Wonder Woman, Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Fate of the Furious. With the number of blockbuster movies coming out thick and fast it’s not hard to know that we are in the middle of the US Summer Blockbuster party. But if you can’t have a summer blockbuster party without inviting someone who defined the genre, Michael Bay.
Transformers: The Last Knight is the fifth ‘Bayformers’ movie to hit the big screen since the first in 2007 some ten years ago. This latest outing continues with much of the cast of the previous film and doubles down on Bay.
In computing, Moore’s Law was the concept that the number of transistors on an integrated circuit would double every year (roughly suggesting that the processing power would double also). In the Transformers movie Universe, you can use Bay’s Law in that the size and scope of every film will double over the last.
To give a rough synopsis of the film, continuing from the last movie, Transformers are outlaws with entire sections of cities like Chicago still destroyed (per the 3rd Transformers movie). Mark Wahlberg’s Cade Yaeger from the last film is also on the run (sorta) hiding out helping rescue Autobots before the authorities get to them. In the course of events, he is brought to England by Sir Anthony Hopkins (and his entertaining clockwork Transformer/manservant) to learn the ‘Secret History of Transformers’. What? Is that it? Well, yes no. We could tell you more about the Transformers/Game of Thrones style intro or the section with Bumblebee killing Nazis but that isn’t really important right now.
This movie is big. Huge. Not just in jumping country and time periods throughout the first half of the film but in special effects as well.
From the start of this movie, it is known that people come for the big screen special effects and it does not shy away from. It is almost as if someone made a list of every visually stunning shot you could possibly want in a Transformers movie to up the last and put it into a single movie. Which is also the problem.
From the start to the end of the film it is shot in a style similar to what we have seen for the last act of most Michael Bay films. Using a series of quick cuts and epic lighting to convey an impending sense of urgency, which is not intended to enhance the story but hype up the action.
This carries over to the plot and dialogue wise as this movie also jumps around A LOT. While a huge amount of characters on screen, any single one worth a little more character development (who doesn’t want to see more Steve Buscemi Transformer), the film is firmly centred around following Mark Wahlberg’s adventures overall resulting in a pretty shallow (and in some places confusing) movie. But, then again, if you were after Shakespeare in the Park it’s unlikely you were holding out for the next Transformers movie.
It is possible that some of the dialogue was cut as part of the direction, with classic Bay action shots, musical queues and one-liners being employed throughout the film – this becomes more likely when you learn that 2 of the 3 writers of this movie worked on the original MCU Iron Man (especially with the film going for references like JLo over say Beyonce or JLaw). But… clocking in over the 2-hour 30 minute mark, it is hard pressed to imagine more stuff being added with so much already in the movie feeling brushed over.
During the lead up to this movie Michael Bay has said two things, firstly that this would be his last Transformers movie (but he has said that before) and secondly that there are 14 more Transformers planned after this one. So while he is master of raking in the box office for such films his departure may not be a bad thing with 14 more in the pipe.
So should you go see it? That really depends on you and what you like in your mid-year blockbusters. If you are just after some good looking over the top action and popcorn movie then this is completely made for you, but if you were hoping for some Kaiser Soze/Usual Suspects moment you are probably looking at the wrong session times.
When you walk into movies like Transformers you need to remember that there are entire generations of Transformers fans who have been introduced through these films and not through growing up on the 1980’s animated series or the original movie. And that’s ok. It’s good that people like different things.
Visually this movie has a lot to like, and while Peter Cullen is able to we will never say no to any opportunity to hear his voice through Optimus Prime.
Transformers: The Last Knight is in Cinemas across Australia from today.