HomeFilm‘Transformers: Rise of the Beasts’ review

‘Transformers: Rise of the Beasts’ review

After a staggering 7 films, it’s safe to say that ‘Transformers: Rise of the Beasts’ has been made for fans of this franchise. If you haven’t liked any of the other movies in this long-running saga, then this chapter won’t change your mind or bring in potential new audiences. But it does learn some lessons from the past and crafts a perfectly enjoyable blockbuster and delivers a 2-hour+ spectacle that mostly succeeds. ‘Transformers: Rise of the Beasts’ is a direct sequel to ‘Bumblebee’ and as such, isn’t directly connected to the Michael Bay strand of movies. It’s also a retro-set movie, taking place in the 90s that fully utilises its period setting to deliver a nostalgia-fest full of great music too.

For me personally, ‘Bumblebee’ and the first ‘Transformers’ movie stand far apart from the rest of these films, which all kind of just melt into an epilepsy-inducing montage. ‘Transformers: Rise of the Beasts’ is certainly one of the better chapters, and one that seems to take heed from ‘Bumblebee’ in terms of its human element angle, but sadly it doesn’t match it or push that segment forwards, which is a shame. More a side-step than a regression (which is a good thing at least), the human characters of ‘Transformers: Rise of the Beasts’ are mostly all solid, and their story is interesting, if just rushed a bit onscreen.

The plot of this movie involves a rare artifact that’s been recovered. Its history suggests that it’s not of this world, as Elena Wallace (Dominique Fishback), a young museum artifact expert will soon discover. She has come into possession of part of a rare Transwarp Key, which can open-up portals into space and time. Maximals, led by Optimus Primal (the voice of Ron Perlman), are a faction of beast-like robots who have sworn to protect this key from getting into the hands of Unicron (the voice of Colman Domingo), a god-like planet that devours other planets. With this key he can conquer worlds across the galaxy, annihilating civilisations in his wake.

When Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) hears of this Transwarp Key’s existence, he believes he has found a way to get his Autobots back to Cybertron – their home planet – having been stranded on Earth for awhile now. But Unicron will stop at nothing to retrieve this key and sends his general Scourge (Peter Dinklage) to go and get it. So Optimus Prime, Optimus Primal and a young man named Noah Diaz (Anthony Ramos), who has unwittingly got embroiled in this battle, team up with Elena to make sure that Unicron doesn’t destroy the planet and all life as we know it.

‘Bumblebee’ managed to put the Transformers setting into, essentially, an 80s teen movie, and the end results were fantastic. ‘Transformers: Rise of the Beasts’ reverts back to a standard quest film – ‘see object, find object before the baddies get it’. I was hoping for a more layered storyline this time around, especially with the introduction of the Maximals. That said, the ending of this film does present a very interesting and exciting new angle that this franchise can take. It got hollers of approval in the cinema when it was revealed so the future could be bright for this ongoing franchise yet.

The film really excels in the set-pieces. Thankfully, the eye-straining mess of the Michael Bay era is no more. Director Steven Caple Jr. (Creed 2) knows how to film action, and thankfully you can make out what is going-on onscreen. There are some great match-ups and the finale sequence is very enjoyable. Throw in Peter Cullen’s iconic and legendary Prime voice and the sheer authority of the likes of Peter Dinklage, Michelle Yeoh and Ron Perlman and you have the ingredients for an entertaining showdown. Pete Davidson steals his scenes as fan-favourite Mirage and ‘Ted Lasso’ star Cristo Fernández makes an appearance as Wheeljack (even though he looked nothing like his cool animated counterpart). Of the human cast, I thought ‘In the Heights’ star Anthony Ramos did a superb job and deserves to lead this franchise for a while.

‘Transformers: Rise of the Beasts’ is a fun and easy watch, with some good action and plenty of exhilarating set-pieces. Visually, the film looks very good too, especially in IMAX. Fans of the 1986 animated classic ‘Transformers: The Movie’ will be happy to learn that Unicron looks truly amazing in this film. Colman Domingo does a wonderful job in voicing the all-powerful menace too – no mean feat stepping into the interplanetary shoes of Orson Welles. It’s a shame the story didn’t take many chances though and didn’t build upon the amazing work Hailee Steinfeld did in ‘Bumblebee’. But the tease at the end of this film certainly suggests the Autobots are rolling out onto some new and very exciting pastures for the future.

Cast: Peter Cullen, Anthony Ramos, Peter Dinklage, Ron Perlman, Michelle Yeoh, Colman Domingo, Pete Davidson, Dominique Fishback, Liza Koshy, Cristo Fernández, John DiMaggio, Luna Lauren Velez, Dean Scott Vazquez, Michael Kelly Director: Steven Caple Jr. Writer: Joby Harold, Darnell Metayer, Josh Peters, Erich Hoeber, Jon Hoeber Certificate: 12A Duration: 127 mins Released by: Paramount Release date: 8th June 2023

Jason Palmer
Jason Palmerhttp://www.entertainment-focus.com
Jason is a film contributor for Entertainment Focus (EF) bringing you the latest news and reviews from the movie world.

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After a staggering 7 films, it’s safe to say that ‘Transformers: Rise of the Beasts’ has been made for fans of this franchise. If you haven’t liked any of the other movies in this long-running saga, then this chapter won’t change your mind or...‘Transformers: Rise of the Beasts’ review