Rob Reviews "Transformers: Rise of the Beasts"
2023 is turning out to be the year that I am starting to enjoy the theatrical experience again. Having looked at some of my reviews over the last couple of years, my outlook has been kind of bleak. Perhaps it is because of the world shutting down coupled with what seemingly is the absolute mound of films Hollywood was putting out with dark or bleak overtones, but the last few months have had me really enjoying myself watching film than it has in a long time. We have really been on a streak of films that while some have a message to put across, there have been quite a few that have just been fun to watch and/or celebrate the quality of material that we are being given.
That being said: I know that I say this a lot, but I am so happy that I have lived to see this day. In the case of Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, this statement specifically applies to the fact that this franchise is finally (after sixteen years) gaining positive momentum.
When looking at the list of the films in this series, I was surprised to find out I have only missed one (The Last Knight, and I wouldn’t say I was missing it, Bob…), but that also means I have dealt with several BAD films. If you have been with our show for any amount of time, it is well understood my issues with Age of Extinction specifically, and even with how much I enjoyed Bumblebee, I was still setting my bar incredibly low with Rise of the Beasts.
Directed by Steven Caple, Jr. (Creed II) and with Bumblebee being the new “jumping off” point, it’s 1994 in New York city where Noah Diaz (Anthony Ramos) is struggling to find employment after serving his country in the Army. He is a tech wiz and makes money “fixing” things for his friends and takes care of his younger brother, Kris (Dean Scott Vasquez) while his mother (Luna Lauren Velez) works tirelessly. When employment isn’t coming, he winds up in a situation where he meets Mirage (voiced by Pete Davidson), and that turns into him being right smack-dab in the middle of a war for a “key” that could either return the Autobots to their home planet of Cybertron or destroy the earth at the hands of Unicron (voiced by Coleman Domingo).
The voice cast here also includes Ron Perlman, Michelle Yeoh, Peter Dinklage, and in accordance with Federal law, John DiMaggio and Peter Cullen. Only one of these can really be linked to their role without knowing anything going in, but I also don’t want to link up too much so as not to distract from the experience of Transformers: Rise of the Beasts. These films have always been on the cutting edge of visual technology, and this film is no exception with not only impressive work on the “transforming,” but the battle scenes were just plain AWESOME.
I know it may be hard to believe here, but I am going to say it: Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is the second-best film of the entire franchise behind Bumblebee and barely outranking the 2007 film that kicked it off. I am not sure if going back to that first one will increase the gap there or not, but I hope this film is the one that gets the series’ roots firmly planted going forward.