The ‘Transformers: Rise Of The Beast’ Reviews Can’t Agree On Whether This Is A ‘Course Correction’ Or ‘Space Junk’

Starting with 2018’s Bumblebee, the Transformers movies began to move away from the hyper-stylized aesthetic of the Michael Bay movies, which had officially wore out their welcome after five films. Bumblebee sought a return to the more classic look of the robots from their early cartoon days, and the latest installment, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, continues that trend as it slams into theaters this week.

Directed by Steven Caple Jr., Rise of the Beasts is getting wildly different reactions from critics. While some are here for the Saturday morning glee and a reverence for the characters that was missing from the Bay films, others called the latest installment “disposable” and blasted Rise of the Beasts for being another CGI mess.

You can see what the critics are saying below:

Mike Ryan, Uproxx:

Honestly, this is one of the least convoluted Transformers stories that has been made. I honestly don’t think I could tell you the plot of any of the six other movies except for Bumblebee. (I think the fifth one involved King Arthur? Am I making that up? That really happened?) And it’s obvious Caple Jr. actually likes the Transformers and treats them as actual characters.

Owen Gleiberman, Variety:

The film was directed by Steven Caple Jr., who made “Creed II,” the most prosaic entry in the “Creed” series, and when I say that he has staged “Rise of the Beasts” in a scruffy plain grounded way, I mean that as a (moderate) compliment. The film invites you in. Set in a hip-hop-inflected 1994, it’s got a relatable human story that works, and thanks to a script that actually has sustained bursts of dialogue, the robots felt more real to me as characters than they usually do.

Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter:

Director Steven Caple Jr. (Creed II) steps up to the plate nicely, with this massive production representing a major departure from the smaller-scale films he’s previously helmed. (Of course, it helps to have Michael Bay and Steven Spielberg among the producers.) The many, many action sequences are spectacularly conceived and executed, including a car chase on the Williamsburg Bridge that’s probably still tying up downtown traffic.

Matt Donato, IGN:

Rise of the Beasts is a course correction that unites beloved Transformer clans, introduces decent human characters, and spotlights metal-crunching action that’s an upgrade from the nondescript animated slop we’ve been served in Michael Bay’s last few movies. It’s certainly not going to win over the Academy (outside a possible special effects nomination), but director Steven Caple Jr. executes Rise of the Beasts as a get-the-job-done summer crowd-pleaser that makes me feel like a kid watching Saturday morning cartoons again, only on a grander and more exciting scale.

Germain Lussier, io9:

If you’re a fan of Transformers, you are going to like Rise of the Beasts. It’s got everything that makes these movies worth watching and more. If you don’t like Transformers, there are certainly weaknesses to focus on, but the film’s earnestness and passion for its characters attempts to rise above that. Along with a lot of super fun action, of course, which is always good. Either way, it’s just nice to have another Transformers movie that fans can point at and say “Look, it’s possible to do something of merit with these characters,” because Rise of the Beasts is definitely that.

If you don’t want to read scathing reviews about your favorite robots, you might want to turn back because these critics did not hold back their thoughts on sitting through a seventh Transformers film:

Siddhant Adlakha, Polygon:

Rather than putting in the legwork to make audiences care about the characters, the film only apes the aspects of Marvel’s shared-universe climax that don’t work in isolation: the nondescript, wide-open setting, and the anonymous legion of faceless enemies that might as well be a sea of metallic goop. The live-action Transformers movies have always been hard to look at, but with Bay at the helm, they at least felt like the work of a deranged madman allowed to run wild with a camera and VFX budget for the sake of experimentation. (He’s made plenty of good films outside the Transformers sandbox.) Instead, this time around, the experiment appears to be a studio testing the limits of what technically qualifies as a Transformers film — or a film in general.

Charles Bramesco, The Guardian:

While scanning the haphazard, oppressively grey compositions onscreen, one will eventually notice that the Transformers have faces, yet lack expressions. Like the assorted critters of Disney’s unholy photorealistic remakes, no emotion animates these animated creations, a lack of spark unsettling until it turns plain depressing. Every trace of personality has been scrubbed from a series that could once claim the cold consolation of being bizarre in its badness. Even the movies about the hulking, anthropomorphic heaps of space junk require some semblance of a human touch.

Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times:

It took five screenwriters to come up with this utter nonsense that has all the dramatic intrigue and emotional depth of a “Transformers” Saturday morning cartoon. “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” feels like a film that is at war with itself as Caple Jr. tries to balance character work with the profoundly silly Autobot lore, which talents such as Michelle Yeoh dutifully recite (she voices the eagle bot Airazor). Unable to rise above this internal conflict, it’s a film that’s both dull and disposable.

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts rolls into theaters on June 9.