Transformers: The Last Knight is really, really bad. It’s not “so bad it’s good”. It’s not an “interesting failure”. It’s not even a colossal disaster in the vein of Battlefield Earth or Howard the Duck that is such a colossal miscalculation that it’s viewing is a rite of passage. It’s simply an inept, incompetent, and incomprehensible film that’s not only one of the worst films of the decade, but among the most cynical studio sequels ever produced.
Following the aftermath of a nearly world destroying disaster, the Transformers are hunted by the U.S. Government, and Optimus Prime has fled to the home world of Cybertron. When the Decepticons follow the trail to yet another ancient weapon, Cade Yaegar (Mark Wahlberg) is recruited by an Oxford professor (Anthony Hopkins) in order to track down the mythology of the Transformers. Sound simple? The film offers more than that simple plot, adding a coming of age story featuring a young girl, a National Treasure-esque globe trotting adventure, and countless scenes of corny military briefings.
There’s certain things one comes to expect from a Transformers sequel: a convoluted, messy plot, ridiculous product placement, and an action finale that seemingly goes on forever. But what makes The Last Knight so uniquely reprehensible is its collection of half-written ideas; there’s some genuinely interesting plot points, such as the strong performance by Isabella Moner, or the intertwining of Transformers mythology in history. However, it’s just that; Bay takes time to set up countless sub stories early in the film, before reverting to the predicted action finale, which lacks any creativity, wit, or intelligence, and is an utterly miserable end to the film.
(On a nitpicker’s note, the changing of aspect ratios between shots is completely distracting; its shocking that a major studio was able to release a film with such a noticeable and distracting flaw)
The thing is, Michael Bay is not an untalented filmmaker; 13 Hours proved his talent as a dramatic filmmaker, and he’s proven that he’s able to make fast paced, entertaining action films, such as The Rock, Armageddon, and even the first Transformers film. The Last Knight is a new low, a film that doesn’t seem to care about logic or character, but for all of its technical wonders, there’s no fun to be had in a film about giant talking robots that fight each other. That’s a problem. Grade: D-