Director Michael Bay bags another mega-effects bonanza in Transformers: The Last Knight.
This time it mixes hoary Arthurian legend with the Transformers’ uncertain future. Straight off, the medieval prelude makes you question if you’ve stumbled into the wrong film. While the sozzled Merlin and his magical staff could’ve walked straight out of Monty Python’s The Holy Grail.
Fast-forward to today, and life has shifted on since 2014’s Transformers: Age of Extinction. Optimus Prime is gone, wafting through outer space on an existential quest to meet his maker. On Earth, all ‘bots are outlawed and hunted down by the Transformers Reaction Force (TRF) in a run of global battles between the two.
Mark Wahlberg, resuming his role as inventor Cade Yeager, is now a fugitive. He’s bumming it on a scrapyard and essentially playing Dad to a family of recalcitrant Autobots (the good ones). Orphaned Izabella (Isabela Moner) shows up and is underused as much as the returning Josh Duhamel’s military character, Lennox. Perhaps these two are being lined up to carry the films forward after Wahlberg said it’s his last appearance in the franchise.
One way or another, Yeager teams up with clichéd posh Brits Sir Edmund Burton (Anthony Hopkins) and Viviane Wembley (Laura Haddock). The trio have three days to search for the aforementioned staff and save the planet from the Decepticons (the bad ones) and Quintessa, a tentacled sorceress. The world is on the brink in the most spectacular of ways — as it often is when the budget is over $250m.
A long time to go
The problem endemic to all superhero films nowadays is time and complexity. The Last Knight comes in at two and a half hours, which is on the short side for Transformers. It could be cut by 40 minutes. While the mythical backstory that’s drip-fed is difficult to always parse. Primarily because it’s diluted by the film’s length and you forget what’s been said after being floored to near-concussion by the special effects.
Sometimes, though, you have to kneel down to Hollywood’s huge cinematic biceps. Watching The Last Knight in IMAX 3D isn’t the only way, but it’s the best way. For all it’s flaws, Bay’s summer blockbuster is a mammoth-screen knockout.
Transformers: The Last Knight is out in UK cinemas on Thursday 22nd June