In the wake of the Transformers franchise's latest instalment, "Transformers: Rise of the Beasts," it's safe to say that this film marks a significant step forward for the beloved series. Building on the success of "Bumblebee," this soft reboot ventures into uncharted territory, weaving a well-thought-out story that resonates with fans and newcomers alike.
One of the most remarkable aspects of this film is the transformation of Optimus Prime. Unlike the previous iterations in the Michael Bay era, this Optimus Prime delves into darker, more complex territory. This character development feels natural, laying the groundwork for potential future evolution, adding depth to the franchise that was previously missing, and hinting towards a darker future for the character if he chooses the incorrect path.
"Transformers: Rise of the Beasts" takes a bold step in addressing critical social issues. It highlights a significant health concern that disproportionately affects the Black community, highlighting the importance of representation and addressing real-world problems in a blockbuster movie. The film's commitment to diversity extends beyond mentioning Sickle Cell, with a predominantly POC main family cast, giving a refreshing and much-needed glimpse into a more inclusive Transformers world.
One of the film's strengths lies in its decision to keep Bumblebee in the story but to reduce his presence, allowing for a deeper exploration of other Autobots. Mirage, the titular character, emerges as a standout. Unapologetic and unafraid to be himself, Mirage reminds viewers of the beloved Jazz, a character who met an untimely demise in the first live-action film. Mirage's presence injects a sense of vibrancy and individuality into the Autobot lineup.
One surprising standout in "Rise of the Beasts" is its masterful use of music. The soundtrack not only sets the tone but also expertly places the story within a specific time period, which is the 90's, enriching the overall experience. Including tracks like those from the Wu-Tang Clan is a breath of fresh air, injecting a nostalgic element that resonates with long-time fans and new viewers alike.
The film masterfully incorporates these musical cues, creating a sense of nostalgia while simultaneously enhancing the world-building. It's a testament to the filmmakers' attention to detail and commitment to immersing the audience in the Transformers universe.
But it's not just the music that makes this film stand out. "Transformers: Rise of the Beasts" introduces terrifying god-like adversaries in the form of Scourge and Unicron. These formidable foes showcase the vastness of the new universe being crafted. Their sheer power and menace add a level of stakes that the franchise hasn't seen before, hinting at the epic battles and challenges ahead.
Scourge and Unicron serve as a tantalizing glimpse into the grand scale of conflicts that the Transformers will face in future instalments. This universe expansion promises a broader canvas for storytelling, allowing fans to explore new dimensions and threats beyond what they've seen in previous films.
A franchise is only as good as its villains, and "Rise of the Beasts" introduces a fresh and intriguing antagonist. This new adversary provides an exciting contrast to the Decepticons of the past, bringing a different dynamic to the battles as the Decepticons were mainly “Autobots but bad” instead of a planet-eating gargantuan engine and his evil-filled avatar.
One notable departure from the formula of previous films is the absence of military involvement. This choice allows for a different perspective on the Transformers' world and sets the stage for the film's post-credit scene. Without giving too much away, it's safe to say that the G.I. Joe initiative's presence in the Hasbro cinematic universe is a thrilling prospect for fans.
At the heart of "Transformers: Rise of the Beasts" is Dominic Fishback, who delivers a stellar performance as Elena. Her character's emotional depth and resilience add a human touch to the film that resonates with the audience. Additionally, Anthony Davis steps into the shoes of a stoic character, providing a refreshing contrast to Shia LaBeouf's portrayal of Sam Witwicky. Although this departure may give long-time fans whiplash, as Sam portrayed what we would feel like if our Porsche 911 started driving on its own and swapping us over in the driver seat, it was a necessary change to cement that this is a new universe.
The movie is not perfect; it is not without its faults. There are pacing issues, and we lose some characters that would be great to see in future films, but this is a blockbuster film, and they need to be known for deep storylines.
In conclusion, "Transformers: Rise of the Beasts" marks a turning point for the franchise. With a well-crafted story, nuanced characters, and a commitment to addressing real-world issues, this soft reboot breathes new life into the Transformers universe. It's a reminder that there is still much to explore in this iconic world of robots in disguise, and the film's potential to expand the Hasbro cinematic universe is an incredible prospect for fans.