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'Transformers: Rise of the Beasts' Review: The Transformers Are Back

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is the seventh Transformers film to come out in the last sixteen years, this time directed by Stephen Caple Jr. The human cast stars Anthony Ramos and Dominique Fishback. Peter Cullen returns to voice Optimus Prime and joining him in the voice cast are Ron Perlman, Peter Dinklage, Pete Davidson, and Michelle Yeoh. The movie takes place in 1994, after the events of Bumblebee, and this time, the Autobots and Maximals need to team up to stop Scourge and his Terrorcons from bringing Unicron, a gigantic planet-sized Transformer, to Earth.

The Transformers movies haven’t had the best reception so far. Transformers from 2007 got decent reviews from critics, and audiences liked the movie. The sequels, on the other hand, got negative reviews. Bumblebee, which was first seen as a prequel, but then became a reboot, was the first Transformers film to get mostly positive reviews from critics. For me, the only movies I liked in the live-action series are Transformers, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, and Bumblebee. After Transformers: The Last Knight, it was clear that Michael Bay and his style had overstayed their welcome. Travis Knight changed things up for the better in Bumblebee. I was curious to see if Stephen Caple Jr could continue that.

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts continues the tone established in Bumblebee and moves away from the previous films. The movie doesn’t even have the stereotypical military and government subplots that plagued all the other movies, including Bumblebee. The movie stays focused on telling a Transformers story. There is no long exposition that drags on. The adventure the characters go on happens right away. There are still human characters in the film that get more screen time than the Transformers but it’s mostly two characters played by Anthony Ramos and Dominique Fishback. Unlike the previous human protagonists, these two are likable and contribute more to the movie’s story.

Anthony Ramos plays Noah Diaz, who is struggling to find a job to help his mom financially and take care of his little brother, who is sick. Noah is one of the best human characters in these movies because he’s likable and more relatable than the previous human protagonists. Dominique Fishback plays Elena Wallace, an artifact researcher who comes across a statue that has connections to the Maximals. Elena, like Noah, is likable and helps the Autobots more than previous human characters.

The Autobots get more screen time in this movie. Peter Cullen continues to do a great job voicing Optimus Prime. He distrusts humans at first, but warms up to them as the film progresses. Bumblebee returns, but he doesn’t play as big of a role as he usually does in the movies. Pete Davidson voices Mirage, the Autobot that befriends Noah. Mirage is the other main Autobot character and provides some comedic relief. The Autobot designs are better and have more color. The action focuses less on explosions and more on Transformers fighting.

Scourge, voiced by Peter Dinklage, is the leader of the Terrorcons, acting under Unicron. Scourge is a good antagonist that pushes Optimus Prime at times. Unicron was handled well, unlike Transformers: The Last Knight. Unicron’s theme was the best score in the film, sounding like Unicron’s theme from the 1986 animated film The Transformers: The Movie. The dynamic between Scourge and Unicron reminded me of the dynamic between Unicron and Galvatron from the animated film as well.

While the film is an upgrade, it’s still not the best Transformers movie. While the Autobots get more screen time than the previous movies, the Maximals did not feel as important as the trailers hyped them up to be. Optimus Primal and Airazor were the main two, voiced by Ron Perlman and Michelle Yeoh. Cheetor and Rhinox felt like the typical background Transformers characters. While the movie is shorter than the other Transformers movies, the pacing of the movie was quick. This film could have used an extra five to ten minutes.

Overall, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is a step in the right direction for the Transformers movies. The director shows respect for the source material and does not have cringe jokes. The human characters are likable and contribute to the film. Scourge is one of the best antagonists in a Transformers movie, and Unicron showed a lot of promise for this franchise. The voice acting for the Transformers is good. It’s not the best Transformers movie. It’s not my favorite, but it gives new light to a franchise that needed it.

My final grade for Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is a B. It’s a fun film that moves the Transformers movies away from the Michael Bay formula and to a style closer to the cartoons. If you are a Transformers fan, I highly recommend you check it out.

What did you think of Transformers: Rise of the Beasts? Let us know in the comments below.

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