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Old 2017-06-21, 03:53 PM   #1
Blackjack
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Default Transformers 5 Discussion Thread [SPOILERS]

So, I watched it! Haven't posted in the site a whole ton in the past few... months? Years? Maybe one of these days I'll finish the huge stack of MTMTE trade paperbacks and write some toy reviews.

It's been some time, is what I mean.

So, obviously, spoilers for anyone who hasn't watched the movie, if the big caps-lock word on the title hasn't warned you yet. I could use the spoiler tag, but I didn't feel like posting a huge block of white.

So, yeah, spoiler alert.

TL;DR version? It was messier than Age of Extinction. I liked it enough as a dumb popcorn flick and a Michael Bay movie, and being a huge fan of the movieverse in general I enjoyed the hell out of the movie... but by god, there were some really unnecessary shit in there. Age of Extinction was bloated and around 30 minutes too long, but at least it had focus, with two central plotlines -- the KSI stuff and the Lockdown stuff.

This one was a lot messier. While I don't think it ever got quite as bad as ROTF was in some places, the sheer amount of plotlines running in this movie -- Quintessa, Nemesis Prime, the junkyard refugee camp, Megatron doing his own thing, Sir Anthony Hopkins's big conspiracy, the descendant of Merlin... there are so much stuff going on that I really question if some of them couldn't have been cut out.

Isabella, the little girl from the trailers who is friends with Transformer refugees being hunted down by the latest in a series of anti-Transformer government black ops team, the TRF, gets her buddy Canopy killed by the TRF's AT-ST. She hangs out with her adorable buddy Sqweeks, but honestly is completely irrelevant and is only there to ask Cade Yeager about the state of the Autobots right now... both of which end up being completely pointless. The Autobots live in a junkyard and all that, being hunted by the TRF, but that bit gets thrown out of the window in act 2. Isabella and Sqweeks are also relatively pointless, being the true definition of 'tagalong kids'.

Cade himself was... okay? He's still a huge jerkhole despite how the movie portrays him as the hero, but, god, I really want to punch him in the face at some point. His huge out-of-nowhere rant in the underwater ship was kind of out of nowhere and rather dickish.

Sir Anthony Hopkins's character... Sir... um... shit, I forgot his name. Anyway, Sir Anthony Hopkins stole the show, alongside his badass sociopath of a robot butler, Cogman. Obviously, since, y'know, it's Anthony Hopkins. He made a role that would've been crappy and full of exposition work really well, as he goes through the whole talk of how, yet once more, the Transformers and humanity's history have been tied in together in the past, which is admittedly getting absurdly silly. The fact that there's a Witwickian Order going on and apparently the Witwickies are part of it raises even more continuity problems than answers it. So is the revelation that the likes of Bumblebee have been participating in events like WWII, which, again, raises even more questions. But hey, Anthony Hopkins is amazing.

The main lady, Vivienne, is more plot device with a British accent than anything, though we're slowly moving away from the female lead being just eye candy -- I don't think we got any blatant fanservice 'masturbate to this, pre-teen boys' shot. The way she was introduced to the movie felt wonky and odd, though.

A big complaint I have is that none of the returning characters end up doing much. A lot of hullabaloo is made over Josh Duhammel's Lennox and John Torturro's Simmons returning, but Simmons just enters and exits the plot for what accounts as a glorified cameo. And for all Lennox did in the movie as (theoretically) the main face of the human villain organization, other than a brief conversation with Bumblebee in the beginning he also doesn't do much and really even up to the end we didn't get the obligatory "Lennox sees the error of joining this asshole organization" moment. General Morshower shows up too, but, shit, he didn't even do anything. Not that he did much in ROTF and DOTM, mind you, but still.

The robot bits, now.

One of the good things I appreciate and dislike is that the movie this time around focuses around the central cast of Cade, Vivienne, Bumblebee, Anthony Hopkins and Cogman, leaving the rest of the crew waiting until they show up for a big hurrah reinforcement army at the end. So yeah, Hound, Drift and Crosshairs show up in the junkyard with a couple of others (the baby dinosaurs and Wheelie) and have some funny lines, and Hound gets to fight Megatron twice, but they end up just staying out of the action. Which is a boo.

Ut Rud, er, Hot Rod, is more there for jokes than anything. He has a French accent, they make fun of it a little, and he apparently carries around the Chronosphere from the G1 cartoon, allowing him to create fields where time slows down. He doesn't actually do much, but I like him more than I think I should.

Grimlock and Slug are the only ones who make an appearance among the Dinobots, and Grimlock is just there to vomit out a car like the trailers, and later take out an entire squad of TRF vehicles, but afterwards disappear from the plot.

There's also this random... Daytrader dude, who's like a Junkion that holds a bunch of stuff on his back and trades it with Cade's little community. And shows up with Lockdown's ship to bring the Autobots for the final battle. That was weird. You'd think Grimlock at least would show up near the end, especially after AOE put so much talk on them being the knights of something or other.

Topspin survived, gets actual lines in this movie, and is in Cuba playing volleyball with Simmons. Yay! Now where are Sideswipe and Dino?

Also, a bunch of dudes -- Scrapper in the junkyard, the random old tank guarding Anthony Hopkins' castle, and a different old dude -- literally show up for a couple of shots and disappearing.

Now you notice I've barely spoken about Optimus Prime, because he's actually barely in the movie. He lands on the wrecked Cybertron, and meets his maker, Quintessa... who quickly brainwashes him into Nemesis Prime. He fights with Bumblebee a bit, and Evil Peter Cullen, in the words of Crosshairs: "goosebumps everywhere". He then goes back to being heroic Optimus Prime, disappears for half of the climax (it's not tangled in construction wires, but apparently he's just happily riding a dragon in the middle of the apocalypse) before going all sword-fighty kill happy.

There are some cool bits of revelation which is taken from Transformers: Prime, where Earth is revealed to be Unicron, and Quintessa is bringing Cybertron to drain Earth of energy but Unicron himself doesn't appear and it's muddled just what the true mission of the ancient knights are. One of them calls Quintessa the great deceiver, but it's really unclear what the hell's going on with the Quintessa/Cybertron/Unicron bit, or why Megatron changes allegiances to serve Quintessa halfway throughout the movie. I guess it's building up for a sixth movie where we actually fight Unicron, but the introdumps just kind of pile over each other and it ends up being a bit weirdly confusing.

We get a Starscream cameo! He shows up as a head, and Megatron mocks him.

Megatron is awesome, though in the fifth movie in a row he gets second billing. At least he doesn't look like a hobo, though, and I'm sure this is my favourite iteration of Megatron's body ever. It's really weird because the Decepticons are basically reduced to him and Barricade, who also looks cool but don't do much, and for whatever reason the military, despite hunting down Decepticons, decides to cooperate with Megatron so long as they get information about the incoming Cybertron? I'm certainly sad the Decepticons aren't in it more.

Rather strangely, Megatron and Lennox go through a bit of a roll call moment to introduce the new Decepticons, and it is so cringe-inducing to hear that lineup include names like 'Dreadbot', 'Mohawk' and 'Nitro Zeus'. Just... why, filmmakers, why? You have easily a couple hundred Decepticon names to use, and you pick 'Dreadbot'? The only ones with a borderline acceptable name are Onslaught and Berserker, but Berserker doesn't get released. The Decepticons act more like weird gangsters in this one, which is... weird, but not one I completely dislike.

Also not sure why the TRF are keeping at least five Decepticons prisoner when they shot Canopy dead for no real reason. Nearly everyone dies in the big Autobot-Decepticon clash in the abandoned city, easily my favourite part of the movie -- only Megatron, Barricade and Nitro Zeus survives. Nitro Zeus makes it throughout nearly the entire movie before Bumblebee blows his head off in the climax, gets a couple of thuggish lines, which isn't bad for a character that screams 'redshirt'.

Barricade, following the tradition he set in the first movie, gets a couple of brief fight scenes, and then disappears from the plot halfway through the climax. Well, that was pointless.

Megatron, meanwhile, gets an epic fight with Prime, and at one point he gets dogpiled by Bumblebee, Hot Rod and Hound, and thankfully he doesn't die or walk away, but gets kicked out of the collapsing planet all 1986-Galvatron style. That's a more dignified way to go out while still saving him for Movie 6.

The Unicron-esque horned dudes are called Infernocons, and they're combiners that combine into a big bug-faced Unicron clone. Meanwhile, the three-headed dragon (who's never named here) ends up being made up of the twelve knights, whose motivations and why the hell do they give control of their combined form to Merlin, is weird. Honestly, the whole 'staff of Merlin' thing is not something I'm a big fan of.

There's a mid-credits scene where Quintessa apparently didn't implode, but survives as a human and is telling a bunch of researchers about the horns of Unicron that appeared all over the Earth.

Overall, the plot is kind of too messy for my liking -- messier than any non-ROTF Transformers movie, and I'm a little let down by the lack of answers that we get in the movie in response to some of the plot threads that are supposed to be answered here. But the fight scenes are cool, the big set scenes of the underwater ship rising out of the ocean and Cybertron's tendril-tentacle things raking cities off the face of the planet is cool, the continuity cameos (the Ark, the Fallen's pyramid, Sam Witwicky's face, Starscream's head, 'we were brothers') are cool... but they tried to fit in too much with too little payoff. It's not terrible, but it's not good. I'd actually rank this second-to-last if we're ranking the five movies in a row.
 
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