Transformers: The Last Knight

King Arthur (Liam Garrigan) and his army are facing an onslaught that could mean the end of humanity. In search of anything that could sway the war in their favor, Merlin (Stanley Tucci) takes off for the mountain. He pleads with the Transformers he had previously discovered to help Arthur. The Transformers give Merlin a staff that lets him command their dragon, defeating their attackers.

In the present day, following the destruction caused by their battles, Transformers are deemed illegal. With Megatron (Frank Welker) banished and Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) travelling to Cybertron to find his maker, Transformers are left with no leaders, resorting to fighting with no apparent reason. A special task force called the TRF, led by Colonel William Lennox (Josh Duhamel), has been created to hunt down any remaining Transformers.

While searching for Autobots in a restricted area, Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) rescues a young girl named Izabella (Isabela Moner) who is being chased by the TRF. After she is safe, Cade goes back to his search. He comes across an ancient knight Transformer who bestows a talisman to Cade as he dies. This talisman is the key to finding Merlin’s staff.

With the TRF, Megatron – who had been hiding on Earth, and Cybertron creator Quintessa (Gemma Chan) chasing them, Cade, Izabella, and their Transformer friends are aided by Oxford professor Vivian (Laura Haddock), Sir Edmund Burton (Anthony Hopkins) – last of the Witwiccan clan, protectors of the staff – and his robot assistant Cogman (Jim Carter) in the quest to find the staff and save Earth.

Billed as the “final chapter” of the Transformers saga, The Last Knight throws in some medieval lore to spice things up. Unfortunately, not even King Arthur can save this one.

Director Michael Bay brings back all the fan favorites for this last movie. He also introduces us to some new Transformers who team up with Megatron. They’re introduced in the cheesiest way, mentioning their name, showing them in restraints, then flashing their name on the screen. It’s almost identical to how Suicide Squad introduced its characters. Since we have no ties to these characters like, say BumbleBee (Erik Aadahl) or Optimus, this is the most convenient way to let us know who we’re seeing. This is pretty much a waste of time as we don’t really see them in action much.

Trying to go out in a blaze of glory, Bay gets a little too ambitious with the script. Rather than just battling each other in different cities, as we see in all the other movies, he throws in knights battling for mankind. While this may be a popular theme these days, it really doesn’t work with Transformers. It gets to be that there is so much going on that it’s hard to keep track of what is going on, where and when. The motives behind everyone’s quests seem underdeveloped and convenient. Cutting a character here and there and skipping some of the subplot would have made for a much more cohesive movie. A monstrous two and a half hour run time isn’t even enough time to fit everything in and it ends up feeling even longer.

The Transformers franchise is one that I typically grade on a curve. You know pretty much what you’re getting when you go in, so expectations have to be set appropriately. After the first film, which was actually enjoyable, sitting through The Last Knight is painful. I’m a bit torn on a recommendation for this one. Normally I would recommend waiting for to rent it, if you see it at all. However, given the scale of everything that is going on, if you’re going to see it, you should probably opt for the IMAX 3D.

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