Ahh, the fifth film in the Transformers franchise, and coming off the back of one of the worst films ever made, Age of Extinction. This new film is set several years after with Mark Wahlberg’s Cade Yeager now a fugitive from the anti Transformers government, and the Autobots leaderless after Optimus Prime left to find his maker.
The basic plot revolves around 5 or 6 different parties all trying to find a staff that was given to the wizard Merlin by a Transformer during the dark ages. There’s really not much else to it. There are numerous other smaller plot lines and asides that never really seem to go anywhere. The addition of Izabella, a young teen that Wahlberg picks up along with her small robot, adds nothing, nor does Bumblebee’s WWII history. Oh and there’s a further attempt to set up future films with the revelation that the Earth is actually Unicron. And that’s a name that will make a lot of Transformers fans sit up, take note, and say, “I wish we were watching the 1986 animated version instead”.
On top of that the script is truly abysmal. The dialogue sounds and feels as though it was written by a group of thirteen year olds who have never written anything before. And it’s not as if the writers have no ability, or pedigree behind it. Art Marcum and Matt Holloway were both writers on Iron Man, which is a great example of how to do a blockbuster right. Instead it feels as though Michael Bay was pushing them into pandering to the younger audience, which left most of the dialogue feeling very unnatural.
Even more incomprehensible than the plot is the action. People often say that Bay films action well, but in the Transformers franchise it has devolved further and further from well choreographed sequences into explosions and confusion. You are just left with no idea what is going on at any point. So often stuff just seems to happen out of absolutely nowhere without any rhyme or reason. All of this just means that things that should be awesome, such as a three-headed dragon Transformer, are just dull and wasted.
And despite adding someone of the calibre of Sir Anthony Hopkins there still isn’t any human characters that you care about. Just why Hopkins has reduced himself to appear in the 5th Transformers film is unsure, but this has to be a career low for him. Cade’s daughter is gone, and instead is replaced by Izabella, an annoying kid played by Isabela Moner, which was a completely pointless addition. There are plenty of the past characters thrown in alongside Wahlberg, including Josh Duhamel and John Turturro, but thankfully Bay saw sense and decided not to bring back Stanley Tucci’s character from Age of Extinction.
Whilst Transformers: The Last Knight is an improvement over Age of Extinction; that really isn’t saying a lot. It’s a shame because there was actually a nice idea in there with the dark age stuff, but it gets buried under Michael Bay’s typical filmmaking clichés of headache inducing, unfathomable chaos that makes The Last Knight a strong contender for the worst film of the year so far.