Over a month after the jaw-dropping Super Bowl spot finally comes the first trailer for "Transformers: Age of Extinction," the fourth chapter in the big-screen adventures of the robots in disguise brought to you by the maestro of mayhem, Michael Bay.
While it's officially the third sequel, "Age of Extinction" feels more like a reboot as it introduces some new protagonists, most notably Cade Yeager (Bay's "Pain & Gain" pal Mark Wahlberg), a sort of re-imagined version of mechanic Sparkplug, a featured human character in the original comic book run and animated series. Like Sparkplug, Cade's got money problems but he's an A-list mechanic, specializing in bringing old junkers back to life — like, say, what looks to be a beat-up semi that later appears to be Optimus Prime himself.
From there, we see that the country has changed its attitude toward the Transformers since the events of "Dark of the Moon" (2011). True, Optimus Prime and friends saved the day in the last movie, but at the cost of thousands of lives and the near-destruction of at least one major American city (a billboard proclaiming "Remember Chicago" can be spotted early in the trailer with a phone number (855) 363-8392 you might want to call) — it's probably that massive amount of "collateral damage" that's made alien robots no longer welcome on our planet, whether they're evil Decepticons or heroic Autobots.
"We don't need you anymore," says a bespectacled Stanley Tucci, one of the fresh additions to the cast. And fellow newcomer Kelsey Grammer ominously intones, "A new era has begun. The day of the Transformers is over."
The stage is set for the Autobots to redeem themselves in the eyes of humankind, with series favorite Bumblebee getting in on the action as a new 2014 Concept Camaro. Optimus Prime has received a complete overhaul as well: his truck mode is a custom-built semi from Western Star, and his robot form — seen here in an exclusive new character banner — is sleeker and more streamlined than before (and with a much bigger sword).
However, what's most exciting are the looks at the new recruits, which include Crosshairs (the green guy with the double-guns and double-parachute who reportedly transforms into a 2014 Chevrolet Corvette C7 Stingray) and a red Autobot who might be either Cliffjumper (who was recently voiced by "Pain & Gain" star Dwayne Johnson on "Transformers: Prime") or even Hot Rod (the main protagonist of the 1986 animated feature, "Transformers: The Movie").
There's also a very fleeting look at what looks to be the new main Decepticon baddie. Our guess is it's Galvatron, who in some continuities is an upgraded version of Megatron — as the Decepticon leader met his maker at the end of "Dark of the Moon," this makes for a strong possibility, especially considering the scene where he appears to transform into a giant laser cannon that blasts Optimus in the chest.
However, all of this pales in comparison to the looks at the most anticipated new characters of "Age of Extinction": the Dinobots. You get a pretty good glimpse of Strafe, a two-headed pteranodon seemingly based on Gen One Dinobot Swoop (but named after a Technobot)... and at Grimlock, the mighty T-rex who's not so mighty after Optimus Prime's backhand sends him flying through the air and crashing to the ground.
Finally, one of the biggest stars of the trailer is director Michael Bay himself. His fingerprints are all over this, from the backlit low-angle shots of ominous figures emerging from vehicles, to frequent appearances of the American flag, to new starlet Nicola Peltz scolding Wahlberg while wearing super short shorts and platform wedges (the perfect wardrobe for living down on the farm, no?).
Really, Bay's right at home with this stuff. He was going to throw in the towel on the whole "Transformers" series after "Dark of the Moon," though we learned during our set visit that he came back to the fold after going to Universal Studios on a whim and being surprised and inspired by the long line for the awesome "Transformers" ride. He also said he had a great time working with Wahlberg on "Pain & Gain," who surprised the director by being open to joining the "Transformers" series. And he admitted to not being overly impressed with the recent crop of summer movies... particularly the ones with robots.
"Transformers: Age of Extinction" opens June 27.
Kara Warner contributed to this article.