The current trilogy stars perma-confused Mark Wahlberg and has not been a big hit with critics. Age of Extinction, the first installment starring Wahlberg, is just under three hours of loud noises and forgettable plot. It was the worst rated movie of the bunch...until The Last Knight came out.
The appeal of the Transformers movies has seemingly worn a bit with fans, as well, according to box office numbers. Wahlberg is surely a suitable replacement as a leading man, but the story became convoluted even before he joined the cast. When The Last Knight opens with the wizard Merlin forming an alliance with Transformers (and given an alien staff), I was fairly certain we were already in "too much" territory.
When we catch up with Cade Yeager (Wahlberg), we've found out that Transformers have been declared illegal across the world. There's a task force designated to destroy those remaining, so he keeps quite a few of them at a hideout/junkyard. Optimus Prime is away on a cosmic voyage to find his Creator (which doesn't go so well), and Megatron has been dispatched to hunt Yeager and the other Autobots. Transformers are illegal, but they use Transformers to hunt other Transformers. Because, America.
The Last Knight takes us deep into Transformers mythology and, honestly, makes no damn sense at times. There's a lot of talk about chosen ones and ancient secrets which all but renders the events of the first three immaterial. Anthony Hopkins is introduced in a role I still don't fully understand, but he plays the part with immense flair. Still, like, where were you 2-3 movies ago?
There are a lot of jokes. A high percentage of them are terrible, and come out of the mouth of a robot. Hopkins is hilariously sassy and Jerrod Carmichael helps pull some of the comedic weight in the handful of scenes he has. The rest of the dialogue is almost too rich in information to digest. That's problematic when the movie clocks in at 2 hours and 30 minutes. Why are we squeezing anything into a movie with that kind of run time?
On the plus side, they tell us a little more about Unicron and Cybertron, beings they've been hinting at throughout the series. The two "planets" are quickly nearing confrontation, setting up the possibility for an epic sixth film. Before that's released - presumably some time in 2019 - we're getting a Bumblebee spin-off, said to be set in the 1980's. Again, Michael Bay will not be directing, so it will be interesting to see how the feel of the next two movies changes. Hopefully we still get to see the Detroit landmarks Bay has so infamously included.
Transformers: The Last Knight is, in my opinion, only marginally better than Age of Extinction. It's easy to forget a lot of what you are seeing because you are shown so much so quickly. If you're all about the action, I don't think you'll be disappointed. The movie prepares us for a pretty serious planetary showdown, but the reason for the fight is concealed among various villains and excessive explosions. If they're unable to wrangle the story for the trilogy's finale, we'll probably be watching the very worst Transformers movie come 2019.
Rotten Tomatoes: %15
Verdict: (if you're a fan) Maybe See That