaining feels asinine, like saying how much you hate fast food then buying McDonalds for lunch. Bay is capable of directing a great film – Pain & Gain is a recent example – but Transformers will never feature this side of him.
Call it dumb, call it an advertising blockbuster, and call it one of the worst movies of the year it doesn’t matter. See this CGI spectacle if you’re under sixteen; doesn’t bother if you’re over. At its best it’s fun – the first act features a minor riff on refugees, plus there’s a couple of funny moments. But all the Transformers movies feature a moment of potential lift off before descending into farce (remember the first one? “Speak English!”) and if you’re expecting more, you’re forever mistaken. But if you’re a fan, you’ve seen it already.
Nicholas Brodie – follow Nick on Twitter here: @fodusempire