Here’s a drinking game for you: take a shot every time Optimus Prime feels the need to remind us of his name over the course of Transformers: The Last Knight. You’d think that, after five of these movies, we’d at least remember the name of the leader of the Autobots – but then he’s only around for about 20 of the film’s 150 minutes, so maybe he’s just reminding us that he exists.
Michael Bay’s been making these films for a decade now, and what’s remarkable is how little he seems to have learned from his mistakes. The human characters are ill-defined and uninteresting, and the robots are all completely interchangeable. The plot – this time an unholy mashup of National Treasure and Armageddon with some dragons thrown in – is nonsensical at its best and riddled with basic plot holes at its worst.
The cinematography, admittedly, feels more measured, but the editing is pure Bayhem. There’s little rhyme or reason in the cuts between shots, and the heavy use of IMAX cameras means there’s the added annoyance of the aspect ratio randomly switching back and forth every few seconds.
The only bright spot this time is Sir Anthony Hopkins, acting like a man who knows the script is drivel but has already been paid, and his sociopathic robot butler who has the voice of Mr Carson from Downton Abbey. Forget the Bumblebee spin-off; let’s have a movie starring those two.
If this is to be Bay’s final foray into the franchise, let it be said that he goes out on a (relatively) high note. The four previous Transformers movies were all bad in a way that made them irritating to watch. The Last Knight, at least, is amusing in its badness.
CAST: Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Hopkins, Stanley Tucci, Josh Duhamel, Laura Haddock
DIRECTOR: Michael Bay
WRITERS: Art Marcum, Matt Holloway, Ken Nolan, Akiva Goldsman
SYNOPSIS: Humans and Transformers are at war. Optimus Prime is gone. The key to saving our future lies buried in the secrets of the past, in the hidden history of Transformers on Earth.