Michael Bay has now created five Transformers films, (read our review of Transformers: The Last Knight here) and it looks as though even if he isn’t behind the camera, we still have many more to come. Two more sequels are in the books as well as a Bumblebee spinoff that has Kubo and the Two String’s director Travis Knight at the wheel. Regardless of how you feel about them, each has their pros and cons (though some many more cons than pros *cough *cough *#2). This past week, we here at Cinema 35 tolerated over 738 minutes (12.3 hours) of steel on steel action to bring you the following list: All 5 of Michael Bay’s Transformer Films Ranked Worst to Best
5. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)
This film and the one above it are the only ones in the series that are vaguely interchangeable; they’re both just awful. If their existence could somehow be forgotten by the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind crew, this would be an actually great series of films. The second movie’s plot is unintelligible, entirely forgetful, and downright mundane; it’s just a means to go from uninteresting explosion to the next uninteresting explosion. Whether its dogs humping, Sam’s mom being high on a campus quad, or John Turturro looking up and commenting on a robot’s scrotum; this film is a culmination of everything that people hate about most of Bay’s films. Where each other film may have its flaws, and many of them, they each have a compensatory aspect; this film does not.
4. Transformers: The Last Knight (2017)
As I said in my review, “You can spin it anyway you want, but what it comes down to is that Transformers: The Last Knight is a bad movie.” Even a bad movie might have good parts to it; it just means that the parts that failed outweighed the parts that worked. A convoluted plot and unenthusiastic action add up to give us not just the worst film about autonomous robot aliens, but potentially one of the worst summer blockbusters in recent memory (although The Mummy might give it a run for its money, you can read our review here.) The butler Cogburn and the Suicide Squad-style character reveals were a few of the rare redeeming factors that were littered throughout this monumental disaster.
3. Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)
Let me be perfectly clear, this is not a good movie by any stretch of the definition. This is a fun and entertaining entry that no one remembered asking for. Marky Mark felt relatable which was something Shia LeBeouf never was able to achieve. The cast made an immense upgrade bringing in T.J. Miller (Silicon Valley), Kelsey Grammer (Fraser), Titus Welliver (Argo), and one of the best actors working today; Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones). The script may not be Oscar worthy and the villain may be below subpar, but if you went into this film expecting quality action and the fun that comes with modern popcorn flicks, then you weren’t (too) disappointed when the credits rolled.
2. Transformers (2007)
Many probably expected to see this as number one, and also probably believe it to be number one themselves. The inflated Rotten Tomatoes score and the initial hype wasn’t because of its perfection but because it ended up not being a complete disaster (much like its predecessors have recently become). The film is still the apex of what people look for when going to turn off their brain and escape the heat for a few hours by subjecting themselves to a chartbuster; jokes, explosions, attractive young females (this film brought Megan Fox into the world; you’re welcome to take that as an advantage or weakness, your call), and car-porn galore. Other than making a feature film based on a brand of action figures, the film was a relatively safe bet and hit on all the typical things we’ve come to be familiar with in a summer film. Much like how The Conjuring didn’t reinvent the horror wheel but did it’s best to perfect it; Transformers didn’t want to make a new type of blockbuster, it wanted to make a great one.
1. Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)
The entry above may be more fun, but Transformers: Dark of the Moon is undoubtedly a better film. When watching them within a few days of each other and not using initial reactions of seeing them in their respected debuting years, it’s clear that the third film in the saga has more balls, a clearer vision, and a sense of true enthusiasm scattered throughout. Having aliens invade the world is a typical trope that many of us have become accustomed to, but having those same aliens completely destroy and devastate an entire city is something wide-release film had yet to divulge in. The third act, where Sam and crew go into demolished Chicago to foil Megatron’s newest plans is riveting and gives a dark temper to a series that was, and still is, more whimsical than passionate. I don’t care what criticism I get; I’m going on record as saying that Transformers: Dark of the Moon is a great movie.
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