The best thing I can say about Transformers: The Last Knight is that, because of Michael Bay’s trademark awful directorial style, I have already forgotten most of it. Surprising absolutely nobody, this movie is a pile of hot garbage featuring entirely too many needless characters, settings, and plot elements taped together haphazardly with transitions of military hardware at sunset. I honestly couldn’t even begin to recap the plot of this movie without a guide, and even then, it would read like a transcript of Donald Trump trying to describe a fever dream he had – constantly interrupting itself and going on tangents.
So, in leu of a traditional review, please enjoy a list of the most egregious things I unfortunately still remember about Transformers: The Last Knight:
– One of the movie’s climaxes involves a brainwashed Optimus Prime coming back to his senses. He switches from bad to good after a single sentence – in an anti-climax rivaled only by “Martha” – and immediately after, asks “What have I done?”
The answer is absolutely fucking nothing. The quick fight that proceeds this scene is the only time Optimus is on the same planet as any other main character. It’s an emotional moment of redemption even though he has barely appeared in the movie up to that moment.
– One of the major plot points is a talisman that attaches to Mark Wahlberg’s arm that is said to be an omen of the end of the world. The reveal of what this object actually does takes about a second, and is then never mentioned again.
– One of the emotional beats of the film involves Mark Wahlberg telling a young girl he rescues that if he could speak to his daughter one more time, he’d recreate a thing they used to do where she would ask him “Any plans tomorrow?,” and he would respond “I’ll figure them out tomorrow.”
At the end of the movie, Mark’s love interest – who does not know about this exchange – asks Mark about his plans tomorrow, which uncomfortably mixes the love-interest role with the surrogate daughter role.
– Related, the entire young girl character, who is given a non-negligible amount of development in the first act, is sidelined for almost the entire movie after they introduce the love interest, seemingly because Bay has something against having two named women on screen at once.
– Also related, at least two characters spend the entire movie as unrelated living McGuffins for the same damn plot element.
– There is a 2 minute cut away scene where it’s revealed that Bumblebee fought against Nazis in WWII. This does not connect in any way to anything else in the movie.
– There’s a part in the movie where Megatron negotiates with the US government to get his Deceptions out of custody that briefly turns the movie into Suicide Squad.
– Another plot point involves Cuba being the only country in the world not hostile to Transformers. This exists only so that a human character from the previous movies can show up to give the other characters information that said character really has no reason to know in the first place, and would actually make more sense if a different main character already knew.
– There’s a NASA engineer character who exists seemingly only for there to be a nerd that the movie can laugh at. His plan – that the movie shows should have worked – doesn’t only because the nerd didn’t account for the Transformers being basically magic.
Transformers: The Last Knight isn’t the sort of bad movie I can enjoy in spite of itself. It isn’t even the sort of bad movie that gives me pleasure to complain about. It’s just a mess. An expensive as hell, incredibly tightly choreographed shitstorm of various CG characters and other doohickys with barely enough plot cohesion to tie any two scenes together. Almost impressively, the movie simultaneously moves way too fast and feels two hours too long.
I personally know at least one person who, while recognizing that this is an awful movie in a trainwreck of a franchise, enjoyed his time with it immensely. And if, like him, this movie brings you any sort of joy whatsoever, more power to ya. They keep on making these things for you.
And…ok, Cogman was fun and Anthony Hopkins was clearly enjoying himself. Two points for that.