Overall: 13/20 – B
**An Optimus-Prime sized spoiler alert**
I am so confused. I did good with the first Transformers movie. I even liked it once I got past the fact that the most used word in the movie was “no.” Usually screamed at various robots. I knew there were Autobots and Decepticons. I knew who Megatron and Starscream were. And I could totally get behind Optimus Prime and Bumblebee. I know I watched the second Transformers. Clearly it was memorable because I can’t remember a thing about it. I begged off on the third one because by that point, I was so very, very tired of Shia LaBeouf. I joined back in on Age of Extinction because Robot. Dinosaurs. Not to mention Mark Wahlberg who was infinitely more amusing than LaBeouf.
And then there was The Last Knight. If, according to Age of Extinction, there had been robot dinosaurs, then why on earth shouldn’t there have been more robots during the Dark Ages. And of course they were the driving force behind King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. I mean, it’s totally obvious, right?
Okay. Plot-wise, it’s not the best. Our futuristic robot tale opens up in the dark ages, because someone thought that was a good idea. Everybody is dying, there’s a drunk Merlin, and all of a sudden a three-headed robot dragon. I wish I was kidding. Apparently, Merlin’s staff is…a weapon? A conduit? A sophisticated remote control? I don’t know. No one knows because it was called many things over the course of two hours. At any rate, in present day, humanity is still fighting all the transformers who keep dropping out of the sky like stones. Autobots or Decepticons, no one really knows. (The no one really knowing thing seems to be a recurring factor). Either way, they aren’t welcome here. Then a la Armageddon someone spots a big world-ending mass in the sky and everyone panics. Enter in our hero Cade Yaeger, who sees himself as some sort of transformers mechanic/doctor. He runs a junkyard home for the outcast Autobot filled with some familiar faces. At least that’s the plan until the military, the para-military, and the decepticons descend trying to kill everyone just because Cade is inexplicably chosen to be a knight and now must help find the staff of Merlin.
And then things get weird.
I am not a dumb person. I hold a Master’s degree. I’m fairly quick on the uptake. I have no idea what Anthony Hopkins was prattling on about. There is the order of the WitWiccan, which somehow is linked to Sam WitWicky. There are guardians, and maps, and suddenly the last surviving member of Merlin’s family tree shows up. At any rate, it ends up being about Mark Wahlberg’s ability to get a date with the hot English chick.
Yeah. I know. The plot is less than clear and for the most part Optimus Prime is nowhere to be found which is half the reason why I like the movies in the first place. So that is a strike against them in and of itself. A large part of the issues rest squarely on the shoulders of the writers, Art Marcum, Matt Holloway, and Ken Nolan. They wrote dialogue that a 10 year old would appreciate, and a storyline that no one could figure out. The ending is ambiguous at best and leaves the audience drifting in the wind while ostensibly setting up for another sequel that will probably make less sense than this one did.
On the plus side, the actors deliver the lines flawlessly and Anthony Hopkins is a real treat. He is fun, quirky, and very loveable in his role as Sir Edmund Burton. Unfortunately, some of his lines are beyond stupid. But, he delivers them with aplomb. I’m quite frankly surprised they managed to convince him to even be a part of the Transformers universe. Mark Wahlberg returns and can’t be faulted for the lines they gave him. His character has far more depth in the previous film than in this one. It is annoying that they built up his Knight status and then do absolutely nothing with it. Laura Haddock appears as Vivian Wembley, a brilliant woman, whose family thinks she needs a man. She’s funny, sarcastic, and a little bit needy but does well working with Wahlberg’s character. I can’t fault the actors, some of whom have been on the Transformers bandwagon since the very beginning, they all do a great job with what they were given. I do feel that Josh Duhamel’s talents are wasted in this kind of flick but he performs admirably either way.
Visually, this movie does stand out. It takes an insane amount of work to design and complete any Transformer’s transformation. And our characters transform a lot. It wasn’t as exciting to watch as the first movie, but they do have some very nice sequences. The bots are interesting to watch and definitely all have their own personalities. The locations are mostly on alien terrain with a few notable exceptions (the Badlands and London). The race through the streets of London was actually quite fun to watch.
The music created by Steve Jablonsky is similar to every other Transformers movie. Having said that, the music really does stand out as one of my favorite parts of the movie. The main theme is instantly recognizable and the action on screen seamlessly blends with the tones of the music. Without the right music, it would have been an unbearable two hours instead of just a boring two hours. Congratulations Jablonsky for saving the show!
This movie was a mess from start to finish. There are many obvious plot-holes and the characterization is nil. The actors try but even some of the best in the business can’t out-act the horrible script. It’s only saving graces are the music and the CGI which still stand out from among the other Transformer movies. Michael Bay, it might be (past) time to stop furthering the series.
Adults: Save yourself the aggravation. Unless you are a die-hard fan you’ll likely be confused and left to wonder what just happened. Save your money for something else. I hear Baby Driver is going to be great.
Children: Actually, you’d probably like it. It is after all written with your age-group in mind. But you’ll likely be confused. Just don’t go in looking for Optimus Prime.