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“Transformers: The Last Knight” opens và closes with chaos. The first scene features bodies flying everywhere as flames pierce the sky in Michael Bay’s reimagining of the Knights of the Round Table, in which Merlin’s magic is a gift from the alien robots so many know and love sầu. The last scenes, và this is no spoiler if you’ve sầu ever seen a Michael Bay movie, feature bodies flying everywhere as metal & flames pierce the sky. In between, there’s a bit of mythology, some running và screaming, a ton of slo-mo, a dash of racism, a great actor wasted in a character who could have sầu been named “Exposition Dump,” & so much incoherent noise that you’ll want khổng lồ bang your head on the seat in front of you just to lớn get some rest.

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After two sequels that took the fun spirit of the “Transformers” and turned them inkhổng lồ something with the artistic depth of a Monster Energy Drink, Bay appeared lớn reboot the franchise with the relatively solid “Transformers: Age of Extinction.” He found one of our most charismatic leading men in Mark Wahlberg, gave sầu hlặng an awesomely perfect name like Cade Yeager, filled out a better-than-average supporting cast, and provided major set pieces across the world, including leveling a bit more destruction at Chicago. “AoE” suffered from Bay Bloat (165 minutes!) & some of the other technical problems of the previous sequels, but it offered hope.

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Hope dies during "Transformers: The Last Knight." From the very beginning, this is an incoherent mess. Cade’s daughter và her boyfriend—both memorable characters from the last film—are gone, the daughter written off with a couple of horrendously manipulative sầu beats about her being at college and Yeager being on the run. He can save sầu the world but he can’t see his daughter. Whatever, fine, but also gone are Stanley Tucci (other than a brief cameo as Merlin in the opening scenes) và Kelsey Grammer. The villains of the first film are replaced here by a purely CGI enemy named Quintessa (Gemma Chan), an interstellar being who wants to lớn use the home planet of the Transformers to lớn destroy Earth by basically crashing them into one another. She’s such a cartoonish, poorly designed villain that she never feels lượt thích a real threat.

I’m getting ahead of myself. “The Last Knight” picks up relatively where the last film left off. Optimus Prime is headed back to lớn his trang chủ planet khổng lồ tell the universe khổng lồ leave sầu Earth alone. Yeager is now in hiding, as being a massive sầu alien robot is still against international law, and he"s still aligned with the remaining Autobots. He’s “in hiding” in the biggest tự động field in the Midwest, but those kind of logical leaps are easy lớn let slide in a summer blockbuster when it’s working. He has a new assistant (Jerrod Carmichael), is working on repairing Bumblebee, and gets a spunky preteen sidekiông chồng who feels lượt thích the character sitcoms used khổng lồ add late in their run when everyone knew the original kids got too old (think Sam on “Diff"rent Strokes”). And then pretty much all of the set-up—including any sort of immigration analogy about the fear of foreigners represented by the hunted Transformers—is thrown out. There’s a point in the script when you can literally tell when it was handed lớn a different writing crew. It starts as one movie & then, bizarrely, takes a hard-right turn khổng lồ England & becomes something else entirely.

You see, Yeager found a talisman on a dying transformer, & that relic ties him to lớn the long and storied history of the aliens. As these films have sầu grown in budget, Bay has piled on more and more mythology, & I think the reason this is billed as the final chapter is because there’s literally nowhere else to lớn go. Through remarkably expository scenes courtesy of Sir Anthony Hopkins and John Turturro, we learn that people have known about the Transformers for centuries và that notable geniuses like Mozart and FDR helped keep their existence a secret. In return, the robots gave sầu the human race gifts, including the Transformer watch that killed Hitler. No, I’m not making that up.

Weaving the mythology of these killer cars into world history isn’t a bad idea, và reflects the tongue-in-cheek pleasure these movies could have sầu been (I’d watch the hechồng out of “Bumblebee vs. The Third Reich”) but it’s all so thinly and poorly handled here. Before you can truly enjoy it, we’re baông chồng with the revelation that Cade now has a connection with the Transformers (because of the talisman & because of some other nonsense I couldn’t begin khổng lồ explain) & his new gorgeous friover Vivian (Laura Haddock) is the only one who can wield Merlin’s staff, a necessary skill to lớn save sầu the Earth.

You’re saying, “How could a movie that weaves together metal dragons, Merlin’s staff, Sir Anthony Hopkins và world-killing aliens be all that bad?” Because it’s just not fun. More than any film Bay has made, "The Last Knight" is incoherent khổng lồ the point of parody. Action scenes are poorly choreographed, dialogue is weaker than ever, & plot twists make no sense. At one point, the leads are on a submarine và I couldn’t for the life of me tell you why. Not only is it transparent that no one involved bothered with the plot—Wahlberg has never given such a lazy performance as he does here—but the editing & effects are stunningly shoddy. There’s no geography to any of the scenes, so you can’t tell what the heông xã is happening. At least the last film had a few action mix pieces that worked và the third film had the destruction of Chicago khổng lồ wow viewers. This film does not have sầu a single memorable action sequence in it. And it starts at such a ridiculous pitch that it has nowhere khổng lồ go—Yeager is reintroduced shooting a robot in slow motion. Bay has always been willing lớn forego things like rising action or building tension to try và blast viewers to lớn their seats from first frame khổng lồ last. But it gets so exhausting to watch another movie that starts at 11 và then never varies the volume.

Here’s where the chorus of Critic-Proof Franchises kicks in. Michael Bay made this for fans of the franchise và not the notoriously-hard-on-it critics. Diehards will ignore that I liked the first film & parts of the third and fourth films (the second is still a cinematic abomination). I get it. We love sầu lớn forgive sầu the failures of franchises we adore. Even critics vì chưng that. But even fans of this series have sầu khổng lồ take a hard look at the outright, shocking laziness of this movie—one that does the bare minimum khổng lồ get butts in seats. Even in bad action movies, there’s often a glimpse of artistic potential gone awry or attempts khổng lồ entertain that just didn’t work. I began to actively try lớn find that here, khổng lồ find a way lớn see how this went off the rails. I came lớn the conclusion that no one cared. There’s just so little effort to lớn make sense or make it interesting, even for the fans. It was a contractual obligation & a paycheck. They could have called it “Transformers: Someone Needs a New Beach House.” 

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