Let’s clear this fact up before we start this review. Michael Bay doesn’t care. He doesn’t care about you and he most certainly doesn’t care about making a good movie. Michael Bay views the audience that sees these movies as walking dollar signs and the only reasons he continues to make Transformers movies is to make money. Ever since the barely passable first movie, we have gotten the same story and set pieces thrown up on screen for the past ten years which keeps on getting eaten up by movie goers. Whether its the pain inducing annoyance of “Revenge of the Fallen”, the snooze fest that was “Dark of the Moon”, or the complete utter lack of even trying to make a coherent script that was “Age of Extiction”. It has been clear for a long time now that these movies are just made for Paramount executives to afford a third vacation. And you know what, “Transformers: The Last Knight” is no different and makes no stride to even attempt to be a good movie. So why don’t we stop stalling and dive right into this 10,000 pound pile crap shall we.
In 484 AD, King Arthur’s knights fight against the Saxons. While this battle is happening, Merlin the wizard makes a pact with the twelve guardian transformers. The transformers give Merlin an alien staff which he uses to create a robot dragon to win the battle. In present day, transformers are now banned from earth and the US government is hunting the last remaining transformers down. Also, Cade Yeager, played once again by Mark Wahlberg, is leading a pro transformers resistance to protect against the US and has become a fugitive. Also, a transformers historian (yes, that is actually a thing in this movie) named Sir Edmund Burton, played by Anthony Hopkins, informs Yeager that he is The Last Knight and must help guide the last descendant of Merlin, an Oxford professor named Vivian, played by Laura Haddock, to the location of the staff of Merlin to prevent the destruction of earth by the decepticons. ALSO, Optimus Prime, who has been floating in space since the end of the last movie, ends up landing on his home planet and is tricked into destroying earth to build a new home world. Considering it took me seven sentences to give a synopsis of this movie, it should come as to no surprise that this film is incredibly bloated. Paramount said that they hired a writers room to come up with plot ideas for this movie. This can sometimes be a good thing, but instead of Michael Bay taking one of those ideas and trying to tell a good story around it, he just decided to take four of them and try jamming them all together. There plot lines that are introduced in one scene and aren’t picked back up for close to an hour and half later. And its not like time has passed, oh no, they literally pick back up as if only ten minutes have passes since we cut away. This movie is about giant robots fighting each other, there is absolutely no reason why the plot has to be this convoluted. But it’s ok, because a movie with a weak story can often be saved if its characters are memorable and likable, so how are the characters in this movie? It’s a Transformers movie, what do you honestly expect? Every character in this movie is one note. They don’t go anywhere farther than their one single personality trait that the writers decided to give them. They aren’t characters, they’re caricatures. You have the the hero, the wise old man, the hot girl, the nerdy scientist, the pointless sidekick, and so on and so on. They aren’t memorable or relatable in any way shape or form and just exist to move the plot from point A to point B. This also carries over to the actual transformers who also don’t have any real three dimensional personalities. Also, it should be noted that just like with Skids and Mudflaps in the second movie, there is another robot in this movie that can easily be considered racist. My biggest complaint with these movies is that we don’t have a single character to get attached to, human or transformers. And if we don’t have anyone in the film to become attached to, then why would we as an audience care. Also, just like any transformers movie, this film is way longer then it has any right being. There is no reason why these should be longer than an hour and forty five minutes, but Bay continues to stretch these movies out to become two hour and a half movies. If you can’t make a movie about robots fighting each other shorter than two hours, then you do not understand the concept of pacing.
Despite this movie making no sense from a narrative and script point, it fairly obvious that the writing is not what Bay has in mind when he makes these movies. His main objective with these movies are huge set pieces and action scenes. However, I can confidently say that this movie is awful even from a technical level, which isn’t something I can necessarily say about the other movies in this franchise. “The Last Knight” will make has made me appreciate so many small movie making techniques that I used to take for granted. For example, throughout the entire movie the aspect ratio keeps changing every thirty seconds. To explain this, do you remember how Christopher Nolan used IMAX cameras to film “The Dark Knight” so during the batmoble chase sequences the camera widened giving a greater sense of scale in these scenes? Well imagine that, just have it occur throughout the entire movie and use it places that are completely unnecessary. There are scenes where it is literally just two characters having a conversation while the screen keeps widening and shrinking between shots. It becomes incredibly distracting after the first couple times and leaves you with a giant head ache for the remaining two and a half hours. Another concept that originally thought was simple that this movie completely disregards are establishing shots. For those of you who don’t what an establishing shot is. it is a shot in a movie that is there to set up context for a scene by showing the location, time of day, and characters that are in this area. Up until the last thirty minutes, there isn’t a single establishing shot to be found in this movie. There is a scene where Optimus Prime lands on what can only be described as a space station. When he lands, I originally thought that he was monologuing in a very odd situation. But a minute later, we cut to character that he has been talking to this entire time, completely changing the purpose of the scene. Then, as these characters continue talking, we learn that they aren’t on a space station, but on an abandoned planet. The way this is brought up implies that we were just supposed to know already that they were on a planet, but with the lack of establishing shots, you are left incredibly confused. It should also be noted that this movie is lit horribly. Many scenes are often so bright that you have to squint just to see what is going on. Also, just like any Michael Bay movie, expect to see a a million explosions before this movie ends. Michael Bay loves explosions the same way Zack Snyder loves slow motion and how JJ Abrams loves lens flares. Bay puts explosions in any possible instance that he can and other instances where it sis totally unfitting. Sure, its kind of cool the first five times you see something blow up, but it eventually starts getting very old very quickly. Does the action itself look good? Sure. Michael Bay obviously knows how to film a good action scene and for the first time ever in a Transformers movie, you can actually tell the transformers apart from each other. What Michael Bay has proven that he doesn’t know how to make is good comic relief. And in this movie, I saw some of the most forced and painful jokes I have seen in a while. There is a scene where a girl is speaking with Cade and says “my name is Izabella with a Z” and then Cade says “I don’t care if you spell it with an S, a hashtag, or a dollar sign”. That is the level of humor you will see in this movie. It seems as if whatever chance this movie had at being good was squashed by Michael Bay saying “that’s great, but what if we tried this!”. And it shows because even in the technical aspects where these movies usually shine, it is missing some of the key components to making a flowing competent movie. Anyone who gave even cared just a little bit would know to not change aspect ratio mid scene. But then again, it’s pretty clear that Bay isn’t interested in making good movies and would just like to afford buying a fourth yacht.
One could compare the Transformers movies to Taco Bell. It’s not good for you, you’re going to feel sick after eating/ walking it, there are far tastier/better alternatives, and people still keep coming back. And while I wouldn’t say this is the worst movie in the franchise, for that honor goes to “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”, “The Last Knight” is still a terrible movie that helps reinforce the notion that Transformers movies are the epitome of bad blockbusters. It feels like Michael Bay took all of the individual bad aspects of the other movies in the series and combined them into this heap of garbage. There is nothing quite as annoying as the wrecking ball testicles in “Revenge of the Fallen” nor is there anything quite as stupid as the thirty second Bud Light commercial in “Age of Extinction”, but there is still plenty of annoying and stupid to go around in this film. Overall, “Transformers: The Last Knight” is a nonsensical, bloated, and innate film that is horribly written, overly complicated, and just downright idiotic. Thankfully the box office for these movies have been going down domestically in the U.S. However, with the increase in foreign box office for these movies, we won’t be saying good bye to this series anytime soon. If you are an aspiring film maker, you may want to watch this movie just to see how not to make a movie. But other than that, don’t watch this movie in the theatre, don’t watch it on T.V, just don’t watch it anywhere. This is definitely a movie that should permanently remain in disguise.