Transformers: The Last Knight is the best Transformers movie since the first, in no small part thanks to its human cast which is the best it has been in the series. Mark Wahlberg returns from the previous entry as inventor and transformers supporter Cade Yeager, this time not saddled with his daughter, her boyfriend and an insufferable romance subplot. Cade is instead joined by Laura Haddock as Viviane Wembly, an English professor with ties to Merlin. It turns out the transformers have links to King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and everyone is after Merlin’s staff, which is actually a powerful alien artefact, in order to save or destroy the world – it is as ridiculous as it sounds.
I had fun with this movie. Yes, it is another Transformers movie and so to large extent audiences by now will know what that means: robots fighting robots, explosions, fireworks, special effects and a mammoth runtime (although mercifully shorter than the previous film Age of Extinction). The Last Knight is the fifth film in the blockbuster franchise, and supposedly director Michael Bay’s last. It benefits from stronger leads and Anthony Hopkins hamming it up and clearly enjoying himself in a key supporting role. Some familiar faces also return, such as Josh Duhamel’s soldier William Lennox and John Turturro’s agent Seymour Simmons – both characters return from the first three films after an absence in the fourth. The crude humour that permeated those earlier films has also been dialled down significantly.
Most exciting for me was that The Last Knight does try to differentiate itself with its King Arthur backstory, and it plays a bit like a ‘best of’ of the previous films. It also sets up a storyline that I have been waiting for these movies to tackle since the first film hit theatres – but which I will not spoil here. If the filmmakers have any sense, they will conclude the series with that storyline before Optimus Prime, Megatron and co. truly overstay their welcome.