The last few years have been a pretty frustrating time for fans of the Transformers franchise. After the success of 2018’s Bumblebee many were expecting more Transformers films to hit cinemas – yet strangely it has taken five years to do so with Transformers: Rise of The Beasts finally arriving now. The good news is that it has been well worth the wait.

Set in 1994 this chapter in the franchise begins its story in Brooklyn. Noah Diaz (Anthony Ramos – In The Heights) is a young man desperate for a job. His brother’s, Kris (Dean Scott Vazquez – 9 Bullets), medical bills are rising by the day and with no work on the horizon he finds himself tempted to help a friend out with a car robbery.

Meanwhile Elena Wallace (Dominique Fishback – The Hate U Give) is a young historian who loves the opportunity she has to work at a museum but is tired of the fact that her boss takes all the credit for her work.

Their lives cross paths though after Noah accidentally tries to steal a Transformer named Mirage (voiced by Pete Davidson – The Suicide Squad) and learns that a supernatural key needed by Unicron (voiced by Colman Domingo – Lincoln) to destroy planets like Earth and Cybertron is on Earth and in the hands of Elena.

While Optimus Prime (voiced by Peter Cullen – Winnie The Pooh) devises a plan to get the key his team suddenly find themselves confronted by a group of Terrorcons led by the evil Scrouge (voiced by Peter Dinklage – Game Of Thrones) who are hellbent on claiming the key for Unicron. Now Elena and Noah find themselves joining forces with the Autobots and several BattleBeasts, including Optimus Primal (voiced by Ron Perlman – Hellboy) and Airazor (voiced by Michelle Yeoh – Everything Everywhere All At Once), in a bid to stop the key from falling into the wrong hands.

True fans of the franchise will find some pros and cons with Transformers: Rise of The Beasts. On the plus side is the fact that director, Steven Caple Jnr. (Creed II), and his team of writers have taken the plot away from the basic Autobot versus Decepticon battles and instead given the audience more of a look at the other types of Transformers that inhabit the universe. While some people maybe scratching their heads at what the difference is between a Decepticon and a Terrorcon others will be praising the film for its fresh approach… especially with the BattleBeasts that look amazing on the screen.

But sadly, at the same time this becomes another Transformers film that awkwardly fits into the universe set up by the legendary Michael Bay. There is a rough nod given to Bumblebee during the film yet it also seems that Optimus and the other Autobots still don’t trust humans which is a bit of a plot hole. The events of this film also raise a lot of questions about some of the things said in 2007’s Transformers so maybe it would have been better if the producers had decided to make this one a stand-alone film or a re-boot.

Still there is plenty to like with this film. The action sequences are simplistic yet entertaining while the screenplay allows a lot of the human characters to be much more interesting than some have turned out to be in previous Transformers films. These characters seem to have a lot more heart and have been given interesting storylines that means that the audience find themselves caring what happens to them. Likewise, with some of the Transformers, each seems to be given more characterisation this time around meaning not only they are more likable, but the suspense is raised when their lives are in danger.

The characterisation included in the screenplay also gives Anthony Ramos the opportunity to step up and show Hollywood that he is ready to take that step as an action hero. Not only can he pull of the action sequences but is great in the dramatic parts as well. It would have been nice to see Dominique Fishback to have to do during the action sequences, but it was nice to see a plot where there wasn’t a forced romance.

Transformers: Rise Of The Beasts is a film that will be enjoyed by hardcore Transformers films and because of the re-boot vibe is easily accessible to those who haven’t seen the other films. The film really hits its straps with its scene in Peru and it is great to see new life breathed into a franchise that certainly has more stores to tell.

3/5 Stars