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  • Writer's pictureEllis Barthorpe

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts ★★

Steven Caple Jr.

Starring Anthony Ramos, Dominique Fishback, Peter Cullen, Ron Perlman, Pete Davidson

As the Paramount stars whooshed into the logo, the nostalgic sounds of the Transformers echoed through an audience with expectations understandably low. The Transformers have become a diluted concept, with the same ideas and big robot fights being recycled into a very similar plot again and again. With the 2007 Transformers and 2008 Bumblebee the standouts of the franchise, would Rise of the Beasts have what it takes to sit amongst those prime films of the series?

Anthony Ramos leads the film as Noah Diaz, a man trying to do everything he can to care for his younger, unwell brother. As is often the way in these films those relatable, human struggles are soon pushed to the background as Noah finds himself in a self-driving car (with that all too familiar logo on the steering wheel), caught amongst the chaos of giant killer robots.

Meanwhile, Dominique Fishback, an intern archaeologist, has found some sort of whatsit that will lead a big massive planet-sized Transformer to Earth, where he can feast on our blue planet.

An interesting prologue features the Maximals, a new group of Transformers that all look like animals from Earth; and the film is set up to be exciting and something a bit different from the archetypal kaiju battles we've become familiar with. But it soon slips back into that formula, and climaxes with a CGI metal hitting metal sequence (though the animation has somehow lessened since 2007) for a modern blockbuster-ravenous audience of 2023.

It's tonally strange. We're set up to care about Noah and his younger brother, but as soon as Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen) and co appear for literally no reason, the film becomes unbalanced and feels generic. Unfortunately, those audio bites of nostalgia aren't enough to keep you enthralled, and this is yet another attempt at the franchise that will surely malfunction and force the series back to the drawing board.

Unfortunately not enough to sit amongst those two great Transformers films, Rise of the Beasts has glimmers of hope and a cast giving their all amongst a fairly forgettable and unoriginal CGI fest.

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts available in UK cinemas now

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