Film reviewers' piñata of choice for two decades, Michael Bay's two fingers to hacks and his bloody mindedness behind the lens have turned him into an unusual kind of anti-hero - the Dan Brown or Phil Collins of the multiplexes, if you will. Throw Brendan O'Carroll in there and you'd have quite the Four Horsemen for journos everywhere...

Michael Bay calls the shots

Now, while bestowing underdog status on a man whose last two Transformers movies - 2011's Dark of the Moon, 2014's Age of Extinctionmade $1.1bn each may seem a bit, eh, rich, there's a real sense that Bay's me-against-the-world mojo remains intact, no matter how humongous his budget, running time, or bank balance. 

Earth, once again, heads for the galactic glue factory

Nothing changes with the fifth film in his more-is-less robot series. Bay comes out swinging on the biggest screens; critics demand that grinding wheels are installed outside cinemas and teenage boys - who the director has acknowledged are his target audience - hand over their money. Everyone gets exactly what they expected as Earth, once again, heads for the galactic glue factory. The charm of Bay's first Transformers feels like centuries ago. 

Mark Wahlberg returns as the robots' sidekick

Our returning hero is Mark Wahlberg's hedge fund-sounding inventor-turned-one-man-army Cade Yeager. After a prologue that would be the final battle in most movies (that Michael...) Cade teams up with an eccentric astronomer (Anthony Hopkins) and 'feisty' Oxford professor (Laura Haddock) to save the world as the heroic Autobots and evil Decepticons duke it out to the sound of the Doomsday clock. An hour in, you realise there's a whole movie still to go - like trying to cut the grass in August when the last time you had the mower out was September.

The pauses for breath are so few that it's often hard to process what's happening

The special effects in The Last Knight are, however, stunning, and the viewer who can't acknowledge same is probably one of those types who won't salute people for letting them out in traffic. As a technician, Bay is some man for one man. As a storyteller so smitten with all things vehicular, he has the power to make his audience carsick - literally. The edits are so fast here and the pauses for breath so few that it's often hard to process what's happening. 

The special effects in The Last Knight are stunning

Anyone whose default mode is self-criticism may find that "I must be thick" becomes their mantra amidst the mayhem. Even those made of stronger stuff need to be warned that while Anthony Hopkins has appeared in some WTF movies in the past, seeing him in the thick of it here feels as disconcerting as meeting him on the last Nitelink after the longest Saturday soirée ever.

Anthony Hopkins can't rescue this one

How brilliant, then, that The Last Knight actually ends with one of the characters asking: "Is it tomorrow yet?" If there's an Oscar going next year for Best Nod and Wink in a Motion Picture, Bay needs to get his speech ready - the timekeepers won't know what hit them.