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Transformers: The Last Knight Review

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It’s been ten years since Michael Bay put his own explosion heavy spin on Transformers, and while the hardcore fans of Hasbro’s toys that turn into other toys hate Bayformers more than Garfield hates Mondays, the four movie ride was enjoyable for the most part, despite some ups and downs (racial insensitivity, objectification of women, ludicrously long runtimes. Y’know, the Bay trademarks). Now, the Master of Bayhem is ready to take his leave of the franchise with The Last Knight, but rather than bidding farewell with a bang, he delivers an incomprehensible mess of everything his critics lambast him for that will fill you with dread when you realise Paramount wants to spin a shared universe off this pile of garbage.


The story is business as usual: there’s an ancient McGuffin (in this case an artefact that reaches back to the time of King Arthur) the bad guys want, the Autobots and Mark Wahlberg’s Cade Yaeger have to stop them, and the military are stuck in the middle. Cue explosions, shed loads of special effects, and vague attempts at humour. The only difference here is that it makes even less sense than what came before, making the bloated 149 minute runtime that much more unbearable. Throwing in an ancient prophecy (isn’t there always one of those?) and delving into the secret history of the Transformers on Earth, it trips from one plot point to the other with no real rhyme or reason as if the writer’s room assembled for the Transformers shared universe just wrote down whatever popped into their heads. If you actually enjoyed the series so far, prepare to have your intelligence insulted as everything that has come before is completely contradicted or made null and void as the movie bends over backwards to squeeze even more milage out the concept (and I know that continuity is anyone’s real concern with these movies, but there are some major reveals here that immediately fall apart under any type of scrutiny that came off as just plain lazy). Just to compound the movie’s problems even more, Bay has decided to present the movie is three different aspect ratios. This is nothing new, but while this practise is usually used to make action scenes pop that much more, Bay will cycle through them in one scene of just two people talking, the ratios changing what feels like every two minutes. It soon grates heavily on your nerves, and makes watching the movie a massive chore.

After an hour of exposition, The Last Knight finally kicks into high gear with some state of the art special effects and impressive action, and Bay plays to these strengths as you would expect him to. Too bad that after the first set piece we’re treated to, you’re hit over the head with another 30 minute deluge of exposition. The characters don’t help matters at all, with Wahlberg imbuing Yaeger with all the spirt and enthusiasm of an actor just waiting on a paycheque. The returning Josh Duhamel, John Turtturo and Stanley Tucci (oddly NOT playing his character from Age of Extinction) sleepwalk through their roles, and newcomers Anthony Hopkins, Isabela Moner, and Laura Haddock struggle with the weak script. Hopkins is especially cringe worthy, coming across as a hip (in his own mind) dementia patient.


The much ballyhooed heel turn from Optimus Prime that is plastered over every piece of advertising doesn’t add up to much more than a cheap gimmick, with the character having a grand total of 20 minutes of screen time. The rest of the digital cast do look spectacular (a giant junk bot voiced by Steve Buscemi is especially impressive), but the cast of Transformers is so bloated that characters just drop in and out of proceedings. The movies big bad, Transformers creator Quintessa, makes no impact whatsoever. The returning Decepticons figure heavily into the movie’s first act then disappear until they are hastily reassembled for the finale. Even the Autobots, the heroes of the piece and the things the movie is named after, don’t get much to do, with much of the story revolving around Wahlberg. I know this has been a major factor in the Bayformers so far, but at least he tried to hide that fact before. Now, it’s like he does;t even care anymore.

Bloated, incomprehensible, and downright insulting, Transformers: The Last Knight takes every bad thing a Summer blockbuster can be and do, and turns it all the way up to eleven.






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The Movie Bit: Transformers: The Last Knight Review
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