I was pretty sure Transformers 4: I Forget the Subtitle was going to suck, and it kind of exceeded my expectations in terms of sucking. The constantly re-used Michael Bay shots were distracting: low-angled shot of people getting out of a car, camera circles around people dramatically, American flag conspicuously waving in the foreground or background, explosions. The dialogue was incredibly hokey, especially Optimus Prime, who gives a final speech that actually includes the phrase “When you look to the stars….” Also sometimes it doesn’t make any sense at all. Immediately after saying “we’re giving you your freedom,” he threatens to kill the newly “freed” if they don’t do what he wants, which is kind of the opposite of freedom. He also says “honor til the end” as his supposedly badass I-just-killed-the-villain line, but nothing in the movie was really about honor, and it was mostly a thing where this guy had killed his friends, so Optimus killed him so he’d stop it. Honor didn’t have a thing to do with anything. Optimus Prime also spends most of the movie fleeing from dangerous threats, and then at the tail end he starts using rocket boots to get around. Why didn’t he use them before? They seem much faster than driving around as a truck. The movie was awash with product placement. A lot of Budweiser, but also quite a few Chinese brands. I think there might have been a pretty big re-write to do all the Chinese stuff, because there’s the skeleton of a subplot that doesn’t pay off at all, and seems sort of overwritten by a Chinese character. It was also waaaay too long. I checked my watch at least 5 times during the movie. I’m sure the crying baby and the people turning on their phones (and even one tablet! who does that??) in the audience didn’t help matters.
But of course in the end the audience cheered and applauded. I have no idea how, but Michael Bay’s shit works.