Transformers: Rise of the Beasts Review

Reviews Films




During the ’90s, a new faction of Transformers – the Maximals – join the Autobots as allies in the battle for Earth.

Transformers returns to the big screen with Rise of the Beasts, the follow up to 2018’s Bumblebee from Creed 2 director Steven Caple Jr. Picking up several years later Rise of the Beasts plants itself firmly in the 1990’s as the series continues on a positive trajectory in the years since its low points – The Last Knight and Age of Extinction.

This time around Transformers is introducing a few ‘Beast Wars’ inspired factions with Maximals and an army of Predacons finding their way to the big screen, mixed up with a new cast of human characters and the return of some familiar alongside new autobots. Rise of the Beasts delivers its sequel duty to Bumblebee as it amps up the scale in terms of both characters and action with some great looking visuals and higher stakes this time around.

However it’s a little lazy in the story department and ultimately it feels very formulaic which goes a long way to undermining the delivery of some great action scenes and set pieces. It opens with some necessary exposition introducing our new heroes and villains, enter the macguffin, cut to our human characters and away we go. It’s disappointing they couldn’t have shaken up such a well-trodden path a little more, particularly given we’re seven movies into this franchise, and ultimately it ends up being a great example of the writing falling short in supporting some solid action story-telling.

Along with the story the characters are all serviceable enough, but where Rise of the Beasts shines the most is its visual effects and action sequences which are a joy to watch. It’s a pleasure to finally see such well-choreographed action in a Transformers film, with a variety of fighting styles, and set pieces showcased in a non-ambiguous fashion.

Gone are the endless quick cuts and disjointed sequences of the Bay-era, with Rise of the Beasts taking a more nuanced approach with each of the characters. The maximals are given a distinct feel to separate them from our familiar autobot heroes, while key villain Scourge is choreographed in a far more aggressive fashion. Topping it all off is a cracking soundtrack which taps into some classic 90’s hip-hop to round things off.

The cast here are all fine though without any real standouts, Anthony Ramos and Dominique Fishback service the material they’ve been given to deliver effectively without and real substance or standout moments, at least not without feeling somewhat contrived and predictable. Peter Cullen returns with the same inspiring gravitas that he always brings to the role and Ron Pearlman’s deep booming voice syncs perfectly with Optimus Primal.

Transformers Rise of the Beasts ends up still a positive step for the most part, but largely because the series is still coming off a low base despite Bumblebee’s successes. This film isn’t able to deliver on its story and characters, but it comes out strong with its engaging and polished action which the series deserves.

I’m giving it 6.5 out of 10, you can catch it in cinemas from 22 June.

Leith spent most of his formative years growing up on the coastal fringes of Western Australia without a cinema in sight. There he grew up on the wonders of home rentals before relocating to Perth and gaining access to a proper cinematic experience just in time for the Star Wars Special Edition re-releases. From there Leith's love of movies expanded to volunteering on a Star Wars fan film, reviewing films, writing about film news, and attending film and pop-culture related conventions on the other side of the world. Leith's favourite films are too many to mention but all start with the Star Wars saga, Back to the Future, the Dark Knight trilogy, Indiana Jones, Lord of the Rings and all things Kevin Smith. With an insatiable appetite for all things pop-culture related Leith also has an unhealthy addiction to the world of comics and can often be found buried under a pile of unread back issues madly trying to catch up on a number of titles coming out from mostly DC and Darkhorse.