Cinema as bewilderment, the Transformers films have never lacked for dizzying visual bombast and crunching aural overload. But the emotional impact of their blockbuster theatrics has never come close to matching the scale of the increasingly epic action presented in each subsequent entry.
That problem isn't solved in Transformers: The Last Knight, but the fifth film in the franchise is peppered with some smaller moments that introduce a welcome strain of odd humour to the proceedings. And it gains a lot from Anthony Hopkins, who can't help but class up the joint despite being forced to utter the word 'Dude' on-screen for presumably the first time in his career.
Hopkins plays a British Lord whose lineage ties him to the film's most noteworthy addition to the franchise mythos: that King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table were friends with Transformers and even influenced their culture. It's a neat idea, but barely explored in the plot, which yet again hangs on the frenzied pursuit of a powerful physical object that all the characters covet.
There's some novelty in seeing director Michael Bay's trademark sun-drenched aesthetic applied to merry old England, and the film's best moments all come from Cogman, Hopkins' fussy robot butler voiced unmistakably by Jim Carter, aka Carson from Downton Abbey. Simultaneously annoying and amusing, Cogman is indeed a shameless C-3PO rip-off, but The Last Knight gets away with it by having a Transformer observe so.
The action set-piece ante is upped yet again, with a planet-sized nemesis bearing down on Earth in the typically protracted finalé. Although diverting in the moment, the spatial geography of the epic action is poorly sustained, which undercuts the tension, and once again makes you wonder how something so big can feel so small. And then there's Mark Wahlberg's haircut, which has a lot to answer for when considering this film's ultimate worth. Add a star if you're under ten.