Autobots are back and ready to roll out to a theatre near you in the latest installment from director Steven Caple Jr (Creed II).
Optimus Prime and the Autobots take on their biggest challenge yet. When a new threat capable of destroying the entire planet emerges, they must team up with a powerful faction of Transformers known as the Maximals to save Earth.
Optimus Prime, and Bumblebee return with several other Autobots for the next installment of the Transformers film franchise that Michael Bay started back in 2007. Following the 2018 prequel film Bumblebee which was set in 1987, Rise Of The Beasts is set in 1994 and is being billed as a direct sequel to Bumblebee as far as this current continuity is concerned. More on that later. Here, the film starts with a bit of a history lesson and an introduction to the Maximals. They are descendants of the Autobots who had fought hundreds of years ago against the Decepticons who were the ancestors of their enemies; the Predacons. Here, Unicron is introduced as the driven antagonist of the film. You may remember Unicron being very briefly introduced in one of the previous films. This essentially negates that timeline but again more on that later.
The film relies heavily on human interaction and cooperation to survive a fight with the Decepticons, much like all the previous films. And like all the films so far, it becomes one of its weakest points. With as many movies as we have had, it’s time for a Transformers film that focuses strictly on the robots and their home world and the war that broke out. Still, The older age of our two primary human protagonists does provide a more mature story to work with this time around. And the story of protecting his younger brother, and watching how Optimus protects Bumblebee does draw some compelling parallels.
So let’s talk about timelines and continuity. Minor spoilers on key plot points. The film plays with the timeline of Earth in its opening moments, which begs the question, what does that mean for the other films in the Bayverse? Technically the film starts out in 1994 which timeline-wise happens after Bumblebee (2018) and is a sequel to that in the most basic sense. However, the introduction of Unicron makes the Bayverse more or less another timeline given the events at the end of those films which indicated Unicron was already on Earth. Given the ability to play with time and space, Rise of the Beasts doesn’t really erase or retcon the previous films, we just find ourselves in what we believe is another timeline. The director and the story never directly address that so we are simply speculating based on what we know.
For an overall story, Rise Of The Beasts sticks to the lore and the source material with more complex devices and Energon tech. It’s not anything new or special in that arena. The visuals are decent and full of plenty of battle scenes and Autobot fights so you won’t be let down by the lack of explosions. As the film wraps up, there is a post-credit scene that was brought in that connects this Transformers timeline to another franchise within Hasbro’s portfolio. That one felt a little too much for me, but you be the judge and let us know what you thought.
With Transformers: Rise Of The Beasts there isn’t more than meets the eye story-wise or formula-wise, but for fans of the franchise, you will get everything you wanted in a film that ranks up there with the 2018 Bumblebee film.
Transformers: Rise Of The Beasts is in theatres Friday June 9th.