Transformers: The Last Knight is the fifth installment in Michael Bay’s alien robot saga.

Con – Beauty is skin deep

There is a scene early in the film in which a giant, robotic T-Rex regurgitates a police car it wasn’t supposed to eat. It is, at the same time, visually stunning and completely idiotic. It’s a perfect microcosm of this film. Welcome to Transformers: The Last Knight.

Visually, this movie is amazing, though it has to be said, the frenetic pace of every scene means sometimes the viewer simply can’t process all the cool things happening on the screen. The CGI is some of the best I’ve ever seen. In the real world, cars flip and explosions go off at ridiculous Michael Bay rates. I had hoped those visuals would be enough to make the film enjoyable, but they aren’t.  Everything other part of this film is so devoid of joy and intelligence that after 30 minutes, the thrill of the visuals is gone, and all the viewer is left with is the slog to the end.

Con – Story (What?!?!?)

This is a movie about giant alien robots who come to earth and can transform into vehicles. Even starting with the premise and all the latitude it begs for, this movie’s story is a horrible mess. It’s as if Michael Bay asked 100 people to write a cool thing they’d like to see in the movie on a post-it note, and he made it his personal challenge to get them all smashed in. King Arthur: check. Hitler Assassination, check. Dinosaurs: sure. And how about Anthony Hopkins using a secret entrance to 10 Downing Street? Got it!

If this sounds like the ingredients to a horrible mess, you’re right. The story is almost unintelligible. Alliances change on a whim. One minute, the world police force is working with Megatron for some reason; the next minute, they are shooting him. Later, they track down and try to kill Mark Wahlberg’s Cade Yeager, and literally, within three seconds, they inexplicably start working together for the rest of the movie, like nothing ever happened. The earth was threatened, but I’m still not sure if it was going to get rammed by another planet, have its energy sucked out, and/or just get its upper layer of crust scraped away by a giant robot tentacles. The final scene showcases metal falling from the sky for what appears to be no other reason than to make the 3D look cool.

Con – Just End

Perhaps the biggest transgression of this film is the punishingly long 2 hour and 29 minutes it runs. That kind of run time is a big ask for any movie, but for a movie sorely lacking in substance and joy, it’s just brutal. The small amount of enjoyment derived from the visuals is long gone by the time the end credits roll.

Transformers: The Last Knight is as bad as it could be. Roll on by this train wreck and see something else.