Watching the fifth movie in a 10-years old franchise without having seen any of the other entries might sound strange to a lot of you, and yet here I am: 20 years old, having watched no Transformers movie. Going into it I carried all the years of hate toward Michael Bay and his convoluted sci-fi movies, yet part of me was hoping that it was going to be better (or, at the very least, more enjoyable) than what everyone else was saying. I am not a huge fan of Bay, but I did enjoy some of his movies, mainly the controversial Pain & Gain and the classic 1996 action film The Rock.
The movie had me covered: even five instalments in, there is so much exposition in here that I am thankful that I skipped the previous films. Ironically, even with some much exposition, the movie is needlessly convoluted and hard to follow, with an abundance of characters that have little to no screen time, things that happen just cause, and exposition-dumps that are so stale I lost myself listening to them. And the writing is easily the downfall of what could have been a perfectly serviceable action flick. The tone is all over the place, with “serious” moments undercut by terrible jokes, gags and physical humor that fall flat with no one in the audience laughing, and unlikeable characters that exist just as plot points or to spout exposition.
Much fault cannot be put on the actors. All of them are just working to get a big, fat paycheck, and their presence is no more important than a prop. Mark Wahlberg does his usual shtick, with high-pitched fast talking and confused faces; sir Anthony Hopkins (right after the success of HBO’s Westworld) is out of place and delivers truly terrible lines that make you feel sad for him; Laura Haddock is generic love interest #17, used mainly as eye-candy; most disappointingly, Isabela Moner was heavily featured in the promotional material, so much so that most everyone thought the movie would revolve around her, only to find out she is in only 20 minutes of the film.
In the 2 and ½ hours of runtime, the movie keeps going from action scene to exposition scenes, with barely any story holding everything together. The CGI used for the transformers is solid, and the cinematography is competent enough to make the action enjoyable, but the weak and empty sound design that gets progressively louder and more obnoxious and the generic soundtrack make each set-piece more and more tiring, to the point of causing a strong headache.
There really is not much to say. Transformers: The Last Knight could have been a fun action film, but it goes on for too long, it has a terrible script, and the action gets so redundant and annoying that I honestly cannot recommend it. It is far from the worst film of the year (technically speaking it is more than competent), but there is no reason to go watch it. If you can, try and watch Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled: it looks more compelling and entertaining, and it is one hour shorter than this film. I would have preferred to watch it, but unfortunately it comes out in September here. God bless Italian distribution!
Visual Effects: 8
Violence & Gore: 7.5
Sex & Nudity: 5
Drugs & Profanity: 5
Intensity & Horror: 4.5