TRANSFORMERS: RISE OF THE BEASTS (2023)
Release Date: 06/09/23 [Cinemas]
Genre: Action. Adventure. SciFi.
Studio: Paramount Pictures
"During the '90s, a new faction of Transformers - the Maximals - join the Autobots as allies in the battle for Earth."
OUR MOVIE REVIEW:
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts manages to climb to the top of the leaderboard, not because of its excellence but because of its unfortunate history. Among the Bay 5-film run, only one can be considered a “quality” film (2007s Transformers) and 2018s Bumblebee stands easily on its own as a Transformers masterpiece. Rise of the Beasts tones down the Bay explosions for a more grounded experience about extraterrestrial robots trying to get back home and while the Transformers themselves are absolutely delightful, the humans, per usual, fall flat.
While the humans in the film may not rival the likes of the miserable bunch within the last two Bay Transformers and the relationship shown between the newly introduced Mirage, voiced by Pete Davidson, and Anthony Ramos’ Noah, pales in comparison to the beautiful relationship between Hailee Steinfeld’s Charlie / Bumblebee or even what we witnessed between Bumblebee / Shia LaBeouf’s Sam. Ramos still provides the best of the human elements, surpassing the unnecessary secondary character of Dominique Fishback’s Elena. Ramos plays with the CGI creatures naturally, while Fishback’s eyes fail to ever match with the beings around her. The humans also don’t have much assistance when it comes to their dialogue, the script leaving a lot to be desired when it comes to the strength of the characters. The Transformers are just as fun as they’ve ever been, as we’ve spent six films prior with most of these characters, I care more about their fate than those of Noah or Elena.
I admire what Steven Caple Jr. is attempting to accomplish here, but when you have to follow up against such a phenomenal outing as Travis Knight’s Bumblebee, it’s a tough thing to crack. Where it’s impossible to understand what was going on within Bay’s The Last Knight, Caple Jr’s Rise of the Beasts’ plot brings a much more cohesive story. However, it’s also a story we’ve seen numerous times within this franchise alone. The visuals have never looked better with each new installment using the latest technological advancements to make the Transformers feel more like part of this reality than ever. The action is wonderfully choreographed and highlights the strength of its visuals, but all of the dire “Earth saving” situations feel all the more inconsequential as this plot has been used so many times before in the same IP; human meets Transformer, human must team up with Transformer to help save Earth and so on. Even the biggest intrigue of Rise of the Beasts is within the title itself, “the beasts” known as the Maximals, and even as a fascinating addition, they play largely in the background – with potential for more in the future.
Where the last film in the Bay saga left a bitter taste and Knight resurrected the IP with a delightful tale, Caple Jr. brings little new to the franchise and delivers a numbing fight with our friends and foes from Cybertron. While not coming close to exceeding the likes of the original Transformers or the masterpiece that is Bumblebee, there’s still a lot of fun to be had here. It’s mindless at times, simple to follow and just so damn cool to look at, but it’ll give you considerable déjà vu as the entire run you’ll be thinking to yourself, “Haven’t we seen this before?”.