Wednesday 21 June 2017

Film Review: Transformers - The Last Knight

The Last Knight is two steps forward and one step backward for the Transformers series.

Isabela Moner and Jerrod Carmichael in The Last Knight
The Transformers juggernaut rolls inexorably onward in Transformers: The Last Knight, a bruising, tiresome deluge of noise and sound that struggles to address the issues of past entries and instead continues to service old habits.

Then again, why shouldn’t it? The Transformers series has proven to be amazingly critic-proof before now, and I severely doubt this latest film will buck the trend. Evidently audiences like what they are getting, regardless of what Rotten Tomatoes or Rolling Stone has to say. 

So, what does The Last Knight entail, if you’re interested in finding out what you should spare yourself from this weekend. Once again under the leering gaze of director Michael Bay, The Last Knight sees Autobots and Decepticons alike cast out by society and living on the fringes of society, hunted by a new paramilitary group called the TRF. Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) joins forces with Bumblebee, an astronomer called Sir Edmund Burton (Anthony Hopkins) and an Oxford University professor named Viviane Wembley (Laura Haddock) to combat the TRF and untangle the reasons behind the deluge of new Transformers arriving on Earth. 

Megan Fox Laura Haddock in The Last Knight
That’s a very brief synopsis that only begins to pull at the tangled ball of yarn that screenwriters Art Marcum, Matt Holloway and Ken Nolan have cooked up. 

Like the four entries that proceeded it, The Last Knight sees the Transformers series continue to bend over backwards to invent new and increasingly convoluted ways to sell toys, as if most of the audience for this regurgitated scrap heap actually gives two shits about why the myriad of colourful action figures are punching each other. 

The film somehow ties together Arthurian legend, a celestial sorceress called Quintessa (Gemma Chan) and a giant sphere bound by two separate MacGuffins, amongst other complicated babble that degenerates into white noise by the second act. It’s basically an upended toy box of ideas that have been scooped up and thrown at the wall.

Also, it has all the classic Bay mannerisms you would expect; the sweeping low angles, the saturated colour palette and lens flares, the hot girl squeezed into the tightest and least practical outfit imaginable. The balletic action sequences that keep you on the edge of your seat until they stretch 15 minutes too long. There really is nothing new from Bay here, save for maybe a flawless integration of 3D – seriously, the way 3D is employed in The Last Knight is some of the best I’ve ever seen.

Credit where credit is due, The Last Knight does have a couple of cards up its sleeve that work in its favour. Firstly, it’s mercifully shorter than Age of Extinction by nearly a full 25 minutes. 

Secondly, the first act is decent – a host of new characters, like scruffy tomboy Izabella (Isabela Moner), her adorable Autobot companion Sqweeks and a frenetic robot butler called Cogman (Jim Carter) that acts like C-3PO drank a dozen Red Bull – make this opening stretch a fun and jaunty soft relaunch of the increasingly repetitive series.

That is until we reach the third act. Hoo boy, does it go downhill fast from here. Adhering to the adage ‘bigger is better’, The Last Knight plunges head first into the most mind-numbingly stupid and ludicrously overlarge final assault this side of, well, the last film. 

It just rolls on and on, a swirling tornado of pyrotechnics and unintelligible staging. When all is said and done, Bay packs up and goes home before you can even catch your breath, leaving the audience feeling a little punch drunk while the customary sequel teaser promises we’ll have to endure more when 2020 rolls around.

The Verdict: 5/10

After a promising first half, Transformers: The Last Knight devolves backwards into the same old stuff we've seen before - only this time it's bigger, noisier and more grating than ever.

Transformers: The Last Knight is in cinemas across Australia on Thursday June 22. 


  1. Nice review! I don't think I've ever seen a Transformers movie, but "swirling tornado of pyrotechnics" perfectly describes Michael Bay.

    1. You're not really missing out on much Katy, probably best to keep it that way :)



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