What I think about it is … Hold on a second. Let us pause briefly for a moment of perspective.
Only in America can you take a child’s toy made by Hasbro, make a movie of it, then a franchise (a franchise that hundreds of adult actors kill themselves trying to get a role in) and then have hundreds of adult movie critics shouting, “Yeah, it’s great!” or, “No way, man!!” And then hundreds of comment-section adults hollering at all the various critics: “You’re right, it’s great!” or, “Nuh-uh! You’re stupid; my kid’s smarter than you!”
That’s why I love this job. This is what our armed forces die for in foreign lands—so we Americans can continue to have the freedom to indulge ourselves in this splendid foolishness. Speaking of which, I highly recommend Netflix’s “The Redeem Team,” wherein battle-scarred Army combat vets are brought in to talk to LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade, et al., about the sacrifices they made and the wounds they endured so American ballers would have the freedom in 2008 to re-learn the meaning of true teamwork and go out and smash China, and the world, and make American Olympic basketball great again.
But that’ll be a different review. Generally speaking though, we should probably all care less about Spider-men, and toy-car robots, and basketball, and focus on whupping communist China's behind every which way possible. Because they're already making our movies for us and are only too happy to keep us squabbling about infantile things while they seal our doom.
What Goes on
A young Latino man and a young African-American woman wind up on a globe-trotting excursion to find a very special object (normally referred in film reviews as the “MacGuffin”) which has the ability to save humanity (and the Autobots, i.e., Transformers) from the brink of destruction. That description right there defines pretty much any of the five previously released live-action "Transformers" movies (not including 2018's “Bumblebee”).
And so this latest "Transformers" blockbuster attempt is par for the course: CGI battles with lots of metallic smashing and sparks, quippy one-liners from humans fending off an intergalactic take-over, and the aforementioned MacGuffin that starts in Brooklyn, flails around the globe, and ends up back in Brooklyn.
Per the movie title, Optimus Prime and his crew get some help from the Maximals, which are Transformer-animal hybrids, such as giant metallic cheetahs, rhinos, gorillas, eagles, and such. I was very taken aback that there was no representation of reptilian, amphibious, or fish species—not to mention bugs and arachnids. This oversight is a glaring reason for this Transformer not to receive Oscar consideration.
But I digress. To prohibit Unicron from eating planet Earth, Diaz and Wallace must discover the location of the Transwarp Key (that would be the MacGuffin) that will allow all the Autobots to finally escape the earthly realm and get back to Cybertron, where they come from. Which goes to show that, even for car, truck, and motorcycle robots—there’s no place like home.
Also Multidimensional!Did I mention that, much like the Marvel Comic Universe and the new Spider-verse, the "Transformers" movies are now featuring inter-dimensional portals? This is a real thing now, all these alternative dimensions, realities, and parallel universes. Which I believe in. It’d just be nice to see a more serious treatment of this topic instead of having all the kids movies nowadays inundated with them, because, I mean, who can really take it seriously then? Especially when the whole movie is just pure CGI spectacle, where even the newest Transformer flavor, the Maximals, get very little time to show what they can do.
If I had to choose between the latest "Spider-Man" and the latest "Transformers," I’ll take the latter. But like "Spider-Man" now linking up with another franchise, Hasbro Toys does the same here, which leads me to think that all movie franchises are now being linked as parallel universes and separate realities of each other, under one umbrella, like the One Ring Ruling Them All. Sort of like the old Eastern Bloc countries being ruled by the old Soviet Union.