ByPeter DiDonato, writer at
A night owl that writes what comes to mind. You can follow me on Twitter at @didonatope or visit my blog at
Peter DiDonato

After three years of the widely criticized but highly successful Transformers film franchise staying silent, we finally have our first look at its fifth entry. After three sequels with convoluted plots, bloated action set pieces and cringe-worthy humor, it's only natural that the fifth installment's trailer would specifically target the skeptics. But is it really the "Transformers film we've all been waiting for," or is this teaser trailer just the first sign of another disappointment yet to come?#

In summary, the recent teaser for Transformers: The Last Knight is a mishmash of out-of-context plot points and scenes mashed together with the full intention of generating audience curiosity. Whether or not the sudden introduction of medieval/Nazi storylines make sense or not doesn't matter when you show Transformers fans Unicron, or when you show Optimus Prime lifelessly floating in space and about to murder Bumblebee. This trailer leaves more questions than answers, and that is exactly what they were aiming for.

This Trailer Has 'Market Research Written All Over It

This trailer has "market research" written all over it. It's obvious that the film's PR team wanted viewers to ignore the numerous flaws of the previous sequels. It's almost as if it was specifically calculated to get general audiences interested in the nearly decade-old franchise once again. It's got all of the makings of a "blockbuster event" trailer.

Darker Tone? Check.

'Transformers: The Last Knight' [Credit: Paramount]
'Transformers: The Last Knight' [Credit: Paramount]

Main character on the brink of death? Check.

'Transformers: The Last Knight' [Credit: Paramount]
'Transformers: The Last Knight' [Credit: Paramount]

Out of context "WTF" moment? Check.

'Transformers: The Last Knight' [Credit: Paramount]
'Transformers: The Last Knight' [Credit: Paramount]

It also features an ominous remix of a pop song. This time it's "Do You Realize" by The Flaming Lips.

With the exception of the ominous pop song, this trailer draws direct parallels with the recent Cars 3 teaser. Much like Age of Extinction and Revenge of the Fallen, Cars 2 was poorly received for its writing and awful jokes. Knowing that a fair share of people were skeptical of a sequel, this trailer went all out with its dark tone, showing Lightning McQueen involved in a seemingly career-ending crash. It left audiences gasping in shock, and more importantly, curious to see what would happen to the main character. The same certainly goes for Transformers 5.

The teaser in question surely left some viewers optimistic about a high-quality sequel they've waited so long to see. However, longtime critics of the franchise still have some perfectly good reasons to be skeptical.

First of all, if the past three sequels have taught us anything, it's not to buy into the pre-release hype. Every time a new Transformers movie is about to come out, himself criticizes the previous installment and tells the fans the newest installment will be an improvement.

In 2011, Michael Bay told Collider that Dark of the Moon would improve upon the arguably abysmal Revenge of the Fallen:

“What we did with this movie is I think we have a much better script, and we got back to basics. ... It's more serious.”

This sounded OK at first. It seemed like Bay was owning up to the mistakes of the second film and promising to shape up. Of course, three years later when Age of Extinction was about to hit theaters, Bay told IGN:

“This is a much more cinematic one. I focused on keeping this one slick. There won't be any goofiness in this one. We went a bit too goofy [on the last one].”

Michael Bay literally said the exact same thing twice in a row. How much do you want to bet he'll say something just like this in an upcoming interview?

Second of all, based on the teaser, the script could easily lend itself to the same problems as the previous entries. So far, every Transformers sequel has started with a flashback in order to introduce a convoluted and underdeveloped story element. Just to list a few:

1. 'Revenge Of The Fallen': The Fallen Setting Up A Sun Harvester In 17,000 BC

This storyline gives way to an awkward plot involving Shia Labeouf's character going to college and writers-strike-induced comic relief gags.

2. 'Dark Of The Moon': The Ark Landing On The Moon And The Apollo 11 Mission Investigating It

This storyline gives way to an awkward plot involving Shia Labeouf's character trying to get a job and interacting with his wacky co-workers and Megan-Fox-replacement girlfriend.

3. 'Age Of Extinction': The Dinosaurs Being Wiped Out By Aliens Who Inject The Planet With 'Transformium,' Thus Creating The Dinobots

This storyline gives way to Mark Whalberg's character trying to accept his teenage daughter's boyfriend. The Dinobots aren't seen until the end of the movie.

Doesn't It Seem Likely That 'The Last Knight' Will Have The Same Issues?

Doesn't it seem just a tad bit likely that The Last Knight will have the same issue? The film could easily open with a scene in medieval time introducing the sword from the poster (before that storyline gives way to an awkward plot involving Mark Whalberg's character accepting his daughter moving away from home).

And what about the storyline involving Optimus Prime turning on Bumble Bee? Isn't it feasible that it was just an out-of-context moment for the trailer and that plot point won't be as dramatic or important as it seems? Maybe he's just lashing out at Bumblebee and mildly injures him. Maybe he's under mind control. It does have the potential to be an interesting plot line, but it could just as easily be a throwaway moment.

To be fair, the previous films didn't completely focus on the human characters. However, the plot points involving the Transformers were so nonsensical and confusing that the bland human plot lines seem to dominate the screenplays. The sequels have a certain formula to them that goes like this:

  • Open with a flashback to ancient times and supposedly introduce the main storyline.
  • Introduce the human characters.
  • Introduce the Transformers and have them interact with the human characters, often with tedious high-jinks.
  • Sprinkle in elements of the storyline introduced in the opening without any attempt to help audiences understand it.

With all of this being said, there's no way to say with 100 percent certainty that the newest flick will be just as bad as its predecessors. Teasers misrepresent the final cut more times than one can count On the other hand, the marketing team's intended message that this will be "the Transformers film we've all been waiting for," could easily lead to the crushing disappointment the sequels have caused for almost a decade. After three controversial sequels, cautious optimism is perfectly fine, but being skeptical is just as reasonable.


Will this film improve upon the previous sequels?

(Sources: Collider, IGN)


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