How does one go about describing a Picasso painting? Sure they’re magnificent in the majesty of imagination and execution, but most of them are just a mixture of shapes and lines that form relative nothing-ness and yet we love them for the nuance and symbolism that the artworks evoke. So how does one go about describing a Michael Bay film? Same kind of confused explosion of particles but instead of any meaningful impact, the end result looks like a baby has thrown his bowl of spaghetti on the floor. Enter Transformers 5: The Last Knight.
Earth has become a refugee camp for robots looking for a place to call home. Humans are fed up and have banned all Transformers from sheltering on our planet. However, when one side is ten times their size and has Gatling guns for arms, the latter can do what it wants. Against all odds, the Autobots remain, without their fearless leader Optimus Prime who is back on Cybertron trying to ascertain what happened to his kind and how to save his race.
In his absence, there is little to no order in the human/bot relationship and the friction comes to a head the day Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) returns to the spotlight – now a wanted fugitive for his actions in the previous film who is an ally of Bumblebee, Hound, Drift and the remaining goodie transformers. Don’t worry if you don’t know their names it’s not really important, more so the voices that accompany them; John Goodman, Ken Watanabe and Steve Buscemi.
Now that Yeager is back on the scene, a whole bunch of serendipitous things happen, almost like a movie is occurring at the same time:
Optimus meets his maker; Quintessa, an omnipotent God of Cybertron who poisons his mind, turning him evil (albeit pathetically briefly) and begins her campaign travelling across the stars to claim Earth as their new homeland.
A very smart British woman who loves history is swept up in a world-wide conspiracy where she happens to be the lynchpin ‘chosen one’ that will save humanity (kind of like Da Vinci Code meets any kung fu movie)
A young girl and her pet transformer will set off on a series of events that causes the Deceptacons to be hired by the US Army as allies to retrieve the McGuffin that will stop the newly discovered planet-sized Unicron from consuming Earth itself.
Anthony Hopkins will be in this film to serve the purpose of backstory filler, as the Transformers Universe expands vastly and we learn that these machines have been around since the Dark Ages, mingling with Merlin, Arthurian tales and a magic alien stick that will be the key to solving the encroaching war.
Seems like a lot to process right? It is. Far too much. By the time any of these threads pay off you’re too busy thinking of the other things happening, like cramming in study before an exam. Michael Bay is an ambitious and respectfully decent director with his own unique and recognisable style. But, like Picasso and artists before him, who knows how long this image can remain untarnished as the proverbial drain is circled on this undying and unfortunately ongoing franchise that is still finding reasons to continue. Just go make Bad Boys 3 already and people will love you again dude.