"As is to be expected the Transformers look incredible, and the climatic end sequence, leads in nicely to the inevitable fifth instalment"

As a lifelong Transformers fan, since numero three thundered onto the big screen a sense of anticipation had been building for the fourth instalment. It's a franchise one knows exactly what experience one can expect to be handed to them on the proverbial silver platter.

Whilst a lot of people will needlessly rip this film apart, this writer has chosen to look at it from a different perspective and before going into the film I posed three questions:

1. Will it be effects heavy and push the boundaries of special effects?

2. Will robots kick the crap out of other robots?

3. Will I have fun with this film?

Channeling my inner Texas Rattlesnake or Film Critic 3:16 the answer to all three questions was a resounding 'Oh, hell yeah.'

So after a brief digression lets begin. Transformers: Age of Extinction is set five years after the events of Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which left Chicago devastated by the foiled invasion of the Decepticons. Bill boards and TV broadcasts are ever present and urge citizens to report any alien activity, and to remember Chicago, as this is not a reboot, it is a continuation. The events of Transformers: Age of Extinction open in Texas where we are introduced to Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg), a down on his luck inventor and robotics engineer, his assistant Lucas Flannery (T.J. Miller), and his young daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz). All are living their lives until Cade and Lucas happen upon a beat up truck that turns out to be Autobot leader Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen). But it is only when the CIA are tipped off about the whereabouts of Optimus Prime, who under the direction of Agent Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammar) despatch the Cemetery Wind kill squad to destroy the Autobot leader that their lives are turned upside down.

Whilst there is a lot going on and some will inevitably see Transformers: Age of Extinction as bloated and messy, the motivations of all the characters are clearly defined giving it a sense of order and direction. The humour has been scaled back in this current installment, allowing for more development with the remaining Autobots whose voices match their personalities. Also in the previous instalments in the franchise, there was an emphasis on the love story between the leads. This time around this has been replaced with the camaraderie of friendship between Cade and Optimus, with the love story between Tessa and Shane dropping off into the background.

As with the previous instalments of the franchise, Transformers: Age of Extinction builds to a climatic and jaw dropping final act, which sees the inclusion of the fan favourite Dinobots. From the excitement of this introduction, when all is said and done it just feels that these were underused and in my opion was the only thing to taint the experience of Transformers: Age of Extinction. Although none of their screen time is wasted, more rather than less would have been desirable.

The cast are all on fine form. From Grammer's menacing and authoritative Agent Attinger, Reynor's Shane and Peltz's Tessa played their part well, and the supporting cast led by Stanley Tucci's Joshua Joyce and Sophia Myles's Darcy Tirrel and international favourite Bingbing Li who on a couple of occasions shows that she is more than just a pretty face, however it is Wahlberg who takes centre stage, and through his actions, renews Optimus's faith in humanity. Frank Welker deserves mention, who returns to the franchise to voice Decepticon leader Megatron reborn as Galvatron that sees a departure from the source material of the origin story. Despite this, the portrayal on screen detracts from any criticism.

As is to be expected the Transformers look incredible, and the climatic end sequence, leads in nicely to the inevitable fifth instalment, there are plenty of the large scale set pieces as expected - including the "chase from hell" promised by Michael Bay.

With 3D common place now, Transformers: Age of Extinction utilises it well here, emphasising the parts that benefit from being emphasised. It is not just the effects laden Transformers action set pieces that make good use of 3D, but in addition the few occasions where the humans fight hand-to-hand with each other that are engaging and well constructed.

Avoiding spoilers, the only thing left to remark on is that the way Transformers: Age of Extinction concludes, a sign is offered that this is the start of a very promising new trilogy.