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TV and Movies

'The Last Knight' needs to be the last Transformers film

Director Michael Bay's latest robot flick disappoints, but then again, expectations weren't high. Here's our spoiler-free review.

Credit: Paramount Pictures/Bay F

It's amazing how "Transformers" movie sequels continue to roll out despite overwhelming bad reviews.

The latest in the series, "Transformers: The Last Knight," is reportedly the last time Michael Bay will direct the series. The movie pulls out all the stops and gives you epic fight scenes featuring metal dragons, gods, knights in rusty armor, the end of the world and valiant humans doing stupid things like taking on 28-foot-tall metal robots with just guns.

The best way to appreciate the movie is to put aside all logic and understanding, and just try to enjoy the flick for what it is -- popcorn munching entertainment with a hunky male lead (Mark Wahlberg) and a female lead (Laura Haddock) who sports high heels. She at least switches out of them, unlike Claire Dearing (played by Bryce Dallas Howard) in "Jurassic World." 

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A Transformer dragon? What's next? Dinosaurs? Oh wait.

Credit: Paramount Pictures/Bay F

"Transformers: The Last Knight" could have been so much better. The nonstop pace of the 2 1/2-hour movie stretches out the action, leaving you little time to catch your breath. The slight pauses in action where the characters spend time with each other prove the movie had potential, but it was thoroughly wasted.

The first two acts build up the plot and the world nicely. Everything pretty much makes sense. Then it all goes to hell in the finale. Bay decides to toss logic out the window, with unexplained set pieces used to resolve matters. It's like Bay threw out the original script and replaced it with a new one that didn't quite share the same plot.

It's silly that I'm complaining. The exact same thing happens in almost all of the previous "Transformers" movies. I should know better by now.

If you decide to check out the movie anyway, watch it for Anthony Hopkins. Unlike his elder statesman characters in "Westworld" and "Thor," Hopkins doesn't appear to just be doing this for a paycheck. He's having way too much fun flipping the bird, cackling in mad glee or playing it up for laughs as Sir Edmund Burton, keeper of Transformer history. It's such a change of pace for him, and when he's onscreen, the movie is watchable. 

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Anthony Hopkins plays Sir Edmund Burton, alongside Hot Rod, in "Transformers: The Last Knight."

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Thanks to Hopkins' performance though, the other actors don't quite shine. Isabela Moner's Izabella doesn't impress, unless you like pensive shots of her looking stoic, while Haddock's Vivian Wembley is really nothing more than eye candy.

It's a shame the female characters don't stand out, but then again, Wahlberg's Cade Yeager could have skipped the movie and nothing really would have changed.

In the end, it's robots that save the show (and the world) somewhat. Cogman, played by Jim Carter of "Downton Abbey," is a sociopathic Transformer butler serving Hopkins' character. Having both on screen together is quite the hoot.

The rest of the Autobots and Decepticons lurk around menacingly, while fan favorite Hot Rod finally makes his debut, though in a terribly bizarre version that bears no resemblance to his cartoon roots.

While it's an entertaining spectacle, "Transformers: The Last Knight" drags on far too long. At least you get your money's worth at the cinema for its incredibly long run time and CGI effects. Given the terribly obvious Chinese product placements that pop up, the movie's likely looking to China to earn most of its box office money.

"Transformers: The Last Knight" opens in theaters on June 21 in the US and on June 22 in the UK and Australia.

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Optimus Prime and Bumblebee in "Transformers: The Last Knight."

Credit: Paramount Pictures/Bay F

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