Transformers: The Last Knight
Reviewed by: Thomas Butcher
The live-action “Transformers” film series is back with more action and even more robots.
“Transformers: The Last Knight” is the fifth film in the franchise, and is once again directed by Michael Bay.
With Optimus Prime absent from planet Earth while searching for his creators, the Autobots are left in the care of Cade Yeager, played by actor Mark Wahlberg, as they are hunted by government unit T.R.F. (Transformers Reaction Force).
After running into a little trouble with T.R.F. and the Decepticons, Cade and Oxford University professor Viviane Wembley, played by actress Laura Haddock, are summoned by Sir Edmond Burton, played by actor Anthony Hopkins. When they learn the history about the Transformers on Earth, they decide to work together to save the Autobots and to prevent the planet’s destruction.
This film has some good things to offer, but it also has some bad things too. Let’s break it down.
Anthony Hopkins is an Academy Award-winning actor who has been a household name for decades. His character introduces so much backstory in this sequel that it almost makes you wish he had also appeared in the previous four films. His witty charm is a definite highlight in the film as his character serves as both a driving force and comic relief.
Mark Wahlberg makes his second appearance in the “Transformers” franchise with “The Last Knight”. Again, one can only wonder what it might have been like to have him in these films from the start. A self-proclaimed inventor, Wahlberg’s character has dedicated his life to protecting the Autobots, which sequentially has turned him into a fugitive. Due to his fugitive status, he lives his life without being able to contact his daughter. His sacrifice for a higher purpose plays well with the overarching story being told.
The “Transformers” movies have never been skimpy on action sequences. Eyes remain glued to the screen anytime these giant robots participate in battle or provoke a car chase through city streets.
If you’re not paying attention while viewing, you might mistake this film for a comedy. Bay has blended multiple film genres into one and takes every opportunity to keep the audience entertained. When the action dies down, there’s a joke waiting to pounce and smack you in the face. Almost every character gets a good laugh in, and even the Transformers have a good sense of humor.
With a budget of over $200 million, it can be heart-breaking to see choppy editing. Quick cuts are typical in action films, but remaining consistently fast-paced doesn’t give viewers too much time to breathe. As a result, this can become disorienting. This is especially true during parts where there isn’t a fight or chase. Not to mention, continuity is broken on numerous occasions. Characters will have their hands on one thing and then suddenly have them holding something else. All in all, taking the time to slow down could have presented many benefits to the final cut.
Speaking of continuity, there is a glaring continuity error with the story of this film. Without giving anything away, prior events that took place in the film series render “The Last Knight” as an event that technically couldn’t have happened. Maybe prior assumptions have been wrong, but at face value it simply isn’t logical.
With a running time of 149 minutes, it could have been a little shorter. The opening sequence drags a little, and at first it makes one wonder if they’ve stepped into the wrong theater. There’s also a sequence where various Decepticons are introduced with a quick backstory. This ultimately never ties in with the main story line, which begs the question as to why those introductions were necessary. Overall, there are moments throughout the film could have been shorter while still getting the point across.
The Ugly Truth
As a critic, “Transformers: The Dark Knight” can be messy at times. Decisions are called into question and some opportunities appear to have been missed.
As a fan, it’s still a really fun film. If the ultimate goal was to give audiences an adrenaline rush equivalent to that of a rollercoaster ride, then it’s a complete success.
If you’re looking for a science fiction/action film with huge fighting robots that can also make you laugh out loud, then this is the movie for you.