Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Hopkins, Laura Haddock, Josh Duhamel, Isabela Moner, Jerrod Carmichael, Santiago Cabrera, John Tuturro, Stanley Tucci, Tony Hale
Directed By: Michael Bay
Plot: So… the Knights Of The Round Table was real… and the Transformers were there… and there’s a Merlin staff… and Cybertron is coming closer to earth… and Optimus might be bad… I dunno. Just… fuck it. Transformers. Wahlberg. Explosions. Now with more Anthony Hopkins.
What Works: Ok, so everyone has been talking about how amazingly awful this film is. Just, like… next level awful. Well, no. I actually do think this was a slight course correction from the absolutely terrible 4th film that went on and on forever and ever and kept trying to end, but kept going for some reason. Age Of Extinction is terrible. This is just not a great film. This one is more on par with the third film in the franchise. While I still disagree that this film needed to be almost two and a half hours, it was better paced than Age Of Extinction, and more interesting and entertaining overall. I didn’t feel nearly the need to jump out of an airplane while watching the film. It’s loud, the way its supposed to be, and features an odd amalgamation of characters and Transformers. It’s like with each sequel, a few names are drawn from a hat to continue on in the series. Gone is Tyrese Gibson, but Josh Duhamel remains. In fact, I’d argue he has even more to do here. Wahlberg’s daughter has been replaced by a surrogate daughter. He’s got a new love interest. And there’s Anthony Hopkins, who automatically elevates this film just by being in it. Oh, and Jerrod Carmichael was occasionally funny. I didn’t hate this film. I just didn’t like it.
What Doesn’t Work: Holy shit this plot is just… wow. Not only is it just batshit crazy, it makes no sense. There seem to be way too many human characters in this film that don’t really need to exist. While I like Jerrod Carmichael as much as everyone else, I don’t know why he’s in this film. Yeah, it’s also longer than it needs to be. The first hour of this film is basically just setup before we ever get to anything. The last third of the film is paced well, because it’s pretty much action sequence after action sequence. But before that, we have to sit through lots of bullshit, like a montage where Megatron gets his crew back. That was silly, and ultimately did nothing for the film. But mostly, this plot and this story is just silly. It’s like they’ve run out of ideas for Transformers movies. What’s the next one? Did Bumblebee fight alongside Mulan?
Final Word: It’s not as bad as you’ve heard, but it’s also not great. Still, I have to give at least some props for course correction, and making a 5th film that’s better than the 4th. Maybe Bay will learn from the mistakes of this film, and the Bumblebee spinoff will be better than this was. For what it’s worth, I’d love to see the 6th film have Wahlberg team up with Shia. That would be fun.
Final Grade: C-