Weak, very weak… It’s hard to deny Michael Bay knows his way around visuals and action sequences, but in almost every other category of his movies, Bay relentlessly stumbles, and Transformers: The Last Knight is no exception.
Transformers: The Last Knight continues the story of Cade Yeager (Mark Walberg) as he confronts yet another end of world scenario involving, you guessed it, Transformers.
Right off the bat we have Mark Walberg as the lead yet again, many will give Walberg a hard time for his performances, he’s had both good roles and bad roles in the past – ultimately he’s fine in this role, he plays just adequately enough for you to not roll your eyes, which is quite the achievement for a Transformers film. The issues in these films generally don’t lie in their lead characters’ performance; it’s mostly within the comic relief, love interest, and smaller characters like family members. And speaking of love interests, we have the introduction of another new character by Laura Haddock who plays a somewhat significant role within the film, usually the love interest adds nothing to the film, like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Jack Reynor, and Megan Fox; but for Laura Haddock, she was on a similar level of acting capability as Walberg, though her character is no better than anyone else.
Now let’s get down to brass tacks, the little girl (Isabela Moner) played throughout 80% of the trailers and promotional material has an abhorrently low amount of screen time, now I’m complaining but it seems disingenuous pushing her image so much in the trailers when she has such a massively low impact on the entire film; it’s sad to see a child actor pushed into a bland role, she deserved a chance to not be cringe-inducing, because she did pull out some convincing crocodile tears. Anthony Hopkins is fine in this role, but he’s also in a Transformers movie, so there’s not much flexibility. Josh Duhamel has always played the veteran Transformer survivor/killer in this franchise; it feels like he’s the veteran Michael Bay survivor, because he somehow manages to be the least agitating character despite working with Bay for over a decade; he’s certainly one of the only good things about this franchise.
In terms of story, this film pulls a huge middle finger to human history and rewrites it all just like Age of Extinction; we get robots fighting Knights, we get robots fighting Nazis, we get robots being involved in basically every single event in human history. After watching all 5 movies within a very short span of time, you begin to understand that every Transformers film has one thing in common – they’re made by a director that cannot change his vision; by the third Transformers film it had become apparent that Bay would never do anything radical with this franchise, we wouldn’t see a Logan (2017) of the Transformers franchise as long as Bay is behind the camera, to be honest, we never expect to see it, but if we could maybe get a film which doesn’t have a bunch of people find an alien artifact to save the world, then I could at least go into the film not already knowing how each act would unfold.
Now the visuals are quite the spectacle on an IMAX screen, the locations look great, the production design is top notch but the aesthetic of the Transformers is waning, as cheap CGI grows more impressive by the day. A good chunk of this film’s budget is poured into visuals. We also get some messy editing, from quick-cuts that are difficult to follow, to changing aspect ratios, this film is messy from the moment Bay switches on the camera. Some decent music throughout the film is apparent and was slightly more refreshing than what I’m used to, but alas, it’s not enough to weld up the scars in this worn-out franchise.
While I’m glad this is Bay’s last Transformers film, it doesn’t matter at the same time – the damage is done, the ink is dry, and the moment has passed for the series to have any kind of radical change. Please stop making these films, it’s like an overplayed joke that some agitating person keeps repeating.