Transformers… more than meets the eye (queue mechanical transformation sound here). The Transformers have been around ever since 1984 as a line of toys that originated as a rip-off of the GoBots, which predated them in 1983. Their ensuing popularity was thanks to a highly obscure US president known as Ronald Reagan who enacted a law that allowed cartoons to be effectively turned into 30 minute commercials for toys. Basically, if you grew up in the 1980s and 1990s and have really fond memories of the cartoons of the period ,but hated the commercial breaks that broke up the episodes… well then, give yourself a pat on the back for ironically enjoying a commercial that was broken up by commercials. It might as well have been a bread sandwich… you know, a slice of bread in-between two other slices of bread?
A certain director called Michael Bay has also caused a massive resurgence in their popularity ever since his 2007 explosion-fest that has since exploded (pun completely intended) into its own expanded universe and no less than six movies with around 14 more stories being proposed for movies (not bad for a bunch of transforming toys…) Simply, it isn’t going away any time soon.
Anyway, the roster of the Transformers is considerable. Being a commercial property of toys, they need to keep on churning out new ones every morning in order to satiate the never ending demand for the toys. There are dozens, if not hundreds of Transformers characters. With that in mind, we have a list of the best… and the worst Autobots, compiled only for your discerning taste, as well as the desire to see what Autobots Michael Bay could prop up in his movies in the future.
15 Best: Jolt
Jolt is a Volt. A Chevrolet Volt to be specific, since, as we all know, not all Autobots can be Camaros. He originally started out in the comics where he was destroyed by the Decepticon Shockwave. His only appearance in the movies is from the Michael Bay flick Revenge Of The Fallen. Whether or not this is a bad thing or a good thing, I do not know.
So what makes this particular Autobot so awesome? What is his greatest moment? His fight scene was an extremely pivotal moment in the movie and he uses his rad electro whips to make sure Optimus Prime gets Jetfire’s spark before he ends up getting busted by Shockwave. He isn’t in much else to speak off, but his off-screen technician skills probably saved the Autobots more than one trip to Best Buy’s Geek Squad and at least 200 dollars in computer repair fees a week.
14 Worst: Broadside
Broadside sounds like an awesome name for a nautical themed Autobot and he totally is. In fact, in theory, he should be an awesome Autobot. He’s both an airplane and an aircraft carrier. I mean aircraft carriers are massive with a crew of around 3,000 people and are generally seen as the symbols of power. So what exactly went wrong here? Why is Broadside one of the worst Autobots out there?
Well for one thing he is… how shall I put this? Hydrophobic. An Autobot who can transform into a massive aircraft carrier is afraid of the thing he must tread and he’s so afraid of water that he is practically useless near it. But that’s not all… he’s also an aircraft and he’s afraid of heights on top of that. It makes you wonder what kind of an airplane he would make if he cannot fly. Double powerful…and double useless on top of that.
13 Best: Grindcore
Grindcore is hardcore. By that I mean he seems really tough and has a name that sounds suspiciously similar to a sex-only dating app that is sure to get some conservatives up in arms about the moral decay of society. The other thing that is awesome about him is his love of Heavy Metal music (which of course he does, with a name like Grindcore what ELSE could you listen to? Slow Jazz?). He’s even a rock star among the Autobots. He got his start in the Titan comics, where he was sent to Earth after the All Spark created some serious mayhem.
For all this, his job lies primarily in construction and he doesn’t actually do much fighting, but the tunes he does manage to crank up more than make up for his lack of combative prowess. Maybe the reason why he doesn’t fight much is because he doesn’t need to. His music and awesome name just intimidate most Decepticons.
12 Worst: Warpath
Warpath is just plain annoying. Instead of talking like a normal Autobot, he prefers to make noises and strange sound effects to tell people what he’s doing or what he wants them to do. He doesn’t make those sound effects like they would actually sound, but more like that they were appearing as words in a comic book. If Warpath was a 1960s Batman character, even Adam West would tell him to shut up and focus on what he was doing.
Speaking of which, he also doesn’t do much paying attention to what he is doing in the first place. He is needlessly reckless and he even has a fully armed gun sticking out of his chest all the time. This not only makes him dangerous, but also terrifying to talk to. Imagine facing someone for a quick chat and realize that he has a cannon pointed right at you and has no way of not doing that unless he’s facing away awkwardly.
11 Best: Jetfire
Jetfire is really, really old. I mean he might be 50 feet tall, but when he is in Transformer mode, he’s leaning on a crane like it’s a walking stick. He’s so old, he can tell you old stories about the good deals before they had organic machine oil, or when the little Autobots were well-behaved and how he never did anything bad (because of course he didn’t… at least he did do a selfie with a giant old-timey camera and post it on Facebook, but that didn’t exist yet).
He is, however, superbly loyal and, in Revenge Of The Fallen, he proves it by sacrificing his spark so that Optimus Prime can take down the Fallen. I’m guessing the Decepticons just couldn’t even handle an old transformer. With age comes experience… and more oil for his machine arthritis or whatever old Autobots get.
10 Worst: Scrounge
Scrounge is a bizarre little creature who seems unnaturally attached to… his arm. I mean he treats it like it is a gift from his grandmother or something, as he's always talking about its uniqueness. He also turns into a wheel when in transformer mode and… well, he’s insufferably annoying. He also tries to be really cool, often fails miserably at that, and he has really no competencies of note. He was even tortured to death in the original comics (after he had his arm violently ripped out).
He continues to live in the IDW continuity. Though they kept his annoying special arm, in those comics he is homeless and has to… scrounge to survive (pun totally intended). The more badass Bumblebee even gives him spare change so that he can buy the things that Autobots need to survive or something. So basically he’s a robot hobo… I’m not even sure how that even works.
9 Best: Brains
If Brains had one less letter at the end of his name, he would be a giant mouse being forced to deal with a stupider mouse who always ruins his plans for world domination. Anyway, he was a small Decepticon who malfunctioned and ended up becoming a good guy. He looks like a gremlin who was fed too much 'white powder' after midnight and left out in a fermentation vat in some brewery, then fell too many times on the face. He looks like the ultimate punk. Even cartoon punks are jealous. He and Grindcore are probably great friends and make lots of music together or something. He’s also really, really small, like an annoying chihuahua.
Anyway, so what was his moment of glory? He, along with Wheelie, save Bumblebee in the battle of Chicago when they hijacked a Decepticon fighter and used it to destroy their battlecruiser. Brains indeed.
8 Worst: Hot Shot
Hot Shot is an insufferable jerk of an Autobot who believes himself to be much better and much smarter than any of the other Autobots. So much so that he doesn’t even believe in teamwork and believes that he can handle any situation on his own without any assistance. As you would expect, he frequently needs to be saved from various messes that he gets himself into as a result of not following orders or working as a team. However, for some odd reason, he still managed to end up being a team leader and you bet he spent most of his time berating others for forcing him to work
It isn’t just his lack of teamwork skills that are the problem. It’s also the fact that he just seems to prefer befriending children. While this might make his character more sympathetic or something, it’s something that Transformers fans absolutely hate. So he’s bad in-universe and destined to the scrap heap in the real.
7 Best: Longarm
Longarm is allegedly the nicest, friendliest, and sweetest Autobot out there. Even on his toy version, he had a shoulder-panel that wrote ‘fast, friendly, fleet’ whatever that means. Anyway, his first appearance is in the Titan Comics, where he is fighting the Decepticons to liberate Earth from their vile rule. He doesn’t have any movie roles as of yet.
In the comics, he is nigh indestructible and, even when he takes serious damage from massive amounts of drones that are charging him, all he needs is a little rewiring and he’ll be back on his feet to fight bad guys again in no time. They need to learn that they cannot escape the Longarm of the Law… sorry for that one.
6 Worst: Landfill
With a name like that, he must be trashy and just plain smelly. You’re right on the second count. Landfill is actually a pretty good Autobot, as a good soldier and a nice person overall. But he does stink, which is not something that is acceptable in any society, even those in fictional universes that have robotic characters as people. The other problem is that he doesn’t even notice this, which probably makes it hard for the people around him to think clearly.
How did he end up like this? There is no explanation ever given for this. Was he created from the ground up specifically as a way of making Transformers just… stink, or have these bizarre flaws?
5 Best: Inferno
Man, we’ve been talking a lot about fighting Decepticons and war is a tragic thing. More often than not, it leads to things like PTSD and other conditions related to it. It’s a tough world they live in and sometimes they need someone to talk to. They have tons of weapon specialists, but any mental health specialists out there? That’s where Inferno comes in. He burns all those bad emotions and assures them that they’re not bad people or some other pep talk that they need every once in a while.
He isn’t in any of the Michael Bay movies, because Michael Bay cannot stand to make anything that doesn’t involve 50 tons of TNT going off at once. He is in the animated movie from 1985 though, where he sacrifices himself by taking a down a building he is standing in in order to defeat a group of Decepticons.
4 Worst: Huffer
Huffer is the opposite of what you think a good Autobot is. He’s a whiny, weak-willed coward. He makes C3P0 look like a stoic, hardcore warrior by comparison and he has no redeeming features whatsoever. The crazy thing is that if he was used as a vehicle for sarcasm and observing the situation, he would make for a good character… but he totally isn’t that, at all. He’s just a really dumb cry-baby.
At least there is one redeeming feature to his character. In-universe, the other Autobots are really fed up with the guy and they’re actually punishing him quite a bit out of sheer spite. In short, they turned him into Private Pyle from Full Metal Jacket, only without the relatable stuff and the lack of a scene where he takes an M14 to his mouth and fires up. Granted that would be really dark. I don’t think even Michael Bay could pull off a scene like that.
3 Best: Drift
Drift is a weird one, so let’s get into the details. He is a samurai, which means he’s razor sharp in battle, and he can change into no less than three different vehicles (the car companies really wanted to make money off this guy). Like Brains, he used to be a Decepticon and he’s voiced by Ken Watanabe. What his voice actor has to do with this, I do not know. But he just seems cool…
Anyway, whatever weirdness he has, he makes up for in sheer awesomeness. For one thing, he rides a Dinobot into battle at one time and, in Transformers: Age Of Extinction, he joins forces with the purple Triceratops Dinobot Slug in order to kick butt.
2 Worst: Sky Lynx
Sky Lynx is a bizarre little robot that is a space shuttle when in Transformer mode. That’s actually pretty badass when you think about it. He’s useful for troop transportation and traveling through space. His only apparent physical weaknesses is that he cannot use his hands because… he doesn’t have any.
So what exactly makes him detestable? He’s… absolutely detestable. He’s arrogant and loves to make others look and feel inferior to him. Any legitimate orders that he receives from his superiors he will balk at and do whatever he can to get on people’s nerves.
I mean just how long could you put up with that sort of behavior from anyone? I sure as heck wouldn’t. Maybe he’s just covering up for a serious insecurity somewhere. I mean he doesn’t even have hands… how does he DO anything that needs doing with hands? That would drive any super intelligent being nuts.
Evac is the new guy of the group, who’s an emergency vehicle (hence his highly appropriate name of Evac). He’s so new to the Transformers universe that he has only appeared in one thing… and as hard to believe as it is, it isn’t an explosion fest by our favorite purveyor of action movie schlock, Michael Bay. He was in a 3D ride called Transformers: The Ride.
So what does this brand new whippersnapper bring to the group? Does Jetfire just annoy him with talk about the good old days of things that never really happened like that? Well, at least in the Ride, he is shown to be an incredibly resilient individual. He goes up against Megatron and survives, and this is even when Megatron is firing missiles at him. He just dodges them and laughs them off like they’re water balloons. It makes me wonder if Michael Bay has got wind of him yet.