The fifth instalment in the Transformers franchise is two hours and twenty-nine minutes long and for most of the running time, I had no idea what was going on. This film is so incoherent that it makes your head hurt. We start out in medieval England with King Arthur, Merlin and the Knights of the Round Table. Then we go globe-trotting and planet-trotting. There are good robots, bad robots and an evil queen who wants to get her hands on Merlin’s spear so that the planet Cybertron can be healed and Earth destroyed.
Standing in the way is the good-hearted inventor Cade Yeager, played by Mark Wahlberg, a sexy British academic who provides romantic banter and Anthony Hopkins. Hopkins is Sir Edmund Burton, the head of an Arthurian secret society. He seemed to be the only human here who was having a good time – watching him ham reminded me of Manisha Koirala’s great line about actors doing home productions – which is a film that enables you to buy a home.
Of course, this franchise is based on a popular line of Hasbro toys. And Michael Bay’s style of filmmaking is nicknamed Bayhem. And you are not here for nuanced story-telling. But The Last Knight can’t even pass even the lowest bar for entertainment. It’s visually complex but aesthetically ugly. It’s heart-breaking that so much money and so much work has produced such minimal shock and awe.
Bay and Wahlberg have both said that they aren’t coming back. That’s the one silver lining in this dark and incomprehensible cloud.