Just like kicking your little brother in the nuts isn’t a movie, Transformers: The Last Knight isn’t a movie. A blatant “fuck you” to audiences stupid enough to buy a ticket to this next go-round – one that Universal and Hasbro have positioned as a “launching pad” for a Hasbro Cinematic Universe (and yes, the existence of a Hasbro Cinematic Universe makes me question my place on this Earth and will to live) – this inept fivequel is a brain-numbing series of endless explosions and rinkadink chase sequences and imbecilic exposition and sparks farting through the air and adolescent titties bouncing in slo-mo and Mark Wahlberg hollering fucking nonsense and racist robots with gold-plated teeth and snobby British ladies gathered for high tea. Trans5mers is all those things and so much less. It’s a retard-robo-fantasy masquerading as a film that lacks any of the stuff that actually makes a movie a movie, replacing substance with middle fingers extended curtly at those in the audience expecting one iota of sense. A flaming effigy of not giving a single fuck, Transformers: The Last Knight spits in its haters’ face and asks you to thank it.
It’s hard to express how much I fucking hated this article of shit-smear-on-screen but sufficed to say had I not been required to review this piece of robot-smash-porn I would have snapped my 3D glasses and stormed out of the theater, kicked over the nearest trashcan, strewn its contents into a loose teepee, punched out the theater manager, alleviated him of his lighter and set flame to the makeshift kindling. The crackle of roasting discarded popcorn, oversized soda cups and crumpled ticket stubs, the growing heat of the embers turning to flame, a Batsignal to all trapped inside the theater that help is indeed on the way. I could have been a hero, evacuating the building so not one unfortunate soul was forced to endure one more moment of Bay’s digital dumpster fire seering their eyeballs inside. Alas, I failed them. I failed them all. As a result, my theater-load of humans and I had now seen the entirety of Transformers: The Last Knight. We are all assuredly worse off for it.
The fact that I fantasized about staging an escape from the theater, freeing those inside from its artistic wreckage, should speak volumes about just how much I detested every waking moment watching Transformers: The Last Knight. But I can hear the headlines now. “We didn’t make this one for the critics, we made it for the fans,” Bay will report, resetting his shag of blonde hair, slugging from a longneck Bud Light, sneakily sweeping his gangly fingers up the dress of the nearest model-type. I’m pretty sure Bay isn’t making these movies for anyone with an IQ above 50 and he sure as shit isn’t making it for anyone paying attention.
Take for instance the opening scene of Transformers: The Last Knight. Inexplicably, we’re in Medieval Times, gathered around King Arthur (not played by Charlie Hunnam mind you) as he fends off a barbaric horde of invaders. Pressed down on all sides, Arthur waits for the magician Merlin, who it turns out is no magical conjurer but an early adopter of Transformer technology. It’s been barely three minutes and The Last Knight clocks you with its first unbelievable bit of stupidity – Merlin is played by none other than Stanley Tucci. You know, the same Stanley Tucci who played tech guru Joshua Joyce in the previous Transformers film, Age of Extinction. Those thinking that there’s some connection there, that Tucci as Merlin becomes an immortal force, reappearing through the ages as some kind of cosmic Nick Fury – that ain’t it. I’m almost convinced that there’s so much mindless retconning going down in the Transformers universe that Bay and Co. simply thought audiences would be too dumb to connect the dots. “Stanley Who?”
Mark Wahlberg returns as comically-ripped-inventor-with-a-name-that-only-would-make-sense-in-a-Guillermo del Toro-movie Cade Yeager and it’s truly painful to watch him suffer through the making of the film. He shouts nearly all his lines, staring off into the distance, eyes glazed over, drool for the incoming international-market payout building up in the corners of his mouth. He’s lost and it shows. Josh Duhamel returns for the fourth time, apparently equally in need of a paycheck, as his character is content with following Wahlberg’s around until the climax comes and then he just parachutes away, having effectively done nothing at all the entirety of the film. Jerrod Carmichael is saddled with “comic relief” but, even though Transformers has an unfortunate track record of low-brow, missed opportunity comedy, everything out of his mouth lands with a hard thud. You could hear a cricket groan in our theater it was so deafeningly quiet.
Laura Haddock and Isabela Moner (age 16, younger when shooting) provide Transformers: The Last Knight with unsettling sexual titillation. Sure Moner’s Izabella establishes a quasi-flirty father-daughter relationship with Wahlberg’s Cade Yeager (seriously, that fucking name) but it’s no accident that Bay stuffs her in a boobalicious crop top and films her dashing in slow motion from robots. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Michael Bay, disgusting ape that he is, sexualizes children in his latest Transformers flick but it’s hard to overlook it. At least screenwriters Art Marcum, Matt Holloway and Ken Nolan don’t invest a whole subplot to the “Romeo and Juliet Law” to justify statutory rape. For those forgetting, that did happen in the last installment. Good work Universal, you’ve given fodder to skeezy 20-year olds the world over hoping to pork unsuspecting 17-year olds. Now that’s screenwriting put to work!
Designed principally for people who don’t speak English, the dialogue is awesomely bad at almost every point. At one point, Sir Anthony Hopkins, who plays some kind of quasi-demented guardian of information, yelps, “You remember that crazy thing we’ve been waiting for? It’s happening now.” When not even your “smart” characters are knowledgeable enough to define what’s going on, you know you’ve crossed over the “we’re in trouble” threshold into “who gives a flying fuck” territory and there’s no going back. In all seriousness, the three screenwriters ought to be banned from writing anything ever again. Even one tweet and they should have their hands removed.
Amazingly, Transformers: The Last Knight is bad on just about every scale you set it to. The big set pieces are horribly staged and irreparably irritating to the irises; chintzily expensive and totally overblown, mismatching color schemes crowded with hazy puffs of smoke and plumes of flame. The action contains the same poetry in motion as falling down a flight of stairs and you’ll feel just as rattled afterwards. But somehow the small details are just as atrocious. Take Barricade, a Decipticon with brass knuckles that read “Punish”. I just don’t know how to respond to stimuli like this. My CPU is overheating. Rage is engaged. Turn out that it’s hard to hate-watch when your eyeballs are bulging from such high levels of irritation. How could this movie make every little detail so epically unbearable?
It’s like Michael Bay set out to define the word Clusterfuck. To give it a visual representation and release it to the world like a deadly airborne pathogen. With The Last Knight, he has done just that. A mindless carousel of headache-inducing exposition, this sequel sees Bay somehow manage to one-up all of his very worst impulses. Like an internet gangbang, the explosions come hard and often. The dialogue is lazier and more face-palming than ever. The jailbait is younger than ever. The racism is, well, it hasn’t changed much but anyone who remembers Revenge of the Fallen will note that that is anything but a good thing. Rancid from front to back, this belongs in the garage can where it was conceived.
If tentpole blockbusters designed to build cinematic universes are cheese and the Transformers movies are Velvetta cheese – overly-processed, totally artificial, utterly terrible for you – then Transformers: The Last Knight is spoiled cheese. It’s filmic poison. Just one bite could kill you.
CONCLUSION: Enduring ‘Transformers: The Last Knight’ – enduring being the only appropriate way to describe consuming this living migraine – is tantamount to torture. Michael Bay’s fifth Transformers “movie” not only has the honor of being the worst movie of the year, it is a legitimate contender for one of the worst films ever made. Avoid at all costs.