Movie Review: "Transformers: The Last Knight"
Transformers: The Last Knight
Set after the events of Transformers: Age of Extinction, Transformers have now been deemed (by the United States government) as invaders. With Optimus Prime gone, the U.S. government has put together a force known as the TRF (Transformer Reaction Force) with the intent of locating and destroying all Transformers. Meanwhile, in London, Sir Edmund Burton (Anthony Hopkins) has caught wind of Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) and has invited him, as well as Vivian Wembley (Laura Haddock), to his castle in London. Once there, they learn of King Arthur and his Wizard, Merlin, who were granted a staff of great power and fought alongside the Transformers to end a great war. Now in present day, the god of Cybertron, known as Quintessa, has found Optimus Prime and has brainwashed him to go to Earth to find this staff. With it, she intends to send Earth into ruin and restore Cybertron to it's glory. Cade must work with Vivian and his team of Autobots to find Merlin's staff before Optimus Prime, then stop Quintessa before Earth is destroyed.
The Pros & Cons
The Action (+5pts)
Sir Edmund Burton & Cogman (+3pts)
Laura Haddock (+3pts)
The Plot (-10pts)
Pro: The Action (+5pts)
As should be no surprise, Michael Bay has once again mastered the over-the-top, CGI action. It looks better in this movie than it did in the last one which looked better than the previous movie and so on. There are crazy explosions. There are Transformers fighting Transformers. There are humans fighting humans using guns and swords. There are car chases and shootouts as well as deep sea submarine battles and battles on floating rocks in the sky. It is fast paced action that looks great on the big screen. If all you need from this movie is mindless action, then this movie will not disappoint you.
Con: Izabella (-4pts)
Izabella (Isabela Moner), at the start of the film, is a young girl who is compassionate towards Transformers and tries to find the ones in need of medical aid. She quickly finds herself in trouble and is rescued by Cade. This all happens very early on in the movie (maybe about ten to fifteen minutes or so) and, after that point, the character becomes completely useless. The character really has no place in the rest of the movie but for some unknown reason, she is forced into it anyway. The movie goes on and on, and on, and I kept asking myself "why is this girl here?!". I do not know what the filmmakers were thinking by adding this character throughout the film. I was fine with her inital scene and the actress did a fine job in the role but the character did not serve any purpose to the rest of the movie. All the character did was add more time to an already long film.
Pro: Sir Edmund Burton & Cogman (+3pts)
These characters were a lot of fun. Sir Edmund Burton (Anthony Hopkins) is an old rich guy in England who owns a castle. He has spent his lifetime studying King Arthur, Merlin, the Staff and Transformers. He has a Transformer named Cogman as his butler and the two make a very fun duo to watch. Cogman does not seem like much but proves himself as more of a bodyguard than a butler and he is a very effective bodyguard. These two start Cade and Vivian on their journey then they begin an adventure of their own and it is a lot of fun to watch. My only complaint about this character (Edmund Burton) was the conclusion to his storyline. Even now after seeing the movie days ago, I have no idea what he was doing and what his plan was but at least he was fun to watch.
Con: TRF (-5pts)
Much like Izabella, the TRF was a completely unnecessary part of this story. They did absolutely nothing and could have been taken out of the movie entirely. All they did—much like Izabella—was add time to an already long film. They could not stop Cade or the Autobots. They released generic Decepticons then—only a few scenes later—decided they had to stop those very same Decepticons. This may sound like a spoiler, but believe me, the TRF did not serve the story at all. You could have taken them out and the movie would not have felt any different. They are completely irrelevant to the story and felt like they were only forced in there because of how much Michael Bay loves the military.
Pro: Laura Haddock (+3pts)
Finally, this franchise has figured out that generic, eye-candy female characters do not help a movie. They got Laura Haddock for this film, who is known for projects like both Guardians of the Galaxy films and Da Vinci's Demons (TV Series). While many may still consider her to be eye-candy, she more importantly can act. She was able to add depth to the material that was given to her. Although they did not give her great writing to work with. Her storyline had a compelling setup, but quickly turned ridiculous and predictable. Nonetheless, you will not find Laura Haddock in my list of this movie's issues. She did the best that could have been done with the writing that she was given.
Con: The Plot (-10pts)
All of my complaints about this movie seem to come from one parent issue: the plot. Yet again, Michael Bay sacrificed having a coherent story in order to deliver mindless action. I think there was a decent story hiding deep beneath the terrible writing of this film. Unfortunately, it was almost as if they took a good story premise, then asked themselves what the worst way was for them to bring this to the big screen. Izabella was unnecessary, the TRF was unnecessary, and Cade's storyline felt like one big plot device to force Mark Wahlberg's character into this movie.
I honestly think that this movie had two main characters and only needed one. Either Cade or Vivian could have taken the lead in this movie, but the film struggled with trying to force them both into the film while sparking a romantic relationship between them. Cade is the "chosen one" yet Vivian is the only one who can operate the staff. If Cade was the chosen one, they could have made him the only one that could operate the staff—seems like a pretty “chosen one” type thing to do. Similarly, if Vivian was the only one who could operate the staff and the whole plot hindered on using that staff, what was Cade's purpose? I could go on and on about why the plot for this movie did not work for me, but I do not want to ramble. I feel like the bullet points for the plot of this movie were decent, but the execution left a lot to be desired.
Grade: D+ (67pts)
This, like too many of its predecessors, was not a good movie. It had awesome action, but that was not enough for the movie to stand on. It suffered from a poorly written and incoherent plot, as it felt like all of the human characters were somehow forced into it. Anthony Hopkins and his Transformer, however, were a lot of fun to watch.
The film also finally broke it’s own mold and cast a female lead who can act. Then there was the King Arthur inclusion, which honestly worked a lot better than I thought it would. The movie setup the King Arthur premise very well, but it failed at executing the transition between that and the modern day storyline. Do not get me wrong, this movie had some good moments, but they were severely outweighed by the poor writing and I think most audiences would agree with that.