Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, the 7th movie in the blockbuster franchise, is officially out in cinemas now. So, what are you waiting for? Transform and roll out!
Returning to the action and spectacle that have captured moviegoers around the world, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts will take audiences on a ‘90s globetrotting adventure with the Autobots and introduce whole new breeds of Transformers – the Maximals, Predacons and Terrorcons – to the existing battle on earth between Autobots and Decepticons.
The Transformers franchise has had a turbulent history. For me, the Michael Bay films acted as the catalyst that would ignite this deep passion for all things Transformers. However, it’s easy to understand why this franchise is often looked down upon. When Bumblebee arrived in 2018, a hope for a better future began to reveal itself, and then… Silence. After remaining dormant and fractured for quite some time, could Rise of the Beasts be the film to put the Transformers back on the map?
While Transformers: Rise of the Beasts has some issues of its own, this seventh film does an absolutely outstanding job at recapturing the magic and action of Transformers. In addition to that, it also acts as a course-correction, fixing many of the problems that ran rampant during Bay’s films. As a huge lover of the live-action Transformers films, I’m willing to admit that they didn’t get everything right. Films such as Bumblebee and Rise of the Beasts really do shift that perspective by incorporating layed characters- human & Transformer, a more consistent narrative, and a heavier focus on the characters that we want to see. It may not be film of the year, but it is definitely one of the best Transformers movies to date.
Filled with non-stop action, Rise of the Beasts is the most inventive and creative installment yet. With the introduction of the Maximals and Terrorcons, this movie leaps at every opportunity to give fans something completely different. The action doesn’t quite trump the chaos of Dark of the Moon, but the final 40 minutes is truly special in its own right. It delivers fantastic transformations, that heavy-hitting action we love so much, and visual effects that keep you glued to the screen. The Bay films may be more explosive, but Rise of the Beasts focuses on those small moments that really get the crowd going, whether it’s Optimus joining a fight, an iconic quote, or Optimus Primal going ape on the battlefield.
Having said that though, some of the visuals do falter slightly throughout the film, particularly the visuals concerning the environment. The jungle environment, while absolutely stunning, doesn’t really respond to the Transformers. In a way, it lessens their presence because they don’t come across as these big hulking machines. When there are Transformers roaming around, the environment should echo that. It’s a very small critique, but it did feel very noticeable.
In regards to the Transformers themselves, Rise of the Beasts is this perfect amalgamation of two very different periods. It brings in a more authentic and faithful aesthetic, particularly for Optimus, the Maximals and Unicron, while also maintaining the bolder visuals from the Bayverse, which is more apparant through Scourge and his Terrorcons. Part of me misses some of the designs from the Bayverse, such as Optimus’ newer form from Age of Extinction, but this film really highlights just how important changes are. Rise of the Beasts feels completely fresh thanks to the fantastic assortment of characters, both new and old.
A typical Transformers movie usually positions us to primarily follow Optimus and Bumblebee, but Rise of the Beasts makes the brave move of introducing Mirage as the gateway between the humans and the Transformers. Honestly, it’s the best thing about this movie. Pete Davidson’s Mirage is a lovable, annoying and mesmerising companion packed with character, detail and care. Mirage’s relationship with Noah is vastly different compared to anything we’ve seen previously. Bumblebee usually comes across as this mute and cute pet, while Mirage feels like a brother and Rise of the Beasts uses that bond brilliantly. Optimus and Bumblebee have some awesome moments, but Mirage steals the show completely.
We’ve also entered a new and exciting era. The era of having a decent human cast. As much as I adore Bay’s films, some of the humans are absolutely insufferable and rather pointless. The key is to have less humans. We’ll never have a Transformers movie set on Earth without that human presence, but what Rise of the Beasts does is minimise that presence by crafting two relatable, interesting and grounded characters- Noah and Elena. That’s it. Other characters appear, but they don’t yield that same importance. The focus is purely on Noah and Elena and their contribution to the cause. Their personal journeys are well established and explored, and they converge superbly. Anthony Ramos and Dominique Fishback have chemistry, fire and fun. They get heavily involved in the action and actually contribute to the unravelling story.
The only major criticism that is actually quite glaring is that Rise of the Beasts feels too familiar. With this being the launch of a new story with new characters and arcs, this film had the perfect opportunity to really shake things up, especially with the introduction of some key pieces of Transformers lore. However, we’re stuck with another ancient fetch quest where a single artefact could bring the end of the world… Just like the Allspark, the Sun Harvester, Merlin’s staff and Sentinel’s pillars. The main components have obviously been reshaped, but the core narrative remains very much the same. They played it too safe.
Despite this franchise choosing to linger in the familiar, it’s hard to ignore just how far the Transformers films have come. Rise of the Beasts is as action-packed as you’d expect, and it’s full of heart and fun from both the humans and Transformers. The action doesn’t quite hit that Bayverse sweet spot, but it improves on everything that the previous films struggled with. This seventh film is a worthy sequel that will surely usher in a new wave of fans, while also pleasing those loyal fans.
Check out the final trailer:
The upcoming sequel, directed by Steven Caple Jr, stars Anthony Ramos, Dominique Fishback, and Luna Lauren Velez. In addition to that, the legend that is Peter Cullen is back to voice the great Optimus Prime alongside Ron Perlman who will voice Optimus Primal, a transforming gorilla and leader of the Maximals.
The cast also includes Peter Dinklage (Scourge), Liza Koshy (Arcee), John DiMaggio (Stratosphere), David Sobolov (Rhinox/Battletrap), Michaela Jaé Rodriguez (Nightbird), Cristo Fernández (Wheeljack), and Tobe Nwigwe (Reek), Michelle Yeoh (Airazor), and Pete Davidson (Mirage).
Are you excited for Transformers: Rise of the Beasts? Make sure you let us know your thoughts in the comments. Don’t forget to check out more from the planet Cybertron right here.