Maybe two posts in a row about a shitty movie is a bit obsessive, but every where I look online people are bashing the shit out of the movie. Many hate it way more than I do, which I think is unfair. It’s not straight up awful or unwatchable, but it is universally not good. Usually when you have a movie that isn’t that good you will have a mix of people who either hate it, kind of like it, or are just like “meh, whatever”. Age of Extinction however seems to have no “kind of likes it” and the “Mehs” have been replaced with “ugghhh whatever”.
This movie has scored so poorly on sites like rotten tomatoes because I think it has found some kind of weird magic formula to get it right in that sweet spot where no one would rate it as an F but no one would rate it above a D+. To put it simply, it’s the Jeff George of Movies. It has a ton of potential and few moments that are pretty good, but as a whole it is generally regarded as a massive disappointment that lasted way way too long.
Since I can’t stop thinking about this movie, I decided to do two things in this post. First I’m going to try and predict some of the sins that Cinemasins is going to queue in on. Second I’m going to try and come up with a somewhat cohesive plot for the next movie. The second one is going to be a big challenge since this latest movie ended where they have to have a sequel… but it’s not in anyway obvious what that sequel could even entail.
Ok first let’s list the sins (and for the record I’m not really into Cinemasins that much and much rather prefer HowItShouldHaveEnded.com or HonestTrailers.)
These are in no particular order
- Mark Whalberg criticizes an Irish guy for not sounding like he is from Texas while at the same time having absolutely no hint of a Texas accent despite growing up in a rundown Texas town.
- Optimus Prime straight up murders a human. Yeah the human was bad and was maybe about to shoot another good human but… well I just don’t remember Optimus shooting holes in the chest of bad guy humans in the cartoons.
- The dino bots are slaves or something. They make reference to the fact that they have a legendary origin but never actually reveal what that origin was.
- Mark Whalberg’s daughter almost gets alien tentacle sexually assaulted in what I’m guessing was an attempt to bring in a certain Japanese fan base… well and American and German and pretty much any fan base that is into weird Anime shit.
- Movie builds up a big confrontation between Bumble Bee and a new transformer that is supposed to be an upgrade of him, and then may or may not have had the fight take place super quickly. There are like 20 new desepticons that all kind of look alike, which is all similar to this evil bumble bee, so I’m not sure if that guy is still alive for the next movie or if bumble bee just dispatched him kind of nonchalantly.
- Love interest for Mark Whalber’s daughter is 20, and she’s only 17 in the movie, so they actually have a discussion where the boyfriend cites the Texas statute regarding the Romeo and Julliet law were pre adult relationship are ok if it continues after one of the couple becomes an adult but the other is still a minor. Instead of detailing why it’s not illegal, but just kind of icky for the audience to think about, how about you just make both of them 18. Seriously, nothing was added by revealing that at some point they started out dating when he was a senior and she was a sophomore in high school. Fucking weird.
- When the CIA inspects the barn looking for Optimus they give up almost immediately even as they walk across a pile of randomly placed wooden planks that is clearly covering a massive basement opening just big enough for a giant robot alien to hide in. There are even fairly large gaps in the coverage of the makeshift flooring that any one of the CIA guys could just shine a light down, without even needing to bend over, and could easily see Optimus’ giant metal dome.
- There are three new Autobots in this movie that for some reason never decided to help out in any of the three previous movies from what I can remember. One of which smokes a cigar even though he is a robot who can’t possibly have lungs. Another one is bipolar and keeps changing his mind if he even wants to fight or help the humans and autobots. The last of these autobots is basically a robot samurai warrior. Why? Just.. Why?
- At the very end of the movie we see that Optimus prime can fly. Like he can even fly out into outer space. He has apparently had rocket thruster somethings in his legs this whole time. Lets pretend he only got them for this movie, there are literally dozens of instances where he could have used them throughout the movie. In fact a major part of the last half hour of the movie is spent trying to get a bomb out of a major city when instead we could just have Optimus say “Wait why are we running and driving everywhere with that super dangerous bomb when I could totally just fly it out of the city really quick. Or better yet let’s just have this bipolar autobot transform into a helicopter like he did in the beginning the movie and have him fly it out.”
- No stinger after the credits, or mid credits. There’s almost no excuse not to do one anymore. It wouldn’t even need to tease the next movie it could have just been a dumb comic relief BS thing. The movie is 160+ minutes which is too long for a dumb Michael bay transformers movie. They could have just removed one of the comic relief scenes and stuck it at the end as a way of rewarding everyone who sat through the credits for nothing.
There’s so many more but I’m getting angry typing them all out.
So on to phase two of this post; what should the plot of the next movie be? That is kind of difficult because the end of this movie was very different than the previous three where in each one the good guys won but a bad guy or two survived and ran away and you knew they could just be the bad guy stirring up shit again in the next movie. This movie does have that with Megatron now being turned into Galvatron and just walking away from all the fighting at the end of this movie.
The problem is that this movie also has Optimus pulling a Poochie and just flying off to space because his people need him. Ok it’s not exactly like Poochie but at some point the evil… not really decepticon that was helping the evil CIA guy tells prime that everything has a creator, and the creator of the transformers is pissed about them mixing the species…. Lets stop right here. I know I’m not getting the wording exact, but I know when I watched the movie it really sounded like the bad guy who I guess was basically a transformers version of Bobba Fett, said that the creators didn’t like how the Autobots were intermingling with other species and that shit was never suppose to go down and that the creators want prime back.
I’ll be honest, that scene kind of gave me a super creepy racist anti interracial feel to it. I couldn’t tell if maybe the bad guy meant there were different types of transformers, you know white transformer (optimus), black transformers (Jazz), and even asian transformers (that samuri transformer I mentioned before) and that the creators (god… maybe the transformers in heaven from Rise of the Fallen) didn’t like that they were hanging out together and maybe making transformer babies. Or maybe they were implying that transformers shouldn’t be hanging out with humans, or maybe even that the creators thought that once gay marriage on earth was legalized that it would lead to people marrying animals and people bonning transformers. Maybe the creator is Rick Santorum.
So once Prime has finished killing the bad … I guess he wasn’t a decepticon but like his own thing, ok so cyber Fett as I’ll call him, Optimus kills him, remembers after 4 movies that he can fly without a jet pack, grabs the Transformium bomb, and flies off into space while broadcasting a message to his creators that they should leave earth alone and that he is coming for them.
So there’s a bunch of problems with this. 1. He didn’t even know “Creators” existed before this movie, but now he is going to just fly off into space and find them even though he has no clues at all as to where to find them. Also why didn’t he take Cyber Fett’s space ship. I don’t remember it getting shot down or anything, and I think it is still just floating up there. Maybe Prime really can fly all over the universe by himself, but maybe the ship would have clues as to where to head. Just maybe.
The next movie has three options. It can either split the movie between Prime’s space adventure where he just goes planet to planet and asks the people there if they are his creator, and the other half is spent on earth with the remaining autobots fighting Galvatron. They could do a movie where it almost exclusively follows Optimus on his quest to find and kills his creators. Lastly they could ignore the Optimus space adventure and have a new leader (Ultra Magnus, Rodimus Prime??) fight Galvatron / save the world.
Ok I’m sure there is a fourth option where they just ignore this most recent movie and put in a throw away line from Optimus where he’s like, “Whewwwww, killing the creators was tought but I’m just glad it didn’t take to long. Welp, looks like we need to save the earth again from the Decepticons.” I’m honestly guessing they do something like that, but I think I would prefer the 2nd or 3rd option especially if this is part of a trilogy where they can just tease the other story line and the next movie and the 3rd movie has them back together.
I think the most bad ass version of what they could do for the next movie is have Optimus do all the space stuff, maybe fight Unicron, and then when victorious, return home all planet of the Apes style and find out that Galvatron has taken over the world setting up the final movie. They won’t do this.
My second idea would be to have the corporation figure out how to make the new transformers, and we can have Hot Rod and Ultra Magnus or Wheel Jack, or who ever, and then have them fight Galvatron, while you get a few snippets where Optimus is doing his space thing. Maybe highlight the dichotomy between the peacfullness of Optimus in space and the chaotic fighting on earth. Then have that movie end with Optimus crashing back to earth to warn that Unicron is coming. Look I obviously really want to see unicron. Or maybe have Optimus get in over his head and all the god guys on earth take off to help him / fight Unicron.
How about a combination of those two? So galvatron is lying low while he plots his revenge, and Optimus is zeroing in on the creators, when his transmissions back to earth are cut off. All the autobots are worried about optimus and decide to fly off to rescue him, and after they do that, they come back and galvatron has taken over the earth? Meh. Sounds kind of lame now that I think about it because although that planet of the apes style return would be cool, what would the final movie really be about. Maybe it would work better if they fought Galvatron first and then went to help Prime at the end. You want to end big… With Unicron. It’s always about Unicron.
One of the problems with the Unicron/Optimus Space Adventure hour, is that you still have to shoe horn in humans. If humans aren’t in danger of dying than does the audience really care if a bunch of alien robots kill each other? Granted in the cartoon movie you cared about the autobots, but can you say the same thing about the general modern movie audience. Have they invested enough time into Optimus and Bumble Bee to really root for them to not die if human lives aren’t at stake? I don’t know. Obviously you could just tie in whatever Optimus is working on to earth’s survival. Maybe Unicron is coming for earth all Galactus Smoke Monster Space Cloud style (god damn that movie) or maybe the space Creators/Santorums hate the earth’s temerity at having created their own transformers, and they are headed to earth to stop us from becoming creators.
That leads me into the big question. Do the transformers have souls. In the movie there is a general consensus amongst the good guys that they do in fact have a soul, which would imply that you can’t simply just build a transformer but it needs to be created via something out side of our abilities. Megatron became galvatron because they used Megatrons head and brain and that is why his soul is in his new body I guess. So are all the decepticons in this most recent movie just slaves of Galvatron’s will working off his commands, or did they each have their own soul? That is never really addressed as far as I could tell. Granted none of the created deceptions except for Galvatron ever talk, so I’m leaning towards those decepticons just being soulless machines.
Maybe the final movie could tie in the previous ones by having all of these soulless transformers gain sentience when Optimus gives up his life to help create life/souls for these empty transformers. I can’t even remember what happen to the last shard of the matrix of leadership or the all spark, but maybe the “Prime” in optimus prime relates back to him being capable of creating, or being a source of life, the original, the O.G.
Look here is the plot:
- Optimus is in space and finds some clues on the now deserted planet of Cybertron where he finds a small handful of transformers that can be sold separately during a black Friday sales.
- Back on earth Galvatron uses the few remaining soulless decepticons under his control to steal the machinery needed to create more soulless decepticons. During the raid he finds the head of Soundwave, try and be subtle about the discovery.
- Human bull shit with attractive teenagers that are sweaty shot near wheat fields at golden hour with an American flag blowing proudly in the gentle middle American breeze.
- USA government/Autobot communicating with prime via deep space something or other. We see Prime has arrived on another planet where there is an ancient library or some shit where you learn more about the creators, maybe hint that all life in our galaxie comes from the same source.. nah drop that, it would piss of religious people.
- Human good guys working with autobots try to stop Galvatron again as he steals more tech, and the realize that he is trying to make an army or soulless deceptions’. We get exposition where we find out that the company Stanley Tucci is CEO of can totally make transformers but they have no souls.
- Galvatron partners with the leader of some fictitious evil nation, maybe African, nah, lets go eastern European, to get intel on where the location of the only known major supply of Transformium is… and that this guy knows the actual scientific name of the element which could just be something like Furhman-32P.
- Prime and his new buddies land on a giant metal planet and start to look around. It’s all ancient and shit.
- Human bull shit love story no one cares about. Maybe throw in some lazy racism like in all the other movies but have it be delivered by robots so it feels somehow less racist.
- Galvatron and his lackeys attack the deposit of Transformium, but it turns out it was a trap set by the autobots/usa/that nation we thought was nation but even they knew not to trust Galvatron.
- Pew pew Boom Kablammm craaassshhh cruuush keeerrrrrrppoooommm. Pow pow EXPLOSIONSSSSSSS
- Galvatron escapes but barely, maybe good guys think he’s dead. He could use one of the random soulless decepticons as a decoy by reforming their body to look like his when a big explosion goes off. Maybe don’t reveal that and let audience think he’s dead. Maybe have Galvatron take the form of one of the tanks that was there to kill him.
- Human bull shit love whatever
- Optimus gets deep space message that Galvatron is dead, he’s happy but a beat late some automated defense bull shit attacks him and the other last remaining sons of Cybertron. One of which dies.
- We see the USA/Autobots are gearing up to hunt down the last known decepticon that is hiding out… someplace, who cares, make it far away and remote. Lets make it that bad guy that bumblebee should have fought before. But lets put sound wave into his body.
- While that awesome fight is going on we see that they have transported galvaton in tank form to where the other military stuff was sent to protect the Transformium deposit. Don’t actually need to show Galvatron steal it since the logistics could be kind of daunting depending on how much he is stealing.
- Cut back to prime who is getting grilled by that floating head tribunal ting from the cartoon that currently has him held captive on the metal planet. Have prime give a speech about fee will or hope or humanity or something while showing the battle vs. shockwave, a scientist scanning the “dead” galvatron that reverts back to it’s original random deception form, then an autobot on earth gets mortally wounded, maybe bumble bee, and then military watching a live feed of Galvatron fucking shit up by the Transformium deposit. Prime gets loose frees his buddies while fighting the robot tribunal probably says something about the darkness before the dawn.
- The rest of the autobots and humans ralley to defeat sound wave who has been crazy awesome thanks to… wait did soundwave ever fight in the previous movies or was he just up in space attached to a satalite? You know what, I change my mind, I want to replace soundwave with Starscream because you know Megatron wouldn’t have a problem with sacrificing him in order to get the Transformium, and let have that scene where he finds shockwaves head actually be where he finds all the body parts of his fallen comrades from the previous movies which would infuriate him like human’s were keeping it as trophies or science experiements. Also Star Scream was a bad ass in the first movie but lets have two of the soulless decepticons fuse with him to make Bruticus (look the 2nd transformers movie already fucked up Devastator) so it’s realistic that it would take all the good guys to beat just him.
- Prime bests the tribunal thing and it sets off a self distruct or some such thing that will blow up the metal planet. They race to get off the planet, and when they do prime finds out that bumble bee is dying and that galvatron has the transformium and everything is shit so he’s like “punch it” and they speed off back to earth to save the day.
- Autobots on earth are recovering after finally defeating Star scream (maybe have dino bots return to help defeat Brutalicus) and bumble bee is dying, and Prime is flying through space saying “hold on old friend”. Before the credits start or just after they start we see Galvatron and Soundwave (who actually looks somewhat like him) standing over the soulless decepticon army.
- After credits we see the wrecked remains of the metal planet after it has cracked in half/blown up, whatever, and from mists of the wreckage something starts to take form and it’s a huge fucking GoBot.. nah kidding, it’s Unicron and we discover that planet was actually his jail I guess. Now Unicron is headed for earth.
- Next movie would be prime and the good guys using the Galvatron method to bring Bumble Bee back to life and we discover that there is a hall of fallen hero Autobots and they take soulless good guy autobots and put ratchet and Jazz and Ironhide and bring whoever else back. They are going to fight Galvatron and his massive mostly soulless army, and they do but then Unicron is discovered and you hear “You got the touch” as optimus gives souls to all the soulless decepticons, who can totally choose to be good, and they all fight Unicron. Ok this 2nd movie thin I didn’t really think through that much and it’s apparent I’m running on fumes at this point.
What the fuck am I doing? I’ve just spent more time thinking about the plot and motivations behind a transformers movie than I think Michael Bay ever did on this last movie. This was a fun exercise but I think it’s verging on becoming sad, and by “verging” I mean “blown way past that point 2 thousand words ago.”