Sometimes change is good, sometimes it’s simply frustrating; and somehow Michael Bay’s latest incarnation of Transformers manages to do both.

Rather than reboot the entire franchise Bay instead opts to move forward with a new cast. Megan Fox and Shia Lebouf’s characters now a distant memory as Mark Walberg steps in to fill their shoes. Even most of the original Autobot’s are gone, with only Optimus Prime, Bumblebee and a few others reprising their roles.

Picking up 5 years after the events of Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon, the story resumes with struggling Texas engineer Cade Yeager (Walberg) a widower who is raising his teenage daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz) as she prepares to leave for college. After accidentally stumbling upon a broken down Prime (don’t even bother trying to figure out why a truck would hide inside of an old movie theatre), he decides to take the truck home and repair it himself. And as you can expect, anytime you bring a Transformer into your life, chaos is sure to follow.

Much has changed since the epic showdown against Megatron from the previous film, now dubbed “The Battle of Chicago.” All robots (including the Autobots) are now deemed enemies, with the government switching sides in order to track down & hunt their former metal allies.

For all of his detractions, Bay knows action and he knows how to utilize the strides in special effects to make it look damn good too. He takes absolute pleasure in reducing cities to rubble, every explosion kicking louder and reverberating farther than the last. He also knows what fans of the series want to see; the Transformers. While their human counterparts may fall flat, as they often do in Bay films, Optimus especially steals virtually every scene. Though of course emerging fan favorite Bumblebee is always a joy.

However, at nearly 3 hours long, though there is more than enough action to prevent boredom, the lack of structure will leave many confused; and those looking forward to finally seeing the famed Dinobots will have to wait over 2 hours before they’re actually given a glimpse. Also, while Walberg is nearly universally likable, the banter surrounding the daughter’s boyfriend (Jack Reynor) versus her dad becomes real old, real fast. Jack simply doesn’t have the comedic timing to play a suitable sidekick, and the character that did, (T.J. Miller) barely even lasts to be a contribution. Bay realizes early and often that his mannequin like representations for love interests are central to absolutely nothing, just a bunch of screams and wails about their super underdog father.

Summer movies are given more leniency as it pertains to an actual script, as many are just looking for mindless fun via film. However, Age Of Extinction doesn’t seem to know which direction it wants to go in, starting off as a new age blockbuster before falling back on stale one liners and unnecessary side plots that bring back memories of a bad ’90s flick. The writers for all intents and purposes could have writen dollar signs in form of actual quotes and the reaction would have been the same. Transformers: Age Of Extinction may stick to every bloated Bay argument you could have ever had – and make them even more insufferable.

Tansformers: Age Of Extinction; starring Mark Whalberg, Nicola Peltz, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammar, Jack Reynor; ***, Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, language and brief innuendo