Less Than Meets The Eye: 'Transformers: The Last Knight' Review

Around each new Transformers movie, I go through a self flagellating ritual where I build up resistance, remind myself how bad the others were, remember god is dead and we're alone and then finally, finally see the f**king thing. All of these movies are bad but they're also monstrously successful, and as Werner Herzog said, we must not avert our eyes. So every time another one of these goddamn movies comes out, there I am, sitting in the theater, hoping that this one will be better.

The plot this time around consists of a semi-post-apocalyptic earth (in that some parts of it seem to be going all Fallout and the rest seems to be fine) where Transformers have been banned (like at the end of 3 AND the beginning of 4...why do I know so much about this franchise, what is wrong with me?). Mark Wahlberg's Cade Yeager is wandering around looking for homeless Transformers to bring back to his junk heap (not a euphemism).

But then he gets an amulet from a dying Transformer which drags him into a big mess for the fate of the planet, involving an order of knights descended from King Arthur's round table, the last descendant of Merlin, and a staff which can do...something? Meanwhile, Optimus Prime is still off in space looking for his creators, which goes really badly when he meets a female robot who has some sort of mind control powers.

Also Megatron is in it, but he's not Galvatron anymore, something which the movie tactfully never addresses.
That The Last Knight is bad shouldn't surprise anyone reading this. Of course it's bad. All of these movies are bad, they are bordering on bad by design. But even I was unprepared for the brazen incoherence of this film. They finally managed to cut down the length of this one to under two and a half hours (barely, 2 hours and 29 minutes, still too long but is at least approaching a human length) but they seemed to have accomplished this by carving the movie to ribbons, slicing out every bit of connective tissue, and the end result is complete gibberish.

Not that the stuff I can understand makes me feel super excited about the plot. To put it simply, the majority of it is raw nonsense and what isn't is just weirdly bad. Whether it's saying that Cade is the last knight because he hasn't gotten laid in a while, or stating that a watch, which is naturally a Transformer, is what really killed Hitler (neither of those are jokes or things I'm inferring, both of those are explicit text), the plot has no interest in being anything I can take remotely seriously, even by Transformers standards.

Not that Bay is willing to help keep things coherent. The restrictions on 3D Cameras have forced Bay to calm down a lot from the incoherent heights of Revenge of the Fallen, but that's not the same thing as saying I can tell what the hell is going on. And that's not just in the action sequences: At one point Bumblebee separates from the group (for...some reason) and after an action beat, he's just standing there with them, and I'll be damned if I know how he got there or what he'd been doing in the meantime.

"Am I in this movie?"
"I dunno dude, I got hung up on John Turturro's character being back for no reason."
And of course the movie continues the franchise's history of theoretically including awesome elements but then never actually utilizing them. This time around, the trailers have been promising that Optimus Prime is going to be evil, but just like the Dinobots in 4, don't believe them. Optimus is evil for approximately one fight and everyone forgets it. I'd almost say that his absence means that some other Transformers might get to share the spotlight, but honestly, it's just Bumblebee.

None of the actors are up to the task of saving this, and none of them are really willing to try. Wahlberg is particularly bad, throwing most of his lines out in a petulant whine, which makes him extremely wearing to watch. Anthony Hopkins still has the soothing tones of...well Anthony Hopkins, but his dialogue is so absurd that even Daniel Day-Lewis couldn't make it sound believable, and he's totally and completely checked out. Isabela Moner is actually really solid, especially for a child actresses, but she's only in like 10 minutes of the movie tops. And then there's Laura Haddock who...certainly is in the movie.

I know the eyes changing color is supposed to signify he's evil, but I choose to believe he's a White Walker.
So it's bad, but you knew that. All the Transformers movies are bad. But what really shocked me about this one is how little effort Bay seems to be putting into it. He's always made his bread and butter borrowing from other movies, but this one contains one of the most blatant ripoffs of another movie I've ever seen (and the movie isn't even a year old). It's clear Bay doesn't care about these movies even as a technical exercise anymore (they seem to exist mostly to fund the projects he does care about). And if Bay doesn't care, why should I? And I don't care, why would you want to read this? I might as well end this review mid-sentence, mid-word ev

Elessar is a 27 year old Alaskan-born, Connecticut-based, cinephile with an obsession with The Room and a god complex.