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New Transformers trashed by critics: 'Either this movie is dumb or I am'

Critical Mass: Reviews of Michael Bay’s fifth installment in the franchise have arrived

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The reviews are in for Transformers: The Last Knight, and unfortunately for Michael Bay and company, the franchise hasn’t transformed into a critical darling.

Presently sitting at 12 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, the fifth installment in the action series is being obliterated by critics. Reviews of the Mark Wahlberg-led vehicle can be summed up by headlines that range from Transformers: The Last Knight is like a frying pan to the brain” to Transformers: The Last Knight might make humanity just a little dumber.”

As EW’s Leah Greenblatt wrote in her C+ review, “Monster metal, mass destruction, Anthony Hopkins saying ‘dude.’ This is your brain on Michael Bay — a cortex scramble so amped on pyro and noise and brawling cyborgs it can only process what’s happening on screen in onomatopoeia: Clang! Pew-pew! Kablooey! (Which, to be fair, does cover about 80 percent of the script.)”

Read more Transformers: The Last Knight reviews below.

Leah Greenblatt (Entertainment Weekly)

“Bay has always been a champion of shock-and-awe spectacle over storytelling, a defibrillator jolting volts of pure, uncut action until somebody cries uncle. In rare moments, he does attempt to inject a little sense and context into the franchise’s frenzied mash of Hasbro-toy kitsch and blockbuster bombast (Decepticons, apparently, eat Da Vinci Codes for breakfast, and something Fast and Furious for lunch.) True fans probably don’t need the tangled universe of good versus evil explained to them: Bionic aliens rumble; ancient monuments crumble; guys in the middle of robot Armageddon deliver wry one-liners. That’s just what you do when things go boom.”

Mike Ryan (UPROXX)

“I have no proof Transformers: The Last Knight will kill your brain cells, but I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that it does and I’d proceed with caution just in case. But I can say with absolute certainty that after watching, your head will hurt. If that’s from newly killed brain cells, well, we still have to wait for the lab results. But what Transformers: The Last Knight does prove is nothing matters anymore. I saw this movie. You will see this movie. Everyone will see this movie. And we will all be dumber together.”

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Frank Scheck (The Hollywood Reporter)

“And while there’s no shortage of large-scale set pieces, the storyline provides so many opportunities for attempts at droll humor, most of it involving Hopkins’ dotty character, that the proceedings start to resemble drawing-room comedy. It’s all an overstuffed mess, but that was true of the previous entries as well, and audiences obviously don’t seem to mind.”

Owen Gleiberman (Variety)

“The plot of The Last Knight turns on the apocalypse (and, therefore, the U.S. military), which lends the usual chaotic jumble of events a bit of organizing heft. In the epic climax of a picture like this one, the visuals tend to mean more than, you know, the meaning, and here the world-destroying energy on hand takes the form of a corrosive weapon that looks like gigantic floating shards of cardboard packing debris. It’s all pleasingly spectacular, and also rather empty — at least, until Optimus Prime returns to his true self, his words spoken by Peter Cullen in a voice of such deep rich square nobility that, coming after nearly two-and-a-half hours of hellbent robot-clanking decadence, he seems a cathartically old-fashioned figure. He reminds you that there are moments when this series is capable of making you think that you like it.”

Pete Hammond (Deadline)

“It actually has been three years since the fourth installment of the Paramount/Hasbro/Michael Bay goldmine, and though Bay once swore he would quit after that one (Age of Extinction), he couldn’t stay away from his toys. So the filmmaker is back behind the camera once again for The Last Knight, which is just as big, bloated and long (at 2 1/2 hours) as all that have come before it.”

Megan Farokhmanesh (The Verge)

“Even at its best, The Last Knight feels like a series of action scenes wrapped up together in a thinly stretched narrative. The characters are always in some sort of mortal peril, whether they’re being shot at, nearly getting crushed by errant bots, or on a freefall collision course with solid ground. Everyone has one-liners ready to go, though a lot of them are cringeworthy. (In a triumphant moment, Bumblebee punctuates a punch by shouting, “Sting like a bee!”) The introduction of the King Arthur legend and its corresponding mythos is a paper-thin tie with no satisfying revelation, an excuse to play with a few Game of Thrones-style battles and a big robot dragon.”

Todd VanDerWerff (Vox)

“In the end, The Last Knight kinda washed over me, like all the other Transformers movies. Others with more affection for the franchise have suggested it worked really well for them. So, sure: If you like the Transformers, you might like this a lot. If you’re mostly indifferent, it’s not going to change your mind. But I also had a hard time hating it. There’s fun to be had in The Last Knight, if you can find it among the chaos — and if you can remember it after the fact.”

Alonso Duralde (The Wrap)

“There are a few action sequences of shocking coherence in Transformers: The Last Knight, the fifth of Michael Bay’s clang-clang-clang-went-the-robot adventures, but fear not, fans of the franchise: if you’re here for the director’s trademark chaos editing (where fights go from points A to D to Q), toxic masculinity (and female objectification), comedy scenes rendered tragic (and vice versa), and general full-volume confusion, you’ll get all those things in abundance.”

Matt Singer (Screencrush)

“You would think that after five attempts, Michael Bay would eventually figure out how to make a coherent Transformers movie. Apparently not. I challenge anyone — including this film’s four writers — to explain the story of Transformers: The Last Knight, how the characters get from point A to point B, and why any of it matters. I maintain that it cannot be done. Either this movie is dumb or I am.”

Eric Kohn (Indiewire)

“It’s an unabashed freewheeling mess of CGI explosions, fast-talking strategies and shiny metal monstrosities clashing in epic battles. And it’s actually kind of fun, in an infuriating sort of way, to watch the most ridiculous Hollywood movie of the year do its thing.”

Neil Genzlinger (New York Times)

“Get to the fifth installment of a film series, especially a sci-fi action one with a reputation for mindless bloat, and you can generally assume you’ll be looking at the franchise’s most dreadful offering yet. But — surprise — the fifth Transformers movie, The Last Knight, is far from the worst in this continuing experiment in noisy nonsense based on Hasbro toys. That is thanks largely to two words: Anthony Hopkins.”

Bilge Ebiri (Village Voice)

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Transformers: The Last Knight blasts into theaters on Wednesday.