Action aficionado Michael Bay returns to his beloved Transformers franchise with The Last Knight, with humans and Transformers at odds without any leadership and with Optimus Prime gone, a secret powerful artefact may have a deadly secret, the film stars Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Hopkins, Laura Haddock, Josh Duhamel, Jerrod Carmichael, John Turturo and Stanley Tucci.
Love them, hate them, the Transformers films are still trucking on, with Michael Bay seeming to come up with increasingly out there and elaborate ideas for his plots, though he’s drawing a lot more from the cartoons and source material now, which is a welcome change. And yes, I’m starting the review on a positive note, though there’s quite a lot to unpack, Bays ambition is clear and present here, though the plot resembles Dark Of The Moon with the whole bringing Cybertron to Earth thing, the plot does differ quite significantly.
We get yet more transformers on both Autobot and Decepticon sides, and interestingly the Decepticons get a bit of personality this time around, not simply being cannon fodder and we also get a few new human characters that play alongside Cade now that his daughter is out of the picture (sort of), Anthony Hopkins is a treat as Edmund Bunton and is presumably loving being in the role as he really gets to play it up, to a lot of comic relief. While we get the returning Mark Wahlberg as aspiring inventor Cade Yeager and new character Vivian Wembley, English lecturer and professor at Oxford University who serves as an opposite to Cade and is an important part of the plot, though getting into details would be spoiling things.
For the most part, the characters chemistry and relations are quite fun and a highlight of the film, Cades’ back and forths with the Autobots and Vivian are fun, albeit a bit juvenile, as is to be expected in a Transformers film but a new addition to the cast in Edmunds robot servant Cogman brings quite a lot of laughs and humour to proceedings and the result is one of, if not the funniest film in the entire Transformers series in my opinion. And now for the bad, The Last Knight amazingly isn’t the longest film in the franchise but it feels like a slog in sections, with a lot of travelling sequences and build up to action, along with some awkward dialogue that is shoehorned in for humour, I can absolutely get why long time fans of the series would be turned off. It’s also again quite cliché with re-using certain characters and tropes that we’ve come to know from the series, Bumblebee saving the day, Optimus giving speeches and so on and while I’m not hugely bothered by this, other film goers may be a bit tired of it.
And funnily enough, if you’re seeing this because you’re a big Optimus Prime, prepare for disappointment with Prime not even heavily featuring. But a positive, there are some great visuals present and some pretty awesome spectacle as well with relation to the latter half of the plot involving Cybertron, Bay seems to have filmed the action a bit more clearly than in previous films and it’s always a bit cool to see transforming alien robots go at it, with some new added features also.
So while the film isn’t a complete disaster, it feels a bit tiresome and overly long in sections, with weird cuts, a bit of a convoluted story and the final third just feels very samey and by the numbers in relation to other Transformer films. And while it may be great to see sexy super cars, Bumblbee and Optimus again, for the little we do see of him – but you do get the feeling that Michael Bay may have just run out of ideas for his own series.
. Pacing isn’t great, some sections drag on
. Plot feels tropey and a bit too samey
. Well done humour, good comic relief