The Transformers movies are best known for three things: explosions, giant transforming everyday objects, and being about as good as Satan with an upside down crucifix. This fifth installment not only has all three elements, but takes it a step further and does everything a movie shouldn't do.
Criticizing this film is like trying to differentiate Optimus Prime's butt from his head during a fight scene. You don't know where to begin, but every single aspect contributes to why the whole thing is a bona fide mess.
Just take a look
at all the half-baked stories that comprise this undercooked fiesta.
Apart from the whole "Optimus Prime is now evil" selling arc, there's an incoming planet that seeks to sap Earth's energy, a Medieval storyline that involves Merlin and the knights of the round table (which explains the whole "Last Knight" part of the title), an ageing father's fight against a government that wants to destroy all Transformers, and the Decepticons' continued struggle to become compelling villains.
That's not even all of the story arcs!The way that this movie jumps between plot points is just so mind-bogglingly fast that you don't have the time to process anything. It does this with good reason because during the two moments of silence found throughout this two-hour shakedown, your brain can quickly figure out that none of these segments tie in properly together.
While the initial scenes focus on Cade Yeager's fight against the Transformers Reaction Force, the movie quickly splits apart between Cade's story, the government's dealings with the Decepticons, and Optimus Prime's journey to Cybertron. That last part deserves special mention because Prime is noticeably absent for most of the movie; only returning for the finale because he is the sole reason anybody watches these movies anymore.
To fill in his gigantic scrap metal shoes are characters that have as much personality as a school of janitor fish. This is made obvious by none other than Anthony Hopkins himself. You would think that having one of the world's greatest actors would elevate The Last Knight above its predecessors, but he only helps to prove how bad production values can reduce even an acclaimed thespian to a role that any ageing man with a sexy voice can play.
While he does
bring out his wise man persona that makes you wish he was your grandfather, the
writers have decided to add a bit of teenage angst that turns him into a
bipolar advisor with a foul mouth and the logical reasoning of a schizophrenic.
When you see Hopkins randomly flip the bird during a car chase and dive
headfirst into a shootout without so much as a Nerf gun, you know that something
is terribly wrong.
It goes without saying that if a knighted actor cannot deliver a compelling performance, then no one else can. Mark Wahlberg returns as Rambo dad Cade Yeager along with new leading lady Laura Haddock as Vivian Wembly. While you may have seen these performers in better roles, the characters they portray have as many dimensions as a wet napkin.
The way they deliver their lines might be passable, but the script is just so bad that you cannot take it seriously. Take the death of one character, for example. After needlessly sacrificing himself, another ally delivers the epilogue of epilogues by saying that he was "the coolest". While I wouldn't mind someone saying that during my funeral, I don't think anyone else would like their life's work to be summarized in outdated slang.
So how about
those fight scenes and explosions?
They're still there and are as confusing as they were ten years ago. The shaky camera angles that make it difficult to get screenshots, the excessive dust that comes from off-screen, and the crowds of people shouting at nothing in particular all make for a nostalgic look at a time when we didn't know any better.
One battle even starts off with generic soldier dudes yelling as they empty their rifles at off-screen targets. There isn't any clue as to who their opponents are for a good five minutes before the camera reveals that they were shooting at a handful of evil robots at a distance.
Since the last movie brought freaking dinosaurs into the mix, the only way that Michael Bay could go bigger than a prehistoric reptile is by creating planet-wide destruction. So planet destruction is what we get in lieu of a good story.
Like its decade-old humor that includes sex jokes and tropes that were relevant before your voice dropped, Transformers: The Last Night is a sad waste of the talents that grace the garbage dump that is this series. What makes it notably worse than the other films is that it tries to fit in more stories than humanly possible into a single movie. The end product becomes a tangled mess of flailing loose ends that no one bothers to address.
Though it's only June, this is already a strong contender for the worst film of 2017. It may as well be better for the Autobots to roll over and die than to roll out.