Transformers: The Last Knight makes no sense, but somehow still makes more sense than the previous film, Age Of Extinction. In almost only that sense, it is a success.
There are glimmers of theoretically enjoyabe daftness scattered throughout, but the trouble is there’s about ten different films crammed in: one about the hunt for an artefact that can destroy Earth but restore Cybertron; one about a legend-sceptic professor (Laura Haddock) discovering she’s connected to legends that are indeed real; one where a Transformer dragon aids King Arthur; one where Bumblebee fights Nazis; a Decepticon riff on Suicide Squad; one where Michael Bay seems to just be remaking Armageddon…
Having dropped the human stars of the first three films for the fourth, Bay brings back a few familiar faces. Josh Duhamel returns as indistinct military man Lennox, while Shia LaBeouf appears in one scene in photo form only, alongside such luminary peers as Shakespeare and Stephen Hawking (don’t ask). John Turturro, meanwhile, literally phones it in from a booth in Havana.
On that note, one of the film’s few cute bits of world-building is that while Transformers are declared illegal elsewhere, they receive amnesty in Castro-led Cuba.
One positive: Anthony Hopkins is clearly having fun with a manically weird comic performance. His expository Earl is regularly paired up with his robot servant, Cogman (voiced by Jim Carter), a swearier C-3PO and self-described sociopath.
Another positive: letting your mind wander off imagining different stories based on the implications of any given scene. For one amusing example, there’s a bit where Mark Wahlberg’s Cade Yeager (yes, he’s really still called that) borrows a soldier’s phone to text his daughter a potential goodbye. We get to see the two texts he sends, neither of which mention that it’s her dad texting these sweet messages from an unknown number. Seeing her reaction to those texts would be a more enticing story than the incomprehensible Saturday Knight Fever Dream we do get.