With the first Transformers, released in 2007 to blow the minds of young children, teenagers, and fans alike, it goes without saying that a fifth installment in the franchise was inevitable.
While not quite the box office juggernaut of the previous entries, Transformers: The Last Knight dominated the worldwide box office upon its release. Like the previous four movies, this one is once again written and directed by Michael Bay. Set several years after the events of Transformers: Age of Extinction, the protective Autobots of Earth, and the chaotic Decepticons are yet again facing an explosive war against each other.
Stuck in the centre of these events is Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) and Bumblebee (Erik Aadahl), as they must work together with all the remaining Autobots to defeat a brainwashed, Decepticon version of Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) from destroying the entirety of the Autobot race, and mankind as we know it.
With this new episode’s release coinciding with the Transformers film series’ tenth anniversary, it is as evident as ever that it is certainly best to stop the series at this point, as Transformers: The Last Knight is the weakest and most dreadful entry in the long-running series. This film, just like the previous installments, plays out like a dramatic feature about enormous robots, human/political conflict, and unnecessary subplots. A large number of fans that grew up with the Transformers animated cartoon series have complained ever since the release of the first film in the vast series that the films simply focus far too much on the human elements of the story, rather than the titular robotic characters.
I distinctly recall seeing Transformers: Age of Extinction on opening day at the cinema with a friend, and at around the second act of the film, my friend and I glared at each other and telepathically said to one another “This is horrible.” The same experience was prevalent with Transformers: The Last Knight. There is not a single scene in the entire duration of the film’s running time in which there was even an ounce of creative writing. In fact, most of the dialogue comes off as cringe-worthy, and annoying. Similar to the previous entries, Transformers: The Last Knight has oblivious, and downright unlikable characters, as none of them seem as if they have any bit of characterisation to them.
One of the film’s major issues is the storytelling; it simply has no level of excitement to it, contrary to what the trailers may lead you to believe, as almost every single trailer shows Optimus Prime and Bumblebee brutally beating each other to a pulp. Even scenes like those are not nearly enough to keep anybody that views this film invested, as there is little to none buildup, and even when there is, it is harshly glossed over.
Mark Wahlberg’s performance as Cade Yeager is fairly exceptional. It certainly is not anything extraordinary, but for the film, he is the best actor, doing the most relatable character. Anthony Hopkins’ very proper and formal Sir Edmund Burton starts off intriguing from the quick glances we saw of him in the vague first teaser trailer, but unfortunately, the great Hopkins is nothing short of underutilized, as his character proves to be less than integral to the plot.
All the action and visual effects are amazing to look at, true movie magic eye-candy, which is something that each and every one of the Transformers films share in common. But just because a film has visually miraculous effects, CGI, and action scenes, does not make a film as a whole. Here’s hoping that the upcoming Transformers films such as the Bumblebee spinoff film are good, as Transformers: The Last Knight, is brutally bad.
Overall Grade: D-
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for violence and intense sequences of sci-fi action, language, and some innuendo
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Josh Duhamel, Stanley Tucci, Anthony Hopkins
Directed by: Michael Bay
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures
Running Time: 154 minutes