There’s a lot that happens in “Transformers: The Last Knight.” A lot. It’s all pretty crazy, too. We’ve tried to make sense of it. So here are five big spoilers from the fifth in Michael Bay’s nutso “Transformers” saga.
1) It has all has to do with King Arthur, somehow
First off: That title. There was a first knight? Have there been any knights in these films about space robots who turn into cars? Imagine your face when the very first scene in “The Last Knight” takes place in the Dark Ages, specifically with King Arthur. As we gradually learn, Transformers have been visiting Earth for centuries, helping out in wars, and usually for the correct side. (How millions of soldiers — as well as untold civilians — never thought to pass this intel along to the rest of the world is never explained.) Transformers fought for Charlemagne. They killed Hitler. And they helped King Arthur, apparently a real historical figure, keep his kingdom. They did this by giving Merlin — not really a sorcerer but a drunk played by Stanley Tucci — a magic rod that summons a fire-breathing dino-dragon. There were even 12 robot knights who sat at — or, given their size, probably stood near to — the Round Table. Their legacy was upheld throughout the centuries by a clandestine group of truth-keepers. The latest is embodied by Anthony Hopkins, who winds up helping our heroes find the aforementioned rod, long buried in a secret place, before it can be stolen by either villainous Megatron or even-more-villainous floating robot lady Quintessa.
2) Optimus Prime goes bad
When last we saw him, noble Autobot leader Optimus Prime had jumped ship — or at least Earth — sailing in space back to his not-quite-dead home planet Cybertron. Early in “The Last Knight,” he arrives, at which point he’s captured by super-robot Quintessa. She either brainwashes him or rationally convinces him (as with most Michael Bay movies, nothing’s very clear) to help her in her dastardly scheme: She’ll drag her mechanical planet across the universe to Earth, then suck out its lifeforce. There’s the big world-destroying climax for you. It seems like she may succeed, in turn baking the Earth like it was a microwave. And then she’s shot and the movie ends. Before that, though, Optimus Prime suddenly goes back to good again after charming Bumblebee talks to him in his real voice, instead of using old movie quotes or song samples to communicate.
3) Don’t worry, there’s a hot female lead
In the early stretches, it may look like one of our heroes is a teenage girl — a tomboy named Izabella, played by a very charming Isabel Moner. She’s allowed to be tough and resourceful and badass. It seems like Michael Bay, the posterchild for aging fratboy horndogs, may have turned a new, more progressive leaf. Then she winds up spending most of the movie in a junkyard, along with most of the Autobots and Jerrod Carmichael. In her place, Bay brings in Professor Viviane Wembly (Laura Haddock), a grown woman who’s also hot, and who is also the great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-granddaughter of Merlin (or thereabouts), and who can therefore unleash the power of the aforementioned magic robot rod and vanquish all the villains. Which she does, eventually, all while wearing, as one character puts it, “stripper clothes.”
4) Marky Mark can only become a knight if he doesn’t bone
Mark Wahlberg’s Cade Yeager — crackpot inventor, over-protective dad, human who cannot be squashed by giant space robots, apparently — is back, this time helping nice Transformers who’ve been targeted by a suspicious, borderline bigoted American government. He teams up with Haddock’s Viviane to find the magic robot rod, at which point he learns he can become an actual knight with an actual sword. To do that, though, he has to become knightly, chivalrous. That means (apparently) he has to not have had sex in a while. So Cade spends the movie running around, dodging Deceptacons, planting bombs, even journeying underwater — all while not having sex. By the end, his abstinence program works: He gains himself a giant sword and stops a gang of robot knights from killing Optimus Prime after he endangered the world. His reward? He gets to make out with the hot professor lady Viviane before the end credits roll.
5) At the end there’s something about Unicron
Michael Bay is leaving the “Transformers” series — or so he says. But this isn’t the end of the franchise. There’s a Bumblebee spin-off movie in the works, by the guy who made last year’s excellent (and criminally underseen) “Kubo and the Two-Strings.” “The Last Knight” even has one of those Marvel-style end credits bumpers. But as with a lot of Marvel bumpers, we don’t get this one. What happens is a woman walks along the Egyptian desert, in front of a giant robotic tail. She says something about Unicron. Then it ends for real.
We swear we didn’t make any of this up.