As we hit number five in the unfathomably long series of Transformers films, we continue to delve deeper and deeper into the strange and murky mind of Michael Bay. A man who makes studio friendly action films and crowd pleasers, it is as this franchise has continued that he has found himself with more creative freedom. With each film we are getting closer to the actual film that Michael Bay wants to make, and it is becoming clear that he has absolutely no idea how to tell a story.
The Last Knight picks up where Age of Extinction left off, both narratively and thematically. There is no attempt to create a plausible storyline and we go headlong into children's cartoon territory. A good example is the prologue that sets up a backstory involving King Arthur and the knights of the round table. Stanley Tucci plays Merlin, a supposed wizard who is actually a drunk who has stumbled across giant robot aliens in 444AD and somehow convinces them to take his side in a local battle. I appreciate that that actually sounds quite fun and interesting in a whacky kind of way, but trust me, it is not well developed. And this is not the plot of the film, remember, it's a six minute long preamble to the rest of the nonsense.
There's not a lot of point recounting the rest of the story because it doesn't make sense and it's badly structured and tonally inconsistent. Just as with Pain and Gain, it seems that someone has written a comedy film to take the piss and Michael Bay hasn't noticed so he's just shooting it straight. It gives a really unsettling feel to the film and as with the previous instalments we have no sense of structure whatsoever. Characters are introduced and go nowhere. Characters disappear for forty minutes. The whole thing is way too long and has far too many story strands. But at least Anthony Hopkins seems like he's having a good laugh.
But unlike some messy films (Suicide Squad), you certainly don't get the impression that this has been chopped about by too many cooks (although the fact that there are six credited editors certainly raises a couple of eyebrows). I believe that this is the film that Michael Bay wanted to make. He had something in his head and he managed to get it out. And in many ways that is far more terrifying. The man has clearly taken far too much cocaine and it's started to addle his brain (if it's not true, sue me).
In fact, it's pointless even trying to review this film properly as they haven't bothered to make it properly. So instead, here is a list of things that Michael Bay just doesn't give a fuck about:
- Narrative structure
- Character consistency
- British culture and/or history
- The time it takes to fly across the Atlantic ocean
- Josh Duhamel's lack of charisma
- The fact that Hopkins and Tucci are clearly taking the piss
- Genuine sexual chemistry
- Chemistry in general
- The gravitational effect of the moon
- The vast distances and travelling times between planets
- Explaining crucial story elements
- Oxford professors
- Ripping off The Da Vinci Code
- Keeping me awake for the last forty minutes of the film
All in all, what you should expect from the fifth film in a franchise brought to you by the pyromaniac Michael Bay. Very messy; 3/10