Review – Transformers: The Last Knight (2017)

by Old King Clancy

WARNING – Spoilers and swearing are plentiful

I had no immediate plans to see The Last Knight, I knew I would because I just can’t turn away from this franchise now that I’m five films into it (I finished the Texas Chainsaw series so I can tackle this one). But if I hadn’t lost an Oscar bet, I wouldn’t have taken the theatrical viewing because I haven’t seen a Transformers movie in the cinema, since I was dragged to Revenge of The Fallen while I paid a tenner to have Michael Bay shove his f**king robo-balls in my face. But I did lose and I did go to see The Last Knight and to my surprise the film had the exact same problems as the last film. Hell it has the exact same problem that every Transformers film has and yet somehow this one turns out worse than nearly all of them. This is one step above Fallen as worst in the series.

The film opens with King Arthur…. and already the film can f**k right off but whatever, let’s roll with it. So King Arthur’s (Liam Garrigan) in a battle with Saxon invaders waiting for Merlin (Stanley Tucci of all people) to arrive with his Magic F**kery. Well Merlin doesn’t have Magic F**kery, but he does have a staff that can control a three-headed robot dragon gifted to him because God knows that this franchise needed to f**k its own history even harder than before.

Cut to the Present Day and Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen), following his decree at the end of the last film, has found his way back to the ruins of Cybertron only to discover that it’s in the hands of Quintessa (Gemma Chan). A God-like being who wants to use Merlin’s staff to bleed the Earth dry and restore life to Cybertron, while she’s going to use a brainwashed Prime to do so.

Except, this doesn’t come into the film until the final half hour, so during the first two we start with a group of kids sneaking into a Transformer War Zone where they are discovered by anti-transformer force the TRF. The kids are saved by Izabella (Isabela Moner), a smart-ass little bitch who is then in turn saved by Cade (Marky Mark Wahlberg) from the last film who takes the kids to safety and….

We never see them again, so what was the point in them? Cade has spent the time since the last film hiding out in a junkyard with the remaining autobots and dinobots, as well as some young-ling dinosaurs that raises a lot of questions about where the f**k did they came from? He can’t see his daughter, the government has him as one of their most wanted and he’s… actually I don’t know what he’s doing other than absolutely f**king nothing. Anyway, Cade – through the convenience of being the film’s main character – ends up with a mysterious Talisman that is somehow connected to the Staff. Despite knowing that the autobots are the good guys, the government make a deal with Megatron (Frank Welker) to free some of his friends in return for collecting the Talisman from Cade.

And Megatron’s friends are killed within ten minutes, Cade hitches a ride to England and we don’t see Izabella or the autobots for the next hour. Cade is told by British Lord Edmund Burton (Anthony Hopkins)  that the Transformers keep coming to Earth because…. I have no idea, because all their f**king MacGuffin’s are here for God knows what reason. And of course The Staff is the most powerful of them all, at least until the next film. Burton also introduces Cade to Viviane (Laura Haddock), an Oxford Scholar who just so happens to be smoking hot and amazingly the last living descendant of Merlin who is the only one in the world who can control the staff. Burton sends Cade and Viviane off on a quest to find the staff and stop the end of the world, yadda yadda yadda.

It’s typical Transformers bullshit, a needlessly complicated story filled with plot-holes, contrivances, and other forgotten bullshit that can only appeal to the frantic ADD riddled target audience. Who forget what happened in every film because there’s always some new history of the Transformers because despite the world never knowing about their existence. Those Robo-Motherf**kers have dealt with The Egyptians, the dinosaurs, King Arthur and World War 2 now, and still we’ve never heard of them until recently.

I’m gonna rattle off a few more complaints so let’s call this the SPOILER Warning portion of the review. 
• Why was Stanley Tucci playing Merlin? Was he related to his character from AOE or was it just for shits and giggles? 
• What was the point in having the rejects from Stranger Things appear for ten minutes, then throw them all over the trailers for people to complain about having shitty little kids in your damn film? 
• Why am I supposed to care about a Transformer I’ve never seen before getting killed? 
• What was the point in Izabella? Like at all. 
• Why bring up the horns of Unicorn as a major plot point only to never use them again until the mid-credits scene? I’m willing to let this one go as a sequel tease but the film made such a big deal out of them only to drop them like a mother**ker until the next film. 
• Why doesn’t Bumblebee remember WW2? 
• Why bring up WW2 at all? 
• What is the f**king deal with Bumblebee’s voicebox and why doesn’t Optimus remember hearing him speak at the end of the first film? 
• Why the f**k do you include Suicide Squad intros for a bunch of Decepticons who get their asses handed to him ten minutes later? 
• Why tease making Optimus the villain if you’re just gonna have him turn good after one fight with Bumblebee? 
• When Cade found a wooden stick instead of a Staff, why did you think you could drag out the film but five extra minutes by not having Viviane touch the stick despite her touching everything being the reason for everything happening so far? 
• How much did you pay Turturro to come back and why did you bother? 
• Why the f**k was Izabella anywhere near the final battle and why did you force her to be there? Was it just to justify her inclusion in the film because she’s worthless no matter what you make her do? 
• What happened to the All-Spark? Or the Primes? Or The Seed? Or anything else you’ve introduced in any of these film before? 
• How much were you paid to have another Bud Light cameo? 
• Did this film just slyly confirm that Shia LeBeouf is dead in this universe?

I have others but those are the big ones that stood out, absolutely nothing in this film makes sense but hey, maybe that’s my fault for looking for f**king sense in a f**king Transformers movie.

Characters were pretty much shit, Wahlberg is back as Cade, but without him complaining about his daughter’s boyfriend every five minutes, they’ve literally giving him nothing else to do. I like Marky Mark in the right role, he’s quite good, but he has zero f**king charisma here, His character is just so f**king bland and uninteresting that I’m not sure why he’s even in this film to begin with.

I’ve already stated that Izabella was f**king worthless and I stand by that. I thought she was going to piss me off by being this f**king tough chick because Bay finally started listening to the critics about needlessly sexualizing women after putting a 17 year old in short-shorts last time around. But no, Izabella pissed me off by being utterly f**king useless; during an ambush she walks in the middle of the road to shout at Megatron and risks the whole endeavor. Why? Because she’s ‘Not afraid of him’. Bitch we get that you’re not afraid , but that’s no reason for you to put everyone else in danger, f**k you and f**k your stupid ‘Fight like a girl’ ads.

While thankfully Bay didn’t resort to a 14 year old, he did play out his Librarian fantasies with Viviane, played by Starlord’s Mum. As much as I don’t want to admit it, Viviana is smoking hot and Bay knows how to make hot women hotter. So points on that one, and to both their credits, Viviane isn’t a terrible character, she’s the closest the film’s gotten to Megan Fox since the first film, not to say Megan Fox was great, but she at least felt like a character at points. Similarly Viviane isn’t that great, but her overall character was smart, bitingly snarky (able to hold her own against Cade until she saw his abs and got instantly turned on at the sight), and her arc from being a total non-believer to heart of the whole film. While not totally original but it did work for the most part, I think Haddock sold that part of her character better than even the film was expecting.

Hopkins was strange, when he wasn’t spouting off exposition, he was shouting at his Robo-Butler for his theatrics and when he wasn’t doing that he was being way too forcibly ‘cool’ by saying ‘Dude’ and ‘Bitchin’. I mean I liked him because he was Hopkins and he clearly did not give a shit with shouting at fat men and calling police officers dickheads, but this could’ve been anyone. Might not have had the same effect Hopkins does, but it’s a thankless task.

Outside of them, we had nameless faceless soldiers getting in the way, including that one guy from the first Transformers who’s back for some reason (Josh Duhamel), and panicky kid (Jerrod Carmichael) alongside Wahlberg who tries and fails to be the comic relief. Then of course we have the robots and I’ll admit it, I liked the Autobots. I mean I kinda have to since none of the other Transformers matter. Optimus is barley in the film, Megatron’s the villain again because no matter how many times they kill him he keeps coming back. The actual villain Quintessa is so f**king forgettable that the film actually forgets about her, and as previously mentioned all the Decepticons are killed off within the first act.

The Autobots though, something about their camaraderie worked. John Goodman steals the show as Hound, a cigar chomping, mini-gun wielding war vet with a love of violence (though with him, Turturro and a Steve Buschemi cameo I can’t help but feel Bay wanted Jeff Bridges for a role to complete the Lebowski cast). Combined with Ken Wanatabe as samurai Drift and John DiMaggio as cockney sniper Crosshairs. You have three different styles of fighter all working and fighting with and for each other, it’s some of the only genuine moments the film has.

Because of course this film is directed by Michael Bay for what he says is the last time, but I don’t believe that for a second. The typical Bayisms are here, a raging hard-on for the US Military, the time constantly being just before dawn or dusk so the sun is low, but just letting enough light in to hit that magic hour for the full f**king 150 minute run-time. Incomprehensible action scenes where it’s damn near impossible to tell who is killing what and why. In fact, this film feels like such a f**king let down because it doesn’t even live up to the dumb fun claim of the first four. As much as I hated them, the other films at least went stupid big with their action scenes, taking out entire cities with sheer destruction alone. Here, even with an extinction level event occurring it’s just way too small, the final battle is just a fire-fight with occasional shots of the Transformers hitting each other.

I think I spoke too soon on Bay because I swear he’s phoning it in with this one, more so than usual because this is so f**king lazy that I can’t believe it actually got made with even simple f**king framing being ignored. Scenes whiz by so fast that you can’t tell where anyone is in relation to each other, the opening King Arthur battle being a notable example when both Arthur’s forces and the Saxons were charging in the same direction. There’s so many scenes which feel cut-down, not by a lot but a few seconds here and there that interrupt the flow. For example, someone will be on the ground but in the next shot they’ll be running and we never saw them get up. It’s just little things like that that your brain picks up on as being wrong and they’re all over the place. I wouldn’t be surprised if this originally was three hours, but since the last one got shit on for being three hours, Bay just cut out a few seconds here and there to get it under two and a half.

The worst offender of laziness though is the aspect ratios constantly changing every 20 seconds! Now I’ve seen films that change their aspect ratios in film beforehand, Nolan’s been doing it since The Dark Knight, but where Nolan will shoot an entire scene in a different aspect ratio to better serve the specific action. Bay literally changes ratios between shot/reverse shot, it’s so f**king jarring, headache inducing, and utterly f**king pointless that it can only be the delusions of a mad man trying desperately to finish this film as quick as possible, so he can save himself from his own creation.

Even by Transformers standards, The Last Knight is a pile of robotic horse shite! The story is as needlessly confusing and convoluted as ever, the characters are a group of bland, annoying and pointless asshats. And Bay delivering one of the laziest directing gigs of his career, I think even people who like these films are gonna be pissed off with this one.

I am giving Transformers : The Last Knight a 1 ½ out of 5 Hairpieces!

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