I liked it.
I again made the mistake of being swayed by the fishing that other critics had made toward the latest Michael Bay-directed blockbuster, and in so went into this movie with the lowest of expectations (like "Battlefield: Earth" low - that's the shit-crammed sewers of low for those of you who aren't aware).
What I got was what anyone should have come to expect after the last two disasters that were considered sequels to what was originally a very entertaining 2007 kid-cartoon adaptation. From my perspective, the action was a little more coherent, the humor was more grounded than the "mom eating the pot brownies" of the second film, and the mythology of the second and third was laid aside for a more simplistic (almost to a fault) storyline that is necessary simply as an excuse to get robots in downtown Hong Kong to cause some unnecessary damage in the "defense" of Earth.
From the start, what I must clear up is what I was referring to as "fishing" by other critics. From the dozen or so reviews I read (only two of which were semi-positive) before I saw the film myself, I felt so many of the critics went in looking for the things they knew they were going to hate from a Michael Bay-directed movie. With that mindset, sooo many things could be criticized and hammered as a negative. There were some cheesy moments, yes, but nothing to take me away from the enjoyment of the mindless action. What bothers me about how many critics presented their reviews of the film was in the strict nature in which they judged the film as an "overly-conservative" near stereotype of a brainless "political right-winger's" perspective on the world. I went into the film without the political mindset, and was pleasantly surprised to see a movie that didn't set itself in any propaganda, other than what someone who goes into the film may be already looking for in their own personal agendas. To judge the film on your own beliefs is your right, but from what I saw on screen is a complete distraction from what could have been a moderately enjoyable experience for anyone not already looking for the king marlin of problems they preconceived. There should be nothing seen as wrong with movie characters flying an American flag on their front porch.
Mark Wahlberg is Mark Wahlberg. If you went into the film to judge his performance, you're a fucking idiot. His performance (even though it isn't bad, especially not "The Happening" bad) was exactly what you'd expect from him in a normal, Mark Wahlberg-esque performance. The cinematography was notably good as it is with many of Bay's previous films, and the editing (with maestro Roger Barton helping out behind the wheel) was more coherent and understandable than the last two films, bringing much of the action into a sense of understanding in terms of space.
The inclusion of the Dinobots was pretty neat, especially in their initial reveal with composer Steve Joblonsky hinting at his "Arrival to Earth" theme from the original "Transformers" during the process (one of my favorite musical cues from the past decade; damn near brings a tear to my eye).
In the end, the only issues I have with the movie was its blatant disregard for human life in the wake of destruction that very easily could have been taken out of the streets of a major city. There was really no reason for the Autobots to invite the action amidst so many lives in danger, but then again, how boring would a giant robot battle be in a dense forest where the only things at stake were the local wildlife and the sanitation of the population's water supply?
From the get-go, I had fun with the movie. Knowing that it was over two-and-a-half hours long going into it did have me checking to make sure my bladder was empty beforehand, but I'm a grown fucking man who can hold my piss and not complain about getting more for my dollar. The time went by surprisingly fast because I enjoyed my Sunday afternoon at the movies.
I enjoyed hearing John Goodman voicing a grizzled, war-hungry Autobot named Hound. I especially liked hearing Peter Cullen's legendary voice behind Optimus Prime once more, and I was extremely happy to not see Shia LaBeouf's douce face for a fourth damn time.