Transformers: The Last Knight - Review: A Dark Ages Disaster
For a pessimist, I’m pretty optimistic claimed Paramore. I like to think I’m that way with film sequels, especially the unwanted ones. When a bad film makes a sequel or another franchise entry, it may very well be another sad affair, another film that squanders all its promises of being different for a lackluster or downright disappointing offering.... but what if it isn’t? While any sequel of impending doom could be nothing more than salt in your wounds, it’s also a chance at redemption. Every new film is a new possibility; its own fresh start. Nothing is truly beyond saving, and few things in life are more rewarding than an unexpected comeback. I really thought that would be the case with this 5th Transformers offering. I really thought with their bigger cinematic universe plans, this would be the film where they set the foundations for a stronger new beginning..... I don’t think I’ve ever been more wrong. Welcome to energon hell and 2017's worst film to date.
When Optimus Prime finally meets his creator, she seduces him into helping her destroy the Earth so that Cybertron can be reborn by using the Staff of Merlin. That is unless the other Autobots along with inventor Cade (Mark Wahlberg – Patriot’s Day) can find the staff first.
This film is a junkyard of trash. That’s about as polite as I can put it. It’s a nuts-and-bolts collection of all prior films just dumped in together hoping it will add up to value but really it just looks like a giant mess. Now, you may have seen the trailers thinking it looks good (they gave me hope) but any junkyard has the odd decent looking bits for people to scavenge (and make into a trailer) yet they don’t change the overall ugly picture. Worse, still all the major problems are the recurring issues that neither Paramount nor Michael Bay ever gives a robo-rat’s arse about while they’re Scrooge McDuck swimming through their mountains of box office takings. Biggest of all, yet again, this is multiple films worth of stories pointlessly crammed into one to the point of self-destruction. There are more historical shenanigans (because ret-conning the Egyptian Pyramids and Moon Landings clearly weren’t enough) by bringing in King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table for a lot of terribly constructed pre-destined plot devices. It introduces Unicron.... in the most BS way imaginable. It picks up from Age of Extinction’s ending of Optimus going after his creators, which aren’t exactly hiding and look like they got lost on the way to a Species reboot. It tries to be an aftermath film to past conflicts with fresh human/transformer political tension and an all new stupidly named anti-Transformer task force but it’s nothing but shallow world-building. It introduces tons of new characters while having no idea what to do with most of its existing robots in disguise (seriously, most just disappear for half the film). The need to accommodate all this madness means the film only rush two gears: rushing everywhere or a handbrake halt for lengthy exposition. Most of the latter is thrust upon Sir Anthony Hopkins’s Sir Edmund and they actually manage to make him look like a dick. Let that sink in for a moment... this film makes Anthony Hopkins look like a dick.
Which brings us to the film’s other grenade to the chest: the script is so bad it almost defies belief. I’m assuming that writers Art Marcum and Matt Holloway were orphans raised in foster homes by the Wu Tang Clan because they have a pathological need to make most Deceptions into painfully awful hip hop stereotypes. If you thought The Twins from Revenge of the Fallen were bad this film will lower the bar into the Mariana Trench. So much of the humour is equally despicable. For every line that gets a chuckle (and there are a few), you’ll suffer through dozens more that pathetically fail, and several are even genuinely cringe-worthy. Like the medieval prelude featuring Stanley Tucci making Merlin a drunken idiot that is somehow still deemed worthy to receive the film’s all powerful McGuffin. Another name on the script’s kill list is the chemistry between Whalberg and new, Megan Fix/Kate Middleton hybrid co-star, Laura Haddock’s Viviane Wembly. Everything between is a very non-entertaining awkward of dire innuendoes. Haddock fairs worse as the newcomer; her plot essential character could not feel more disposable. Despite all that exposition, the story is anything but logical. Instead it’s a magnet that just pulls in different elements from random directions hoping it will all stick. Many will frequently be clueless about what’s going on or why. We constantly have to be told when or how something is significant because nothing evolves naturally out of past events. And of course, for the third freakin’ film running, the story is making excuses for Megatron’s relevance (because f*** Galvatron apparently) despite the fact that he’s not the principle villain. Seriously, just let him take a film off to return as a bigger deal.
Alright let’s be fair and find some positives/shiny bits in the trash. Now of course some of the action and special effects sequences look good in isolation. There’s no shortage of technical achievement in the CG. Although much of the robot-on-robot action feels like more of the same, there is some innovation: Most notably the ocean and underwater-based sequences. More than anything else, they feel like Last Knight delivering something different to the past films and also adds some gravitas to the much hyped Optimus Vs Bumblebee showdown. The baby Dinobots are cute. The product placement is not as overwhelming this time. Nobody refers to robot testicles. I think that’s it.
Not a single person on screen appears to care about anything other than their sizable guilt money paycheque (Josh Duhamel is completely checked out all film).... and to top it all off, they gave Hot Rod a French accent. Even if you’re a stalwart franchise fan, seriously, do not waste your time with The Last Knight; at least not at the cinema. It’s the worst film in the franchise by a light year and raises genuine concerns over whether the franchise should continue (.... yeah right, like they’re really going to stop). This film is everything we don’t want modern science fiction to be in vaporising substance in the attempt of overpowering spectacle. I would rather binge watch Love Island than watch this film again.