Transformers: Rise of the Beasts Reviews

The first Transformers: Rise of the Beasts reviews are rolling out online — and it sounds like the new movie is more than meets the eye. The seventh live-action Transformers movie is the first to take place during the Beast Wars era of the 1990s, which introduces new factions of the robots in disguise: the maximizing Maximals and the terrifying Terrorcons. Two weeks after the first social media reactions landed online, critics have shared their full reviews — and while reception is mixed, it seems director Steven Caple Jr.’s Beasts is less bombastic than Michael Bay’s first five installments.

“No Michael Bay. No Mark Wahlberg. No oppressive bombast. Not your usual Transformers movie in other words. No kidding,” reads a review from The Seattle Times. “Something way different is going on with Transformers: Rise of the Beasts. This iteration is set apart from its predecessors in the long-running series by genuinely sympathetic human characters, a very intelligent script (credited to a gaggle of five screenwriters) and uncommonly capable direction by Steven Caple Jr.”

It’s a common theme across reviews: Variety describes Bay’s movies as “unrestrained pileups of sheer Michael Bay-ness — kiddie diversion on processed steroids,” adding that the follow-up to 2018’s Bumblebee proves “that the Transformers movies had never needed to be so bombastic in their Mighty Entertainment Imperative. They could have relaxed more and still delivered that robot-as-wrecking-machine buzz.” The Hollywood Reporter remarks that Beasts “features enough rock ’em, sock ’em robot action to thrill the faithful while showcasing appealing performances by Anthony Ramos and Dominique Fishback as the token humans on hand.” Of the movie franchise inspired by the iconic toyline, THR continues: “Let’s face it, watching those Transformers transform themselves never gets old. These Hasbro action figures, and their onscreen incarnations, are capable of reducing even the most mature, jaded adult into an awestruck child who just wants to get down on the floor and play with them.”

“You don’t need to know much. If anything, Bumblebee got here in 1987, along with Optimus Prime, and they’ve tried to seek refuge on Earth until they can get back to Cybertron. Ultimately, all you need to know is that they’re trying to get back to Cybertron,” Caple told the outlet of the Bumblebee sequel. “If you can go into this movie just knowing that piece of information, you’ll be able to track it completely. It doesn’t mess up any of the [Bay] timeline in 2006, 2007. We’re actually going in a direction that allows us to protect that side of the universe, but that’s all you need to know.”

See more sample reviews below.

ComicBook: “Transformers has always been about spectacle, and Rise of the Beasts delivers on all accounts. The action is pulse-pounding. The relationships are heartfelt. The threat is palpable and, most importantly, it leaves the franchise in the most intriguing position it has been in in years. The summer movie season has been in full throttle for just over a month, and Transformers: Rise of the Beasts sends that popcorn blockbuster momentum into full gear.”

Variety: “The rare Transformers movie that makes its heavy-metal characters into figures of emotion. The battles are clash-bang spectacles of torn coils and gears, staged as if Optimus, Scourge and the rest were knights or gladiators. The use of Wu-Tang, Biggie and, at one strategic moment, LL Cool J’s ‘Mama Said Knock You Out’ makes you wonder how these movies ever got by without hip-hop. There’s a bombast built into the material, but let it be said that the Transformers movies have been transformed. They’re no longer the kind of fun you have to hate.”

TheWrap: “Rekindles something akin to Sam Raimi’s first two Spider-Man films, remembering that at the heart of many an emotionally worthwhile mainstream flick, regardless of its scope or hefty VFX budget, are underdogs who defy their impossible circumstances.”

Associated Press: “With the Transformers franchise clearly at a crossroads, its latest protectors have turned to their deep bench of characters. But just adding more robots won’t transform this tired series. Transformers: Rise of the Beasts returns the franchise to its galaxy-wide self-importance after taking a nice detour with 2018?s smaller Bumblebee. We have a new cast of animal robots and a very evil enemy in the planet-eating Unicron, but they’re not used right and the movie limps from fight to fight.”

Fiction Horizon: “The final third act is like a dream come true for Transformers fans — an all-out battle takes place in the ruins of Machu Picchu revolving around the Autobots, Maximals, and Terrorcons. Caple Jr. does a decent job staging the elaborate action sequence, complete with a brief but exhilarating one-take moment. Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is pretty much a paint-by-numbers type of big-budget summer movie blockbuster. A pure, albeit forgettable popcorn fun designed for the masses to just sit back and enjoy the show. In the meantime, fans are in for a treat towards the end of the movie and stick around for a mid-credits scene.”

Uproxx: “It’s obvious Caple Jr. actually likes the Transformers and treats them as actual characters … it’s kind of remarkable what can be done with a Transformers movie with a director who actually likes these characters. (And also very much loves his mid-90s needle-drop jams.) So, yes, I’d be in for some more Steven Caple Jr. Transformers movies.”

The official synopsis states: “It’s 1994, the era of hip hop and Air Jordans, and in his lively Brooklyn neighborhood, former U.S. Army private Noah Diaz (Anthony Ramos) is doing his best to help support his family. But he just can’t catch a break. In a series of events, Noah finds himself behind the wheel of the wisecracking Autobot Mirage (voiced by Pete Davidson), who reveals the existence of three fellow Autobots in hiding: Optimus Prime (voiced by Peter Cullen), Bumblebee, and Arcee (voiced by Liza Koshy).

“Meanwhile, at an archeological museum on Ellis Island, 25-year-old researcher Elena Wallace (Dominique Fishback) unknowingly triggers an alien beacon hidden within an ancient statuette. Heeding its call, Noah and the Autobots arrive just as the evil Terrorcon Scourge (voiced by Peter Dinklage) and his slithering robotic Sweeps attack. When Scourge escapes with a mysterious artifact capable of summoning Unicron (voiced by Colman Domingo), an entity of unimaginable size and destructive force, Noah and Elena join forces with the Autobots to try and prevent Earth’s annihilation. But even the mighty Autobots are unprepared for the powerful new faction of Transformers beings they encounter on their mission: the Maximals — an astonishing group of robot beasts that might hold the key to reuniting the Autobots with their home world of Cybertron.”

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts rolls out only in theaters June 9th.