"Don’t call it a comeback!"

This summer really is following the trend of long running sequels and reboots trying to be the new summer block buster and after the long running Michael Bay era, the Transformers franchise although continually watchable and impressive in a kind of loud brainless way, got a reboot of sorts in the form of Bumblebee.

Bumblebee was essentially a breath of fresh air in a stagnating franchise and seemed to breathe new life into the series. Then.. things went cold for a while, when this entry was announced details on which continuity it was due to follow were sparse which left me with a pang of anxiety regarding how good it would be. 

I needn’t have worried so much as thankfully they explicitly show this is following on from Bumblebee although he won't be the only bot we focus on this time around, which leads me to my second point… Pete Davidson is taking the lead in a manner of speaking as Mirage, the cool but fast talking Autobot that’s always got a joke or a plan ready even if it seems like he’s never serious and is more than a little frat boy.

Pete Davidson in other films has been a bit hit and miss for my liking, but he nails his role here and is just the right amount of funny without becoming too over the top, I was surprised how much I liked his character here.

No Transformers film would be whole without a great supporting cast however, we welcome back the forever heroic Optimus Prime (voiced once again by Peter Cullen who I can honestly say has a voice the feels like a warm hug to the soul), and rounding out the Autobots are Arcee (Liza Koshy), Wheeljack and Bumblebee.

Joining the cast this time around are Optimus Primal (Ron Perlman), Airazor (Michelle Yeoh),  Cristo Fernandez of Ted Lasso fame voicing the aforementioned Wheeljack… with a suspiciously Mexican accent. Lastly for our cartoon and video games I couldn’t not mention that John DiMaggio is also in the voice cast, he voiced Bender in Futurama and Wakka in Final Fantasy 10, he voices Stratosphere here.

This film is also set in the 90s, so there’s a suitably 90s soundtrack that goes with it, mainly American urban songs but it feels very apt with the story, non-spoiler moment here but “Mama Said Knock You Out” is a particular highlight given its use.

The soundtrack gives the film a somewhat more upbeat and easier to follow feel throughout. The other highlight is something for the old school G1 and Beast Wars fans, Beast Wars which itself is both a spin off as well as main Transformers cannon, sometimes gets a bad reputation but definitely has some decent fan following.

I can assure the wait has been worth it, whilst their beast modes are the primary focus there are some beautiful set pieces and moments that show off just how great these characters are and were, something that made me very happy with the end product.

Lastly, whilst given that around the last 20 years have taught us to always.. ALWAYS.. wait to see what the button (end credit) scene will be, this one blew me away, hinting at something that wasn’t even thought of by most of us.

In summary, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts has been directed excellently by Steven Caple Jr., has a wonderful score from Jongnic Bontemps and if you liked Bumblebee this will be right up your alley, a safe bet for a family film that everyone will enjoy whilst keeping true to its roots.

Don’t call it a comeback!