Transformers: The Last Knight
By this point, Michael Bay and company don't care about story or character. The script is just a bucket list of things Bay is into at the moment: Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, British culture, submarines. No more pretending there's a larger universe to it all. I think Mark Wahlberg is one of the best things to happen to Bay. He's so willing to just roll with it without looking like he'd rather be anywhere else. This is the first Transformers film with some good moments of dialogue, and I'm still not sure that's because of the writing so much as Wahlberg taking it all in stride. Anthony Hopkins too. He really seems overjoyed to be in this film, performs with gravitas or shame and doesn't let anything rattle him.
I read some of the bad reviews for this and it's like people were still holding out hope that one day there might be a good Transformers movie. I'm working with a lower standard and while the script is one of the least comprehensible, Bay's action has never been more clear, and seriously, if you can't have both which would you prefer from a Michael Bay Transformers movie? There's a car chase in the middle of the film that reminded me how good Bay can be with car chases and it includes the greatest moment of the franchise.
One of the series great disappointments is the unclear way the robots transform and the way the film combines humans and robots in the same shot during action scenes. The humans always look like they were added later and often get tossed around in a manner that would lead to serious bruising and internal injuries at the least. During the chase, a Decepticon pulls up alongside Bumblebee, who transforms his drivers side out. The unfolding is easy to follow
and leaves Wahlberg riding sideways while Bee blasts the bad guy before folding Wahlberg back inside. This is the kind of action I've been looking for the whole time.
While this is one of the better entries, it's still not a good film. John Goodman's Hound remains a constant cringe, the racism, sexism and potty-mouthed attempts at humor are still wall-to-wall and there's the most unbelievable scene in the franchise where two humans and a robot steal a submarine that's on land and - that's not all - engage in a battle with a fleet of subs. And if you're thinking the robot does all kinds of Transformer things, he mostly runs around in a panic. So it's two people who've never been inside a sub, out maneuvering a fleet. As you'd expect, the film reaches what would be a nice end point and then continues for another 30 minutes, but it isn't punishingly soulless, the explosions are given more context, the effects are better than usual. So on the Transformers scale, this is one of the more fun wastes of time.RATING: * *