In light of the critical praise for latest spin off Bumblebee and news of impending Netflix series, now is as good a time as any to go back and rank the instalments in the blockbuster action franchise
Everyone’s got that tacky action movie franchise they grew up with. For me, it was Transformers, a saga of Hollywood blockbusters about robots punching each other. With regards to the critical success of last year’s Bumblebee spin off and the announcement of a new Netflix series chronicling the origins of the automatons, HITC’s Karl Smith debated whether the franchise could become ‘the new Avengers’. So, let’s take the opportunity to review the films and try to sort the most tolerable from the least.
6) Revenge of the Fallen (2009)
When Michael Bay apologises for a film, you know it’s bad. Revenge of the Fallen really is a contender for the worst film I’ve ever seen. It doesn’t deserve any kind of sophisticated analysis, just a reminder of its most shocking moments: the black racial stereotyping of a children’s toy, John Turturro’s naked ass and a robot humping Megan Fox’s leg. Forget about this film and move on.
5) The Last Knight (2017)
There’s nothing that really makes The Last Knight stand out in any kind of way. It was just more of the same. More punching robots, more car adverts, more sexist portrayals of female characters… Put it like this – you might be able to get through The Last Knight after a long night of heavy drinking, though you’ll still probably be tempted to throw a bottle at the TV.
4) Dark of the Moon (2011)
A marginally better film, though still awful by any sensible person’s account. No-one with a sense of timing makes a 3 hour film with a one hour uninterrupted fight scene. Dark of the Moon made utterly no sense and still represents the career low point of the late great Leonard Nimoy. Megan Fox’s absence was duly noted after she called Bay a Nazi and was consequently kicked out. Lucky her.
3) Age of Extinction (2014)
Mark Wahlberg shouting at green screens and imaginary robots must have been quite a sight to behold. He brought entertainment value to the role, but his involvement with Transformers does ultimately embarrass when held up against his finest work. After the film was wrapped, Wahlberg admitted he only took the role for money. Why else would you?
2) Bumblebee (2018)
Finally, a breath of fresh air. Bumblebee was a welcome departure from the tired Transformers formula and a surprisingly decent film. Stripping back all of that useless exposition did wonders for the narrative, especially when you don’t have to remember the names of twenty fighting robots. Bumblebee opens up the potential for a whole raft of spin offs and cash ins, but if they follow this return to form I really don’t mind.
1) Transformers (2007)
I still remember seeing the first Transformers in the cinema, aged ten. Yes, there was a lot of ridiculous moments, but it was unashamed fun. No matter how bad these films have become, I still have the memory of the spectacle which launched the franchise. This is a film I’d actually recommend you watch back with your friends in a sober state. Just let go of your new found maturity and it will be a blast.