Transformers: The Last Knight, released in 2017, was the depressing nadir of the Michael Bay Transformers movies, with even the master of explosions deciding it was time to step away from the franchise.
In late 2018, however, a new hope emerged in the (comparatively) smaller, character-focused prequel Bumblebee. Its success was enough to get the Autobots to roll out once more, which leads us to the second prequel (the seventh movie overall), Rise of The Beasts.
Although set before the Bay films, they follow a similar structure. There’s a MacGuffin called the Transwarp Key, which the evil Terrorcons are after in order to destroy Earth. Our defenders, The Autobots, are keen to avoid that happening, teaming up with the beast-like Maximals to protect their adopted home. They enlist the help of Noah (Anthony Ramos), a military veteran who has fallen on hard times and inadvertently steals an Autobot named Mirage (voiced by Pete Davidson).
It’s easy to be snobby about the Transformers films, but the robotic chaos has become a guaranteed crowd-pleaser over the years. That’s still the focus, with Rise being a lot grander in scale than Bumblebee and having less of a human interest.
Still, unlike the branding-soaked latter Bay films, there are people to care about. Ramos is earnest as a regular guy trying to take care of his family, capable of filling the quieter moments alongside voice acting that isn’t modulated to death.
Rise of The Beasts sits comfortably in the middle of the two Transformers extremes: not as charming as Bumblebee, but far from the messy fairground antics of the Bay films. Mindless but fun in places, fans will be well-served.