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15 Best Action Scenes In The Transformers Franchise Ranked

When it comes to world-shattering, metal-crunching, gloriously over-the-top action, it doesn't get much better than the "Transformers" franchise. Largely overseen by director Michael Bay, these films tell the story of the noble Autobots teaming up with gutsy humans to take down the evil Decepticons. Of course, what really makes these movies awesome is the sight of car-based robots doing battle everywhere from the streets of Chicago to the deserts of Qatar.

Of course, that makes us wonder — which "Transformers" action scenes are the best of the best? In a series this epic (and this long — these movies have some hefty runtimes), there's an endless amount of Autobot battles and Decepticon carnage to choose from. So we've decided to narrow things down to the top 15 in order to showcase some of the most visually exciting action scenes to hit the big screen in the 21st century. Let's dive into the biggest, gnarliest, most thrilling moments from the "Transformers" franchise, and while we're at it, let's rank them too! (Be warned — there are spoilers below.)

15. Blackout's attack

The first scene of Transformer action in the series is also one of the best. It has to be — it's the moment in 2007's "Transformers" that the Decepticons decide the importance of finding the All-Spark outweighs the costs of remaining hidden, and it's the first time that humans become aware of robots in disguise among us.

What starts out as a stressful but believably human encounter between the U.S. military and an unidentified helicopter quickly turns into a huge battle between the service members of a Qatar base and the Decepticon Blackout. There's heavy gunfire, rockets, and an alien concussion weapon that sends a shockwave through the entire base, smashing glass and sending soldiers flying.

The fact that none of the humans have any idea what's going on and that we don't really get a close look at Blackout makes the entire sequence play almost like something out of a horror or disaster movie more than an action scene, but that just makes the whole thing more thrilling.

14. Bumblebee gets nasty

As with many big-budget action blockbusters, the "Transformers" movies often have multi-tiered finales that include a variety of action scenes. In "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," one of those action set pieces that's just a part of the larger finale is an extended battle between the Autobots — along with their human allies in the Non-Biological Extraterrestrial Species Treaty operations team ("NEST") — and the Decepticons.

"Revenge of the Fallen" introduces a number of new Autobots and Decepticons over the course of the movie, and this major battle shows them go head to head with one another, as well as characters from the first movie. There are of course massive explosions, moments of impact shown in slow motion, and humans doing their best to make a difference in a battle between Transformers. But what's most exciting about this action sequence is the smaller-scale battle within a battle that Bumblebee has with Decepticons Rampage and Ravage.

As Bumblebee is protecting Sam (Shia LaBeouf), Mikaela (Megan Fox), and Sam's parents from an attack by Rampage, Ravage — who's taken the form of a big cat — attempts a sneak attack. But Bumblebee is too quick and literally rips the smaller robot's spine out. It's one of the first moments in the series that showed Michael Bay wasn't afraid to lean into robot gore, and it's simultaneously disgusting and cheer-inducing.

13. The Shanghai sequence

"Revenge of the Fallen" opens with NEST and the Autobots traveling to Shanghai to find Decepticons hiding out on Earth. The sequence begins slowly as the teams arrive at a powerplant where no one seems to be around, but as they zero in on their target, it transforms.

Demolisher, a giant Transformer, comes to life and immediately begins to destroy everything it can reach, including NEST helicopters. As Demolisher gets away, the team has to turn their attention to another Decepticon, Sideways, hidden nearby and disguised as an Audi. The newly introduced RC and Twins give chase, but ultimately, Autobot Sideswipe comes in and slices Sideways in half with one of its blades.

But our heroes can't let Demolisher escape, especially as it does untold damage to the city, using its giant wheels to tear through any and all vehicles in its way. Optimus Prime is dropped from a carrier plane and attacks just as Demolisher, well, demolishes an entire bridge in one of the series' most awe-inspiring explosions. Optimus easily brings down the giant Decepticon, but its destructive run has already taken a toll on the city, while offering fans one of the most exciting action scenes in the franchise.

12. The leaning skyscraper scene

The majority of action scenes on this list center on Transformers fighting Transformers, and there are some that feature humans and Transformers in combat. However, this moment from "Dark of the Moon" is the only one that features humans fighting, well, gravity. The sequence starts off on the top floor of a skyscraper — one being toppled by the invading Decepticons. Unfortunately, our human heroes are at the very top, and the real excitement comes when they decide its time to escape an armed robot.

They leap out of the windows of the leaning skyscraper and begin to slide down the edge of the building at breakneck speed. It's breathtaking stuff, and Michael Bay's trademark chaotic direction makes the sequence feel so immediate that any slight move could mean death ... but no move means the characters will slide right off the edge onto the concrete below.

Sergeant Epps (Tyrese Gibson) has the idea to shoot out the glass of the windows the heroes are sliding down so that they can re-enter the building, but when they fall back inside, they just start sliding across the floor in the opposite direction as the building's lean turns more into a full-on fall. The characters desperately grab at whatever is around, all while avoiding falling office objects, and while most survive, some plummet to their death.

11. The formation of Devastator

This "Revenge of the Fallen" scene begins when a group of trucks and construction vehicles converge on a sandpit, with human characters Simmons (John Turturro) and Leo (Ramon Rodriguez) watching nervously. Simmons knows that something bad is about to go down, but there's no way he could be prepared for what happens next.

The multiple vehicles begin to transform, with these Decepticons (known as the "Constructicons") begin to form one gigantic Transformer. The kaiju-sized Devastator doesn't even allow Simmons and Leo to be scared of how big it is before it begins its first attack. It creates an extremely powerful vacuum in its mouth that draws sand from the desert and every nearby vehicle into its gaping maw. And when the cars enter its mouth, they're crushed and explode out of Devastator's back in a plume of fire and smoke.

It's a truly awesome scene — one of the best in the franchise simply for how big it is.

10. I'll drive, you shoot

Towards the end of "Transformer's" climactic battle in Mission City, Bumblebee has been seriously wounded and has lost his legs. But Mikaela is quick to act and hooks his torso up to a tow truck and gets them both to safety in an alley. But that safety only lasts a moment as Mikaela kicks the tow truck into high gear and speeds back out into the fray, only stopping for a quick moment to turn back to Bumblebee and say, "I'll drive, you shoot!"

It's one of the best lines in the franchise, and it leads into one of the best human-Transformer action moments in all of the movies. Mikaela drives backwards so that Bumblebee can face his enemies, and together, the two rush a Decepticon the human soldiers are unable to bring down. As they drive, Bumblebee unloads almost the entire arsenal of his weapons, but more than that, he has to move the destroyed cars in the street out of their way, leading some classic Michael Bay car flips that are such a small part of the larger action here they just feel like grace notes.

9. The transformium highway chase

As undeniably bad as the name "transformium" may be, the special effects that come from the substance — or rather the human-created Transformers made with the substance — are undeniably cool. "Transformium" is the stuff that all Transformers are made of, but in "Age of Extinction," entrepreneur Joshua Joyce (Stanley Tucci) discovers it can be programmed. Not only that, after mapping its genome, it can be given instruction by humans.

The first action scene we get to see with the newly human-programmed Transformers, Galvatron and Stinger, is a massive highway chase. Galvatron and Stinger are sent after the Autobots by Joyce and his company, but they soon begin to act on their own and destroy cars driven by innocent civilians for fun while engaging the Autobots.

But the real excitement is the way the transformium allows these new robots to transform and re-form. Their transformations are fluid, almost as if they turn into a metallic liquid made up of tiny shards between vehicle and robot form, like when Galvatron leaps across highways by turning into transformium. But more than that, when Bumblebee fires a series of shots that perfectly connect with Galvatron, the transformium robot explodes into bits of metal before simply reforming as a vehicle behind Bumblebee. In the fourth movie in a long-running franchise, the transformium keep things fresh visually and — by allowing for new skills in the antagonists — keeps things exciting narratively.

8. Bumblebee breaking up

The first action scene in "The Last Knight" shows that Bumblebee has picked up some new tricks over the course of the movies and perhaps has even learned something from the transformium Transformers in "Age of Extinction."

Early in "The Last Knight," Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) searches the ruins of the aftermath of the battle of Chicago for any Autobout survivors and is attacked by the newly formed Transformers Reaction Force (TRF). They have him surrounded, and things don't look good. But Bumblebee comes rushing onto the scene in car form, leaps over a hail of bullet fire from the TRF members, transforms ... and falls apart.

He lands on the ground in the middle of the TRF soldiers in several pieces — an arm here, a foot there, and his head staring right at Cade. But it only takes a second before he goes on the offensive with those disparate limbs, almost every single part of his disarticulated body attacking individually at the same time, and he begins to reassemble all the while. It's a great sequence that adds a new attack option for one of the most beloved Autobots, and it manages to combine a viscerally thrilling and visually stunning action sequence with some lighthearted humor.

7. Optimus vs. Dinobots

In "Age of Extinction," as a battle rages in Hong Kong between the newly independent human-made Transformers and Decepticons led by Galvatron, the anti-Transformer Cemetery Wind organization, and the Autobots, Optimus decides that they need reinforcements. He goes to the ship that contains some legendary warriors, the Dinobots, and wakes them up in hopes that they will join the fight for the Autobots.

But they don't immediately jump at the chance to serve as allies, and instead, Optimus takes them on, proving that he can beat them and is a leader worthy of their allegiance. It's an incredible fight scene, not only because we get to finally see the Dinobots in action in both dinosaur and robot form but also because their scale is astounding. Optimus, a very large robot by most measurements, is a fraction of the size of these legendary Transformers.

It's a thrilling, albeit brief fight, that leads the Dinobots to follow Optimus into battle — a battle that only gets even larger in scale.

6. Attack of the giant magnet

After Optimus recruits the Dinobots in "Age of Extinction," the Hong Kong battle turns the Autobots' way, as their reptilian friends devour the new group of Decepticons. There's a brief moment for celebration, and the Autobots and human heroes plan to leave the city and remove the MacGuffin called "the Seed" that the villains want to get their hands on. But then Lockdown arrives.

The bounty hunter's massive ship opens a strange looking weapon that begins to draw all metal objects towards it. But it's not just small metal objects — it's literally everything, from the beams within buildings to entire cars and boats. The giant magnet leads to a widespread destruction that's only made worse when the heroes realize that it's not just picking up all the metal in the city, it's alternating between lifting and dropping these objects, causing massive shipping boats to rain from the sky.

During all this chaos, the movie focuses on our human heroes who are in a car, attempting to not get sucked up into the magnet. It's a sort of chase sequence, but instead of being chased by another vehicle or even a Transformer, our lead characters are trying to escape death and destruction by magnet.

5. Nemesis Prime vs. Bumblebee

The "Transformers" franchise isn't known for its emotional heft. The series is more focused on delivering incredible, over-the-top action sequences that get the audience's blood pumping than delivering heartwarming or devastating moments. But sometimes, those over-the-top action scenes can hit you in the feels, such as the fight between Nemesis Prime and Bumblebee in "The Last Knight."

Optimus has been brainwashed by the powerful Transformer Quintessa and renamed Nemesis Prime as he serves her wishes, including gathering the staff of Merlin (the MacGuffin of "The Last Knight" that will rebuild Cybertron). After Cade and TRF have located the staff in an ancient Cybertronian ship at the bottom of the ocean, Nemesis appears and demands it. Needless to say, the humans seem powerless to refuse and give him the staff.

But Bumblebee pursues his former leader and engages him in a fight as the ship resurfaces. The ship returning to the ocean's surface is already beautifully shot, and the fight between Bumblebee and Optimus/Nemesis is simultaneously thrilling and heartbreaking as we know these two have great love for one another and shouldn't be set against each other. Their fight is brutal, and the sequence is only made more exciting and emotionally difficult to watch as Cade places himself in the middle of the fight and attempts to draw out the real Optimus, who would never fight his old friend.

4. Driller's assault on the skyscraper

While the huge magnet over Hong Kong in "Age of Extinction" may be the biggest scene of chaotic destruction in the entire "Transformers" franchise, we think there's one destruction sequence that's just a tad more satisfying. After our heroes make that skyscraper jump in "Dark of the Moon," Decepticon Shockwave notices (because a body falls in front of him) that there are still survivors in the skyscraper. So he calls on his trusted enforcer Driller to take down the rest of the building.

Driller is a huge snake-like Decepticon with one massive cylindrical central body and several tendrils that it uses to break things apart in its path. It's a frightening and appealing design for a villainous Transformer, a robot that ends up acting more like a kaiju (a recurring theme in the series that's certainly purposeful).

Driller immediately gets to work tearing through the lower levels of the building, and it looks as if it's swimming like a flying fish, coming up and down through the glass of the building. But soon it begins to change its approach and starts to ensnare the building in a massive constriction at the point where it was already beginning to lean. The constriction breaks the final hold of the building and brings it perpendicular with itself before Driller makes a final attack on the building. It's an absolutely thrilling and visually stunning sequence.

3. Age of Extinction's epic car chase

"Ambulance" reminded everyone that Michael Bay is one of our best chase sequence directors. While there aren't too many human-level, cars-following-cars chases in the "Transformers" franchise, we think this one from "Age of Extinction" ranks alongside anything in Bay's career.

After Cemetery Wind attacks Cade's family farm while searching for Optimus, Cade, his daughter Tess (Nicola Peltz), and their friend Lucas (T.J. Miller) flee and are picked up by Shane (Jack Reynor), Tess' secret boyfriend who just so happens to be an incredibly talented rally car driver. They're followed immediately by what Lucas describes as "scary cars" that seem to be military-grade pursuit vehicles. The chase takes them through cornfields, backyards, a small nearby town, and finally an abandoned factory lot at extreme speeds.

Along with the requisite car flips and a thrilling high-speed leap from an upper story of the factory onto a ramp below, the final moments of the chase are paralleled by a fight between Optimus Prime and Lockdown. The fight takes them over the rooftops of the factory lot and includes Optimus making use of a crane to ensnare and hang Lockdown. But perhaps the most visually exciting moment comes when Optimus blocks our human heroes from their pursuers by essentially barrel-rolling over the Cemetery Wind cars.

2. Dragonstorm takes flight

The majority of "Transformers" movies stick solidly in the science fiction genre. After all, they're movies about robot aliens. But "The Last Knight" moves things into a fantasy direction. There's a connection to Merlin and King Arthur, the movie opens with a medieval battle that we learn Transformers assisted in, and the story centers on finding a wizard's staff so that the world can be saved.

But perhaps the most exciting part of the more fantasy-leaning "Last Knight," visually at least, is the inclusion of Dragonstorm. Dragonstorm is a huge three-headed metal dragon formed by the combining of the Knights of Iacon, guardian knights of the staff of Merlin. The knights form into this glorious dragon form in the finale of the "The Last Knight" to participate in the aerial battle that takes place over, under, and between the colliding Cybertron and Earth planets. A three-headed dragon Transformer would be cool to watch in any context, but the total chaos of the final battle in "The Last Knight" makes this one of the most exciting action sequences in all of the "Transformers" franchise.

1. Optimus Prime vs. Sentinel Prime vs. Megatron

When it comes to the "Transformers" movies, the best moments are those that shock audiences with how hardcore these alien robots can get. And the fight between Optimus Prime, Sentinel Prime, and Megatron in the final moments of "Dark of the Moon" remains the most brutal fight in the entire series.

The sequence begins with a thrilling fight between Optimus and Sentinel, who's betrayed his Autobot comrades to work with the Decepticons. Their fight sees Optimus wield a sword and an ax while Sentinel defends with a shield and attacks with a dual-bladed sword that looks like somebody combined two massive box cutters. And we see just how effective this weapon is when Sentinel cuts off Optimus's arm.

But just when things look most bleak for Optimus and Sentinel is about to strike a killing blow, Megatron opens fire on Sentinel. Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley) has convinced Megatron that Sentinel seeks to become the leader of the Decepticons after their victory, and Megatron will not stand for that. As Megatron beats Sentinel, Optimus returns to his feet, and when Megatron suggests a truce, Optimus rips his head and spinal cord from the rest of his body using his ax. As Megatron's parts disconnect, there's a spray of sparks and fluid that's essentially Transformer blood. But that's not the end of the scene, as Optimus then turns his attention to Sentinel and quite literally kills him execution style with a shotgun blast to the head.