Across six films dated from 2007 to this year, the 'Transformers' series has made $4.38 billion in the box office worldwide against a collective budget of $972 million. Whether you love or hate them, you can't deny that the films have certainly made a mark on the industry.
The phrase 'The Good the Bad and the Ugly' is applicable to the franchise, given there's more bad and ugly than there is good. Still, the latest installment 'Bumblebee' has been getting great reviews and seems to suggest that the movies are taking a turn for the better. But how bad do the bad films get and how good are the good ones really? Check out our ranking below.
6. 'Age of Extinction' (2014)
Where does one even begin with how poor a movie 'Transformers: Age of Extinction' is? With its messy and incomprehensible plot? Its shameless, relentless product placement? That cringeworthy bit where Jack Reynor's character defends his relationship with a minor by showing a card he carries detailing the 'Romeo & Juliet' law in his wallet? Its truly insane and totally unnecessary 2 HOUR 45 MINUTES RUNNING TIME? We're going to stop now because this movie actually makes us angry, it's that bad.
Last year's 'The Last Knight' wasn't a good movie. It was just an improvement on 'Age of Extinction'. Mark Wahlberg was sans daughter and daughter's boyf for this installment, but no more enthusiastic. There was a token female romantic interest in Laura Haddock, who is made up to look so like Megan Fox, it's creepy. And let's not forget that Anthony Hopkins took a thankless supporting role as an astronomer who provides details on the Autobots' history which don't make sense and nobody caaaaaaaaares.
4. 'Dark of the Moon' (2011)
By the time 'Dark of the Moon', the third 'Transformers' movie, came out, they were all starting to blur into one. Did this one star Megan Fox? No, 'Dark of the Moon' is the one where Rosie Huntington-Whiteley replaces her. You may have also forgotten that John Malkovich, Frances McDormand and Patrick Dempsey starred in this installment. All this writer can remember from the film is the bit where Shia LaBoeuf and Huntington-Whiteley slide down a skyscraper - a rather apt metaphor for their exit from the series.
3. 'Revenge of the Fallen' (2009)
God love Megan Fox and her lack of a supportive sports bra for that super long, super slow-motion running scene. No less objectified in this film than in the first 'Transformers', the actress deserved better. At least in terms of action and visual spectacle, 'Revenge of the Fallen' certainly delivers - and that's all we really come to see these movies for anyway, right? The movie's highlight has to be when Optimus Prime faces off a gang of Decepticons in the forest. He literally tears them apart - and the movie geek in you can't help but squeal with enthusiasm.
2. 'Bumblebee' (2018)
Now we get to the good ones. Spin-off 'Bumblebee' has been warmly welcomed by critics on a number of bases. Its 'The Iron Giant' slash 'The Little Mermaid' narrative is charming while Haille Steinfeld makes for an instantly likeable lead. It's a touching, feel-good flick and makes for a great family-friendly film perfectly timed for release at Christmas (December 24th in Irish cinemas, FYI). In fact the only place where it really falls is in Act III when it starts to become 'Transformers'-like.
1. 'Transformers' (2007)
People give the franchise a lot of shtick but the 2007 film that started it all was really excellent. In terms of action and special effects, they really hold up over ten year later. The two narratives - of a teenager making the amazing discovery of these robot aliens, versus a team of soldiers being attacked by rival robot aliens - were genuinely thrilling, before future plots became overly complicated. When you watch it now, you can't deny the impact it had on big-budget, CGI, action movies that followed such as 'The Avengers'.