Transformers The Last Knight Review: It’s What You Expected
It sucks. If you expected me to say anything different, then I am sorry to disappoint you. If you expected this film to be different from the other Transformers films, then I am sorry to disappoint you. It sucks, and although there is much more that can be said about this film, the most important thing that can be said (from a purely artistic perspective) is that is sucks. As you’ve probably heard, it isn’t funny and it tries to be, there is a lot of action, and the characters are flat. But unlike Transformers: Dark of the Moon, a film which I would never promote, this film bored me to the fullest extent. If there is anything remarkable about The Last Knight, it’s that it proves audiences can become bored while watching massive robots fight as a plant devours Earth. I expected to hate this film, but rarely am I angered by the incompetence of a movie and bored by every scene. I only saw this film because it is a proxy for a much larger battle taking place in the American film market, and I wanted to watch it with my own eyes before I condemned it as a relic of the past. I expected to hate it, and I do.
I will give The Last Knight some credit: it could have been great. The highly advertised fight between Optimus Prime and Bumblebee is fantastic, and managed to grip me emotionally. Had the whole film centered around this conflict I would have loved it, or at least somewhat enjoyed it. But Optimus Prime is barely in the film, for reasons I do not understand, and every scene where he is gone is tough to get through.
Now we get to the bad.
The first thing you notice about this film is that it isn’t funny, but it keeps making jokes. Have you ever had a conversation with someone who keeps trying to make witty jokes, but doesn’t seem to realize that every one of them falls flat? That’s this script in a nutshell. The joke count is high, and I laughed a couple of times. but I laughed out of disbelief that such a bad joke was made.
The Room is unquestionably one of the worst Hollywood productions to ever hit cinema screens, but at least that film made me consistently laugh. It was so bad that I couldn’t help but chuckle out of amazement, but here I just shook my head or face palmed. The problem with this film is that it is competently filmed and directed, but it is horribly written. This puts the film in a place where few will enjoy it, because it isn’t weird enough to ironically enjoy and it isn’t good enough to legitimately enjoy.
The actors are forced to wade through pages of horrible humor while conveying a plot that makes no sense.
Not only is the humor terrible, but I have trouble understanding everything that happens due to the amount of characters and the dialogue in each scene. Every scene lacking action is a collection of incoherent gags that vaguely push the story forward, but are difficult to remember and difficult to invest in. I didn’t care about 98% of what I saw in this film, and even though it’s pretty, that’s a problem.
The actors all put in a respectable effort, but none of them can overcome the script that has been handed to them. Anthony Hopkins is enjoyable to watch, Mark Wahlberg delivers a decent performance, and Laura Haddock has more to do than most actresses in a Michael Bay production, but I would be lying if I said I grew attached to any of them.
Given how horrible the script is, you would hope that the action could at least entertain. But even when giant robots were fighting each other, I was astounded by how bored I became. And oddly enough, the aspect ratio kept changing from shot to shot. It would cut to one person, and then the image would look larger, than it would cut back to another person and the image would contract. Since I didn’t care about the characters or the story, this strange problem distracted me from the action and had a legitimately negative effect on my viewing. Despite this, the action still looked great, and the fight between Prime and Bumblebee was especially striking. But I wasn’t invested in any of it aside from that scene.
Something that directors like Michael Bay fail to understand is that action works for two reasons: it looks cool, and we care about who is fighting.
Star Wars, from a visual standpoint, looks dated today, but people continue to watch the film 40 years later because of how invested they are in the characters. In 2057, when The Last Knight’s action looks like something a college student would make, who will care?
And you can disregard 2040 altogether, because people don’t care now.
When the credits rolled I instantly stood up, and turned around to examine the small audience behind me. I saw a few uninterested adults, and a twelve-year-old child yawning. The film currently has an 18% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 5.5 on IMDb.
This summer has seen poorly reviewed and unoriginal films disappoint at the box office. We saw Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales underperform, Baywatch flop, and The Mummy bomb. But part of me feared that The Last Knight would still succeed in the domestic box office, and signal that there continues to be demand for low-quality action extravaganzas. Luckily, the opposite seems to have happened.
I commend Michael Bay and his team for crafting such a visually impressive film, but this movie sucks, and I am glad it has underperformed.