It took five movies for the Fast and the Furious series to get to what is now a winning formula, the lesson being it’s never too late to get good. It was with that whimsical notion that I entered what would be the fifth Transformers film, Transformers the Last Knight. Maybe after three bad films and one mildly amusing one it might turn out all right. Yet even with lowered expectations that was not the case for this confusing, bombastic film is best avoided and creates a mental note to never watch one of these films again. Find out how it all goes so horribly wrong in the review.
Usually beside the introductory wittcism, my reviews include a plot summary. I won’t bother here. Just watch the trailer below if you must.
Despite a lack of enthusiasm to sum it all up the story is what gives you the tiniest glimmer of hope for Transformers the Last Knight. It’s literally about that Arthur and his knights of the round table. I’m thinking templars instead there is some weird talisman and Merlin controlling a giant robotic dragon. It’s dumb but it’s the right kind of dumb. The movie has plenty of hints of this underlying secret history and eventually get into full blown secret society territory. It’s the most fun to be had with the movie especially when they are the called Witwikkies and even have crazy hair Shia pictures. Yet it doesn’t dwell in this sense of fun for too long.
Soon we move to the more familiar and frustrating beats of a Transformers film. It’s the masculine frat house banter and jokes of the robots, the inconceivable and often incoherent transformer back story, the pretty girls, the slow-motion action and the family melodrama. Some of this has worked before for Michael Bay but that was well back in the nineties. Here it’s painful and often groan inducing. The worst part of it is that there is a whole lot of it too, running at well over two and a half hours.
The Transformers and their role for and against humanity has now become so confused that I’m not sure anyone is actually trying to make sense of the lore. Those who enjoyed the reason that Batman and Superman stopped fighting in Dawn of Justice will truly appreciate the resonance of an evil Optimus Prime and Bumblebee fighting.
But you come to Transformers the Last Knight for the action, right? Well you there is a whole lot of explosions, lasers and space ships. Shame it’s all kina boring. For the most part action is derivative. Special effects that seem familiar from something else that you remember but can’t quite bombard you in a giant cacophony of noise both visually and aurally. If you manage to follow the on-screen confusion you will be surely confronted by the fact that little to none of it actually makes any sense. A series of logical inconsistency covers the whole film. Oh and whoever though submarine action was an exciting move for this movie, got it so wrong.
Surprisingly the acting is passable. Not extraordinary by any means but given what the actors are given to work with, it’s not the worse quality of the movie. Although Anthony Hopkins is both hopelessly over the top and possibly confused about what film he is in. He actually joins a long list of top tier actors who have shown up and done amusing work in the franchise.
It seems almost stupid to write it down but Transformers the Last Knight is borderline offensive. There is the usual vaguely disguised sexism as female characters are both portrayed as idiotic, easy to offend, inappropriately dressed for every given situation yet somehow mean to be brilliant and kick ass. There is of course the clash of the sexes as male and female interact, as what passes for flirting in this film would be considered rude enough to walk away from a person in real life. Yet it’s not until the movie goes into World War 2 revisionist history that it truly goes over the deep end. Yes, you probably picked it Transformers fight the Nazis. Don’t get me wrong, satirical World War Two stuff can work (See Inglorious Bastards). But you need a deft writer and anything resembling subtle or even necessarily funny is missing here.
It hard to actually say whether Transformers Last Knight is actually an objectively worse than anything that has come before. It might be that my tolerance for the cynical efforts that go into making these films has just slowly broken me. Yet this is the first film that I’ve actively wanted to walk out of in a long time.
Transformers The Last Knight Review Cheat Sheet
Transformers the Last Knight reminded of everything that can be wrong with a movie. Loud, dumb, tone deaf and at times even offensive. It squanders a relatively interesting premise and a delightfully campy performance by Anthony Hopkins with inane, illogical and fake action sequences. It has been a long time since I’ve been tempted to leave a cinema part of the way through a film but this was a close call. Avoid at all costs!!!
+ A ridiculously and potentially fun story
+ Anthony Hopkins acting all over the top
-boring and illogical action
-offensive on a number of grounds
-way too long.
-So many other reasons.