With the release of Transformers: The Last Knight being just a few short weeks away, moviegoers should be getting hyped to see it. While Michael Bay’s Hasbro toy-based action movies don’t generally get a warm greeting from critics, audiences love them. The last two have made over $1 billion at the box office worldwide, and the two before it weren’t far behind. This new one is set to bring in huge box office returns yet again, but it’s not just the same old stuff. With The Last Knight, there’s extra reason to be excited, because it’s completely upending the franchise. It’s being written by a new team but Michael Bay is returning to direct even though he said he wouldn’t. There are also some terrific actors coming back from past instalments who will be joining the cast, and the series is going back to its roots in beloved toys and animation. The Last Knight will be the beginning of a new Transformers, and here are fifteen reasons you should be pre-ordering your tickets for the June 23 opening and looking forward to see it.
15. The way the movies are written has completely changed
The Transformers movies, like all movies, have always been written by a writer or a team of writers, each hired on a per-film basis. Sometimes the same writers have been used, sometimes new ones have been brought in. But starting with The Last Knight, Paramount and Michael Bay are completely revolutionizing the way screenplays are written. They’ve put together a writers’ room, like TV shows do, and they’re using this team of writers to come up with stories and scripts for Transformers films that could all be connected to one another. And, they’ve got some great writers on that team. They’ve got: Robert Kirkman, the creator of The Walking Dead; Zak Penn, who co-wrote The Avengers with Joss Whedon; Iron Man writers Art Marcum & Matt Holloway; Lost writer Jeff Pinkner; Steven DeKnight, who turned Marvel dark when he brought Daredevil to Netflix and could do the same for Transformers; and many more.
14. The Last Knight filming caused controversy
The Transformers: The Last Knight production team caused an uproar of controversy when they shot some scenes at Winston Churchill’s birthplace, Blenheim Palace, draping it in gigantic Nazi flags and turning it into Adolf Hitler’s headquarters. Obviously Winston Churchill guided Britain through World War II and is the anti-Hitler, so this ticked a good few people off. Michael Bay told the BBC that the controversy was unfounded, saying, “Churchill in this movie is a big hero,” and added that “he would be smiling” if he knew what happened in The Last Knight. Churchill’s own grandson even said that The Sun, which is a newspaper that has a penchant to twist things, had “completely manufactured” the controversy and that “they have no idea what my grandfather would have thought!” Either way, Winston Churchill’s birthplace repurposed as Hitler’s lair is something to be excited about.
13. Shia Labeouf isn’t in this Transformers movie
While Transformers are taking over the world and a war is breaking out, where is Sam Witwicky? Where is Sam Witwicky when his car and all of his friends are involved in a global, at times intergalactic conflict? The answer: it doesn’t matter. The behind the scenes answer to that question is obviously that the actor who once played Sam, Shia Labeouf, has gone completely off the rails, cutting his own face on the set of Fury because he didn’t think the makeup looked realistic enough and urging people to just do it. So, the character of Sam is forgiven for being absent, and the films are probably better for it. Mark Wahlberg isn’t as crazy as Shia Labeouf – he’s a great guy, a great actor, a family man, and he makes for a better lead.
12. There’s a meta reference to Once Upon a Time
For seemingly no reason whatsoever, King Arthur has been worked into the script, and cast in the role is Liam Garrigan, who also happens to play King Arthur in a recurring role on the ABC series Once Upon a Time. Perhaps King Arthur’s sword will have some Cybertron technology in it and will give cause for a flashback. The history of the Transformers on Earth will be explored further in The Last Knight after Age of Extinction showed us that dinosaurs were really robots or something, so that’ll give King Arthur a reason to pop his head in. Also, the word “knight” being in the title suggests there is a reason for King Arthur to show up. But he’s clearly been shoehorned in for Once Upon a Time fans, and I love that. It’s synergy! And it might also give King Arthur a second cinematic wind after this year’s abysmal Legend of the Sword lost $150 million.
11. The Transformers franchise is being completely reinvented
After Age of Extinction switched out madcap Shia Labeouf for the saner, more identifiable Mark Wahlberg, the reinventions will keep on rolling with The Last Knight, the first Transformers instalment under the new regime. See, Paramount isn’t just bringing out Transformers movies every couple of years anymore. Franchise filmmaking isn’t that simple anymore. What with Marvel and DC creating vast, multi-film cinematic universes around their characters to tell all kinds of stories on larger scales, either serialized or delving deeper into the lives of the supporting characters who would usually only get a glance, times are changing. Paramount and Michael Bay have taken note, and they’re putting together a whole Hasbro universe. After The Last Knight kicks everything off, we’ll see Bumblebee get his own movie, a prequel showing the destruction of Cybertron, a possible crossover with GI Joe, and according to Bay, as many as fourteen more Transformers movies. But it all starts with The Last Knight, and that’s exciting.
10. Impressive visual effects
Transformers: The Last Knight has a whopping budget of $260 million, and if there’s one thing director Michael Bay knows how to do, it’s squeeze everything he can out of every dollar. $260 million makes The Last Knight the most expensive Transformers movie by a staggering $50 million, and obviously the amount of money spent does not reflect the quality of the film. But it does reflect the quality of the visual effects. And the more stunning the visual effects, the more mind-blowing, eye-catching, and enjoyable the film will be. So, the money and how well it is spent will have a knock-on effect that makes this a truly amazing movie. The story will be all-out action and battle sequences, so the higher the budget, the better these will look. Thus, in this case, a bigger budget means a better film.
9. Great cast
The cast, including the live-action human actors and the Transformers’ voice actors, is filled with fantastic performers. Lovable everyman Mark Wahlberg returns as Cade Yeager, the brilliant Stanley Tucci is back from Age of Extinction, and up-and-comer Isabela Moner will be playing the lead female role as a street-smart chick who was orphaned in Dark of the Moon’s Chicago battle. Unfortunately, notorious sexist Tyrese Gibson will also be in the cast, but so will the great John Turturro from The Big Lebowski and Miller’s Crossing. Turturro has been with the Transformers franchise since its early days. Also, John Goodman will be voicing an Autobot, as will John DiMaggio who made his name voicing another very different robot (Bender from Futurama).
8. Megatron is back
I know what you’re thinking. The return of Megatron isn’t a big deal; he’s in every Transformers movie. But with The Last Knight, the promotional marketing is certainly treating it like a big deal, so maybe there is a reason to get excited this time. First, they released a strange video that said, “I’m coming for you May 31,” in Morse code. Then, on May 31, Michael Bay offered a sneak peek of Megatron’s menacing new look in The Last Knight, captioned, “Megatron is back.” Now, according to Age of Extinction, Megatron should be Galvatron, so that has annoyed some fans, but this is all part and parcel of going back to the roots of what makes Transformers great. The franchise’s official Instagram account also shared the image and captioned it, “A battle is coming,” and Hasbro’s official Facebook page for Transformers posted an image of the Decepticon symbol with the caption, “Megatron will return.” Clearly this is set to be a huge comeback for Megatron.
7. It’s a war movie
Transformers: The Last Knight picks up in a world where humankind is at war with the Transformers. Since the Transformers came to Earth after their planet was destroyed and are now facing a sour reception from Earth’s people, this could be seen as an allegory for the Syrian refugee crisis. It’s a stretch, since this is Transformers we’re talking about, but it is food for thought. Either way, this is a movie about a war between the human race and two factions of alien robots; and if that’s not exciting, I don’t know what is. The fact that we identify and empathize with some of these robots, like Bumblebee and Optimus Prime, only serves to make the story more interesting.
6. The Last Knight will have answers
According to the official plot synopsis for Transformers: The Last Knight, the film will see a literature professor from Oxford University and a historian who specializes in Transformers team up to get to the bottom of the whole mythology of the series and “learn the secrets of why the Transformers keep coming here to Earth.” This isn’t just another mindless action movie where the audience is expected to blindly follow the fact that Transformers keep showing up on Earth, they fight, they destroy cities, then the credits roll and everyone goes home. This is a movie that will finally provide answers to the questions its predecessors have posed. It’s very exciting; the audience might actually leave the cinema more enlightened than when they went in; even if it is all completely made-up stuff that answers made-up questions.
5. Michael Bay is passionate about it
Michael Bay has been trying to quit the Transformers franchise for a while now. The amount of work is killing him. With movies of this size and scope, there is so much work involved in the pre-production, the shooting, and the editing, all the while keeping the studio happy. He tried to quit after Dark of the Moon, but just when he thought he was out, they pulled him back in (like Michael Corleone). JJ Abrams told him, “You’re the only guy that could do this.” It’s true. Bay wants to move on and hand the reins of the Transformers franchise on to someone else, but no one else could do what he does. Like it or not, no one else could bring his brand of Bayhem to the Transformers movies. What he does is like magic. His movies aren’t for everyone, but he’s a hard worker. And the work was so hard this time that he wanted to give The Last Knight to someone else, but the script must’ve been so good that he had to stick around. But this is really, really his last Transformers movie… just like Age of Extinction was supposed to be.
4. The Transformers series is going back to its roots
The fact that the Transformers logo on the poster for The Last Knight is completely different from the ones that have come before, and is much closer to the logo you’ll find on the toys that the movies are based on, isn’t at all a coincidence. Peter Cullen, who voices Optimus Prime, has seen the films deviate too much from the Transformers that fans fell in love with, and he’s looking to change that with The Last Knight and the upcoming Transformers 6 (yet to be given its subtitle). He said, “I think I brought the concern to the movie studio and certainly to the writers. Perhaps…Transformers 5 and 6 movies will go back more to its roots. There was an occasion where one line [in Transformers: Age of Extinction] which Optimus Prime had, I did not want to say. It was my gut instinct and certainly my commitment to the character…not to say the line. But I was told to say. You can’t fight the big boys. I think you all know what that line was.”
3. It’ll be funny
Remember during Transformers: Age of Extinction, when you were watching these huge action scenes involving gargantuan robots demolishing the landscape of Hong Kong, and then Michael Bay would cut to Stanley Tucci running around saying all this funny dialogue? The same goes for all the Transformers movies. Ken Jeong is hysterical in Dark of the Moon, and the first act of Revenge of the Fallen is basically American Pie. It’s great juxtaposition that keeps these movies from becoming too heavy, because at the end of the day, it’s a bit of fun. It is about life and death and two factions fighting an unwinnable war with love and betrayal and enemies, but it’s also about cars that turn into robots and then turn back again, so you need to keep it light. It’s the humor that really sells all this. As long as the movies can make you laugh, there will always be a reason to get excited about them.
2. Anthony Hopkins is in it!
The fact that Sir Anthony Hopkins will be in Transformers: The Last Knight is the only reason you need to go and see the movie. He’s not just a brilliant actor; he’s one of the greatest of all time. And he dips in and out of his serious dramatic performances to have a bit of fun for a paycheck, like appearing in Bad Company with Chris Rock and RED 2 with Bruce Willis and John Malkovich. But he never lets his guard down. Even if it’s just a fun movie, he always gives it his all and commits to a role. It will be no different with his portrayal of astronomer and historian Edmund Burton. He’s been doing more genre stuff recently too, like playing the mysterious Ford on HBO’s Westworld and Odin in the Thor movies.
1. It’s escapism
Like all the best entertainment, the Transformers movies are pure escapism. They’re not trying to make the world a better place, or enlighten their audience, or provide anything of real artistic merit. They’re simply trying to give you a two and a half hour escape from the abysmal state the world is in. Go and watch Transformers: The Last Knight and you’ll stop worrying about making your mortgage payments, or whether or not that girl likes you, or who Kim Jong-un is going to nuke. You’ll just escape into a fantasy world filled with gigantic robots pummelling the living daylights out of each other. And for those two and a half hours, you’ll have fun. It’s just mindless entertainment. Give your brain a rest and have a good time.