Plot: What’s it about?
With 2018’s Bumblebee aiming to restart the Transformers series after Michael Bay had his try at five films, it was met with a strong reaction. I still find bee to be the best of the series even if the earlier films had things I preferred (notably the cast, which included Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox), I still liked the smaller scale of it. Transformers: Rise of the Beasts continues that trend even if the feature is more uneven and has a bit of pacing issues. It’s continuing the small step in the right direction for this series. It isn’t a gamechanger by any stretch but rather a small success.
While Bumblebee was an 80’s style throwback picture, this film brings us to 1994. We meet Noah (Anthony Ramos) who has a military background but is banking on a job interview to help him and his mother and brother make ends meet. His brother has cancer, and we see early on how much Noah cares for him, acting as not just his big brother, but his protector in many ways. When he doesn’t land the job, Noah turns to robbing a car. He breaks into one, but as it turns out, it is an autoboot, Mirage (voiced by Pete Davidson). Optimus Prime is working with him as he sees a signal in the sky which presents a need for help. The plot can be a bit much, but the ultimate goal is for the transformers to protect a key which would open portals to the universe that would allow Unicorn (voiced by Colman Domingo) to destroy as much as the world as he can.
The film opens with a huge action sequence and ends with one as well as throwing enough at us in the middle portion as well. There’s some excitement, of course, but I found the human stories here to be the most interesting. I did appreciate that the action wasn’t as frantic as Bay’s directing style, but I did find myself checking my watch on a few occasions. Still, this film has enough heart and moves along quickly enough to keep us with it. It doesn’t set the bar high, but it keeps it elevated above earlier entries. I preferred Bumblebee, but this was solid enough.