‘Transformers: The Last Knight’ Might Make Humanity Just A Little Dumber

Where does one even begin with a movie like this?

(For what it’s worth, I just stared blankly at my computer for 20 minutes after writing that first sentence before writing this one. Who knows how much longer I might sit here, wordless.)

(It was 15 more minutes.)

Transformers: The Last Knight should be treated as a marathon of your own sanity. This is a film that will try to gaslight you into doubting your own memories. I will offer an example: In The Last Knight, a big plot point is Bumblebee trying to get his real voice back. (He’s spoken in radio sound bites since the first movie because his voice box has been broken.) And Optimus Prime makes a point to say he hasn’t heard Bumblebee’s voice since back on Cybertron. But that’s not true because Bumblebee got his voice back at the end of the first Transformers movie, but that fact is just forgotten for this movie because literally nothing matters.

I’ll admit, I’ve been dreading the thought of trying to at all explain the plot of this movie – even in broad, simple terms. I honestly had anxiety dreams last night about this moment. It’s like staring at a projected kaleidoscope for two and a half hours and then trying to tell someone about the plot. But, yes, here we go:

Transformers: The Last Knght opens with King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table involved in a battle it appears they can’t win, until a Transformer dragon shows up and saves them. (Let that sentence sink in.) You see, Merlin (played by Stanley Tucci, who, yes, has already been in these movies as another character) doesn’t really know how to do magic – his secret is he stumbled upon a group of Transformers and they gave him a special staff. (I’m never going to make it through this review.)

The movie then shows us text that says “1600 years later,” to let us know we are back in the present. Do you remember the end of Transformers: Age of Extinction? Even though you saw that movie, you probably don’t. At the end, Optimus Prime leaves to confront “his maker” and is now floating through space. Oh yeah, that’s another thing: Optimus Prime is barely in this movie. There’s one stretch of well over an hour in which he’s not in the movie at all. This movie is being billed as a fight between Optimus Prime and Bumblebee – and that fight does, briefly, happen – but the reality is Prime is barely in this movie at all. If you like Transformers movies because you like Optimus Prime, just be prepared.

Mark Wahlberg is back as Cade Yeager, who now protects the Autobots (Transformers have been declared illegal by “the world”) at a junkyard in South Dakota. The Dinobots live there, too. And now there are baby Dinobots, who are cute but there’s literally not one explanation as to why these baby Dinobots exist.