‘Bumblebee’ – Review: A Fresh Start For The ‘Transformers’ Franchise

Throughout the years, Michael Bay’s “Transformers” films have been known to lack character development, lack of imagination and (obviously) contain as many “Bay” explosions as possible. After five perplexed films, it’s no wonder why people have steered away from the franchise. Because of this, people were less enthusiastic about the new spinoff film centered on everyone’s favorite cybernetic yellow robot.

Actress Hailee Steinfeld portraying Charlie in ‘Bumblebee’ – Paramount Pictures

This film follows Bumblebee, an Autobot from Cybertron sent by their leader, Optimus Prime, crash-lands on earth, (who then loses most of his memory) where a troubled young adult, Charlie – portrayed by Hailee Steinfeld – discovers the battle-worn robot, while also trying to find her place within the world. Now that the film has been released, what are people saying about it?

Unlike its predecessors, “Bumblebee” contains heart, emotion, and a compelling story while also maintaining the perfect amount of fan-service and action for the Transformers and casual fans alike. This film does an impeccable job at blending these things and certainly excels at (for the first time in the franchise) keeping the audience engaged and invested in the narrative.

‘Bumblebee’ – Paramount Pictures

This film starts off literally by putting you right in action on Cybertron which Transformers fans were able to see the G1 designs of their favorite robots. Of course, having Peter Cullen back as the voice of Optimus Prime has (and always) been the best thing to ever come out of the Transformers films. One strong criticism from the previous films was that you couldn’t necessarily tell what was going on when there was close quarters combat with the Transformers. Every fight sequence used to be this large, digital mess that looked like nothing more than two brillo pads being jammed together. Fortunately for this film, that doesn’t happen here, as director Travis Knight used fewer cuts as possible during the fight sequences.

When it was announced that “Kubo and The Two Strings” director, Travis Knight, was attached at the helm, there was slightly more hope for the film. As the cast was constructed, and plot was developed, it began to be a well-crafted start. Hailee Steinfeld did a wonderful job which should come with no surprise. You find Charlie still mourning the death of her father which immediately helps you have deep sympathy for her and root for her throughout.

Actor John Cena portraying Agent Burns in ‘Bumblebee’ – Paramount Pictures

John Cena, on the other hand, done an “okay” job which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but at the same time, his stereotypical military character could have been portrayed a lot better with a more seasoned actor by adding a little more depth in the role.

Although this film has many good takeaways, unfortunately, it does come with a couple of minor flaws. One of the things this film could have done differently was some unnecessary character details that certainly did not serve the plot or narrative. We see early on in the film that Charlie is picked on and looked at differently, but later we see a throwaway moment where the film seems to have wasted time by having her push through peer pressure. You understood the message Travis Knight was trying to send, but it seemed a bit overkill at that point.

Without going into spoiler territory, there’s not much more to pick apart which is a positive within itself. All in all, “Bumblebee” is a massive step-up from its predecessors. This film survives by its creativity, while also exploiting character development and providing a well-crafted story. It’s no wonder that this film isn’t making much money considering the history of the film franchise, as it looks like it may just break even.

‘Bumblebee’ = A-

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