The movie starts off in the Dark Ages, showing King Arthur and his Knights of the Roundtable at a war they are badly losing.
Sir Lancelot and the rest of the knights are trying to convince Arthur that the magician Merlin he is relying on for miraculous victory is never going to show up.
I frantically dug into my pocket to check the movie title on my ticket stub just to be sure I had not bought the wrong ticket or been directed to the wrong room.
My worry didn’t vanish until I saw a drunk Merlin have a conversation with an alien robot who hands him a staff and, with 11 other robots, morphs into a three-headed dragon that changes the tide of the battle in Arthur’s favour.
That was when I was convinced I was watching a Transformers movie.
That was also the biggest excitement I got from it in its long 149 minutes run time.
After four movies spread over a decade, it is wise to adjust expectations of what a franchise represents.
There have always been widespread complaints about how director Michael Bay has turned his nose up at weaving compelling stories, while burying that lapse under an orgy of fanciful explosions.
These complaints are old and valid, and Bay does not shy away from his formula just to fit anyone’s vision of what his movies should be about.
Like Bay himself once said in response to his critics, “I make movies for teenage boys. Oh dear, what a crime.”
This is why, in the earlier reviews of this movie, it was surprising to see people still be up in arms with Bay for mixing the same fiery potion for this fifth movie in his Transformers franchise that has grossed millions.
Going into the cinema, I had made up my mind that I just wanted some really good explodey action filled with robot on robot crime.
Nothing prepared me for the heap of terrible drab show on offer.
Bay’s first and most fatal mistake with The Last Knight is that he tries to make the movie present a deeper mythology than the franchise has tried its hand at before, which is how we end up with a storyline from Arthur’s Dark Ages that the movie never returns from.
The problem with this layering is that it made the story unnecessarily complex and confusing, and this spilled into the action that people like me were sitting in the cinema for.
The Last Knight is engaging until your popcorn runs out; once it does, all you get is cheerless boredom and drowsiness.
For all of Quintessa’s bloodthirsty villainy, the true monster here is Michael Bay.