Whether or not you’ve seen a single Transformers movie or followed the iconic Hasbro brand itself, you most likely have an idea of what Transformers are. Through the mighty Optimus Prime and the beloved character of Bumblebee alone, we’ve at least thought about how cool it is to see cars transforming into fighting robots. Luckily this summer, we return to the world of warring robots with Transformers: Rise of the Beasts. The film follows the Autobots led by Optimus Prime who encounter a dangerous threat to Earth and other planets. To fight against them and ultimately save the world, they must enlist the help of humans (Anthony Ramos and Dominique Fishback) as well as another faction called the Maximals.
Rise of the Beasts isn’t a monumental film but the best part is that it never aims to be that at all. In fact, the film feels as if it’s transporting us back to a time of the 2000’s and 2010’s when films like Transformers existed purely for the fun and thrill of action-packed fight scenes in order to save the world. The film sets up its premise without delay and introduces both the Maximals and Terrorcons, before leading into a secondary introduction with our human heroes, Noah and Elena, as well as the fan-favorite Autobots.
Even with a few lengthy fight scenes, the film doesn’t stay in one place for too long in order to avoid running the risk of dragging or feeling stale. While explosions are a major part of any franchise led by Michael Bay, Rise of the Beasts remains quite tame. Action sequences have become less about explosive moments, spinning moves, and ultimate shutdowns with the heroes winning. Instead, they’ve become more about legitimate combat between robots with dire moments that make you wonder whether or not the good guys will survive and succeed.
While there’s an attempt to connect all the characters that the audience has been exposed to, it does falter at times. It is to the point where you almost forget about the opening scene and why our heroes are in the position they are in at all. However, the relationship amongst some of the main characters is incredibly fun to watch, particularly the friendship built between Noah and Mirage which goes from uncertain to a fun brotherly bond. This parallels perfectly with the bond that Noah has with his younger brother whom he aims to protect at all costs.
In contrast, Noah and Elena don’t necessarily have the chemistry for a romantic relationship but also don’t interact as though they are newly found friends, causing confusion as to what the intent is between the two. Individually, the two excel when leading the film. Anthony Ramos gives heart in meaningful and touching moments and while Dominique Fishback’s talents were severely underused, she shows promise in every scene she is in. Honestly, it would be wonderful to see them both return should a sequel make its way out to us.
A major surprise was being able to see the absence of leadership skills when it came to Optimus Prime himself. There is an attempt at being a leader that comes across as being more of an older sibling trying to take charge, which explains the dynamic he initially has with the other Autobots. Meanwhile, the logic and leadership shared by Optimus Primal of the Maximals is the perfect contrast that serves as a learning moment.
Is Transformers: Rise of the Beasts a fantastic, award-worthy film with the same emotional depth that you’d find in a critically acclaimed film? No. But is it fun? Absolutely. There’s a level of pride found within the film when it comes to being a summer blockbuster reminiscent of its predecessors that just takes your mind off whatever worries you have. At the end of the day, sometimes the only thing that matters is just being able to have a blast watching something that is action-packed and filled with jokes that may or may not land. And frankly, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts isn’t chasing recognition. It’s just here for the fun.
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts receives 3 out of 5 Samosas.
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is now playing in theaters.
Runtime: 2h 7m
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