Review: Transformers – The Last Knight

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The endurance of this particular fan of the Transformers films has apparently, finally, run out.

It is the end. With Optimus Prime travelling out into space looking for his creators, Earth sees the return of Decepticon leader Megatron as well as a planet-sized menace from beyond the solar system. All that can save us is a Cybertronian relic that hasn’t been seen since the Arthurian legends.

A lot of people rightfully hate on the last three monstrously sized Transformers films, but this reviewer has stuck with them because, well, Transformers never was Shakespeare; it was dumb laser battles between giant robots that frequently turned into awesome vehicles. I had low expectations that these films were nothing but fun, Saturday morning nonsense. But this franchise needs a reboot. Right now. The Last Knight is a glowing example of a franchise burnt out of ideas.

The previous title, Transformers: Age of Extinction, saw the introduction of Cade Yeager (played by Mark Wahlberg) and numerous new Autobot heroes (Drift, Crosshairs, Hound and the Dinobots) and was even considered by director Michael Bay as a “start of a new trilogy”. Megatron died for the second time in the third film, Dark of the Moon, but was resurrected in the fourth as Galvatron, with an awful new look and a stupid particle transformation sequence.
Why am I getting into these details? Well. The Last Knight features Megatron. Who is not Galvatron, and looks nothing like what he did before, and now turns into a jet, with no mention of Galvatron.
You might say, Cinema Cocoa, stop overthinking continuity in a Transformers film! But it gets worse…

Spoilers, if anyone cares, lie beyond.

By the gods… this is the fifth entry in this series, and we are still doing the same plot. This is the end of the world, yet there’s so little weight given to any piece of information; the film is so doggedly determined to race at breakneck speeds you barely know what’s happening. So, Optimus is brainwashed by a Quintesson (they are the creators of the Transformers in the original cartoon), only not the same fleshy Quintessons hinted at in AoE (yet more continuity errors) to get “the staff”, I don’t think it even had a name. Yet another magic macguffin to restore Cybertron. You know, the Transformers’ homeworld, the same one that supposedly died along with the All-Spark back in 2007, or was again destroyed when Sentinel Prime attempted to teleport it to Earth in 2011. More continuity errors.
But it doesn’t stop there, apparently the reason Transformers keep coming here, is because Earth… wait for it… is Unicron. A Transformer. Now… The All-Spark came here by chance, and Unicron would’ve reacted to the literal heart of Cybertron landing on him. The Fallen was going to destroy Earth by consuming The Sun. Sentinel Prime was going to destroy Earth to rebuild Cybertron. Weren’t those Quintessons in AoE who came to primordial Earth to make Transformium out of the planet’s base materials?? None of these characters noticed that Earth itself is a godlike Transformer??
More continuity errors. Fundamental storytelling errors that, if you are like me and actually paying attention to these films, are ridiculous.

Four people wrote this film.

Nitpicking aside, good elements exist: Anthony Hopkins is in this for some reason as a wealthy British custodian of the Transformers legacy that has been going on throughout history. He seems to be having a good time. He has an advanced robot butler who gets a few funny lines and extinguishes the usual stupid Bayisms before they occur. Which was welcomed self-awareness. Laura Haddock plays our leading lady Vivian who, amazingly, is not objectified. In fact… there aren’t any half-naked women draped over motorcycles anywhere!
Indeed, there’s little obnoxious or toilet humour here, and far less product placement than in AoE (not that this is hard to do; shopping malls have less) and everything is still gorgeously over-designed. The final battle is properly huge and quite creative; it isn’t set in a city, or a forest or a desert. There’s even some scenes of Transformers interacting without human involvement and they even tried to give the Decepticons personalities! (I say tried, it felt like watching Suicide Squad again). There’s even a distinct three act structure! All of these things are technically better than Age of Extinction.

But, I am just so tired of seeing creative characters wasted on the same repetitive plot over and over. The films are virtually overwriting themselves at this point.

A film like this shouldn’t make Optimus Prime apologise. None of this is his fault.

34347-2-5

Additional Marshmallows: I guess Galvatron just transformed himself into Megatron and in such a way his transformation sequence wasn’t particles? Or maybe this is the old Megatron from Dark of the Moon returned again and Galvatron is still out there? Sigh.

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