Micheal Bay knows how to direct. I know that almost seems like a heretical statement given that his movies are 80 percent dog poo and 20 percent accidental goodness, but when it comes to action, Bay can direct it and he can direct the heck out of it. The problem is, he can’t direct anything else worth a darn and that’s the singularly most tragic and frustrating thing about his works… a lot like M. Night Shamalyan’s string of terrible movies… the talent is there, it’s evident, but ego and ennui is in the way.
Transformers: The Last Knight, for example, is a terrible movie. Let’s not sugar coat what this thing is: It’s got good action and that action is handled masterfully, but everything else is butt puckeringly awful. It’s almost like the action scenes are a completely different movie spliced into a terrible one — and I do mean badly spliced. It’s like there are two directors at work here: Michael Bay: Action Director and Bored Michael Bay. Bored Michael Bay can’t keep a camera still, he has no interest in transitioning scenes or even showing a character cross a room. Bored Michael Bay has no desire to allow characterization to take place or even to allow characters to exist in his film’s universe once he’s lost interest.
Michael Bay, the action director, wants to blow everything up and he’s really good at making said explosions bombastic, loud, and epic.
Bored Michael Bay and Michael Bay: Action Director are on a course to annihilate each other and The Last Knight shows that war between the two in spectacular fashion, the real casualty being the movie itself.
It’s bad… it’s so bad.
Mark Walburg is back because we obviously didn’t get enough of him and his whiny voice in the last movie and now he’s a lone fighter for the Transformers who have all been declared illegal by the governments of the world because, why not? Transformers are landing on Earth all the time, so why wouldn’t you want to honk off the Autobots who are the only ones who can realistically help you? You would think that a capable director would use this storyline as an allegory for the refugee crisis in the world and how world leaders are too cowardly or unconcerned to help out their fellow man or whatever, but this is Bored Michael Bay we’re talking about here and he obviously doesn’t have time for that stuff.
Hey, kids, do you like Optimus Prime? Well, good news! He’s barely in this movie.
Nope, the main Transformer hero this time around is Bumblebee and, to the movie’s few credits, he’s a lot less of a sociopath this time around and seems to be more of the character we liked from the first movie.
Okay, folks, to be honest, this movie is all over the place and has a million little fibers of plot that all unravel at once, showering the viewer with loose fabric and cow feces. There’s some nonsense about Transformers helping King Arthur in the dark ages, there’s nonsense about the Transformers being on Earth throughout history even though we literally first saw them arrive in the first movie that was set in 2003 and they never explained anything about it, there’s nonsense about how Anthony Hopkins will appear in anything if you wave enough money under his nose — though, to be fair, he was fun. The bad guy, Quintessa, never has a solid motivation to do anything and is so overpowered you have to wonder why she needed help at all — at least, she’s overpowered until she isn’t. There’s a little girl who appears in the movie strictly to be a little girl and who literally disappears from the movie for almost an hour to demonstrate her own uselessness, there’s a magical staff, there’s an evil Optimus Prime, there’s a transformer dragon…
This movie is a eight year old kid with ADHD, a bowl of sugar, a pack of crayons, a living room wall, and no impulse control.
Transformers: The Last Knight is so bad it’s fascinating. This is a movie that is bored with itself, who’s attention is all over the map and the table that the map is sitting on, and is determined to be a two-hour trailer. This is a loud, stupid, heartless, artless, boring debacle of over-direction and self-parody that doesn’t have the brains to realize it’s become parody. It’s… just terrible. Almost everything about it is terrible and everything that isn’t terrible is made terrible by framing it in a movie that Michael Bay is bored with and why shouldn’t he be bored? I was bored… I was bored within fifteen minutes of this movie starting.
I wanted to leave. I seriously wanted to leave while this movie was playing and, if I had, I don’t think I would have regretted it. Tranformers: The Last Knight is a conundrum of excess and a lack of care. This is a corporate product made to sell toys and make money from product placement. It has no soul, there was no love for it from the people who made it, and watching it made me feel dead on the inside. I couldn’t wait to roll out… of the theater.