Verdict: 3 / 5
Yes, another Transformers film is about to be released. Don’t worry, we’re also losing count here; nonetheless, number five in the Michael Bay franchise is titled Transformers: The Last Knight – and no, the last knight isn’t Sam Witwicky (thank goodness). This time, though, the humans are fighting with the robots, while Optimus Prime is nowhere to be found. The future of the human race, however, lies in the hidden history of the Transformers on Earth.
From the get-go, the story is a lot more original than what we’ve seen in the series so far. Mixing the franchise with the King Arthur mythology might upset a few purists, but it’s actually a smart move that allows for Transformers to crossover with other properties in the future. Also, it opens the door for a different kind of narrative altogether, so that’s certainly welcome.
Regardless of your views on this mash-up, you cannot deny the visual epic that we’re treated to here. The films have always looked incredible, but Michael Bay has sweetened up the eye candy. Some of the character redesigns, such as Megatron, are substantial upgrades from the past incarnations. In terms of scene stealers, there’s a phenomenal underwater sequence that’s sure to become a major talking point for fans of the franchise. Oh, and lest we forget, we finally saw an Aston Martin Transformer as well, which caused a squeal of delight in the cinema.
My only gripe with the visuals was actually due to Ster-Kinekor Sandton City and its fingerprint-stained lens that the film was screened out of. I get that the staff need to eat, but I don’t particularly think I need to see their lunch smudged across Mark Wahlberg’s face for 140 minutes.
Like with any film, Transformers: The Last Knight is far from perfect and has its messy bits. While I had no issue with the story, which is simple enough to grasp, the two major issues lie with the dialogue and unnecessary characters. At times, the characters break out into humorous exchanges. Rather than stop at the punchline, however, some of the conversations go on a bit too long and lose their overall impact. While the humour is welcome, there are parts where it cuts into the natural tension of the story, killing the momentum. I strongly suspect these additional scenes were added in post after the test audience requested more humour in the film.
Onto the second issue: the characters Jimmy and Izabella are entirely unnecessary in the film. Jimmy is comedic relief, but serves no other purpose, nor does he further the plot in any way – think of T.J. Miller’s Lucas in Transformers: Age of Extinction as a like-for-like example. Izabella, on the other hand, appears like she’ll have a pivotal role to play, but then disappears right until the end. Would we have even missed her if she’d never reappeared again? Both of these characters could’ve easily been cut from the film or combined into one, since neither of them added any individual value to the story.
If you’re expecting Citizen Kane, you have messed-up expectations and should probably never leave the house. However, if you’re looking for something fun and larger than life, you’ll get your kicks with Transformers: The Last Knight. It’s typical Michael Bay, but then again, no one does big action flicks quite like he does.