Looking for sense or meaning in a movie about alien robots smacking six shades out of each other is a futile task at best. Four previous Transformers movies have taught us that. To enjoy the simple action/adventure formula, the audience usually just has to put their minds into neutral. With Transformers: The Last Knight, it may be necessary to disengage all cognitive functions.
Michael Bay’s – fingers crossed here – last ever Transformers movie is like watching cutscenes from three different video games that have been spliced together on YouTube. It’s so disjointed and random, you start to wonder if they changed the writer every 15 minutes, but only let the person taking over see the final page of the last scribe’s work. Forget a three-act structure, we may actually be into double figures by the time the end credits mercifully roll.
A Game of Thrones-style intro (Merlin is a hoot) sets up the latest news from the Transformers movie universe, that the bots have been on Earth for 1600 years. It should be unnecessary to explain the plot any further, given that characters routinely fill in every detail the moment they appear. “You talk a lot,” Cade (Mark Wahlberg) says to Sir Edmund (Anthony Hopkins), when they meet, as if he’s been listening to the voiceover long before the pair’s initial lengthy discourse. Yet by the end you’ll still be scratching your head, wondering what just happened – and not in a clever sci-fi way. Despite the excessive exposition, this film also feels incredibly long, making you wonder if they’d have to bring back an old-school intermission if everyone didn’t just tell you what was happening.
The result is one almighty mess. At one point it dips its toe into rom-com territory, somehow failing to provide either rom or com. Another point sees the Decepticons bizarrely reference Suicide Squad, in a plotline that – even for this omnishambles – makes absolutely no sense. The script also has a curious need to cling to the past (why is John Turturro still a part of this franchise? Why does the female lead have to be a British clone of Megan Fox). And while there were numerous points where the audience gave a hearty chuckle, unfortunately it was at the ludicrousness of what was being said rather than at a supposed joke.
We’re well aware that our words will fall on deaf ears, as this film is already heading for a decent opening in the US, and we fully understand that. Hell, you try keeping us away from a new Transformers movie! But if we can lower your expectations in any way, it’s possible you might just enjoy this film a hell of a lot more than it deserves.