While I loved the first three entries in Michael Bay’s epic take on the Transformers, the last entry is where you can clearly tell things fell apart. It became more about pointless action and cool looking special effects, and making one of my favorite heroes of all time, Optimus Prime, into an angry badass instead of staying true to his famed leadership and kindness. Sadly this trend continues in the latest film, Transformers: The Last Knight, that plays out a lot like the previous film that’s packed with great action and effects, but little else.
After the events of the last film, Optimus Prime has left Earth to search the vast reaches of the universe to find his creator and figure out what’s next for him and the Autobots. He manages to find a sorceress and proclaimed creator of the Transformers named Quintessa, who instead of giving answers decides to brainwash Prime to destroy Earth. Meanwhile a young girl named Izabella (Isabela Moner) and her friends come across some friendly Transformers of their own, but the government is still out hunting the bots whether they’re good or evil, which places all of them in danger. Luckily Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) and Bumblebee show up to save them, and it isn’t long before Izabella joins Cade and his fight to protect the Autobots from being hunted down. It also doesn’t take long for them to get wrapped up in a new adventure involving being kidnapped, along with an Oxford professor named Viviane (Laura Haddock) and being brought to the estate of Sir Edmund Burton (Anthony Hopkins), that turns out to be the last living member of a group dedicated to protecting the Transformers and their history on Earth that dates back for hundreds of years. Throw in Megatron teaming up with some familiar people from the previous entries, and you have giant-sized bot problems for all.
As with the last film, The Last Knight is big on action and amazing special effects, but light on anything else that makes for a good, solid story. Granted, I understand most people who come to see these movies aren’t here for the plot, much like an action oriented video game, but it would’ve been nice had this movie went back to what make them so popular in the first place, which was equal parts story and action. With this being the first 4K UHD release of the series, everything looks and sounds great thanks to HDR colors that make the already vibrant Transformers pop off the screen even more, and the amazing Dolby audio that makes sure every Michael Bay trademarked explosion is heard and felt perfectly.
There’s also a few special features to take a look at, such as “The Royal Treatment: Transformers in the UK” that collects a few cast and crew interviews who discuss what it was like filming in England along with some behind the scenes footage of said filming parts. “Merging Mythologies” is a nice discussion on the Transformers and how they played a part in human history over hundreds of years, “Motors and Magic” gives viewers a look at some of the Transformers and their quirky personalities they bring to the film, “Climbing the Ranks” goes into how some of the actors trained with various military members, “Alien Landscape: Cybertron” gives us a long awaited look into the Transformers’ home planet and Quintessa’s part in their creation, and lastly “One More Giant Effin’ Movie” continues this extra introduced in the previous film’s extras and that has cast and crew giving props to director Michael Bay’s work ethic on and off the set.
So with things being the way they are here, I can see why critics have panned the film and such. But if you can find a way to get past its shortcomings and just watch it for what it is, an action-packed fest that’s meant for popcorn munching, then you’ll find a dimly lit spark of light in Transformers: The Last Knight. With this one being the last helmed by Bay and the upcoming spin-off film starring Bumblebee coming next year, let’s hope this series can find a place where all are one again.