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7/9/17

TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT - REVIEW


Michael Bay returns to direct yet another Transformers sequel as the popular yet also critically reviled franchise again promises a darker, more emotional film packed with big, bombastic action scenes and a post-apocalyptic setting.

Transformers: The Last Knight opens on a perplexing note as we're thrown into a full-on battle involving the 12 Knights of the Round Table including Merlin the Wizard (not kidding): a Stanley Tucci in full Monty Python mode. As it turns out, Merlin's magical powers were lent to him by early Transformers who allowed him to unleash dragons and such. Somehow, this has an impact on present day where Transformers are outlawed because they are blamed for reducing parts of Chicago to dust. Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) is given a talisman by a dying Transformer Knight and he becomes the titular "last knight" as he is supposedly chosen to help defeat evil. With Optimus Prime busy floating in space and talking to octopus-haired robot villainess Quintessa, gathering a team of Autobots ready to fight back and save the world from Megatron's newest dastardly venture isn't so easy. That's where Anthony Hopkins' Mr Exposition (who is easily the best aspect of this film) comes in to deliver Yeager all the historical background he needs to complete his destiny.

Frankly, I could be telling you the plot of this movie all day and it still wouldn't make any sense so just... let's move on.

To say that the trailers for this movie were misleading would be an understatement. The little girl who can be seen in every single trailer, making us think she's going to be Wahlberg's sidekick throughout the movie, is in about 5 minutes out of 149. The film is nowhere near darker than all the other movies and is in fact just as goofy, dumb and over-the-top. Optimus Prime once again gets very little screen-time, as do all the other Transformers, to make space for countless pointless characters and subplots that simply don't need to be there. It's a shame that, after the surprisingly entertaining Transformers: Age Of Extinction, Michael Bay is once again back to directing another incomprehensible and criminally stupid instalment every bit as confounding as the much-despised Revenge Of The Fallen. Needless to say this movie is too long and but the worst part of it is a majority of it could have easily been cut out and none of it would have been missed.

The entire King Arthur backstory is about as believable as newest irritating love-interest Laura Haddock being an Oxford University Professor and the Transformers defeating the Nazis during WWII. You laugh but this actually happens in this movie: in fact, the movie stops dead in its tracks to show us that scene. Most of the Transformers, old and new, are your usual mix of stereotypes and one-liner-spouting idiots and keeping track of who is who and what is what, especially in the film's chaotic last half hour is a challenge I, for one, could not begin to even tackle. This is a film so messy and hard to follow it makes Southland Tales look like Wall-E. Characters like tomboy Izabella (Isabella Moner), John Turturro's former government agent and an engineer played by Tony Hale (who saves the world in the end, by the way) pop-up then disappear for most of the movie and none of the main characters are all that useful by themselves so you end up having to keep track of 20 mini-subplots in order to understand why they're even there.

For a nearly three-hour-long film about big robots fighting, this is a shockingly dull watch. The Last Knight never takes off due to having basically no tangible story and its characters are ineptly written so the action has no emotional or intellectual impact whatsoever and no amount of polished CGI can ever make that interesting to look at. This is easily the most boring film this critic has seen since the Fantastic Four remake. People usually praise the visuals at least in these movies but, to be honest, even those aren't all that good: the animation on the robots' faces is extremely poor and the camera moves so much that, half the time, you can't even tell what you're looking at so, to those rooms of people who worked on these effects, I extend my sympathies as it must have been hell to work on something this confusing and I'm sure they tried their best. Transformers fans won't enjoy this one due to the Transformers being afterthoughts and the corny, dated, at times borderline offensive humour throughout.

Needless to say, I can't imagine anyone else enjoying it either (or staying awake).

The second film in the franchise may have been awful but at least it was so bad you just had to see it, The Last Knight is such a badly made waste of time it's almost unwatchable. I'm sure the worldwide box-office will guarantee further instalments, just don't expect me to sit through another one of those at the cinema.

Maybe the worst one yet.

You have been warned.

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