I have seen all five Transformers films prior to Bumblebee and think it’s safe to say that they vary in quality from average to absolutely atrocious and somewhere sort of in between. Michael Bay has added so much lore with each subsequent film that it’s gotten slightly ridiculous, not helped by his editing style and love of bloody ridiculous explosions.
We are incredibly pleased to tell you that Bumblebee scales things back dramatically, introduction sequence aside the focus is purely on Bumblebee and the two main antagonists rather than all the other Autobots and Decepticons. It didn’t seem as focused on the humans like other instalments though obnoxiously the relationship between main human character Charlie and Bumblebee is very much the main focus of the film.
Let’s talk about the intro sequence first, it’s around 5 or 10 minutes focusing on the war on Cybertron and Bumblebee being sent to Earth. Let us start by saying holy fuck it was awesome, all the characters resembled their cartoon looks and the action was pretty special. The crushing apathy felt to the previous films was literally wiped away and we got the same goosebumps we felt the first time of heard Optimus Prime speak in the original film.
The film is set in the late 80s and follows Charlie as she discovers Bumblebee at a point where she’s grieving. He’s lost, alone and the bond they form is really sweet. There’s the usual thing of saving the world from the bad guys, it’s a pretty standard story, which isn’t a bad thing but it’s improved immeasurably by that central relationship.
Besides that it has two other things going got it, it has a pretty amazing soundtrack with some absolute classics including a lovely little callback to a song used in the 80s animated Transformers films. The other is a little more surprising and it’s John Cena, he isn’t in the film loads but when he is he’s the chief human antagonist and is clearly having a whole load of fun.
Overall it’s a fun film that does a better job of referencing the Transformers brand from way back when than any of the previous films. We’re hoping they choose to use Bumblebee as a reboot and do further sequels from this point ignoring everything else and not letting Michael Bay anywhere near directing them ever again.
Beard Score: 8/10