Film Review: "Transformers: The Last Knight"

Mark Wahlberg in "Transformers: The Last Knight" (Photo from Hollywood Life) 

Mark Wahlberg in "Transformers: The Last Knight" (Photo from Hollywood Life) 

Every single time, no matter how many times I look back at these films and know how bad they are, Michael Bay somehow sucks me back in and makes me think, even the slightest bit, that the next one may actually be good, whether it’s because of the trailers, the posters, etc. But I gave props to a lot of people who saw the last film, “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” because it was the lowest grossing film in the series at the domestic box office, but then it brought me sorrow to hear that it made over $850 million dollars overseas, crossing the $1 billion mark. So, with this film, I won’t even bother sugar-coating it: This is one of the worst films I have seen this year.

 The humans and Transformers, both Autobots and Decepticons, are at war with one another, and Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) has left Earth in search of his creators. But they must learn to put aside their differences in order to combat a new threat that’ll bring utter destruction to Earth. Thus, inventor Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) must join forces with his rag-tag team of Autobots, a bumbling English Lord (Anthony Hopkins), an Oxford professor (Laura Haddock), and an adventurous little tomboy (Isabela Moner) in order to scour the hidden history of the Transformers on Earth and find a way to save the Earth once again.

 You would think that, after 3-4 failures of films, Michael Bay would’ve learned his mistakes and try to remedy them. But sadly, the awkward dialogue, terrible humor, incoherent story, bland characters, and raucous action are still present from start to finish.

 Now I have nothing against Michael Bay. I can honestly say he’s a talented director, whether it’s 1996’s “The Rock” or last year’s “13 Hours.” However, it felt as though he had no story to go on. The first 20 minutes felt like a segment on The Oprah Winfrey Show. It was as if Michael Bay was saying straight to the audience “You get a character! And you get a character! And you get a character!” over and over again, introducing so many useless characters that either don’t really have any screen-time whatsoever or really have no place in the story. The rest of the film feels as though he didn’t have a clear vision as to how the story should go. If he did have any sort of vision, he decided to focus so much on the humans rather than the actual Transformers themselves, and they’re not enough to carry the movie.

 While the actors themselves are fine in the movie and give decent performances, their characters are just shells of themselves and you don’t care about them whatsoever. The filmmakers attempt to tell each of their backstories in quick, 30 second expositional moments, but they’re not enough to help gravitate you towards them and connect with them, inherently making them dull and lifeless.

 What I found to be funnier than the actual attempts at humor in this film is the idea that this film needs to be funny every single minute. In almost every scene, forced attempts at being funny are thrown at our faces and none of it is necessary whatsoever. This film is only 2 hours and 29 minutes. If you were to take away all of the unnecessary, horrid attempts at humor from the film, I honestly believe the films would be shortened by 20 minutes at least.

 The only character I kinda had a slight emotional connection to is the character of Izabella, where Isabela Moner actually gives a pretty good performance in the film. However, while the character herself is fine, you can literally go into the film, pluck her out, and nothing will change. She is absolutely useless in this film. While this wouldn’t be a huge deal in many cases, this is different in this case because her character has been in every promotional material and was even the star of her own trailer, all indicating she would have a fairly large role in the film.

 In terms of the action, even though I found it to be better executed and more tolerable than it was in the last film and you can actually tell what’s happening in the action sequences, a lot of it is still just explosions after explosions after explosions and people literally shooting at nothing and more random set pieces exploding for no reason.

The only good things about this film are on the technical side. I will honestly admit that, like the previous films, the film looks gorgeous and the sound design is top-notch, whether it’s the Transformers themselves, the ships flying around, or even the three-headed metallic dragon shown in the trailers. I also found the Transformers themselves to be much better in this film than the previous one in terms of their use in the film and their personalities, with Optimus Prime and Bumblebee being the highlights. But there are still some of them that didn’t need to be there and others that didn’t get enough screen-time.

 Overall, “Transformers: The Last Knight” is exactly what you’d expect. Take that as you will. The way I’ll take it is, much like the previous films, it’s chock-full of horribly awkward dialogue, bland character development, overuse of special effects, terrible attempts at comedy, and a story that has no idea where to go. However, it’s still imminent that this film will become profitable at the box office this summer, but hopefully the studio will find some new blood to inject new life into this franchise sometime in the future, such as when they hired 2016’s “Kubo and the Two Strings” director Travis Knight for the upcoming Bumblebee spinoff. Otherwise, this series will remain a pile of scrap metal.