"A bunch of robots fight a bunch of other robots, and you can’t tell which are the good robots and which are the bad robots because they all look alike, you robot racist." —Awl pal Dan Kois reviews Transformers: Yeah, We Made Another One.
There's a fascinating pattern in the first Transformers reviews: There is nothing to watch here, nothing to grab onto or hook into in even the simplest of ways. I staggered out of the theater feeling assaulted and insulted, but by the time I was standing out on 42nd Street in the muggy summer evening air, even those angry feelings had passed.
Richard Corliss agrees: "The final half-hour devolves into a kind of abstract-expressionist chaos, with commercials. Nothing coheres." At IndieWire, Eric Kohn complains that Michael Bay "constructs a barrage of showdowns remarkable for their ridiculous propensity to feature explosions and slo-mo, gravity-defying feats. They're all unmemorable but [...]
Michael Bay, I have personally viewed at least 60% of the content you have made as a director (slightly more than that, if you count the "Got Milk"? campaign and Meat Loaf's video for "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)." So I'm qualified to observe that your work grows exponentially worse in expected, methodical patterns. Bad Boys II? Not as good as Bad Boys I! Armageddon? It followed the far superior The Rock! (And let's remember, The Island followed Bad Boys II, which, oh man, poor Ewan McGregor!) And I don't think the quality progression between the first two Transformers movies even needs to be [...]
On Friday, Michael Bay will give us another 164 minutes of 3D-IMAX robots riding robots riding robots as they blow shit up in America—Detroit and Chicago—and China—also Detroit, actually—while Mark Wahlberg has to grapple with the fact his name is Cade Yeager. A fete of more than just Bay's extraordinary vision for setting General Motors vehicles and American military hardware against perfectly golden sunlight shining over a canyon as they race from one Optimus Prime death scene to the next, Transformers 4: The Age of Extinction is both the nexus and the prototype of a new kind of cinema-industrial complex that spans from Hollywood to Beijing.
That's the focus [...]