Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (2023) Movie Review – A fun popcorn flick

A Fun Popcorn Flick

The latest film in the Transformers franchise is finally upon us. One thing needs to be stated about the iconic franchise. If someone goes into a Transformers movie expecting a grounded drama filled with stellar acting and biting social commentary, they are in the wrong place. What makes these films work is how fun they are. If you go into Rise of the Beasts expecting a thrill ride filled with robot action and corny humor, then you are the target audience. The movie may not be breaking any new ground or setting new standards, but it does what it sets out to do.

The film is directed by Steven Caple Jr. and stars Anthony Ramos, Dominique Fishback, and Dean Scott Vazquez. In the role of the titular Transformers, the film features the voice talents of Peter Cullen, Pete Davidson, Peter Dinklage, and Ron Perlman. Set in the 90’s, the film follows Noah Diaz. While trying to earn money for his family, he becomes entangled with the Autobots.

The Autobots are in search of an item that can send them back home to Cybertron. They aren’t the only ones after it, however. With the help of Noah and another race of robots called the Maximals, the Autobots fight for the safety of Earth and a way home.

The plot is simple enough to get things moving but manages to be engaging. The film brings Unicron into his first proper live-action appearance. He did appear in Transformers: The Last Knight, but he barely resembled the original character. This time, he is a massive force to be reckoned with. The threat of the planet-eating super robot looms over the entire film. His minion, Scourge, ensures his threatening aura never leaves the audience’s minds.

Peter Dinklage portrays the voice of Scourge, and he is a menacing presence that demands respect. Peter Cullen once again portrays Optimus Prime and is as fantastic as he was in the 80’s. This Optimus is different from other versions though, he is angrier and filled with regret. He wants nothing more than to find a way home to the Autobots, and this causes him to lose sight of what is important.

The film also features the live-action debut of the Maximals. Debuting in the series Transformers: Beast Wars, these robots turn into animals as opposed to vehicles. The Maximals are led by Optimus Primal, portrayed here by Perlman. The effects and action in this film are incredible. There are a few wonky CGI moments, but they are easily ignored. The action is what drives these films, and Rise of the Beasts has no shortage of it. The robots are brutal toward each other. Every punch feels real in a strange way.

The robots themselves are not the only thing driving a Transformers movie. The human characters are equally important. Anthony Ramos plays Noah Diaz. Noah could very well be the best human character in these films since Shia LaBeouf in the original trilogy. He wants nothing more than to help his family, although he struggles to be part of a team. As the film plays out, he grows more and more as a character. By the end, he is a worthy ally to the Autobots. Also along for the ride is Dominique Fishback playing Elena Wallace. Elena works at a museum and unwillingly becomes entangled in the battle while researching an artifact. The two work well off of each other. A budding romance is certainly implied, but isn’t so obvious it derails the plot like earlier entries.

Ultimately, Rise of the Beasts is a fun popcorn flick with some intense action. It doesn’t try to be anything more than what it is, and that is refreshing. There is a loose bit of foreshadowing near the end regarding the franchise’s future, but it doesn’t make the film feel like a giant post-credit scene. It is just a small scene that may or may not impact the franchise moving forward. If you enjoyed earlier films, then you will like this one. If you want a fun time and some entertaining action, you could do far worse than Transformers: Rise of the Beasts.

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  • Verdict - 7/10

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