Last night’s media screening of Transformers: The Last Knight began with a technical glitch. The first five minutes rolled out without a vocal track. It barely made a difference to the quality of the film. The Last Knight is a gloriously stupid, aggressively excessive cavalcade of explosions and robots and exploding robots. The dialogue is beside the point.
It’s not hard to hate the Transformers movies, especially when they’re this aggressively stupid. Here Michael Bay strips American culture for parts, gleefully mocking or destroying anything halfway intellectual – history, mathematics, physics, even the fucking Pyramids – leaving a pile of twisted metal made up big guns, fast cars and uncomfortably-sexualised fourteen year olds. Oh, and Mark Wahlberg, the epitome of muscle-bound, blue-collar Americana.
Weirdly, though, I kinda liked it. The Last Knight may be utterly stupid, driven by storytelling that’s more ludicrous than nonsensical, but it’s also …awe-inspiring? The editing obscures any kind of narrative or spatial coherence but the images are so absurd and unique and powerful that I mostly didn’t care. There’s so much craft and care behind the hyper-expensive CGI action sequences, especially when compared to Bay’s generic (and, admittedly, better) blockbuster peers. It’s terrible, sure, but also terrific.