What’s it about?
When a new threat capable of destroying the entire planet emerges, Optimus Prime and the Autobots must team up with a powerful faction of Transformers known as the Maximals.
What’d we think?
To put it in the nicest terms possible, Michael Bay’s Transformers movies started poorly and got progressively worse with each instalment. Rise of the Beasts is a sequel to 2018’s Bumblebee (which wasn’t directed by Bay, and was considerably more critically well-received) and serves as a serviceable movie about big clunky metal things doing big speeches and fighting over a MacGuffin.
While Rise of the Beasts takes place after the events of the Bumblebee, it serves more as a stand-alone film rather than a sequel. The movie makes the right choice of focusing on the refreshingly likeable human characters played by Anthony Ramos and Dominique Fishback, and in contrast to the Bay-helmed films, they’re actually integral to the surprisingly coherent plot. The action is easy to follow compared to the nonsensical, overly-edited Bay films, and the comic relief (mostly courtesy of Pete Davidson) lands a few decent jokes. Most of the movie takes place in Peru, making good use of the beautiful scenery for the action scenes, and serving as a pleasant change of pace from the city-centric earlier films.
It is what it is. A totally serviceable movie that will please both lifelong fans and kids, although its insistence on setting up an expanded universe is a big last-minute misstep.