Review - 'Transformers: The Last Knight'
I'm getting exhausted just thinking about Transformers: The Last Knight, which is never a good sign for a movie that is meant to be pure entertainment. This 2-hour-and-thirty-minute behemoth is pretty much an amalgamation of all of the worst things that blockbuster film-making has to offer. While Anthony Hopkins ensures that The Last Knight doesn't quite sink below the depths of this franchise's worst offerings (Revenge of the Fallen, Age of Extinction), it still doesn't save this film from being an awful slog.
Transformers: The Last Knight follows Cade Yaeger and a bunch of other randoms who are all trying the get their hands on a mythical staff that is sealed away with the remains of Merlin. Yes, the Merlin from Arthurian legend. This staff is the only thing that can stop a sorceress named Quintessa, who is bent on consuming the life-force of Earth to rebuild Cybertron, the alien homeworld of the Transformers. I think.
Michael Bay's Transformers is one of those franchises that is known far and wide for its mediocrity, yet people (me included) keep showing up to see them in hopes that just maybe they'll get better. I think most moviegoers are willing to take the risk because they know that at least the action will deliver. There's sort of a running joke with me and my friends where we'll watch the trailer for an upcoming Transformers film, agree that it looks bad, and also agree that we'll probably end up seeing it anyway. This is obviously a psychological problem that doesn't just plague us but millions of people around the globe. I can't pinpoint the appeal of these films, because there really isn't one, I think we're just naturally gluttons for punishment.
I was seriously wondering why we do this to ourselves after watching this latest film in the franchise. The Last Knight isn't any worse than the other two terrible films in the franchise, but after sitting through the film I realized it really is just the same damn thing over and over. Being the fifth entry in a franchise that has thrived on re-dressing the exact same stocking of coal also makes it by default; the most unnecessary release.
The story this time around is almost completely incomprehensible. I had such a hard time keeping up with what what going on in this film. I don't even know where to start. There's at least three different groups of characters that we're supposed to keep track of, and none of their motivations are clear. The only thing holding the film together is the fact that everyone is looking for this mythical staff from the King Arthur days. I also couldn't tell you what this artifact does because it's never clearly explained.
The characters and dialogue are also absolutely terrible. I must assume that Michael Bay has some of the best connections Hollywood has to offer because there's actually some great actors in this film. Mark Whalberg returns as the generic hero, Cade Yaeger (yes, that's actually his name). He's actually trying here, even though most of his lines are laughably bad. John Turturro shows up in the most pointless of roles, as does Stanley Tucci. John Goodman and Steve Buscemi also lend their voices to two of the autobots for some unknown reason. The lone good performance here is from no other than Sir Anthony Hopkins, who seems to be really enjoying himself here and is given some honest-to-God funny dialogue to work with. I enjoyed just about every scene he was in and he managed to class-up the good thirty minutes or so of the film he was a part of.
There is also no shortage of pop-culture references, racial stereotypes and product placement in The Last Knight. I was constantly beat over the head with senseless references and insulting humor. There are so many moments in this film that could have been cool if they weren't punctuated by the worst Bay-isms imaginable.
One other bright spot about the film is probably the one you already know: the action looks pretty great and the effects are state-of-the-art. Michael Bay still has some juice left in him when it comes to conjuring up cool-looking action sequences. I'll also say that the finale of this film is much more merciful than the disastrously long and drawn-out final act of Age of Extinction. I also appreciated how they re-worked the original score into some of the scenes towards the end. When those familiar musical cues showed up, I honestly felt a twinge of nostalgia for the first film.
Overall, Transformers: The Last Knight is exactly what you would expect a fifth film in the Transformers franchise directed by Michael Bay would be. It's dumb, not very fun and almost deliberately annoying in the way it crushes its audience into submission scene by scene. There are some action sequences that might make you perk up and Anthony Hopkins is reliable as always, but really, you shouldn't see this film unless you're an absolute die-hard fan of the Transformers world that Michael Bay has buillt.