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    Transformers: Age of Extinction Review Roundup: Does Mark Wahlberg Improve the Franchise?

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    Summer blockbusters don't always score rave reviews from movie critics, but will Transformers: Age of Extinction break the mold?

    Well, the Michael Bay-helmed flick, now starring Mark Wahlberg instead of Shia LaBeouf, is winning some critics over. Forbes' Mark Hughes calls the fourth flick from the franchise "the ultimate Transformers movie," praising Wahlberg for his "wonderful comedic timing and delivery" and "having an earnestness to his delivery that makes him come across as a likable, ordinary guy."

    Hughes acknowledges the flick, which also stars Jack Reynor and Nicola Peltz, has some "cheesy dialogue," but doesn't see that as bringing the overall movie down.  As he puts it, "...whatever complaints undeniably exist with the quality of the writing when it comes to human characters and emotions, it's equally undeniable that when Bay unleashes the CGI action spectacle, it makes most all other cinematic attempts at global alien destruction appear timid and uninspired by comparison."

    VIDEO: Watch the trailer for Transformers: Age of Extinction

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    Others, however, are not as impressed. The Wrap's Alonso Duraide calls Transformers: Age of Extinction, a "paper-cut on the soul of the movies," dissing what he sees as "macho posturing...casual racism, and sexism" in the flick.  

    The Daily News' Joe Neumaier holds a similar view, calling the movie "an adolescent, headache-inducing mess." He also gets in a jab at the Transformers franchise's former star, saying, "Wahlberg, too, is a more welcome hero than Shia LaBeouf, who starred in the previous films yet here is blessedly nowhere to be seen."

    NEWS: 5 things to know about Transformers hottie Jack Reynor

    Transformers: Age of Extinction Paramount Pictures

    It should be noted, that at 165 minutes, this is a fairly long movie—too long, in fact, if you ask some. The New Jersey Star Ledger's Stephen Whitty writes, "You could watch 2001 and still have four minutes left over. You could watch Gravity, twice, if you skipped the credits. You could probably read Isaac Asimov's I, Robot, cover to cover."

    Fair enough. As Forbes' critic point out, though, "Sometimes you get a better end result by not being pretentious about it and accepting that giant robots that turn into cars is a concept you either get or you don't, and if you get it then you don't need it explained or grounded, you just want the cars to be really cool and the robots to kick a lot of butt."

    Transformers: Age of Extinction hits theaters Friday.

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