Anthony Hopkins

Transformers: The Last Knight (2017)

Back in 2007, Michael Bay bought the robots in disguise to the silver screen in great fashion. I personally really enjoyed watching these metallic behemoths battle whilst the screen was bathed in a glossy finish during the first instalment. Fast-forward ten years and Michael Bay is still going with this franchise with his latest instalment of Transformers: The Last Knight.

Unfortunately, my enjoyment has been evaporating quickly as the franchise now trundles into into it’s fifth segment. Bay seems to be up to his old tricks with his fast-paced and sometimes unintelligible narrative as Mark Wahlberg returns as Cade Yeager, but after the events of Tranformers: Age of Extinction he is currently in hiding with Bumblebee and other familiar faces, including Grimlock, the dinosaur robot.

I’m unsure where they keep coming up with ideas for the Transformers franchise, but it is seemingly picking points in history and making it Transformer-y. 

This time? The legend of King Arthur. 

After Transformers: Age of Extinction, Transformers are being hunted by TRF, regardless of their factions. Bay does some show incredible feats of world building as he shows cities demolished and the derelict areas where Transformers are hunted. It’s in one of these broken cities that Cade is given a metallic talisman, which carries the same symbol as the Arthurian knights in the glorious action-packed opening segment.

All the while, there is a storyline involving an Earl of Folgan (Anthony Hopkins), keeper of the secret regarding the history of Transformers on Earth, but also a girl that finds herself without a home after her Transformer companion is killed by the TRF. And of course, much like the other four Transformers films, Bay jet sets the film across the world from London to the South Dakotan badlands and Cuba.

At this point, I was unsure which direction Michael Bay wanted the film to go with Anthony Hopkins jabbering away at Mark Wahlberg and Laura Haddock. Hopkins believably seemed as though he had a screw loose during this segment. This naturally bought about a few laughs, and his leprechaun butler Cogsworth. Bay’s choice of jokes was odd though as some landed but more missed. He often pointed at things throughout the film and directly laughed at them in cringeworthy fashion.

Transformers: The Last Knight doesn’t try and stray away from the framework that has already produced four films, as Michael Bay still includes earth-shatteringly loud action sequences but also having that attractive female for leering purposes. This time Laura Haddock takes on this role as Viviane.

I will say, I was enjoying Transformers: The Last Knight. That was until my popcorn ran out. The film is just mind-numbingly packed to the brim with action with abundance of slow-motion sequences and of course because it’s a bay film, explosions galore. However, as I mentioned, once the popcorn runs out, the patience does too. The film is shy of three hours, and it feels it every step of the way.

And the problems do not stop there. The narrative is just nonsense and often found myself at a loss with where the film was heading, especially with the whole Witwickian lore and how it somehow segwegged into the battle between Unicron and Cybertron. And it’s not often I notice, but the ratio was all over the place as the film jumps from one ratio to the next. Of course with action films, the performances are never going to be the centre of attention, but when the performances are dialled in with cameos thrown in for nostalgic reasons, it becomes a bit of a farce.

That being said, the action sequences were enjoyable as the Transformers punched and shot at each other, but this can’t carry a film for near enough three hours. Transformers: The Last Knight wasn’t certainly the worst film I’ve seen, but it definitely wasn’t the best. It was just complete, sometimes enjoyable, nonsense.


Thor: The Dark World (2013)

As most Marvel films open with a little bit of opening sequence relevant to the film, for Thor: The Dark World, it opens with a battle between the Asgardians and the Dark Elves that happened eons ago. The Dark Elves, led by Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) plan to cast the universe into darkness using a weapon called Aether, but met with Odin’s father and an army of Asgardians, they are stopped. However, Malekith, his right-hand man Algrim and a handful of Dark Elves escape and survive, lying in wait for the Aether to reappear, as the Asgardians took it from the dark elves.

Back in the present, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), after the havoc caused on Earth during Avengers Assemble, is being summoned to answer for his war crimes, where he is placed in the dungeons below the throne room in Asgard. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) armed with his henchman (and woman) are currently bringing order to the nine realms after the reconstruction to the bi-frost.

Meanwhile, Jane Forster (Natalie Portman) is in London on a scientific expedition with her assistant Darcy Lewis, are taken to an abandoned factory where means of gravity have been altered and kids are managing to flip over cement-trucks. This is down to an event called The Convergence being imminent, where the nine realms align, forcing the parameters between the realms become blurred. Investigating this anomaly, Jane is transported to where the Aether is being kept, and of course, she is infected with the Aether. This also causes Malekith to awaken from his suspended animation along with the other Dark Elves, to track the Aether.

Jane, now infected with the Aether, when nearly apprehended by the police explodes with the Aether. Thor thinks best to take her back to Asgard, with Odin’s disregard. Malekith, tracking the Aether, learns of it’s presence in Asgard, starts to prep for a battle on Asgard. With his last gem of Kursed, Malekith selects Algrim as his last Kursed to infiltrate Asgard and return the Aether to Malekith in time for The Convergence so they can cast darkness over the nine realms.

“I only ask for one thing in return; a good seat from which to watch Asgard burn!”

Thor realising this plan of Malekith, manages to escape Asgard with the help of Loki (the highly anticipated watching point of this film) to use a secret transportation to go to Dark Elves homeland after they escape Asgard. Much of this sequence is the trust issues between Loki and Thor and whether he is able to trust him, and of course Thor’s henchman keep saying ‘betray him and I’ll kill you myself’. Of course the Aether is taken back by Malekith to set up the final battle that is ever present in superhero flicks. Of course, anything that happens from this point onwards is crucial to the plot, so I won’t spoil it for you. But the ending is one of the better ones from a marvel film. As I’ve found recent ones to being very illogical, or frustratingly similar to other films.

As much as I enjoyed this film, don’t get me wrong, it is possibly one of my favourite recent marvel films, I can’t help but thinking that Malekith’s character was just there for Thor to fight and be a recognised villain. Regardless, I enjoyed the character and thought his right hand man Algrim, or the final Kursed was absolutely badass. Acting like a Minotaur and causing havoc in his path.

As for the storyline, I realised when recounting it, there isn’t much to it. But it works. At just under 2 hours long, the film doesn’t feel long, where I’m stirring in my seat, coupled with the brilliant battles, the intertwining storylines, it all works and being very enjoyable at the same time. Not forgetting about what has now become a regular feature in superhero films, comedy. There are the one-liners, the quips by Loki, which tie the film altogether, making it complete.

It’s been said by a lot of people recently, but I agree with the comments that at the moment directors of these superhero movies are striking the right chord with these movies and making them very enjoyable. Superhero movies although have come in their droves recently are becoming more and more enjoyable and Thor: The Dark World is one of those securing this idea. If you plan to see this movie, stay for the stings after the credits, and of course I am looking forward to the next Thor movie.