Where do I even begin? I was a lot kinder than most to Michael Bay when it comes to his previous attempts at The Transformers. I easily forgave Bumblebee being a Camaro and not a VW Bug. I was cool with Optimus Prime and the red flames. I tolerated Shia Labeouf through the first three movies, but it is really tough to give this one a pass.
I am NOT a Michael Bay hater. I loved the first one. It made me feel like a kid again. The second was just garbage and the third, despite what so many think, was my favorite in the franchise. I was OK with Age of Extinction, but it just ran too long. We now arrive at The Last Knight and I want to like it so very much, but it just has too many problems to make it a good movie.
In the time of King Arthur, a drunken Merlin discovers a crashed Transformer ship and a weapon of incredible power that bonds to his DNA. The Transformer knights help Arthur and Merlin bring peace to the land and entrust man with the care of the weapon. Meanwhile in the not so distant future, humans and Transformers are at war. Lennox (Josh Duhamel ) is back, but this time not fighting along side of the robots. He is helping another team hunt them down. Cade (Mark Wahlberg) is an outlaw doing his best to protect the few remaining Autobots. Optimus Prime is gone. Megatron is presumed dead and the robots are without a leader. While saving a young girl (Isabela Moner), Cade stumbles across an ancient weapon that could destroy the earth. He is recruited by an English Lord (Anthony Hopkins) with historical knowledge and a professor (Laura Haddock) who is believed to be able to find the ancient weapon. They must form an unlikely alliance to save the world from Optimus Prime and his creator.
I don't know where to begin. The Last Knight has so many issues. One of which being the reveal of the title character. I don't mind Wahlberg's character, but he suffers from a very convoluted story. The movie has too much going on. The Arthurian stuff is cool, but it could be a stand alone movie rather than being crammed into this one.
It is clear that they are setting up a Bumblebee solo movie. He gets the most screen time of any of the Transformers. The biggest complaint of this franchise has been the robots taking a backseat. They take more of a backseat in this one than they ever have before. In some places, it feels like they were forced back into the story. That is just one of the glaring problems.
The film makes nods to characters from the first three and it was just wasted. Simmons (John Tuturro) has what amounts to a glorified cameo. It was just a waste of time. It was cool that they brought back Josh Duhamel, but it too was a waste of his character. We even get a nod to Shia Labeouf and it was slightly amusing.
Transformers: The Last Knight attempts to borrow from the 1986 animated movie. We get introduced to the creators of the Transformers, but instead of Quintessons we get Quintessa. It just isn't the same. Unicron is also attempted, but it too is a fail. I won't spoil the end plot, but it simply makes no sense. It violates the continuity of the other films. The other films that had the same director.
We are introduced to Hot Rod who was the, "star," of the animated version. He is also wasted. I absolutely hated the French accent. I feel like Bay did it just to give a finger to fan boys. We get no flames, he is mostly black and orange, and doesn't even have the character's personality. A bad redesign and yet another wasted character. I guess Judd Nelson's career is at such a high point that he couldn't be bothered to voice the character again. That is sarcasm. Thick sarcasm.
We now come to the two things that bothered me the most. Spoilers ahead and I will not hold back. In age of Extinction, Megatron became Galvatron. He shows up here as Megatron with absolutely no explanation of how or why? We aren't clued into his redesign. We get nothing. He also has a moment where he,"negotiates," with Lennox (Josh Duhamel) and a team of lawyers for the release of his, " crew." A moment that looks like it is blatantly ripped out of Suicide Squad complete with character title cards.
The star of this franchise is Optimus Prime. I love that Bay gets Peter Cullen to voice him. The problem here is two fold. First his redesign from Age of Extinction is awful. The sword and knight look doesn't play. I like my Prime looking like a semi truck and laying waste to robots with a big cannon. It ain't happening here. The second problem and this is the biggest one, he is barely in the movie! The Prime turning bad is a let down and he only has a couple of good moments. He too is lost in the convoluted story.
This movie simply tries to do too many things and only does a couple well. The money wasted on CGI for baby dinobots and a robot butler could have been put to better use. Michael Bay has said that this will be his last and that is probably for the best. There is life left in the property, but it needs a fresh approach. This movie goes on forever and never satisfies at the end. It is not as bad as the second one, but it is better served on Netflix or DVD. It isn't the worst movie of the summer, but it is anything but it won't be transforming into a big hit either.