Dazzling audiences once more, ‘Transformers: Rise of the Beasts,’ the newest chapter in the acclaimed Transformers series, has burst onto screens in theaters everywhere. It cleverly takes a cue from the recent Bumblebee movie, serving not only as a prequel but also as a platform to introduce a series of stories leading up to the original films.

A planet-destroying evil is learned to be fixated on obtaining a key that will enable its travel to any point in the universe, to continue its reign of destruction. However, the animal-based Maximals manage to escape with the key and hide it on Earth, where they also remain in secret as guardians.

In 1994, Noah Diaz (Anthony Ramos), after his stint in the Army, is trying to find gainful employment to help his mother and his ailing brother. Despite being a wizard with electronics, Noah’s lack of team spirit has hampered his job prospects. This leads him to consider criminal activities as a desperate attempt to cover his brother’s medical bills.

During a moment of desperation, Noah tries to steal a loaded Porsche, but his moral compass stops him from carrying out the act. Unbeknownst to him, the car is an Autobot named Mirage (Pete Davidson), who soon recruits Noah to help find the key that they have recently detected.

However, this does not sit well with Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen). Optimus believes that humanity will only act in its best interest, and insists that his crew must find the key to return to their war-ravaged home, Cybertron.

A crafty but perpetually overlooked museum intern, Elena (Dominique Fishback), is revealed to have accidentally activated the key. This inadvertent action has allowed the evil Scourge (Peter Dinklage) and his minions to zero in on its location. Scourge is hellbent on obtaining the key for his master, even if it means destroying anyone in his path.

Soon, Noah and Elena find themselves teaming up with some unexpected allies in the form of the Maximals. They embark on a race to prevent the evil from acquiring both parts of the key.

What ensues is a frantic action-adventure film, cleverly blending humor, action, dazzling visual effects, and a storyline that is part Indiana Jones, part Transformers, with a surprising amount of humanity. It would be easy for the human cast to be overshadowed by the massive and visually spectacular creations, constantly transforming and battling it out across numerous action sequences. Yet, director Steven Caple Jr. leverages his young talent, who are potential stars in the making, to lend a human touch to the film that elevates it beyond a mere FX showcase.

The film is complemented by an impressive era-specific soundtrack and a near-end scene that teases intriguing and exciting future possibilities. Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is a thoroughly enjoyable summer action-adventure and one of the more enjoyable films in the franchise. It should delight fans and has me, for the first time in a long while, eagerly anticipating what comes next.

4 stars out of 5


Gareth Von Kallenbach
Gareth Von Kallenbach

Gareth is the mastermind behind the popular pop media site Skewed and Reviewed. He lives in Arizona with his wife Em McBride.