Transformers: Rise of the Beasts

Directed by: Steven Caple Jr.
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures

Written by Alexander Reams


There has been a tragic mistake in dismissing the iconic “Bayhem” that “Transformers” started out as. It’s what made the franchise into a billion-dollar machine and gave many audiences core childhood memories built on, explosions, hilariously bad dialogue, all without leads that have any chemistry. “Rise of the Beasts” tries its hardest to reinvent those moments but any significance it touches is undercut by one-liners. Though Anthony Ramos’ Noah and Dominique Fisback’s Elena are the best attempts at human characters in this sprawling franchise, they still fall short and most of the heavy lifting falls to our favorite Autobots and the cinematic debut of the Maximals. 

The Maximals are established in a fantastic prologue that introduces us to everyone efficiently while the plot moves on. Optimus Maximal (Ron Perlman), Airazor (Michelle Yeoh), and a slew of others escape the world they’re on, with the goal of hiding another Transformers MacGuffin, aptly named the Transwarp Key. Its ultimate purpose is to bring the threat of Unicron to Earth. All sequences with the aforementioned Transformers are a visual feast, wonderfully rendered and appropriately scaled, and that’s where Caple shines, he shows the size of these robots compared to what we usually comprehend. It’s akin to Gareth Edwards’s work on “Rogue One” and “Godzilla.” This makes the action sequences seem gargantuan and make it all the more visceral with how much of the frame they use. 

The mistakes of “Rise of the Beasts” occur where it tries to differ from what’s come before, instead of iconic visual imagery and horrendous human characters, we’re served a mix of some good action sequences and slightly better-than-mediocre characters. An unfortunate reaction to have after the bright future that seemed to be on the horizon after “Bumblebee” but there’s still a bit of hope left, and Caple can be the one to deliver, there just needs to be less studio presence in the editing room.

“Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” Trailer

You can connect with Alexander on his social media profiles: InstagramLetterboxd, and Twitter. Or see more of his work on his website.

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