I have been pretty lenient when it comes to the Transformers franchise. I have always viewed them as the second most fun movies to watch at the theater behind the Fast and the Furious franchise so I have never taken them too seriously. I have been fairly entertained even though they have not been the best movies and now we come to Transformers: The Last Knight. I do not know if I was looking too closely at the marketing or I missed something completely but it seemed to me that this movie was set up to be an epic conclusion to the franchise and maybe set up some spinoffs but once I finished watching the film it did not come across like that at all. What I did get however is my least favorite film from the Transformers Universe.
This is the first Transformers movie to use the theme of medieval times and in the first scene of the film, we get some familiar characters from history, including King Arthur, Sir Lancelot and Merlin the Wizard. Immediately, I started seeing that we were going downhill from that point forward in the film. I like that they are trying new things but inserting Transformers into historical events throughout Earth’s history creates a huge plot hole throughout all five of the films up until now. I can not sit there and believe that these giant robots had so much effect on human history, including a major character in these films being a part of the destruction of the Nazis, to then having all humans since the first movie act like this is the first time the Autobots and Decepticons have popped up on earth.
Speaking of continuity, let’s move on to the cast. From the first Transformers movie to the third, they kept a pretty consistent cast. Even in the rebooted cast for Dark of the Moon lead by Mark Wahlberg they did a good job of introducing us to the new protagonist and making us care about the humans throughout the movie and even gave us a sense of what the Autobots were going through during the time gap between the third and fourth film. However, in The Last Knight, we get new characters. The film spends minimal time introducing us to these characters and just kind of shoves them into this adventure together. The only characters I noticed that came back were Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) and Colonel William Lennow (Josh Duhamel).
One of the new characters that we got and I felt had some potential for the film but was completely underused and by the end of the film, I was asking myself if the character was even needed since they did so little with her. I am talking about Izabella (Isabela Moner), a young, knowledgeable, motivated girl who has been living by herself, saving Autobots, ever since her parents died. She comes into Yeager’s life and I immediately thought since he cannot communicate with his daughter who is off to college now that Izabella would fill that void and help him around the junkyard. Unfortunately, she is just left at the junkyard to tend to ‘baby transformers’ where we do not see her for a large part of the movie until she comes back towards the end to seemingly just give her ‘way too cute’ Autobot a reason to save the day.
Another female character that gets involved with Yeager is Vivian Wembley (Laura Haddock) who also feels like the film could have been made without her involvement. Being that she is way too attractive than she should be to be playing a college professor, she fits the usual hot girl that gets with the main protagonist role that we get in most of Michael Bay’s films. In this movie, however, the romantic connection between Yeager and Wembley seems forced and we do not see their interest for each other grow as the movie progresses. She literally goes from not wanting anything to do with him to madly lusting over him with zero to no effort from Wahlberg’s character.
The villain of this film is the “creator” of the Transformers, Quintessa (Gemma Chan), and she does not come off as a strong villain at all. As the creator, one would think that she had powers beyond that which we have seen from any other transformer in this franchise but yet, she does not come off menacing at all. Beside floating, the one power we see her display is mind control as she takes over Optimus’ mind and turns him against earth. That’s all good and all but you cannot be a threatening villain if your mind control trick gets reversed by Optimus simply hearing a certain voice.
The overall story has been the same throughout the Transformers films and this one does not add anything new to it and just seems pretty generic to even the standards of the previous movies. The new and unique aspects we got in this film were things we did not really need like, baby Dinobots, butler Transformers and a ripoff of BB-8 from Star Wars. There were plenty of plot holes to go around and a good amount of misused characters that left this movie being bland from beginning to end. Not even the great acting of Anthony Hopkins was able to save this movie. As always the visuals and the action were top notch and that is something that is a standard in Michael Bay films but that is not enough to keep your audience engaged in your movie for two and half hours. Like I mentioned in the beginning of this review, to me it seemed like they were marketing this as a conclusion to the franchise yet we get teased of a future title during the ending act of this film. I do not know what the future plans are for this franchise but it is in dire need of a refresh soon. I was way more entertained by prior titles in this franchise than I was with this film.
Reel Talk gives Transformers: The Last Knight 1.5 Reels