The 5th Transformers movie from Michael Bay sees Cybertron heading to Earth to try to renew itself whilst we are treated to mythology about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table being part of Transformers history. Stanley Tucci is a drunken Merlin, Anthony Hopkins plays an utterly bonkers English Earl, Laura Haddock takes on the role of eye candy that every Transformers film must have (professor at Oxford who wears stiletto heels and low-cut dresses) and Mark Wahlberg returns to play hero.
I honestly can not make the plot sound remotely coherent because it is utter bobbins. The first Transformers film to be formed from a “Writers Room”, where only 3 people finished with a screenwriters credit feels like they were not in the same room when they wrote segments of the film. Arthurian legend is quite cool, stick it in. Wouldn’t it be good if Transformers killed Nazi’s? Stick it in. Submarines? Drones? Space ships? Hey, the film is going to run for an interminable 149 minutes so let’s just put it all in.
The film jumps jarringly from scene to scene with seemingly no connectivity, but not only that, it seems to do it during scenes. Multiple times it felt like I had blinked for too long, because characters were suddenly somewhere else or doing something else. We are introduced to a young girl at the beginning of the film, only for her to disappear for the entire middle section and to return to do virtually nothing at the end. And there are multiple examples of characters having no purpose whatsoever, as though their role was excised in the writing process but no one bothered to go back through the script and remove them completely. Anthony Hopkins entire role in the film is to show up in the middle to try to explain the plot to us, failing miserably at that, but being completely batty in the process. It is as though he feels his character must match the preposterous nature of the film.
The biggest crime of all though is how the Transformers themselves are portrayed. Firstly, as with all of these films they are secondary characters despite them clearly being what people want to see. Secondly, every robot must be a massive walking cliché. This time we are treated to a Suicide Squad style intro to a handful of Decepticons all with their own quirky cliche only for them to disappear 10 minutes later! Thirdly, Optimus Prime feels the need to constantly inform us he is Optimus Prime, thanks for that, I had forgotten because I slipped into a coma from boredom. Finally, without stating the specific characters for those who want to see this first hand, they utterly destroy 2 key characters introduced in this film, much like they did with the Dinobots in the last film.
Just for some balance, I actually think the first Transformers film was pretty decent. It had character and it focused well on the relationship between a likeable outsider and his talking car. Every film since then has been an impossibly awful over long series of slow motion explosions and zero characters to care about. This is no different.