Summer is here, and audiences expecting to see a number of big movies hit the theaters before Labor Day won’t be disappointed. After Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse enjoyed box office success, this weekend will bring even more popcorn-popping fun with Transformers: Rise of the Beasts. Anthony Ramos and Dominique Fishback are the two human stars in the franchise’s seventh live-action film, and the reviews are here to give fans an idea of whether or not this will be where they spend their movie ticket money this weekend.
Rise of the Beasts is set in the ‘90s and introduces some fan favorite characters with the Maximals from Beast Wars. Pete Davidson also joins the universe as the Autobot Mirage, and critics’ first reactions were calling Davidson the scene-stealing MVP of the movie. Now we can dive a little deeper into what they think of the movie, and we’ll start with CinemaBlend’s review of Transformers: Rise of the Beasts. Our own Mike Reyes rates the film 3.5 stars out of 5, calling it the best of the series, though he says the Maximals don’t get as much screen time as you’d expect. He continues:
Being a Transformers movie used to mean an entirely different thing. Flashbacks to jokes about robot testicles and other questionable scenes of humor and romance plague the brand, even if it’s an inaccurate image of the IP’s current state. Rise of the Beasts continues to forge down a kinder and gentler but still action packed road that we’ve seen take hold in recent years, starting with Travis Knight's Bumblebee. The result is what is easily the best movie in the franchise to date.
Jonathan Sim of ComingSoon.net rates Rise of the Beasts 6 out of 10, admitting that it’s an entertaining film and one of the strongest in the franchise. That’s not saying much, though, as the director struggles to find his voice, the critic writes:
Ultimately, there is just enough gas in the tank of this vehicle to create an entertaining popcorn blockbuster. The film’s lack of personality may be the biggest thing holding it back. Despite having five credited screenwriters, it feels like an artificial intelligence watched thousands of hours of MCU content and then wrote a Transformers screenplay recycling what they saw from those films. [Steven Caple Jr.], who has directed the eighth movie in the Rocky series and the seventh in the Transformers series, has not yet developed a distinctive, recognizable voice as a filmmaker. However, he knows how to entertain with all the joy, humor, and thrills that a movie like this needs.
Siddhant Adlakha of Polygon says the inclusion of the Maximals gave Steven Caple Jr. the opportunity to bring something new to the franchise; however, the critic says the beasts don’t factor into the film as much as one would hope from a movie with this title. The review concludes:
Alien robot cars and their space battles are concepts with such basic, gee-whiz sci-fi appeal that they’ve worked numerous times across decades of comics and cartoons. And yet there’s little childlike wonder to the Transformers live-action movies, which often stuff their frames with visually oppressive, eyesore conceptions of things that ought to be simple and imaginative. Virtually all of the Transformers movies feel like they’re trying to defeat their audience, but this time, the movie wins.
Jeremy Mathai of SlashFilm feels the movie was merely trying to justify its existence, but Pete Davidson is a breath of fresh air. The critic rates it 5 out of 10 stars, saying:
But for all that, despite making full use of its '90s charm and humor and relying on its impeccable leads — In the Heights star Anthony Ramos as Noah Diaz is everything Shia LaBeouf wasn't, refreshingly enough, but it's Pete Davidson's voice role as the Autobot Mirage that steals the whole show — the latest installment of this series can't help but disappoint. Rise of the Beasts takes its place as the ‘best’ of the Transformers movies only by playing it safe, leaving even the most diehard fans to wonder what could have been instead of gawking over what was.
Christian Zilko of IndieWire also expresses disappointment in the movie, noting that the titular beasts don’t have much of an impact on the movie that lacks a plot that audiences can invest in. The critic grades the movie a D and says:
The Hasbro franchise has long benefitted from low expectations, but the latest entry doesn’t come close to a passing grade on the massive curve we’ve already agreed to score it on. Steven Caple Jr.’s 1990s-set prequel fails to provide either merit or escapism, seemingly begging you to turn your brain off while bombarding you with stimuli that keep you painfully awake and aware for an unusually long two hours and 16 minutes.
It sounds like critics have some gripes where the plot of the movie is concerned, but ultimately many of them agree it offers some of the nostalgia, robotic battles and big explosions that fans of the franchise have come to expect. If you want to check this one out for yourself, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts opens in theaters on Friday, June 9. Special screenings are also being held that will allow ticket-holders to see the movie a couple of days earlier on June 7.