Michael Bay’s Transformers movies have a certain familiarity. The Autobots and Decepticons — the long-standing rivals in this toy-ad-turned-mega-franchise about transforming alien robots — beat the crap out of each other, endangering Earth in the process. A human hero (usually a man, with the assistance of a very beautiful woman) saves the world. Optimus Prime waxes poetic about how Earth is the new Transformers home, and how it’s a pretty rad place to be. Fin.
(Light spoilers ahead for the end of Transformers: The Last Knight. Seriously, I mean light.)
So it’s not terribly surprising that, if you’ve seen any of the last four movies, you can guess how number five, Transformers: The Last Knight, will draw to a close: with a flowery, vaguely heroic-sounding speech from Prime about the Transformers’ adopted home.
In theory, giving Optimus Prime the last word is a charming touch, a nice way to add harmony to the overarching universe. But Prime’s closing words can be applied to almost any of the Transformers films, making each speech — and by extension, each film — feel hopelessly generic. These stories are about humans and Transformers uniting as friends and allies… but since it’s the same humans and Transformers every time, this feat becomes a lot less impressive with each movie.
Here are a few excerpts from the films, included here in no particular order:
- “In any war, there are calms between storms. There will be days when we lose faith. Days when our allies turn against us. But the day will never come that we forsake this planet and its people.”
- “I have witnessed [humanity’s] capacity for courage, and though we are worlds apart, like us, there’s more to them than meets the eye.”
- “Our races united by a history long forgotten and a future we shall face together.”
You could read these sweeping, bland statements in any order. They just sound like interchangeable pieces of the same rambling speech.
The one exception to this rule? Transformers: Age of Extinction, which marked a break from the Shia LaBeouf era of the series, and introduced Mark Wahlberg as the series’s new human hero. Prime’s speech in Extinction is a notable break from the series, because it puts almost no focus on Earth and its inhabitants. Instead, it gives the Autobot leader a chance to search for his own answers on a personal journey.
But by the end of The Last Knight, those questions have flamed out. Optimus Prime, for all his velvet-voiced glory, is content to once again sing the praises of the tiny citizens of Earth. Perhaps there isn’t more than meets the eye to this leader of an advanced, alien race after all.