As a Transformers fan, I have found the last few years pretty frustrating. After the success of 2018’s Bumblebee, I was expecting more Transformers films to hit cinemas, yet strangely it has taken five years to do so with Transformers: Rise of The Beasts only arriving now. The good news is, as a fan, I have found it well worth the wait.
Set in 1994, this chapter in the franchise begins its story in Brooklyn where Noah Diaz (Anthony Ramos) is a young man desperate for a job. His brother Kris’ (Dean Scott Vazquez) medical bills are rising by the day and with no work on the horizon, Noah finds himself tempted to help a friend out with a car robbery.
Meanwhile Elena Wallace (Dominique Fishback) is a young historian who loves the opportunity she has to work at a museum but is tired of the fact that her boss takes all the credit for her work.
Their lives cross paths though after Noah accidentally tries to steal a Transformer named Mirage (voiced by Pete Davidson) and learns that a supernatural key needed by Unicron (voiced by Colman Domingo) to destroy planets like Earth. Cybertron is on Earth and in the hands of Elena.
While Optimus Prime (voiced by Peter Cullen) devises a plan to get the key, his team suddenly find themselves confronted by a group of Terrorcons led by the evil Scrouge (voiced by Peter Dinklage), hellbent on claiming the key for Unicron. Now, Elena and Noah find themselves joining forces with the Autobots and several BattleBeasts, including Optimus Primal (voiced by Ron Perlman) and Airazor (voiced by Michelle Yeoh), in a bid to stop the key from falling into the wrong hands.
Like me, true fans of the franchise will find there are pros and cons with Transformers: Rise of The Beasts. On the plus side, director Steven Caple Jnr. and his team of writers have taken the plot away from the basic Autobot versus Decepticon battles and instead have given the audience more of a look at the other types of Transformers that inhabit the universe. While some people maybe scratching their heads at what the difference is between a Decepticon and a Terrorcon, others will be praising the film for its fresh approach, especially with the BattleBeasts that look amazing on the screen.
Sadly, at the same time, I found Transformers: Rise of the Beasts to be Transformers film that awkwardly fits into the universe set up by the legendary Michael Bay. There is a rough nod given to Bumblebee during the film, yet it also seems that Optimus and the other Autobots still don’t trust humans which is a bit of a plot hole. The events of this film also raise a lot of questions about some of the things said in 2007’s Transformers, so maybe it would have been better if the producers had decided to make this one a stand-alone film or a re-boot rather than a prequel.
Still, there is plenty that I enjoyed about Transformers: Rise of the Beasts. The action sequences are simplistic yet entertaining, while the screenplay allows a lot of the human characters to be much more interesting than some have turned out in the Transformers franchise. These characters have a lot more heart and have been given interesting storylines with enough feeling and emotion to have audiences caring about what happens to them. Likewise, with some of the Transformers, each seems to be given more characterisation this time around, meaning not only they are more likable, but the suspense is raised when their lives are in danger.
The characterisation included in the screenplay also gives Anthony Ramos the opportunity to step up and show Hollywood that he is ready to take the role of action hero. Not only can he pull off the action sequences well, but he is just as great in the dramatic scenes as well. It would have been nice to have seen Dominique Fishback to perform action sequences as well, but it was nice regardless to see a plot where there wasn’t a forced romance.
Transformers: Rise Of The Beasts is enjoyable for many that love action and although I thoroughly liked it, I believe mostly the hardcore Transformers fans will say the same. The film really hits its straps with its scene in Peru, and it is great to see new life breathed into a solid franchise that certainly has more stories to tell.