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‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’: Louder and more explosive than ever

For better or worse, critics seem to be weighing in that the newest installment in Michael Bay's “Transformers” franchise will offer up exactly his first trilogy did, which is a good or bad thing, depending on your perspective.

Variety critic Maggie Lee says, “Michael Bay continues to evolve ways to make robotic shape-shifting look increasingly seamless and realistic in 3D. Extensive location shooting in Hong Kong and China provides a colorful new battlefield as well as an opportunity to cash in on the franchise's second most lucrative market.” She believes a healthy global box office will be the reward.

James Marsh of Screen International agrees: “For audiences seeking the same polished, vacuous grand scale spectacle that has become synonymous with both the series and its director, ‘Transformers: Age Of Extinction’ gives the series a new lease of life.”

Roth Cornet of IGN Movies thinks fans of the original trilogy will be in for a treat: “Lovers of all things explosions, visual effects marvels, and Autobots will be granted a wealth of all of the above, plus a few intriguing and unexpected twists,” though she also concedes, “At a certain point it may start to feel like too much of a good thing.”

At 165 minutes, “too much” seems like a fair assemssment, with Hollywood Reporter's Clarence Tsui chiming in that “the bloat of this latest entry — at 165 minutes, the longest of the lot — suggests that Michael Bay and his team are struggling to rejuvenate the whole premise.”

Over at Australia's The Standard, Matt Neal is definitely not a fan: “It's becoming increasingly difficult to figure out which Transformers movie sucks the most. It's definitely not the first one, which was bafflingly awesome, but as the series continues the first one looks more and more like a fluke and that rarest of beasts — a truly good Michael Bay film. Now the race to the title of Worst Transformers Movie has a new contender to rival ‘Revenge Of The Fallen’ (#2) and the almost-as-bad ‘Dark Of The Moon’ (#3): ladies and gentlemen, presenting ‘Age Of Extinction.'”

See video: ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’ Payoff Trailer: Mark Wahlberg Finds Optimus Prime

But the truth is, critics’ negative reviews have never stopped fans of the franchise from flocking to movie theaters before and probably won't start now.