Latest ‘Transformers’ Is A Rough ‘Knight’ [Review]
The Transformers movie franchise is back in theaters with the fifth live action film directed by Michael Bay, and while there is still plenty of heavy metal spectacle to behold, there is not much more to this latest sequel than meets the eye.
I grew up watching the ’80s Transformers cartoon series every Saturday morning, reading the Marvel Transformers comic books, and, of course, playing with the awesome Hasbro Transformers toys, so when movie technology finally made it possible for the Autobots and Decepticons to wage their endless war in a big budget live action movie in 2007, I was all in. And the original film delivered what I had hoped for, at least for the most part.
While the three sequels that followed each got further away from the awe and charm of the Steven Spielberg-produced first film, they still tried to maintain some semblance of heart while hurtling ever bigger alien robots through countless buildings.
Now the fifth entry, The Last Knight, attempts to rewrite much of the history of the Transformers as it was previously laid out in the prior films with a mostly new cast of characters, none of which are given enough screen time or character development for us to care much about.
Mark Wahlberg reprises his role as Cade Yeager from Age of Extinction, and Josh Duhamel returns from the first trilogy of films as Lt. Colonel William Lennox, though his presence is pretty much wasted with too little to do.
Newcomer Isabela Moner steals the best parts of the movie in a star making performance as a scrappy homeless kid named Izzy, whose top notch mechanical skills tend to recall Megan Fox’s Mikaela from the first two films, but with a healthy dose of streetwise attitude thrown in. The only problem is that after a great introduction, Izzy is pretty much left to sit out the vast majority of the second half of the film, and she is sorely missed.
Anthony Hopkins shows up talking about how the legendary knights of King Arthur’s round table fought along side ancient Autobot knights, but even he sounds like he doesn’t really know what he’s talking about, as the audience is left more confused than Wahlberg’s Yeager.
While the first third of the movie offers a promising setup, The Last Knight ultimately suffers by not featuring enough of the Transformers that we’ve come to know and care about, namely the fearless Autobot leader Optimus Prime and the lovable Bumblebee. Their “big” fight against each other, which was so heavily promoted in the trailers and TV ads for the film, turns out to be nowhere near as fun as any of the numerous Prime vs. Megatron throwdowns from past films.
And there’s just not enough of Prime or Bumblebee in this movie to justify the fact that there’s also not enough of the newer ‘bots we’re supposed to care about now, like the French Lamborghini Hot Rod.
I did appreciate the call backs to the earlier films, including a wink at Shia LaBeouf’s Sam Witwicky, and a great visual recreation of the cartoon’s iconic crashed Autobot ship, The Ark, presented at one point early in the film almost exactly as it appeared on the old episodes.
John Turturro also makes a welcome return in a funny cameo as his now-retired Agent Simmons character from the first three movies.
While this Knight is far from the best the Transformers can offer, we can rest assured that it is also most certainly far from the last we will see of these robots in disguise.
Official Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars
Reviewed by: Matt Artz
What did YOU think of this movie? Write your own review in the comments below!
Transformers: The Last Knight (rated PG13) is now playing locally at RC Theatres in Kill Devil Hills.