'Transformers: The Last Knight': What the Critics Are Saying

Early reviews are in for Transformers: The Last Knight, the fifth film in the Michael Bay-directed action franchise, and it's not looking good.

The film currently has a 17 percent and counting on Rotten Tomatoes, with a Metacritic score of 29 based on 32 total reviews so far. The Hasbro toys-inspired franchise is no stranger to those kinds of numbers, with the last two films in the series —Transformers: Age of Extinction and Transformers: Dark of the Moon — receiving an 18 percent and 35 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, respectively. 

According to The Hollywood Reporter's Frank Scheck, one of the film's weakest points is its bloated plot. "Anyone capable of explaining the near-incomprehensible storyline deserves a prize of some sort," writes Scheck. And, he says, although the screenplay is ambitious, it's "all an overstuffed mess."

The film stars Mark Wahlberg and Anthony Hopkins as inventor Cade Yeager and English lord Sir Edmond Burton, respectively. Cade, along with a handful of supporting characters, must assist the Autobots in another fight between good and evil.

According to Scheck, Wahlberg, who is leaving the franchise after this film, makes the most of his role. However, he says, "Hopkins, who’s clearly entered the baroque phase of his career, seems to be having a great deal of fun — although every time he smiles, it seems less organic to his character and more about the new beach house he’s going to buy with the money he’s raking in."

In a one out of four-star review, USA Today's Brian Truitt writes that the film "reaches new levels of badness." Agreeing that the plot is overstuffed, Truitt explains, "Even if you love alien robots punching each other while tossing out insipid one-liners, it’s a painfully long two and a half hours where the biggest problem isn’t a lack of plot, but way too many of them."

Entertainment Weekly's Leah Greenblatt was slightly warmer towards the film, giving it a C-plus review. She writes, "In rare moments, [Bay] does attempt to inject a little sense and context into the franchise’s frenzied mash of Hasbro-toy kitsch and blockbuster bombast."

Greenblatt adds: "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."

Justin Chang of the Los Angeles Times was also slightly more favorable in his review, calling the film "surprisingly bearable." Despite what Chang calls Bay's "casual disregard for even the most casual requirements of narrative logic and continuity," he says the director does have a knack for turning "incoherence into its own form of hyperkinetic abstract art."

In a one out of five-star review, The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw compares the film to a Marvel one. "And so the ageless, endless, pointless struggle between good and evil in the Transformer community recommences, and the final explosive showdown seems to be competing with Marvel movies for spectacle."

However, he adds, where Marvel films "bring wit and fun," the latest in the Transformers franchise "is in very short supply" of both.

Transformers: The Last Knight hits theaters June 21.