New ‘Transformers’ Trailer: Optimus Prime, Mark Wahlberg Enter Beast Mode

Transformers: Age of Extinction

Source: Paramount Pictures

You already know whether you want to see the new Transformers or not; nothing in this trailer will change your mind. You either want to give Michael Bay your money and watch robots smash into other robots and destroy another metropolitan area, or you don’t.

The articulate Michael Bay has made a career out of explosions and slow-motion wreckage, and moviegoers arrive in droves. His second film, The Rock, featured a typically dedicated turn from Nicolas Cage and a typically badass Sir Sean Connery; it remains his best film because of the startlingly good cast — Ed Harris, Michael Biehn, William Forsythe, Tony Todd, an uncredited Philip Baker Hall who would have a late-career revival in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Hard Eight that year — and because Quentin Tarantino and Aaron Sorkin both contributed some zingers to the screenplay. (Someone should have paired Connery and Tarantino a long time ago.)

After The Rock, Bay moved on to bigger and bigger productions: He went into space with Armageddon, one of two films in which Bruce Willis died in 1998, and by far the lesser of the two; he used Pearl Harbor to tell a Ben Affleck love story in Pearl Harbor; he did Bad Boys II, which might be the apex of his pre-Transformers blockbusters; and he moved on to producing remakes of classic horror films, like Texas Chainsaw Massacre and A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th. If Rob Zombie hadn’t beaten him to Halloween, he’d probably have done that, too.

But the Transformers films have been Bay’s main focus since 2007. (Steven Spielberg served as exec-producer, which goes to show how little an exec-producer has to do with anything.) The series has been phenomenally popular; the Transformers brand was, contrary to the myriad fans’ proclamations, a children’s joke in 2007, and now, in 2014, it’s currently the twelfth highest-grossing film series and the fourth highest-grossing when averaged to gross per film.