I saw Transformers: The Last Knight with some friends yesterday. Here’s my review (SPOILER ALERT):
After seeing 3 sequels, I knew not to expect much from a Transformers film. This 4th one failed hard. The plots of these robots in disguise are really simple: Some group threatens the peace of earth (usually the Decepticons or some other baddie), the Autobots intervene, then save the day. The Last Knight manages to fumble even that most basic of structures by once again trying to ground the Transformers mythology into our own ancient history, specifically the Middle Ages and World War II, then connected those to a present-day doomsday event that somehow involves the most convenient of characters.
There is just too much going on that its hard to catch up. The pacing is horribly slow to a point that some friends I was with fell asleep during some portions. Afterwards, our group had a discussion about what had happened, a testament to how confusing it really was.
Despite the billing of actors like Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, and Anthony Hopkins, the new generation of characters since 2014’s Age Of Exctinction, it is hard to care about them altogether. Since the film is mostly plot-driven, we only get a short glimpse of who they are, and then thrust back into the battle between the Autobots and Decepticons.
To be honest, a movie like The Last Knight is something that doesn’t really shine today in an actor’s resume anymore. It’s quite clear that the actors took this for the paycheck, like Mark Wahlberg for his kids’ college fund. I don’t know why actors of such high caliber – Sir Anthony Hopkins and Stanley Tucci – subjected themselves to this horrid experience, but they clearly don’t care with the way they worked here.
This is the largest cast of human and robot characters ever in a Transformers’ live-action film with 12 humans, 13 Autobots, 3 Dinobots, 7 Decepticons, 12 Knights of Iacon (that turn into a 3-headed dragon), and 1 main antagonist: Quintessa. Just like the story, there are so many characters to wrap your head around you just give up.
The voice acting of each robot character was really spot on, though.
A Michael Bay movie wouldn’t be without a Michael Bay movie without an overabundance of explosions, explosions, and more explosions. Sometimes they’re called for, sometimes they’re totally unnecessary.
Another factor that contributed to this confusing mess is the overuse of slow-mo sequences, too many dramatic close-ups, and changing aspect ratios. Bay’s visual story-telling is at its worst here. My eyes were tearing up because of the visual noise inside the theater. Outside, my friends and I noted that we were experiencing headaches despite being seated at the second to the last row.
The effort to balance being plot-driven and character-focused failed miserably, as most of the action sequences carried the entire film to its very predictable, unoriginal end.
The script writing was absolutely abysmal. The dialogue for the Middle Ages section included some very modern words and sentence structures. The rest was either cheesy, uninspired, or both.
I’ll note positively here that the graphics were visually stunning and the stunt driving in the chase scenes were phenomenal. That’s all I can say about their production value, really.
Transformers: The Last Knight is an example that more does not always mean better. Sometimes it means worse. After seeing 5 of the same films, this is a movie that is hard to care about. Fans of the franchise are also realizing this, with The Last Knight raking in the lowest opening box-office rates in the series.
The biggest reason why Hasbro Entertainment commissions Bay to constantly make sequels is purely to sell Transformer merchandise. They better think of something fresh before people tune out altogether. The first movie was the best. This one was a stinker.
Had I not been treated by a friend, I wouldn’t have watched it with my own money. Do yourself and your friends a favor: Don’t watch this in theaters or cable TV. Spread the word. There’s much better things to do in life than waste it on Michael Bay’s latest film. I’m greatly relieved that this is his last project with Hasbro Entertainment.