‘Transformers: The Last Knight’ is Another Loud and Incoherent Entry in the Series
At this point, I hate-watch Transformers movies. The first entry in the franchise was released ten years ago and I remember feeling immensely excited for it. Transformers was perhaps my favorite toy growing up and I couldn’t imagine a more fitting director for a live-action version of cars transforming into large robots and destroying things than Michael Bay.
And the first movie turned out to be pretty good. There was still that Bay frat-boy humor and female-ogling bordering on misogyny, but the story was about a boy, his first car and his attempt to impress a girl with fantastical elements around it. You could tell producer Steven Spielberg had an imprint on that first film.
But then came the sequel, Revenge of the Fallen. Due to a writers strike that was occurring, production on the sequel was significantly rushed causing Bay and Paramount to make a $200 million movie without a finished script. And you could tell there was no clear vision.
Revenge of the Fallen runs at a punishing 2 1/2 hours and features even more dumb humor, time travel, two kind-of racist robots named Skids and Mudflap and a giant robot at the end that literally has balls. I’m not kidding.
The third movie, Dark of the Moon, was a little more redeemable, but by the time the fourth movie, Age of Extinction, arrived in theaters in 2014 with a new lead, Mark Wahlberg, many thought the franchise was headed in a new direction.
Instead of re-energizing the franchise, Bay not only made the same movie for a fourth time, he made the worst in the series. Age of Extinction is NEARLY 3 HOURS LONG, features the most blatant use of product placement ever put to film and has a scene where a character defends dating an under-age girl because of some law in Texas that allows such behavior if both were under age when they began dating. I CAN’T MAKE THIS UP!
There’s also the entire third act which is basically one big action scene in China because China is the second biggest film market in the world and accounted for nearly 40 percent of the film’s entire foreign gross.
So my mindset heading into Transformers: The Last Knight was, I’m probably going to hate it, but if I have to see it only once, it might as well be on the big screen.
The good news is, it’s not as terrible as Age of Extinction. It’s also the shortest Transformers movie since the first one. The bad news is, it’s just as forgettable and disposable as the other sequels.
Wahlberg returns as Cade Yeager, the least believable scientist since Wahlberg in The Happening. He’s on the run from the Government as one of the few who still believe Transformers to be our allies.
While out scrapping for parts, he finds an emblem on an old Autobot that once belonged to the Knights of the Roundtable. It was given to them as a gift to help protect Earth.
But of course some bad guys want the emblem because it will lead them to a staff which once belonged to Merlin and is the key to either destroying Earth or protecting it depending on how wields it.
Optimus Prime is supposed to be a key factor in this plot and yet he’s literally in the movie for all of 15 minutes. First he’s bad, then he’s good and eventually gets that last scene speech about protecting Earth and bringing mankind and the Autobots together. When is that going to happen?
Speaking of mankind. Anthony Hopkins shows up in a cough-paycheck-cough role that requires him to either spout exposition or yell at people. Seriously, he’s kind of douchey in this movie.
Laura Haddock plays Vivian Wembly, an Oxford professor and descendent of Merlin and I’m happy to report that Bay doesn’t linger on her attractiveness as much as he did with Megan Fox. She has a little more to do which was a pleasant surprise.
But at the end of the day, Transformers: The Last Knight is yet another loud and incoherent entry on a clunky assembly line designed to sell toys and entertain teenagers.
The set pieces involving Bumble Bee are the most fun, but they’re all just empty calories in a sloppy cheeseburger of a movie.
A writer’s room was created to tackle the script and any future Transformers movies and sadly, they’ve done nothing different with this one. Any semblance of a once decent script has been gutted to include sophomoric humor that lands with a thud every time. They even have Hopkins say “dude” at one point.
Bay has said that this will be his last Transformers movie, but he said that after 3 and 4. Hopefully this is it because no franchise has been in need of a major overhaul than this one. Mission: Impossible and Fast & Furious were eventually reinvigorated. Why can’t this one?