Transformers: Rise of the Beasts chews up new scenery

Wed. June 7, 2023 12:00 AM
by Jerry Nunn

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts follows the story of the Maximals, a savage group of robotic animals, who leave their planet for Earth in 1994. A race for two powerful Transwarp keys ensues bringing together humans, Maximals, Autobots and Terrorcons to battle it out. This adventure takes this rag tag group from Brooklyn to Peru. 

To watch the Transformers movies in order Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is actually second following Bumblebee even though it was released seventh in line. The first live-action Transformers film debuted in 2007 and there have been several misfires since then in subsequent endeavors, but Rise of the Beasts has kept past criticism in mind.

Michael Bay as producer has focused on the human side in all the right ways instead of bludgeoning viewers with scrap metal and overwhelming action scenes. Some of the sequences seem restrained and easily digestible instead. Having animals as characters gives the story more heart and so does the well-chosen cast.

Anthony Ramos from 2021's In the Heights plays Puerto Rican protagonist Noah Diaz and he does much of the heavy lifting in a room full of robots.

This diverse cast elevates the material in surprising ways. Pete Davidson is a gift playing Mirage and will gain new fans for his witty remarks as Mirage. Michelle Yeoh continues to captivate now as the hawklike Airazor and the lovable Ted Lasso actor Cristo Fernandez prove there are no small roles, only small actors!

Bumblebee takes a backseat this time out, but it is well justified and he already had his own flick in 2018. This Mirage is a welcome sight to see and hear, complete with inappropriate jokes. This hilarious character might even be part of the LGBTQ+ community or at least there is a little bromance going on with the banter. There is other LGBTQ+ representation in the film such as performers Michaela Jae Rodriguez and Colman Domingo.

These Beasts transform the franchise into something new while remaining set in the past. The creative team has made a solid summer blockbuster that could and should continue if handled well. Can you imagine a toy double feature of Barbie and Beasts? Things seem on the rise for a sequel that could have easily sunk!

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts stampedes into theaters on June 9, 2023.