About Last Knight…
Forgive me. I was thinking of a more innocent time, 30 years ago, when the most frightening image that mainstream cinema could conjure up was Demi Moore and Rob Lowe getting it on in the shower. Since those days, Hollywood has come up with so many more novel ways in which to disappoint and/or irritate us. And few have pushed the envelope as aggressively as Michael Bay’s Transformers franchise.
The first installment was silly, of course—it was a movie about extraterrestrial robots that turn into 18-wheelers and muscle cars—but it had a low-key amiability to it. The initial sequel, Revenge of the Fallen was an overblown, incoherent mess; the next, Dark of the Moon, a sour and sexist outpouring of robo-bile; and the last, Age of Extinction, featured an extended joke about one of the heroes threatening to charge another with statutory rape for sleeping with his underage daughter. I genuinely wish I were making that up.
Transformers: The Last Knight begins, as onscreen text helpfully explains, in the “Dark Ages”—although honestly, anyone sitting through a Transformers movie might reasonably assume that the term refers to the present moment. Lancelot, King Arthur, and Merlin are fighting a barbarian horde—and losing—until a flying, three-headed dragon comes to their rescue. (I confess that for a moment I thought that I’d entered the wrong theater and Legendary Entertainment’s “MonsterVerse” had already reached its Ghidorah chapter.) It turns out that the 12 human knights of the Round Table were supplemented by 12 Transformer knights, and one of the latters’ cooler tricks was to combine into giant dragon form. It’s worth noting here that if you’d told me a month ago that Guy Ritchie’s awful King Arthur: Legend of the Sword would be only the second-worst retelling of Arthurian legend this year, I would not have believed you. Yet here we are.