Michael Bay's noisy "Transformers" series returns to the big screen this weekend for the fourth time in seven years. Again it'll muster the sad inevitable: Atrocious reviews will do nothing to stave off the hundreds of millions of dollars "Age of Extinction" moviegoers shower upon the blockbuster. This one exchanges Shia LaBeouf for Mark Wahlberg, but it doesn't want for any of the bad reviews that came with the previous installments. Made for a reported $165 million, "Extinction" is the franchise's worst-reviewed entry to date, according to Rotten Tomatoes.
There are some good things about the movie, as we point out here, but they're few and far between. Here are some of the worst things critics have written:
1. "Deafening, deadening and about two hours too long, 'Extinction' would mark the weakest installment yet of the 7-year-old Hasbro franchise -- if the previous three movies were discernible from one another." -- Scott Bowles, USA Today
2. "Actually, director Michael Bay's fourth heavy-metal installment is sensory overload in every sense. Noise, action, rubble. Which wouldn't be so bad if it weren't so punishingly long -- 2 hours and 45 minutes of furious pandemonium. You leave the cineplex feeling bludgeoned." -- David Hiltbrand, The Philadelphia Inquirer
3. "Crash. Shatter. Boom. Crash. Shatter. Boom. Smattering of silly dialogue. Pretty girl screams: 'Dad!' Crash. Shatter. Boom. Silly dialogue. 'DAD!!!' Crash. Shatter. Boom.
What? Oh, sorry. We were falling into a trance there." -- Jocelyn Noveck, The Associated Press
4. "The mythology seems to have been cobbled together at corporate strategy sessions out of notions ripped off from elsewhere." -- A.O. Scott, The New York Times
5. "Just bracing myself for 165 minutes of explosions, car chases, cars turning into robots, images of cars, robots, and tiny human figures spinning in slow motion after an explosion or a car chase, ludicrous bathos, tight shots looking up Nicola Peltz’s tiny shorts, stentorian sound effects, cheap Wagnerian music, all shot and edited as if by a Cuisinart. In short, the cinematic equivalent of being tied in a bag and being beaten by pipes." -- Peter Keough, The Boston Globe
6. "With 'Transformers: Age of Extinction,' the start of a -- everyone duck! -- second trilogy in his metalhead franchise, the Bay-man has made the worst and most worthless 'Transformers' movie yet. I know, hard to believe, right? How could any summer blockbuster be as dull, dumb and soul-sucking as the first three 'Transformers' movies? Step right up. ... Kill me now." -- Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
7. "All those minutes devoted to crunching metal come at the expense of not just character and plot development, but also simple transitions. The movie moves both too slowly and too quickly, as scene transitions appear to have been stripped or significantly shortened during the editing process. Even the lengthy run time isn’t sufficient to develop the many story lines." -- Stephanie Merry, The Washington Post
8. "Bay at his worst is like an attention-deficient kid banging his toy bots together in the basement rec room. You wonder what enormity he would have hatched with another Hasbro franchise: Mr. Potato Head." -- Richard Corliss, TIME
9. "The film makes some attempts at winking to the audience with what I’d have to imagine is deliberately corny dialogue, but those clumsy stabs at ironic humor actually just serve to aggravate more. Oh so you know this is terrible, and yet you’re still pummeling us with incomprehensible action sequence after incomprehensible action sequence until our eyes and ears are bleeding? Thanks a lot." -- Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair
10. "The new 'Transformers' is a completely unnecessary and soul-crushing 165 minutes long, bloated by exposition and plot turns that sound as if they were being made up as the movie was shot. You could cut 45 minutes out of 'Transformers: Age of Extinction' in completely random places; it would be a much better movie (and only slightly less coherent)." -- Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle
11. "This series was never good, but it was once fun, or at least flashy. Now that its gears have gone rusty, it’s time for an 'Alien vs. Predator'-style rethink. It’s lucky that Hasbro owns other properties. How about 'Transformers Vs. My Little Pony'? -- Kyle Smith, New York Post
12. "Throw in the usual dollops of macho posturing (Cade and Shane fight over Tessa until they finally bond over firing big guns together), casual racism, and sexism (the women here are either slinky supermodels, overweight caricatures, or annoying senior citizens), and you have yourself yet another 'Transformers' money-making machine. It's no doubt going to be good for business, but it's yet another paper-cut on the soul of the movies." -- Alonso Duralde, The Wrap
13. "What is extinguished is the audience's consciousness after being bombarded for nearly three hours with overwrought emotions ('There's a missile in the living room!' Tessa hollers -- twice), bad one-liners and battles that rarely rise above the banal. A trio of editors make a technical marvel out of the fight scenes, but can do little to link the story's multiple threads into something coherent." -- Clarence Tsui, The Hollywood Reporter
14. "If the 'human scenes' all reek of adolescent dialogue and dopey snark masquerading as character development, it’s a toss-up if that’s better or worse than seeing clattering collections of caliginous junk -- some voiced by John Goodman, Ken Watanabe and Robert Foxworth -- sass each other before battling and flying about like so much space junk." -- Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News
15. "Hello, police? I’d like to report an assault.
Where? Down at the MegaGigaGrandePlex, and it’s still going on. Come quick! I barely escaped with my life.
The perp? Michael Bay. He gave me a full-body beatdown.
His weapon? 'Transformers: Age of Extinction.'" -- Soren Andersen, The Seattle Times
16. "It’s messy enough that, like a Rorschach blot, it yields whatever meaning you’d like if you stare at it long enough. But it’s so crazily empty headed that by the end, even the characters seem to be getting loopy, as they engage in endless dialogue over whose responsibility it is to trust and respect who -- that many numbing explosions, shootouts, giant robot wars, and Dinobot riding will get anyone a little wacky." -- Alison Wilmore, BuzzFeed
17. "'Transformers: Age of Extinction' is basically a shambles. If you do see it, I suggest you savor each image on its own terms as a work of CGI art. Dig the bombardment. Forget trying to figure out who’s zapping whom and why. Free your mind -- or risk having it transformed into porridge." -- David Edelstein, Vulture
18. "Ultimately, 'Age of Extinction' is an endless barrage of nonsense and noise. You almost don't even care who wins, just that it ends. Bay has said that this film will kick off a second trilogy of 'Transformers' movies -- and I think he's serious. That means there will be (at least) two more of these things. God help us all." -- Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly