Transformers fans finally have a new addition to their Autobots saga. Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, set 6 years after the events of 1987-set Bumblebee, is hitting theaters on June 9, 2023.
Featuring the return of fan-favorite Optimus Prime, Rise of the Beasts follows the Autobots as they join forces with another transformer species, the Maximals, to fight planet-destroying entity Unicron and his army of Terrorcons and Scorponok.
The cast of the latest installment in the franchise includes:
- Anthony Ramos as Noah Diaz
- Dominique Fishback as Elena Wallace
- Peter Cullen as Optimus Prime
- Pete Davidson as Mirage
- Colman Domingo as Unicron
- Peter Dinklage as Scourge
The official synopsis of the film, per Paramount Pictures, reads:
“Transformers: Rise of the Beasts will take audiences on a ‘90s globetrotting adventure with the Autobots and introduce a whole new breed of Transformer – the Maximals – to the existing battle on earth between Autobots and Decepticons.”
Well, early reviews for Rise of the Beasts are in, and we can’t wait to find out more about Steven Caple Jr.’s take on this saga.
What do the critics have to say about Transformers: Rise of the Beasts?
Deadline – “Generic storytelling”
“Rise of the Beasts exhibits the usual tenets of the Transformers universe, filled with plot armor thicker than Optimus Prime’s metallic exoskeleton. The narrative crutch of invincibility seems permanently welded to our robotic heroes, which could have been reimagined in a more balanced way by the franchise’s seventh film.”
Rise of the Beasts just didn’t do it for Deadline’s Valerie Complex. While the movie did perform like a typical Transformers film, it felt all too similar to the installments Complex has seen before.
‘Bumblebee’ (2018) remains as the highest-rated Transformers movie on Rotten Tomatoes.
The Hailee Steinfeld effect is REAL pic.twitter.com/Qz2WHfru9U
— best of hailee steinfeld (@archiveshailees) June 7, 2023
Instead of building on the perspective of 2018’s Bumblebee, this movie undid all the progress and instead proved to be just another predictable story of a bad guy from space.
The Transformers franchise was known to be a complete sensory experience, but Rise of the Beasts failed Valerie in that regard as well – it lacked sufficient detailing.
That said, the addition of Maximals added a bit of intrigue to the story, which the good old Autobots and humans failed to do.
Empire – “Nothing truly hateful”
“…as Rise Of The Beasts climaxes with a battle that shamelessly borrows beats from Avengers: Infinity War… it evokes déjà vu rather than nostalgia. And don’t even get us started on its flagrant and clumsy attempt to set up a Hasbro Cinematic Universe.”
— Transformers (@transformers) June 5, 2023
For Empire’s Dan Jolin, Rise of the Beasts turned out to be a compilation of “shoddy” logical inconsistencies interspersed with “a soundtrack bumping with ’90s hip hop”.
However, it wasn’t torture to sit through the entire movie. With some impactful gags and references to previous (or future, based on the timeline) movies, the seventh installment in the Transformers franchise did make for some “baseline fun”.
Variety – “A less bombastic, more relatable sequel”
“Transformers: Rise of the Beasts isn’t as stylish as Bumblebee, but it’s an example of how a Transformers movie can serve up the escapist-junk-food amusement it promises without giving you a synthetic sugar headache.”
For Variety’s Owen Gleiberman, Rise of the Beasts successfully made “its heavy-metal characters into figures of emotion”, something previous Transformers films have failed to achieve. While it wasn’t the best movie Owen’s ever watched, it did do a good job at establishing the Autobots as well-rounded characters rather than just fighting machines.
TRANSFORMERS: RISE OF THE BEASTS is the most enjoyable Transformers film since the first. Does away with the juvenile humor & excessiveness of the Bay films. Gets bogged down by silly exposition & cheesy dialogue but the new characters are likable & the final battle was awesome. pic.twitter.com/IeYK8qrYkp
— Matt Neglia @AFI (@NextBestPicture) June 4, 2023
Historically, the human character had just been present to kick off the plot in the franchise. However, this movie drew Owen in and made him root for Anthony Ramos’ Noah Diaz.
The most notable part of the movie, funnily enough, turned out to be almost every character’s attempt at talking in “ominous electronic how-low-can-you-go Darth Vader tones”.
All its shortcomings aside, Rise of the Beasts truly “transformed” the franchise for Gleiberman.
Screen Rant – “Humans save the world, not the movie”
“It’s a serviceable summer blockbuster with two charismatic lead performances, but its familiar plot and mindless CGI muddles an obvious attempt to relaunch a franchise that might be better off dormant.”
For Screen Rant’s Graeme Guttmann, Rise of the Beasts had nothing – other than the addition of Maximals – to differentiate it from the previous Transformers movies. With the same basic plot of the Autobots fighting to protect Earth from a celestial threat, Director Steven Caple Jr.’s attempt to add some flair to the film’s actions were thwarted by the dominance of CGI.
That said, Anthony Ramos’ Noah Diaz and Dominique Fishback’s Elena Wallac turned out to be amongst the very few “bright spots” in the film, giving it their all even as they attempt to navigate the technical jargon that comes with being the Transformers’ allies.
— ❄️SNOWii❄️COMMISSION OPEN (@SNOWii_Arts) June 5, 2023
Unfortunately, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts seems to have failed to impress critics. Fans of the franchise are delighted that they can experience another Autobots-led battle, but they may not feel the same way once they’re out of the theater.
At least that’s what the critics feel. But who knows? Maybe the nostalgia will make up for the film’s flaws. So, catch the film in theaters this Friday and let us know if you agree with these reviewers!