TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT (2017, 12, Amazon Prime). What professional critics often appear to fail to realise is that a technically good movie doesn’t actually make an audience-pleasing movie. The reasons that Michael Bay’s fifth Transformers movie works is actually all of its technical failures – overuse of McGuffins, for example. These audience-pleasing moments are why the film grossed $605.4million worldwide at the box office, comparable to its $217million budget. Don’t get me wrong. After the box office smashing successes of the previous two movies, each grossing in excess of $1billion, this highest budget of the entire series, grossing the least; is probably why its on hiatus as a series.
It is definitely the weakest of the five prime movies, to date (we’ll talk about 2018s ‘Bumblebee’ in its own review). Certainly, it’s let down by its convoluted (though not entirely non-existent as some critics would have you believe) plot; as well as it’s jerry-rigging of WWII & Stonehenge; into that add in a dash of Arthurian legend; and the pointless inclusion of characters who barely serve the overly long plot – but ultimately have no real character development – take that teenage girl, Izabella, whose existence to the story is simply to be the ‘owner’s of an autonomy who is forced, by her, to save the day; in part. There’s no apparent individual agency in autobots. And the twelve knights are bystanders in a story that started with them; as in many ways is the last knight – whose one role is to save Optimus Prime from execution by the original 12 knights for treason. Also Optimus turning bad – has he been corrupted? Probably not considering Bumblebees voice (how’d he get that back for that moment?) was able to bring Optimus to his senses… Again gapping plot holes in a technically terrible movie.
Not to mention the acting of the legendary Sir Anthony Hopkins, ably assisted by his steam-punk-esq Clockwork butler, Cogman, voiced by the esteemed ‘Downton Abbey’ actor Jim Carter. Even the underutilized drunk Merlin is well played by Stanley Tucci. And whilst a pointless character, Isabella (with a ‘z’) played by Nickelodeon alumni Isabela Moner, turns in a fair performance. Laura Haddock’s performance as Viviane is stable, whilst Mark Wahlberg is okay; it is unfortunately Josh Duhamel, Santiago Cabrera and Jerrod Carmichael who turn in passable but not good acting performances, probably because the underlying material is hardly Oscar winning.
However; who cares? Not the audience, not really: These are escapism movies, audiences watch to enjoy the pure exhilaration of high-speed car chases, and things in good I’m comic book fashion going kaboom! And whilst the movie is NOT good, it has plenty of action sequences, things going bang, and cars rushing through cities streets; including London, UK. Add in the movies fantastic CGI, and we have a movie that will keep the fans and audience of the franchise engaged until the end.