Transformers: The Last Knight Dir: Michael Bay

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Josh Duhamel, Stanley Tucci, Anthony Hopkins

That’s right Transformers is back, and so is Michael Bay with the 5th in the franchise. Can you believe it? There’s 5 of these things. The Transformers franchise has been critically panned for the most part, but has grossed 3.7 billion worldwide. It’s a smart business decision to keep this thing going even though critics may not find ‘art’ within these films. All that matters is that they can get people into the theatre, and they do. Every. Single. Time.

For me, I came home from school everyday and watched Transformers. It was routine.  Back at school the next day I’d talk to my friends about the previous episode, then repeat. Transformers was everything to me as a kid. I had the toys, Optimus Prime was my hero and 10 years ago when the first Transformers film came out, I was worried. I reluctantly watched it and I’ll be honest, I didn’t love it… and I didn’t hate it. It was alright. To me the Transformers films are glossy, highly-saturated films with adequate dialogue and some emotion within them. I wanted more.

I’ve seen all of the Transformers films, Transformers 1 was alright, 2 was worse, 3 was bad and man 4 was terrible. So when I got the invite to attend the press screening I decided that I’d enter with an open mind and I was prepared to be swept away.

From the start the film ties in King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and introduces us to a drunk Merlin. This ‘sloshed’ Merlin,  has a couple of very funny one-liners. And it wasn’t just me that laughed, the whole theatre erupted. It was here that the film put a smile onto my face, and I’ll admit it. That smile stayed there for the majority of the film.

I actually, really enjoyed this film. If you can accept Transformers existed in Arthurian times, and you can give in to the ridiculousness of that concept you just might enjoy this film. Is it a heartfelt masterpiece? Absolutely not. Does it have amazing visuals and just enough story to make it enjoyable? I think so. There’s comedy in there, plenty of action and the film moves forward at lightening pace and has a lot of momentum.

Mark Wahlberg reprises his role of Cade Yager, who is now kind of the mother hen to the surviving Autobots. There’s Laura Haddock who is essentially Megan Fox’s replacement and there’s Isabela Moner… she didn’t really fit in, in this story. It felt like the studio said to the writers “we need to attract a younger audience, put in a 14 year-old” which they did and it feels totally forced. Moner did the best she could with with the screen time she had, so its no slight on her.

Back to the story, Wahlberg’s character is lonely, surrounded by robots and deeply misses his daughter. Haddock’s character is missing a father and Moner’s character is missing a family. Together they band together for the greater good and form some kind of dysfunctional family that is better together than they are a part. And wait for it… Anthony Hopkins is also in this, he gives the film gravity and a certain weight to it. He’s an eccentric Transformers expert, has a robot butler called Cogman and at one point Hopkins is seen driving around London in a sports car talking about snuggling a woman. A few minutes later he’s seen sneaking into the Prime Minister of England’s office and tells the PM to shut-up. Brilliant.

As you could probably guess, there is a world ending event in this film that looms over our heroes early on and you guessed it again, only Wahlberg and Haddock can save us all. The film progresses towards a climactic ending that is so big that literally millions die and to give it scale, its two planets smashing together kind of big. Now that’s big. Bay knows big, he’s worked with the Rock.

There’s some, dare I say it “smart writing” in this. The film’s theme in my opinion is about ‘hope’ and ‘faith’. Humanity has turned its back on the Autobots and at one point in the film the American government decide to go with facts and science instead of ‘trusting’ in Optimus and the Autobots.

The science-like plan fails and Optimus literally flies in to help save the day. Now if you’re like me and were obsessed with Optimus growing up, you should know that there’s literally like 15 minutes of him in this film. There’s more Godzilla in the Godzilla film, like actually. So be warned people. Be warned. Instead, the filmmakers decided to focus on the character of Bumblebee due to the fact they are developing a Rogue One equivalent film. Reports are that there will be a Bumblebee in the 80s type film coming. Which won’t be directed by Michael Bay.

Bay knows what he’s doing, he knows the tone of film he’s making and he wants to make the studio money. He isn’t making a Star Wars film which relies on love from both fans and critics. He couldn’t care less if someone like myself loved it. All he cares about is the box office.

The Transformers franchise is here to stay in my opinion. It’s a total popcorn film, you enjoy it in the moment and after you walk out of the cinema you literally start to forget what you watched for over two hours. Thats the kind of film this is. If you want to great visuals, quirky one-liners, don’t want to think too much and just want to be entertained. This is your film. If you expect any more than that, you’ll be disappointed.  3.5/10

Allan George