Transformers: The Last Knight opens is a mid-week opener so this Throwback Thursday is actually a Throwback Tuesday. Barring some kind of miracle, T:TLK is going to be a hideous disaster that will make money as though it owned its own printing press. So let’s just grit our teeth and get this over with, shall we?
TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION
Let’s be clear, the second Transformers, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, is the worst of the franchise. It is atrociously bad, a film so noxious it made me feel physically ill.
By this measure, AoE is better.
By only this measure.
Let’s not even talk about the weird subplot involving Cade Yeager’s (Mark Wahlberg) apparently underage daughter Tess (Nicola Petlz) and her of age boyfriend who carries around the Romeo and Juliet statute in his pocket to excuse their relationship. Now regardless of how you feel about a 16 or 17 year old dating someone in his 20’s, you have to admit it is a weird subplot for an action film. Especially given that in real life Petlz would be of age during filming which means a decision was made to use the subplot regardless of her real age, not to explain away her age. But as I said, we’re not going to talk about that.
Let us, instead, just engage it on this level: Transformers does not benefit from being complicated and yet every sequel seeks to make the whole story all the more complicated. None of it work and yet each installment just digs that hole that much deeper. Because, absent strong storytelling or interesting characters, it is the next best way to keep a bloated carcass of a franchise moving forward.
Look, I don’t want to tee off on Transformers just for hahas. Plenty of people have taken their shots before. Same with Bay. I actually would defend a few of Bay’s films as decent to excellent popcorn flicks and I do not hold him forth as the Antichrist of cinema so many do.
But bad is bad. And since the slight charms of the first Transformers were erased by the second film and never returned, that’s what Transformers has been. Bad. They exacerbate Bay’s shortcomings as a filmmaker and do almost nothing to highlight his strengths. They are complicated (not complex), ugly, loud, and often incomprehensible during their metal on metal fight scenes. AoE is bad. I see no reason to hope The Last Knight won’t be more of the same.