2023. PG-13. 127 mins. Directed by Steven Caple Jr.
Here we go again, it's another Transformers movie! This series has seen many ups and downs throughout the years. Age of Extinction and The Last Knight are certainly the downs while the first Transformers in the series as well as the excellent Bumblebee make up the highs of the series. Rise of the Beasts manages to be one of the better entries, however that isn't saying much as the of the series has mostly fallen flat.
Taking place in 1994, a new faction of Transformers called the Maximals, join forces with the Autobots to help save the world from a new foe. Along for the ride are Noah (Anthony Ramos) and Elena (Dominique Fishback), two humans that lend their hand to help save mankind. Story-wise this isn't too different than what we've seen in essentially every other Transformers movie. Basically, it's just, "we have to go stop the bad guy from getting the thing that they'll use to destroy the world," and so on and so forth.
While Rise of the Beasts is arguably one of the better entries in this franchise, it is not without its faults. It was hard to get invested this time around. It is nice that the focus of the movie is more so on the Transformers themselves and not so much on the humans, but we've seen this story play out time and time again and with not much different here it was hard to care about much that was happening. That's not to say there aren't things to enjoy with the movie overall.
The action sequences all tend to work fairly well. All the effects and CGI look well done and seem to be polished quite nicely. There really aren't many human characters outside of the two main leads. Both Anthony Ramos and Dominique Fishback do well, respectively, in their roles. More back story is given to Ramos' character so there is more weight for him to carry whereas Fishback's character is just kind of an added addition and not much is given to her than the bare minimum. Some big names show up in the voice cast such as Ron Perlman, Peter Dinklage, Michelle Yeoh and Peter Cullen. However, it's Pete Davidson as Mirage that ends up stealing the show with his energetic performance.
At the end of the day this just felt like another entry in the franchise. It is not bad by any means but there is nothing overly great about it to make it worthwhile. Everything is perfectly fine and done well enough but ultimately there just isn't anything to put it over the edge. The best part of the movie is honestly the great soundtrack that is covered with great 90's hip hop classics. When the best part of your Transformers movie is the hip hop soundtrack that might be a bit of a problem. If you're a fan of the series, you should have a good time but this won't bring in any newcomers.