I can’t remember a weekend that wasn’t spent in front of the tv watching the latest action figure cartoon. I’m so glad I had a brother who fought and won the remote control. It meant he could watch whatever he wanted to and that usually meant something like GI Joe or The Transformers.
Best thing Michael Bay ever did was bring that legacy back to life these past few years. I always marveled at my main metal dude aka Optimus Prime. I wanted to be a leader like him. All tough with skin as thick as chrome.
Optimus Prime is every child’s hero. Every friend’s bestie, every wife’s knight in shining armor, and every employee’s leader. I like him best as a leader. Forging forward, taking hits along the way and un-relentless in his pursuit of all that is just and right.
Optimus is Vulnerable
He wore his heart on his sleeve and wasn’t afraid to show others that he was either angry or at a loss. This movie showed that angry side much more than other times. He was ready to throw in the towel in complete distrust of humans. And he certainly wasn’t above listening to the wise counsel of Yaeger (played by Mark Wahlberg). Here he was THE Prime taking advice from a “puny” human. Gotta give it to any leader who isn’t afraid to express his frustration and isn’t above hearing others out.
Optimus is Purposeful
There was no deviating from the plan. They had to get the Seed away from Lock Down and the host of other bad guys who were out to destroy the world. He didn’t like that he still had to work with humans up to a point. That scene where we are finally introduced to the infamous Dynobots was all about convincing the pessimists of the world that this job needed to be done. Leaders tussle in the dirt with one thing in mind–getting the job done.
Optimus is Sacrificial
In the end Prime knows he can’t expect to remain on earth with a bounty on his head. No one ever wants to talk about the risks associated with being at the helm of the ship. There are challenges that can bring a leader low and there times when walking the plank will have to be a solo trip. It is a measure of a leader to take one for the team.
How I wish Bay and Spielberg would take another swing at this dynastic theme but I kinda like that “left waiting in the wind” feeling. As he jets off into the universe, you know Prime isn’t finished with his work. There’s more to do. There is a sense of optimism as he leaves his team behind to care for the humans that caused so much personal pain. He chose to fight through his personal angst and has no regrets as this chapter in his life comes to a close.