No matter how terrible our world has become, at least we’ve only had to deal with these goddamn Transformers movies for a decade. In the world of Transformers: The Last Knight, mankind’s history with these idiotic robots have been intertwined for over a millennium. Those poor bastards in this cinematic universe have been inundated with this nonstop bullshit ever since the Dark Ages. That’s right, Transformers: The Last Knight begins with the Knights of the Round Table, as Merlin (a drunk, bearded Stanley Tucci) finds a robot dragon that helps King Arthur save the world. In fact, Transformers have helped all the world’s great leaders: William Shakespeare, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, even Shia LaBeouf’s Sam Witwicky! The only positive thing that can be said about Transformers: The Last Knight is at least we’re only overrun by their Autobots and Decepticons every few years.
Transformers: The Last Knight might be the worst film I’ve ever seen. Not to be hyperbolic, but there is absolutely no reason to see this. The Last Knight is a disaster, absent anything remotely redeeming. Even more than the previous four films, The Last Knight is a mess of CGI cars, with a story that makes no sense. The action is confusing and devoid of excitement. The jokes don’t ever land, despite Jerrod Carmichael and Tony Hale in supporting roles. No one is likable. No one is worth cheering for. Actually, I take that back. About an hour into this, you’ll hope the evil cars win so that we never have to watch another of Bay’s low-angle shots of cars or his moronic action sequences.
In all previous four Transformers films, I have found at least a few enjoyable moments. I’d even say decision to combine robot cars and Mark Wahlberg was so dumb, I kind of admired the franchise’s decision to just go all-in on its idiocy. But there is no joy to be had in The Last Knight.
Explaining the plot of The Last Knight is probably futile. Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) returns to his home planet of Cybertron, only to learn that his creator Quintessa (Gemma Chan) plans on colliding their dead planet into earth, bringing Cybertron back to life. Mankind’s only hope is to find Merlin’s staff, which can only be controlled by a descendant of the wizard. Along the way, we learn of the Witwiccan family tree has helped hide Transformers, including the aforementioned robot dragons the robot watch that killed Hitler. Let’s conveniently forget that the first four films involved gigantic, city-destroying battle. Anyway, Wahlberg’s Cade Yeager has a medallion that won’t disconnect with his body as he tries to find the staff alongside essentially the British Megan Fox, Vivian Wembley (Laura Haddock).
This is just a fraction of the threads that The Last Knight uselessly crams into its runtime. It’s no surprise that The Last Knight features four writers and six different editors, since the entire film comes off like multiple attempts at the same material, smashed into each other. The convoluted script is as an opportunity to hide that nothing is actually happening. Throw in enough story lines, characters, crunching metal, and you’ll camouflage the implied insult that this could pass as entertainment.
Bay himself has become shorthand for atrocious blockbuster filmmaking. It is easy to pile on to him, but to be fair, the man can compose a beautiful shot. With director of photography Jonathan Sela (John Wick), there is the occasionally gorgeous second here and there, offering a brief respite from the bland darkness and chrome that engulfs this disaster. But whenever a human being shares a scene with a robot, the facade can clearly be seen. Never once can we believe that humans and robots share the same space. In the past, at least these two have mingled in a way that looked plausible, but even The Last Knight can’t do that right.
The Last Knight is a stupid, appalling excuse for a movie. As if on purpose, The Last Knight avoids the silly fun the previous installments, or its incidental excitement. But the biggest sin of The Last Knight is that its beginning-to-end boring. Despite robot dinosaurs, and a cast that includes John Turturro, Anthony Hopkins, and soldier Autobot John Goodman, The Last Knight is a lifeless attempt to see just how tedious this franchise can be and still have audiences arrive in droves.
At one point, we learn Transformers were banned from earth. For fuck’s sake, we should absolutely make a similar decree.