“Transformers: The Last Knight” is absolute Bayhem, and not in a good way

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“Transformers: The Last Knight”

It is difficult to rank this latest installment in the infamous Transformers franchise due to the nature of my understanding of the prior films as well as my memory. I have seen each of them once as I had no desire to experience them again. Hearing the clanging of pots and pans being smashed together while giant metal shards fly before my eyes was never my idea of entertainment. The first film, if I remember correctly, was the most tolerable as it actually utilized a coherent story and smashes and explosions that actually meant something, albeit not much. The second movie took what was done well in the first installment and trashed it, settling for nonsensical visual effects with no point. The end to the first trilogy was another battery to the senses; however, slightly better than its predecessor with far sleeker visuals and a semi-coherent story. The fourth film went back to the depths of the second, dragging the viewer along for a nearly three-hour trip through cinematic hell not only boring the audience to death, but actively tormenting them with an array of bright lights and loud, ear-piercing sounds. It hurt.

I will admit one thing about this latest sequel from director Michael Bay: It is ambitious. Bay has done something very interesting with his, supposedly, final film in the franchise. Not only does the picture fail as an example of quality storytelling, but it also fails as a movie in general. Bay throws out any intention of crafting an accessible story and, instead, strings a series of images together connected by lazy exposition that confuses more than it explains. To call it’s unbelievably thin structure a “story” would be an insult to stories. Transformers: The Last Knight has more in common with a visual effects studio’s demo reel than any blockbuster I have ever seen, yet there is an unabashed ridiculousness to the proceedings that offers a form of odd, sick escapism. Transformers: The Last Knight was a dreadfully confusing, chaotic mess, but I was not bored.

To try and summarize the story would be a pointless exercise, as there basically is none. Apparently, Optimus Prime has left the planet and returned to his homeworld of Cybertron while, on Earth, Transformers are now criminalized and hunted. Optimus soon finds Cybertron in ruins and is brainwashed (or reprogrammed?) by a robot-lady with a series of metallic tentacles to revive the planet. The only way to do that: Destroy Earth, and it is up to Mark Wahlberg, a couple of one-dimensional female objects to heroically rescue and his big, metal friends to save the world. Is it wrong to have actively rooted for the villains?

After the screening, the friend I saw it with and I brought up various points within the film that didn’t make sense to us to try and figure out why, how or what happened. Every time we would bring up a plot point or event, we would struggle to explain it. Nonsensical is an understatement when it comes to this movie. One has trouble even defining it as a movie due to its complete and total lack of any conceivable entertainment value. Nothing happens, yet everything happens. It is a sequence of images spliced together with film, not that they actually used film. Who it is marketed to is unknown, because there is nothing to market. I suppose children, although it would be hard for a child to withstand the 150 minute running length. It can’t be for adults, it is far too dumb and scattershot. Thinking about it really isn’t worth my time.

A film this monumentally lazy must be some type of record. There is no sign of any effort within this film. Most bad movies show glimmers of artistic merit, but Michael Bay has brought this franchise to the very edge, and it may have been his intent. Michael Bay began his career with Bad Boys, a sleeper hit, and then The Rock, one of the most fun action films of the ‘90s. There is no way he actually saw a movie worthy of production in Transformers: The Last Knight unless he is messing with us. The exponential decay of craft within Bay’s filmography is quite obvious, and not the least bit surprising. I suppose money talks, and for a critic-proof franchise such as this, there is a lot of money to be had. I guess this means the joke’s on us. Great.

1 out of 5