Transformers: The Last Knight wasn’t terrible and I’m kind of pissed off about it.
After sitting through all four previous Paramount Transformers films over the weekend leading up to my screening of #5, I was all ready to write this one off too. I was shocked at how ‘adult’ the first film was, the casual cursing and tiny robots humping Megan Fox’s leg, lending to why I think these movies just never resonated with me. Out of the first 4, Transformers: Dark Of The Moon was the clear winner for me, the best plot and easily the most sense-making moving parts of the franchise. Until Last Knight.
I was expecting this to be incredibly convoluted and stupid, with barely any semblance of a plot, because hell, that’s kind of par for the course in these films. You KNOW you’re in for a 2+ hours giant robot cgi slugfest, but you don’t always expect the addition of King Arthur to work. Does it? Kind of.
The story of The Last Knight covers the same old ground, the death of Transformers home planet Cybertron and their arrival on Earth. Only now, Arthur’s trusty drunkard mage friend Merlin (Stanley Tucci) made friends with a Transformer knight, and was given a powerful staff that belonged to the grindylow creator of the race of space robots, Quintessa (played by Gemma Chan). This staff allowed Arthur and his knights to defeat the invading hordes, as well as the other transformer knights who morphed into a freaking three headed dragon. Seriously, I could be all “this is stupid” about the first five minutes of the film, but I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the robotic firebreather taking out the bad army in Michael Bay-esque explosion porn.
The film then goes to the modern day, with Mark Wahlberg’s character from Transformers: Age of Extinction hiding out from the newly created government task force set with rounding up any/all transformers be they Autobots or Decepticons. There are few good guys left, and Optimus Prime is out in space somewhere searching for his maker. Stuff isn’t so good at home, and suddenly giant scary ‘horns’ start showing up across the globe, signaling (all hail) Megatron to get his band back together to try to destroy Earth. Again. By bringing Cybertron to Earth. Again. And enslaving the human race to rebuild it. Again.
Score: 3.75 out of 5, viewed in IMAX 3D, highly recommended for visuals
The Good: The Last Night has pretty much everything you’d expect from a Transformers film, but for once, a plot that doesn’t make you audibly ask “what the frak” in the middle of the theater. Anytime you put Sir Anthony Hopkins in a film, I’ll usually enjoy it more, because I love him. No really, I LOVE him. And in this case, you pair him with a mouthy 4 foot tall gilded manservant transformer voiced by Mr. Carson (Jim Carter) talk about his favorite earls and polishing the silver I’m going to have a good time. Also, it’s worth noting that Laura Haddock (Starlord’s mom, you guys) turns in the single best female character performance in the franchise yet. Yes, I know that’s not saying much, and although yes, she’s got some pretty objectifying moments, she’s believable and smart (as much as she can be in this film). And it’s always nice to have Josh Duhamel running around.
The Bad: Clocking in at 149 minutes, once again a Transformers movie makes you question if you really should have gotten that extra large soda. The editing in the first modern day act of the film needed another pass, Isabela Moner’s character “Izabella” with a Z yells the same exact line of dialog twice within a 1.5 minute span while running through a war-torn cityscape that looks like the set from Terminator: Salvation, complete with the two legged hunterkillers. There are A LOT of jumps in the action that don’t have cohesive flow, you’ll see what I mean when you see the film. Because I know you’ll see the film, that’s partially why there’s 5 of these damn things, because they make cashmonies like WHOA.
All in all, I was more surprised than anyone in my party that I didn’t outright hate Transformers: The Last Knight. It delivers exactly what it advertises it will, another story in the Transformers saga but somehow tied into King Arthur and his legends. Director Michael Bay has once again PROMISED this is his last film in the franchise, and if it is, he goes out on a high note. But its’ worth mentioning there are plans in the works for a Bumblebee spinoff solo film, and I shit you not, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura has compared it to The Iron Giant. Thems fightin words.
Transformers: The Last Knight opens worldwide on Wednesday, June 21st 2017.