A '90s globetrotting adventure that introduces the Maximals, Predacons, and Terrorcons to the existing battle on earth between Autobots and Decepticons.
The latest in the long-running and popular Transformer series has arrived with “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts”. Taking a cue from the recent “Bumblebee” movie, the movie cleverly serves not only as a prequel but as a platform to introduce a series of stories leading up to the original films. It is learned that a planet-destroying evil is fixated on obtaining a key that will allow it to travel to any point in the universe to continue its reign of destruction. The animal-based Maximals are able to escape with the key and hide it on Earth where they will also remain in secret as guardians. Flash forward to 1994 when Noah Diaz (Anthony Ramos), following his stint in the Army is looking to find gainful employment to help his mother as well as his ailing brother. Despite being a wizard with electronics Noah is not considered to be a team player which has hampered his job prospects and leads him to consider criminal activities in an effort to obtain much-needed funds for his brother's medical bills. In a moment of desperation, Noah attempts to steal a loaded Porsche but finds he is unable to follow through on the act as it is against his moral compass. Unknown to Noah the car is actually an Autobot named Mirage (Pete Davidson), who soon enlists Noah to help them find the key which they have recently detected. This does not sit well with Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen), who believes that humanity will only act in your best interests and that his crew needs to find the key so that they can return to their war-ravaged, Cybertron. It is learned that a crafty but perpetually overlooked museum intern named Elena (Dominique Fishback), has accidentally activated the key and in doing so has allowed the evil Scourge (Peter Dinklage), and his minions to zero in on its location as he attempts to obtain the key for his master and is willing to destroy all were in his way. Noah and Elena soon find themselves paired with their unexpected allies as they race to stop the evil from obtaining both parts of the key and find themselves with some unexpected allies in the form of the Maximals. What follows is a frantic action-adventure film that cleverly combines humor, action, dazzling visual effects, and a tail that is part Indiana Jones, and Transformers with a surprising amount of humanity. It would be easy for the human cast the overshadowed by the massive and visually spectacular creations that frequently transform and battle it out across numerous action sequences. However, director Steven Caple Jr. takes advantage of his young talent both of whom are clearly potential stars in the making as they provide a grounding humanity to the film which makes it more than a lavish FX showcase. The film also has an impressive era-specific soundtrack and a scene near the end that offers up some intriguing and exciting possibilities for the future. "Transformers: Rise of the Beasts" is a highly enjoyable summer action adventure as well as one the more enjoyable films in the franchise and should delight fans of the franchise and has me for the first time in a long time eagerly awaiting what comes next. 4 stars out of 5