Though Michael Bay’s Transformers movies are essentially critic-proof, grossing upwards of a billion dollars even with most entries into the series being widely-panned, it’s still always fun to see how the press responds to the latest dose of high-octane Bayhem.
In fairness, Transformers: The Last Knight actually boasted a decent amount of promise with its knowingly over-the-top premise and younger female lead (implying a less pervy, leering tone), but inevitably, critics have got their teeth out for the movie regardless, and are summarily tearing it to shreds.
Bay’s latest is by some measure the worst-reviewed major film of the summer so far, though a huge chunk of its audience doesn’t care about reviews and will see it regardless, while there are also those who will have great fun hate-watching it (and also contributing their money to ensure a sixth movie gets made)…
10. The Action Is Good…But Exhausting
“There are a few action sequences of shocking coherence in ‘Transformers: The Last Knight,’ the fifth of Michael Bay’s clang-clang-clang-went-the-robot adventures.” – The Wrap
“Few filmmakers work harder to entertain, throwing in drone chases, car chases (through Oxford and London), submarine shenanigans as well as robo-action, all before a third act climax at Stonehenge. ILM’s work remains peerless — Bumblebee re-piecing himself back together again is immaculate — but the effect of a lot of it is deadening.” – Empire
“There are moments, fleeting ones, where the sheer scale of things can be awe-inspiring, like when a giant alien ship is revealed underwater, or a rogue planet hurtles toward our own…The problem, as usual, is that none of these moments are ever given time to breathe, and the audience is never given a moment’s peace to process them.” – Den of Geek
As is true of pretty much every prior Transformers movie, there are a lot of thrilling, singular action beats in The Last Knight, though the entirety of this action over the course of 2.5 hours ends up feeling more emotionally draining than satisfying.
It almost sounds like some of these set-pieces might simply be better off viewed in isolation, like on YouTube in a few months’ time. Bay’s filmmaking skill shouldn’t be denied, but his good work is also undermined by just how much of it there is.