Transformers: Age of Extinction

I just spent an hour with my daughter discussing why we didn't really like Transformers: Age of Extinction, but I'll spare you the full deconstruction. Short version: This one fails to clear the Threshold of Disappointment because by the 100-minute mark I was ready to go home, and Optimus Prime was not yet riding a Dinobot. Nor would he be for another twenty minutes. That is a pretty classic definition of "disappointment," even though I enjoyed large swaths of the film.

The film had too many antagonists, too many protagonists, and it gave me action movie fatigue even though I specifically went to the movie in order to see giant robots fight. 

Sadly, I think the film suffers from the strings attached to its Chinese sponsorships. I do not know what those strings were, but I felt like I could see them being pulled. I loved the setting, and Bingbing Li, who played opposite Stanley Tucci, did an outstanding job. Unfortunately, in order to get this stuff into the film, they had to make the film bigger. It feels like two movies, and since it weighs in at 165 minutes, it's just three minutes shy of being twice as long as 1986's The Transformers: The Movie. 

We might have been better served by two movies. We would definitely have been better served by a single movie that dropped one of the antagonists, tightened itself around two principal locations, and then tightened its themes around a single message. Tucci, Wahlberg, Li, and Kelsey Grammar could have pulled that off, no problem. They just needed somebody to script the right movie.

I was ready to go home when Transformers: Age of Extinction still had a full hour on the reel, and that's never a good sign. That said, I did have fun. So: if you're immune to action movie fatigue, if you love watching metal things go crunch, and if you don't mind a 165-minute run-time, I say go for it.