No matter how many times a Transformers movie comes along, our anticipation is always high that it is going to be what a Transformers movie should be, kind of like the first. It should be fun and never take itself too seriously. Then we see the sequels, and are wholeheartedly disappointed.

With the arrival of Mark Wahlberg in the last installment, Transformers: Age of Extinction, there was a flicker of improvement. It was at least somewhat fun in its globe-trotting ways that took us to Asia and introduced us to that delightful dinosaur Transformer, aka Dinobot. It still left a whole lot to be desired.

Wahlberg’s back in Michael Bay’s fifth Transformers movie, Transformers: The Last Knight. That flicker of fun from the fourth installment has been completely extinguished in a movie that feels laborious, soulless and sinfully long, drawn out and delirium inducing.

Things have changed a little since we last left Wahlberg’s Cade Yeager. He is now a friend to the Autobot Transformers as they have yet again had their presence been questioned and challenged by human kind and their governments. The U.S. government has even set up an agency that exists solely to keep check on the alien inhabitants of our world. You know the ones — they take the form of various forms of transportation and in an instant can turn themselves into a robot of immense power.

Josh Duhamel’s Colonel William Lennox is a member of this paramilitary group and he is forced to make a deal with the devil and get Megatron and a pack of evil Decepticons to take out a brainwashed Optimus Prime. See, Prime has gone back home to his home planet and Quintessa, the creator of Transformers — or so we’re told and expected to accept without any exposition (which is actually OK since this film already clocks in at two-and-a-half-hours!) — has altered his mind to head back to Earth and wreak some havoc in a it’s them or us search for some staff that Merlin was entrusted with… yeah, convoluted is too tame of a word to describe this mess.

The plot almost doesn’t seem to matter in these films, but just to give you an idea of how seriously this latest chapter in the franchise takes itself, we begin things in King Arthur times with Merlin (Stanley Tucci) pleading with an Autobot for his help in fighting back an evil horde that will spell doom for the entire kingdom. So the whole Camelot story isn’t just a Briton’s tale of bravery anymore, it is Transformers-influenced? Give me a break.

So, there are two UK residents, a member of a secret society (Anthony Hopkins’ Sir Edmund Burton) and an Oxford professor, Laura Haddock’s Vivian Wembley (who must mean she’s smart, not because of anything they’ve given us to illustrate that fact, simply because they just tell us and briefly show us that she teaches at the esteemed university), that are integral to this story and saving us from another round of global mass destruction. These two are the connection to that Arthurian beginning.

So, how does Wahlberg’s Cade fit in? Does it really matter? To humor you, let’s just say that the title of the film may have something to do with him, or maybe it does not. Either way, he’s a chosen one and must head to England and becomes one of the keys to human race’s survival. Again.

Bay doesn’t know the meaning, or how to use, restraint with these movies — unlike his powerful 13 Hours. Transformers: The Last Knight is bloated, tortuous, cluttered and confusing with its audience is expected to know this world inside and out. It is easy to mentally drift away and get called back in when the action begins. Only thing, once things speed up as the “plot” devices have been put in place, the action feels empty. Who wins? Who loses? Who cares!

One thing too permeates my conscious while witnessing this onslaught and that is that this is a film based on a toy. Sure, it’s not the first and will hardly be the last. But, I just can’t get it out of my head that this particular toy probably should never have become a film franchise in the first place. I know. I know. That’s taking billions out of the pockets of Paramount Pictures, Hasbro and Michael Bay. I’m just sayin’. Alien robots who take the form of automobiles, trucks and other transport methods? The whole thing should have just stayed in a toy box.

We’re done.

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