Yes this is stupid, even by the standards of Hollywood blockbusters. It’s not just the on-screen visuals that are driven by the need to make things explode; more than once director Michael Bay seems to use something blowing up as a way to distract audiences from the way one scene doesn’t seem to connect in any real way with the next. Still, there’s kind of a story here: Cade Yeager (Wahlberg) is an inventor who lives on a farm covered in American flags. He invents robots, which is kind of like someone in 2014 making a paper plane and calling themselves an aircraft designer because, hello, giant robots just destroyed Chicago five years ago. But then he and his comedy relief sidekick Lucas (T.J. Miller) find a truck parked in an old cinema and because nobody knows how it got there they get to keep it. Surprise! The truck is totally Optimus Prime, only now the CIA’s elite “Graveyard Wind” unit is hunting down and killing Autobots because some sinister guy at the CIA (Kelsey Grammer) has done a deal with an alien bounty hunter and there’s also a Steve Jobs-like tech magnate (Stanley Tucci) melting down Autobots to create “Transformium” so this means everything in the movie explodes for the next two hours.
Because Bay directs every single scene at the exact same level of good-natured but earnest stupidity, the film as a whole just feels like someone revving a motorbike at full throttle for one hundred and sixty minutes. Not that Bay doesn’t try to make some moments stand out: there’s a bizarre scene early on when a seemingly major character dies a horrible death and then we get repeated shots of the mangled corpse just so we know that this time the stakes have been raised. Just kidding: no one else dies in this film and the entire rest of the story is filled with the usual impossible escapes, up to and including the humans repeatedly being thrown around like rag dolls by the good Transformers.
This is probably decent value for money if you like explosions and don’t mind a kind of sour taste as pretty much everyone here turns out to be a nasty, unpleasant jerk. Even Optimus Prime spends most of the film surprisingly pissed off at pretty much everything (but mostly humans), going so far to say at one point “I have pledged never to kill humans but when I find out who is behind this they are going to die”. Sounds like bad news for Michael Bay.