Monday evening, I attended the press screening of ‘Transformers: The Last Knight‘. Now, I grew up with Transformers. I watched the cartoon series every weekday when I came home from school, I had the toys, I saw the 1986 movie when it came out in the theaters and I still, to this day, own the entire run of Marvel Comics 1 – 80 with all of the specials, crossovers and 3-D issues. When a live-action film was announced back in 2002, I was intrigued. When I finally saw it, I was crestfallen. And each time a new installment of the franchise comes out, it’s like Michael Bay himself is stripping away another layer of my soul. With all of that said (because I believe in full disclosure) this latest entry of the franchise may be the very worst ‘Transformers’ film yet. I wish I was kidding. And BTW: I would say that this review might contain spoilers if not for the fact that nothing I tell you could possibly spoil this movie any more than the studio already has. Let’s begin:
The story opens during Medieval times with a epic, fierce and fiery battle. I was hoping this would be a story involving possible time travel like the comics did in issues #33 and #34 and perhaps even lead into a Hasbro Cinematic Universe by bringing in ROM The Space Knight in some fashion. The always fabulous Stanley Tucci shows up again (just a cameo this time around) as the “wizard” Merlin begging a Transformer for help in battling the enemy army of King Arthur. The Transformer gives him a staff that will allow him to control a Transformer dragon. We then jump ahead to present day and the whole movie quickly devolves into what can only be referred to as “explosion porn”. I won’t give you the blow-by-blow but we are introduced to some new characters (Isabella Moner, Laura Haddock, Anthony Hopkins, Santiago Cabrera) sprinkled in with the familiar faces (Mark Wahlberg, Glenn Morshower, Josh Duhamel, John Turturro). All of these actors are phenomenally talented people and do as good of a job as they can within the film, but sadly, the writing and dialogue are such that they merely insist that “this person cares about this person” and “a bond is now formed between these 2 characters” and “this group are now uneasy allies”, etc, without ever letting it happen or even giving the actors time to emote anything which translates to the audience never truly being invested in any of it. The film hurries along during it’s 2 hour and 30 minute run time but because everything is so rushed and jumbled you get the impression that a lot was left on the cutting room floor including a coherent plot. If you can overlook ALL of that and just decide that you want to spend nearly 3 hours of your life on mindless “fun” and watching stuff get blown up, then this is the film for you. Allow me to go full “Stefan” on you for a moment and tell you all the things you’ll see in this movie:
Knights, Vikings, Submarines, Nazis, Aston Martins, robotic ninja butlers, jet fighters, abandoned churches, drones, poor attempts at humor, car chases, pyramids, bullet time, space battles, zero gravity environments, secret passages, Anthony Hopkins giving people the middle finger, children being sassy and the love child of BB-8 and Wall-E. Oh, and did I mention that Earth is Unicron? Yeah… Just to give you an idea of how bad this movie is, Cybertron is moving towards Earth with the intention of merging with it. Mind you, according to the film, only the final event of the merge will be what kills people. No mention is given to the fact that a large celestial object being in Earth’s atmosphere would cause massive cataclysmic damage as gravity goes haywire and the tides sweep over the land, etc. Heck, even the 80’s cartoon episode “The Ultimate Doom” took basic physics into the equation when this same thing occurred. But nope! It’s a bright sunny day as the military fighters attack the focal point of Cybertron’s energy transfer just a few miles above Stonehenge.
In one of the more ridiculous scenes (which is saying something), Josh Duhamel and Megatron meet with a group of lawyers to negotiate which of the Decepticons the U.S. Government is willing to release to help them track down Mark Wahlberg’s character. We end up getting a ‘Suicide Squad‘-esque ripoff as an introduction to these Decepticon characters, one of whom was imprisoned for bank robbery. <eye roll> Basically this movie resembles something that a group of 14 year-old boys made while hopped up on Red Bull and Fun Dip in order to entertain a group of 10 year-old boys. Of the films I’ve reviewed so far this year, I’d actually put this one below ‘Baywatch‘ and only give it a score of 3 out of 10. If you’re somehow invested in this franchise, if you’ve sat through the last 4 and want to continue your streak or if the A/C in your home isn’t working and you just need someplace cool to sit for a few hours without the need to think about anything, then please, go see this film. Otherwise, you may want to give this one a very: