With an insane level of collateral damage, excessive jingoistic elements, pointless levels of slow motion, and objectification of female characters, the Michael Bay-spearheaded Transformers franchise had followed a problematic and trashy aesthetic that pretty much made it unexciting. But ever since Bay left the director’s chair, things have been kind of promising. The Bumblebee spinoff was refreshing. Even though the latest addition to the franchise, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, looks like an AI-generated script, keeping in mind the most successful MCU films, compared to the mediocrity the franchise used to have, this latest addition feels slightly superior and less exhausting.
The story was set in 1994, and our guys, Autobots, are not active. One day a key that will allow the planet-eating monster Unicron to travel through space and time reaches the regional museum, and an expert staff named Elena inspects that suspicious thing. She accidentally blows the cover of the key, and that automatically gives signals to Autobots and Unicron. Autobots decide to use the key to go back to Cybertron, but a human named Noah Diaz gets involved in the whole thing. With the entry of Scrouge, who serves Unicron, protecting the key from Unicron becomes the task of Autobots and humans, and how they succeed in that is what we see in Transformers: Rise of the Beasts.
Like I said in the beginning, because of the poor quality set by its predecessors, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts feels like a much better film. I remember being in awe of the visual effects in the Shia Labeouf movies but eventually realizing how lackluster they were in terms of writing in the long run. With Bumblebee, they kind of started looking at it more as a franchise that can blend good writing and fan service. Even though Rise of the Beasts isn’t as refreshing as Bumblebee, you sense a dosage reduction somewhere. There are no circling cameras, the number of times the American flag is shown is less, and barring a few moments in the climax fight, the editing also maintains space continuity.
The humanizing angle in the initial parts of the story is actually what makes this movie different from the rest. It’s not a set-piece-driven drama. In fact, the film spends a lot of time establishing the human characters in the story. And even the set pieces are placed in locations that aren’t showing too much wreckage. The AI scripting thing I mentioned initially is based on the movie’s third act. You have Bumblebee entering the battle, similar to how Thor made that iconic Bring Me Thanos entry in Infinity War. The portal closing heroics will remind you of the climax of Avengers. Optimus Prime has his Captain America moment when he asks Autobots and Maximals to assemble. If all those sequences were not enough, you have Noah suiting up just like Iron Man. And by the way, a Hasbro franchise that failed miserably at the box office is getting a revamp through the Beast Wars revamp of Transformers.
Anthony Ramos is the new Shia Labeouf, and the guy fits the part. The same can be said about Dominique Fishback, who portrayed the curiosity and expertise of Elena Wallace convincingly. The voice acting by Peter Cullen, Pete Davidson, Ron Perlman, Peter Dinklage, etc., was fun. But there were areas where I felt it was a bit too annoying to hear Optimus Prime having the same rhythm for every dialogue. It was almost like even if Prime says I am going to take a leak, Peter Cullen and Jongnic Bontemps might make it feel like a locker room motivational talk.
Overall, this movie by Steven Caple Jr. feels like a promise that there are some serious creative efforts happening in the backend to make it more of an emotional story rather than a big-budget visual effects extravaganza with expensive automobiles. On the whole, even though it isn’t offering anything spectacularly new, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts manages to be a film that somehow reinstates the faith in the franchise.
On the whole, even though it isn't offering anything spectacularly new, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts manages to be a film that somehow reinstates the faith in the franchise.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended