The Transformers Movies Ranked
As a child, playing with a toy is one of the first ways to learn how to use your imagination. The possibilities and scenarios are endless in scope, and there’s really no wrong way to play with one. They often hold a special place in one’s heart for decades, with many thinking back fondly on their favorite toy and even imparting that toy on their future children one day. With all this in mind, it’s no surprise that filmmakers often capitalize on this universal love of toys. Thus, the toy-based movie was born. Transformers, the robots that turn into modes of transportation, is one of the most original toys on the market. They combine two things that kids love, robots and fast-moving machines, and morph them into a single toy. It’s genius, and, as it turns out, it’s cinematic. There have been six movies based on the toys so far, with even more on the way in the years to come. While the films certainly aren’t as universally loved as the toys, they are probably just as profitable: Michael Bay has established an unstoppable franchise, for better or for worse.
The Transformers: The Movie
The original Transformers movie, arriving back in 1896, is fully animated and fully enthralling. Michael Bay has nothing to do with it, and none of it takes place in the real world. It’s all hand-drawn animation, and it’s all the better for that. It’s hard to beat this unpretentious, innocent, and exciting Transformers film. Not to mention, it’s incredibly admirable that The Transformers: The Movie doesn’t have four sequels.
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Michael Bay’s first Transformers film isn’t bad, all things considered. Granted, it’s a movie about robots from outer space that transform into expensive cars and planes and gadgets, Transformers is exactly as good as it has any right to be. Shia LaBeouf is a compelling lead, Megan Fox is the epitome of a late-2000s casting, and the politics of the film just scream Bush-era (there’s even a bad Bush impersonator at one point). It’s a time capsule, and it’s a good time. Just make sure to turn your brain off first.
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Transformers: Dark of the Moon
The third film in Bay’s LaBeouf trilogy, Dark of the Moon delivers on its promise of great action sequences, huge explosions, and so much CGI you can’t always tell what’s going on on-screen. It’s got a solid (albeit Megan Fox-less) cast, some interesting plot points, and an incredibly long running time, but it’s a worthy send-off for Shia LaBeouf, the original Transformers trilogy, and all its smarmy goodness.
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Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
The second Transformers film was instantly deemed a failure when it was released in 2009, but it’s really not that bad almost a decade removed (especially when you compare it to the recent string of Transformers movies, which are much more deserving of critical panning). Michael Bay might come off as phony with this Transformers sequel, but critics had no idea where this franchise was headed at that time and would probably adjust their ratings if given the chance. Revenge of the Fallen refuses to take itself seriously, and it’s actually not that bad for that very reason.
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Transformers: Age of Extinction
The first Transformers movie to come after the departure of Shia LaBeouf, Mark Wahlberg never manages to live up to the movies that came before his arrival. Age of Extinction is far too long, far too serious, and — for crying out loud — it’s not fair that the ads hyped up robot dinosaurs as an integral part of this film only to squeeze them in at the very end of the film. Dinosaur robots! This movie could’ve been so much better, maybe if Michael Bay could let go of this franchise and let someone else give it a shot.
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Transformers: The Last Knight
Mark Wahlberg’s second Transformers film is undoubtedly worse than the first. There aren’t really words to describe how insane it is. For starters, the film suggests that these robots were behind every major political event in history, from the Middle Ages to World War II and beyond. This is, of course, not appropriate or sensical in the slightest — but there’s no stopping late-stage Michael Bay Transformers movies.
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Here’s to you, Bumblebee — you’ve got great potential, so please don’t let us down.
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