UK Release Date: 22nd June 2017
Runtime: 149 minutes
Director: Michael Bay
Writer: Art Marcum, Matt Holloway, Ken Nolan
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Laura Haddock, Anthony Hopkins, Josh Duhamel, Peter Cullen, Jim Carter, Stanley Tucci, John Turturro, John Goodman
Synopsis: In a bid to avert global destruction, a magical staff buried centuries ago must be recovered and wielded against the forces of Cybertron – who are coming to take out Earth.
Here we are again. Four years after Age of Extinction delivered the nadir of the Transformers franchise, Michael Bay has somehow managed to reach new depths of lame-brained, knuckle-dragging stupidity. In reaching for an “epic” feel, The Last Knight spans centuries of Earth history and delivers a plot so incomprehensible that you need a degree in Bay-ology to even come close to grasping what is happening on the screen. It’s filmmaking at its most incompetent and with utter contempt for its audience.
Transformers have been made illegal in most countries, leaving Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) in hiding with his robot friends in a junkyard, pursued by paramilitary leader Lennox (Josh Duhamel). When the Decepticons and paramilitaries track Cade down, he escapes with the aid of robot butler Cogman (Jim Carter), who takes Cade to meet his master Lord Edward Burton (Anthony Hopkins). Burton has recruited Cade and Oxford professor Vivian Wembley (Laura Haddock) as the only people able to put a stop to the destruction of Earth, which puts them up against a corrupted Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen).
It has been a long time since anyone truly cared about the Transformers franchise. Now, it seems the last person has stopped caring because Michael Bay seems completely disinterested this time around. The plot, seemingly created by committee in the franchise’s new “writers’ room”, is an abject mess and Bay decides to paper over the cavernous narrative cracks with his trademark blend of clanking metal, obnoxious racial stereotyping and age-inappropriate cussing. By what seems like the hundredth time Anthony Hopkins says “bitch”, it’s tough to argue that Bay has learned anything from the controversy surrounding his portrayal of Megan Fox years ago.
It’s worth saying that The Last Knight is perhaps less egregiously offensive than some previous entries in the series and there’s certainly nothing to match the clunking horror of the last film’s product placement. In its place, though, is a wasteland of utter tedium. The Last Knight is a considerably shorter film than its predecessor, but it feels just as bloated and incoherent. In an attempt to fill a two and a half hour running time, Bay simply throws more “stuff” at the camera, whether it’s Arthurian legend, a planet-eating machine, a clock responsible for killing Hitler or a secret society that somehow includes Albert Einstein, Abraham Lincoln and Shia LaBeouf. One of these things is not like the others.
The film boasts some utterly laughable performances. Wahlberg looks bored from start to finish and Laura Haddock goes from “chosen one” to spare part by the time the third act comes around. The only person who seems to be enjoying themselves is Anthony Hopkins, but he is handed the worst excesses of the nonsensical script and often serves the purpose of an abusive Basil Exposition rather than an actual human character. Even worse is Stanley Tucci, who wears an enormous fake nose and a beard to hide the fact he is in another Transformers film.
The Last Knight culminates in the seemingly compulsory mammoth action sequence, which stretches endlessly onwards without providing any context for its cacophonous bluster. Every time something threatens to become a little logical, Bay just cuts a few more times until he has obfuscated any notion of narrative sense or even basic coherence. There’s no sense of stakes and no emotion because it’s entirely impossible to discern what’s actually happening on the screen. Bay proves that it’s possible for a film to end simultaneously with both a bang and a whimper.
Pop or Poop?
Michael Bay has performed yet another miracle with Transformers: The Last Knight in that he has once again managed to make a film worse than his previous one. This is two and a half hours of unbearable boredom, infuriating bafflement and obnoxious offense. No one involved comes out with any credibility and, indeed, all should be ashamed of this blot on their CV.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.