Transformers: The Last Knight is everything everybody expected. 149 minutes of wanton destruction and chaos, stringed together by something that pretends to be a story.
Transformers: The Last Knight Synopsis
Optimus Prime returns to Cybertron only to be turned into an Earth-hating menace. Cade Yeager lives with the survivors of Age of Extinction in a junkyard before tasked by a cranky aristocrat to save the world. Megatron pops up here and there to aid in Earth’s doom. And then everything goes boom when Cybertron appears over Earth and begins to scoop the life out of it.
Let me get this out of the way first. I actually enjoyed the previous four Transformers movies.
I didn’t love them, gosh, no. Many parts also made my eyes rolled. But all in all, I didn’t think they were that bad. All else aside, they did feature one of my favourite toy series. One can’t deny the effects were among the best in cinematic history too.
What I’m trying to say here is, even for a forgiving 80s fanboy like me, Transformers: The Last Knight was downright awful. Every flaw in the earlier movies is magnified five times here. The story is also as messy and as nonsensical as ever. Even the addition of Anthony Hopkins to the cast did not add substance or class. In fact, this might go down in Hopkin’s career as his silliest role ever.
And all these boils down to Michael Bay being, in and out, an ads person instead of a movie director. He’s really great with evocative shorts and stills. You know, slo-mo, freeze frames, EXPLOSIONS, and sun-lit scenes i.e. frames that sell something. But task him to tell an extended story, and he’s simply unable and unwilling. A prime example of this is his continued reliance on cheap racial stereotypes to differentiate ubiquitous characters. Any proper storyteller would use characterisation or dialogue for that purpose. But nope, Mr. Bay is only interested in getting this out of the way, and so he opts for the most convenient method. Never mind that it’s borderline offensive, or just professionally lazy.
Worse, I suspect he knows his shortcomings and he’s totally unbothered. He believes more explosions and sunshine would cover up. Perhaps he’s right. The Transformers movie franchise remains incredibly profitable. But like what Peter Travers said, each time Bay directs a new sequel, the movies die a little. For the first time ever, I’m seriously dreading another sequel from him. My favourite Transformer villain, *******, is supposedly in the next episode. I’m really, really hoping that Bay keeps his word about The Last Knight being his last Transformers movie. Please, no more. You have decimated our memories enough.
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