During the ’90s, a new faction of Transformers – the Maximals – join the Autobots as allies in the battle for Earth.
THE GOOD STUFF
ANTHONY RAMOS- This is a Transformers movie that has the same type of dialogue that has always existed in these Transformers movies. Dialogue is the one thing these movies do not try to improve upon for each iteration that continues to emerge. It takes a great deal of natural charisma and humor to make this kind of dialogue sound organic in any way, shape, or form.
Ramos does precisely that. Although not as zany, he provides the comedic essence that Shia LaBeouf once did. Unlike Labeouf, when it’s time for our human protagonist to shed the comic exterior and go for some truly comic book-type heroism, Ramos also has that within him. The third act is really silly. Ramos is not. And yet it still works. Ramos is the real deal, and he’s the type of actor you want to leave the franchise in the future.
CLEAN-LOOKING ACTION- This is hard to explain, but one of the main problems plaguing this franchise, in my humble opinion, is how messy these action sequences look. All of the Decepticons are metal-colored, their ships and so are their weapons, and so are certain exterior shots where these big battle scenes took place. Both in this film and in the film BUMBLEBEE, we have an action that is very easy to follow visually.
I cannot stress how important this is, given how tacky and messy those Wahlberg Transformers films looked when it came to these big 15-minute action sequences. The movie’s best action sequence involves a chase going down a grassy hill in a scenic Peruvian landscape. Why Peru, of all places? Who cares. I don’t feel the need to wipe off my glasses when I see an action sequence in this franchise. Thank goodness.
Davidson– I can’t be the only one who cringed when they heard that the leading Autobot voice in the film, aside from Optimus Prime, will be voiced by Pete Davidson. Not that the man isn’t funny, we see it all the time on SNL…but it seemed a little iffy. Davidson’s character matches the comedic energy that Ramos has to bring, and it’s very much the endearing relationship like the one that we saw in the first transformers film. You can tell that Davidson might have been improvising a couple of lines. The character he plays is very juvenile and crass, which is in his wheelhouse. The chemistry between Ramos and Davidson’s character carries the first act easily.
THE BAD STUFF
ACTION- Although it is easier to keep up with, the action scenes here visually are all things we’ve seen before when it comes to the Autobots and the Decepticons outside of the previously mentioned Peruvian hill chase scene. Mostly just shoot-outs, hand-to-hand fight sequences here and there with a ton of slow motion, blah, blah, blah. Honestly, I don’t know what you can do to innovate the action sequences in a franchise like this. It’s almost as if the beats within the action sequences are predictable.
VILLAINS– Like the action sequences, the villains tend to be a sore spot in every TRANSFORMERS film. All of these creatures want the same thing for the same reasons, even though the items they want to accomplish their missions have different names and functions. I often find that the villains are never poorly done or executed. They’re just routine. And when we’re seven chapters into a franchise… a little bit of spice goes a long way when it comes to the things that your franchises are known for. Same ol’ stuff here.
THE UGLY STUFF
FISHBACK- There are three types of human characters in these TRANSFORMERS movies:
1. The “Average Joe.” Normal humans are just out here living near lives before they get caught up in some Transformers s*** and have to go and save the world using natural abilities.
2. The “Government Employees.” Either agents with suspicions/theories of the current events or soldiers bred to fight anything, including three-story-tall aliens.
And worst of all…
3. The “Science people.” These are “Average Joe’s” that somehow can scientifically explain who the aliens are and what they mean to do. This involves saying a bunch of scientific mumbo jumbo that cannot be explained within the story because the run time is too long.
It is these characters who become essential role players, all without having much backstory. They’re there to do the scientific thing that the government employees can’t do and serve mostly as plot devices. That is the job of Dominique Fishback’s character in this film. She makes all the critical mistakes the Decepticons take advantage of in their battles with humans. She is the one who JUST SO HAPPENS to have the scientific answer to a question nobody can solve… just because.
This character is played dead serious with no comedic intentions whatsoever, and every time this character is on screen, I couldn’t help but to roll my eyes because I knew what was coming.
The good news is that due to a twist at the end of this film, there seems to finally be a plan for these movies to go forward in some kind of plausible way. This film is a welcome departure from the Michael Bay version of these films, even though they are lacking in the action department in comparison. TRANSFORMERS needed a more modern voice and a different overall style.
This is the bronze medal for these TRANSFORMER movies in terms of enjoyableness behind the first transformers and bumblebee. Given how low the bar has been set, that is a hell of an accomplishment within itself.
TRANSFORMERS: RISE OF THE BEASTS is in theaters now