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Review – Transformers: Rise of the Beasts – “A fun time”

Following the soft reboot that was Bumblebee is a midquel of sorts. Set after Bumblebee and before the original 2007 film we are reintroduced to an angrier and more sceptical Optimus Prime, who once again returns to lead the good Autobots. He’s a long way from trusting humans, let alone Shia Lebeouf, with the fate of the world.

The plots of all the main films have all basically been the same. Evil robots (this time the Terrorcons led by an impressively growly Peter Dinklage) are looking for a technological MacGuffin that has the power to destroy the world/galaxy/universe. The main difference is the introduction of the Maximals from the animated TV show Beast Wars. The Maximals are led by a giant robot gorilla, Optimus Primal (Ron Perlman) who really should have had more screen time.

Director Steven Caple Jr begins with a cold open, using his experience from Creed 2 to deliver a quick but impactful fight. There’s something to be said about the one-on-one fights, bringing action and gravitas that the series has been lacking for a while. There are certainly a few big cheer moments, especially in the third act.

Between all the explosions and crunching metal are the human stories, focusing on down-on-their-luck Noah (Anthony Diaz) and Elena (Dominique Fishback). Noah is unemployed and decides to steal a car to raise money for his sick younger brother – Obamacare is about 16 years away to support him. He steals a Porsche which is actually the transformer Mirage (voiced by Pete Davidson) and the two become a fun duo with less cringy dialogue than usual for these films. Elena is an intern at a museum and she brings the brains to their adventure.

The plot is what you expect, the characters are more compelling, the action easier to follow and it all leads up to an entertaining few hours. A giant robot gorilla fighting alongside Optimus Prime is a highlight as is most of the third act, bar some silly contrivance to keep the humans involved. Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is a fun time and delivers an unchallenging story, ending with a surprise tease.

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts hits cinemas on 8th June 2023.

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