In Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, the Transwarp Key allows anyone who holds it the ability to travel through space and time. Unicron (Colman Domingo), a behemoth planet-eating dark god, is hungry and wants to use each and every universe throughout time as his personal buffet. He relies on the leader of the Terrorcons, Scourge (Peter Dinklage), to do his bidding and retrieve the key as an all access food pass.
After Unicron devours the home planet of the Maximals, the survivors along with their leader Optimus Primal (Ron Perlman) find sanctuary on Earth. Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) and the Autobots intend to use the Transwarp Key as a means to finally return home to Cybertron.
The fate of two worlds rests in the hands of a disobedient Autobot named Mirage (Pete Davidson) and a worthless human named Noah Diaz (Anthony Ramos).
Rise of the Beasts is the first live-action Transformers film in five years. With the introduction of Optimus Primal, The Maximals, and Unicron, the film borrows from the CGI-animated TV series Beast Wars that aired from 1996-1999 and what is arguably the best Transformers film ever even though it’s traditionally animated; Transformers: The Movie.
Despite what you think about the Michael Bay Transformers films, Bay has always known how to make memorable action sequences. The argument can be made that some of the Transformers’ actual transformations were too busy and difficult to distinguish what was turning into what, but Bay’s particular fetish for explosions, incredibly dynamic perspectives, and somehow always finding a way to top his previous sequence on a stretch of highway made at least the action sequences in his first three Transformers films worthwhile.
Corridor Crew touched on what made Bay’s original Transformers film standout amongst the later sequels. The action was planned and rendered and tended to adhere to the rules of animation. Something as simple as Starscream flying away had a buildup of him transforming and you seemed to hold your breath in anticipation before he finally took off.
This is all worth touching on because Rise of the Beasts offers nothing new to the Transformers franchise. The same way Bay kind of went through the motions by the time The Last Knight rolled around is the way most of the action in Rise of the Beasts is modeled after. Arcee (Liza Koshy) dodging a missile as it flies through Wheeljack’s (Cristo Fernandez) open sliding doors in slow-motion as well as the entirety of a battle on a bridge near the end of the film in Peru are really the only semi-memorable action sequences of the film.
It’s weird to watch a Transformers film where Optimus Prime suddenly doesn’t like humans. One of the major aspects of the character and the Autobots is that they have always been allies of humans with their well being always being a key factor in their decisions. In Rise of the Beasts, Prime not only wants to get away from humans he also doesn’t trust them. Prime seems more broken and selfish than he’s ever been depicted before which feels more peculiar than it should. The character has always been a hero apart from his villainous turn as Nemesis Prime in The Last Knight.
The film also chooses to focus on human characters that you can’t stand. You don’t care about Noah not being able to get a job because of his past to support his family or the fact that he can’t afford health care for his little brother. Elena Wallace (Dominique Fishback) is also a nuisance. She’s an artifact researcher at a museum who is basically treated as an intern. The problematic part of their story arcs is that their conflicts are only introduced so they can reach the most generic and predictable conclusions you could possibly think of. Everything literally falls in their lap to make their lives better and it’s beyond annoying.
It also feels like the three writers involved with the story and screenplay decided to keep all of the terrible garbage that didn’t work when it came to comedy in the Michael Bay Transformers films. Nothing makes you laugh in Rise of the Beasts. There are heart to hearts and motivational speeches that are so cringeworthy that you’ll be wanting to walk out long before everyone leaps inside of Stratosphere (John DiMaggio) to fly to Peru.
There’s a Halloween: Resurrection moment (Busta Rhymes threatening Michael Myers) where Noah’s little brother Kris (Dean Scott Vazquez) threatens Mirage, who is like 12 feet tall and a freaking robot, over the well being of his older brother and Mirage actually cowers to the child. Not only is Vazquez not intimidating in the slightest with his performance, but he also can’t act beyond the point of being excited over video games.
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is a pointless entry in the live-action Transformers film franchise. The Beasts Wars characters are forgettable, the attempts at humor are excruciatingly lame, Optimus Prime is a huge jerk, and the action is trash. If you were exhausted with the Transformers franchise before, then Rise of the Beasts will have you flatlining and succumbing to sheer and utter boredom.
- Peter Dinklage as Scourge.
- Annoying humans that get too much screen time.
- Bland action sequences.
- Optimus Prime is a whiny a-hole.