Movie Review: “Transformers: The Last Knight” – Rusted Metal

Written by Jeremiah Greville June 28, 2017

Transformers: The Last Knight

Transformers: The Last Knight is the latest—but definitely not last—Transformers film to hit theatres. It’s the fifth film in a series that will next feature a spin off for fan-favourite, Bumblebee, and is apparently the last one to be directed by Michael Bay. If you’re a fan of sparks, explosions, and America, this is the end of an era, but if you’re a Transformers fan desperate for a narrative, then this might be the last film to suffer through before the series gets good. Crazier things have happened. But ’til then, this is still a Michael Bay film, and it’s still a CGI seizure held together by explosions, unfunny jokes, and bare plot gristle.

After reviewing The Fate of the Furious, a movie about a bad-ass lead character turning to the dark side, and King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, a movie about…King Arthur, sort of, it only feels right to review a movie about a giant robot that turns to the dark side and also features King Arthur, sort of. It’s like we’re completing a trilogy, but with three different franchises. That’s nice, I think. Feels good. But yeah, Transformers: The Last Knight is about Optimus Prime turning against his team and working for the bad guys. Only, it’s not that at all, and also has King Arthur and Merlin and Nazis and robot dementia. Mark Wahlberg returns as the hunky human Oreo centre. Same white filling, just as nutritious. And that’s it. That’s it. Copy and paste some explosions, fart out a narrative, and you have yourself a Transformers movie.

“Y’all wanna see some damn robots?”

Michael Bay’s films all drip with 1980’s testosterone and a complete lack of self-awareness. He’s a masculine filmmaker making masculine films, to the benefit of a very few. He likes explosions, tanned sweaty faces, and an extremely narrow range of human female sex-objects. And Transformers: The Last Knight has more of the same. Everything blows up in multiple streams of trademark sparks, from medieval armaments to human characters sliding on a metal surface. Sparks! America! The main character’s biceps are three shades lighter than his face, and every third angle of every shot is in slow-motion. There’s even a slow-motion gun, to make it an actual plot feature.

Transformers: The Last Knight

You know what isn’t masculine? Laughter! Joy! Transformers: The Last Knight is full of dated jokes that go absolutely nowhere, and land with a big, metallic thud. There are three comic relief nerd characters, and not a damn one of them is funny at all. But hey, what’s MORE masculine than the male gaze? ‘Cause boys aren’t the only nerds here. Naw, son. We got two female genius characters and the camera lingers on both of ’em! I was honestly uncomfortable, until I remembered I had a penis and was supposed to think this is rad. Pouty girl lips! Misogyny! One of the girls is a supermodel in smart-person glasses, and the other is an underage super-inventor. Don’t worry dudebros—Michael Bay manages to sexualize both. The man has a gift, and a type.

“Oh my God. Cybertron is coming.”

If you’re a horny robot-person and Battlebots isn’t quite doing it for ya anymore, then Transformers: The Last Knight is the late-night, darkened theatre, twisted metal romp you’ve been waiting for. I wasn’t sure in most scenes if the robots were fighting or making angry love. Contextually, I’m still not sure. Are Optimus and Bumblebee just good friends, or is that clear sexual tension between them all in my head? Could Michael Bay even include gay robots without making them an awful stereotype? Is Michael Bay even capable of thinking outside of awful stereotypes? What is Michael Bay thinking now? Does he feel things? Does he ever cry? If David Cronenberg’s Crash was the equivalent of naughty car-sex, then Transformers: The Last Knight is a full-on chrome orgy. By the end you can’t tell where one grey-metallic monster ends, and the other begins. It’s magical, and kinda musky. New car smell!

Transformers: The Last Knight

There is one, legitimately great part of Transformers: The Last Knight, and it is Sir Anthony Hopkins. Hopkins is only there to look important and British and say a bunch of silly shit, but it actually works. He sells every single line he’s given, and is the only source of actual humour in the whole damn movie. What’s more, he looks like he’s really having fun at times. Definitely more fun than any other character, or the audience. It’s like Bay pointed his camera and said, “Wing it, Tony.” Hopkins is a mad, manic delight, and is one of the best purely expositional characters I’ve seen in years. Everyone else in the movie is just…there. Mark Wahlberg is the Manly Main-Man, Laura Haddock is the Smart Sexy Lady, Isabela Moner is the Super-Smart Tomboy, and Jerrod Carmichael is The Nerd. You know these roles; you’ve seen them before.

“At last, Cogman, it begins.”

——      SPOILERS AHEAD     ——

If you’ve seen any promotional material for this film, you’re probably wondering what King Arthur has to do with Optimus betraying his allies. I’m still wondering, and I’ve seen it. Here are some spoilers, because the marketing has been really misleading: Turns out that Transformers have been on Earth since King Arthur, and that tales of Merlin and the round table are based on the titular robots. It adds nothing to the plot, but Marky Mark does get to wield Excalibur half-way through, which is something. And the much-hyped betrayal? It’s just a way to keep Optimus out of two-thirds of the movie, and is over ten minutes after it begins. The rest of the film is a generic Transformers movie, with a bigger third act and less acute city destruction.


I’m not a fan of the Transformers movies, and if you’re not either, this film won’t convince you. However, if you really like this franchise, than this film is more of the same. You’ll probably have a good time. But it’s not a good film. It’s a lazy, poorly edited action extravaganza filled to the brim with pointless scenes and subplots. It’s so jumbled, formulaic, and forgettable that I’m struggling to remember specific scenes just after seeing it. The betrayal is barely worth it, the narrative is a joke, and it’s the second big-budget dump to take on the Arthurian legend this year. Michael Bay’s Transformers: The Last Knight might be the most masculine film of the year, but it doesn’t have the balls to do anything new or interesting with the material. Skip it if you can.

My Rating: 3/10

Transformers: The Last Knight Poster

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About Jeremiah Greville

Jeremiah Greville is a pretty rad beard that's attached itself to a human face. The beard likes movies, television, comic books, and gentle finger rubs. The human likes pizza and sleep. When they work together, they write reviews. Hope you enjoy them!

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