Bumblebee Review


Needless to say that the Transformers franchise has been in a very rough patch recently. Some might even say that the films haven’t been good since the very first Transformers film back in 2007. Seemingly, each and every single film has gotten worse and worse. It’s as if Michael Bay isn’t even trying anymore. As a result, the box office numbers steadily began to drop. Fans began to take notice that the films are getting worse the more Michael Bay directs them. Thankfully, Michael Bay has stepped aside to let someone else take over as director. Enter Travis Knight, the director of LAIKA animation studio. But is Travis Knight able to inject new life into the franchise?

From the very first trailer where you see Bumblebee as a Volkswagen Beetle, you knew that the film would be a huge improvement over the other films. But Knight doesn’t only bring the G1 to Bumblebee, he instills heart, emotion, action, and comedy to a franchise that sorely needs it.

Bumblebee follows Charlie, a girl who gets a Volkswagen Beetle as a gift for her 18th birthday. However, what she doesn’t realize is that this particular Beetle is more than meets the eye. They eventually develop a friendship that defines not only Charlie but Bumblebee as well.

Bumblebee - Hailee Steinfeld

Although prequels aren’t typically very good, Bumblebee is one of the few exceptions to the rule. It’s surprising since the film is still in the Michael Bay universe. However, Travis Knight infuses some of the simple G1 aesthetic into some of the Transformer designs. Unfortunately, there are some characteristics from the Bay films that makes its way into the film. Nevertheless, seeing those designs in live action form is truly a dream come true.

The biggest improvement is in Bumblebee’s focus on story and characters. As a result, Bumblebee has way more comedy and heart than the forced jokes in the previous entries. Also, because the film is more character driven, it gives fans more of a reason to love Bee. He’s heroic and brave but he has a childlike personality that people can gravitate towards.

Not to mention, humans aren’t the primary focus of the film. One of the biggest criticism that fans had with the past Transformers films is that the film focused more on the humans instead of the title characters. Fortunately, both humans and Transformers share the screen time equally. As it should be. Thankfully, the humans aren’t annoying either. Not only does the film set up their story nicely but you also care about them as well.

Bumblebee - Dropkick and Shatter

The film isn’t perfect, though. The story instills some convenient plot devices in order to show audiences how Bumblebee came to be. It’s similar to how Solo: A Star Wars Story played out. In addition, the film is extremely predictable from a storyline point-of-view. Yet it’s not about the story, it’s about the journey. Bumblebee is a good coming-of-age story for both Charlie and Bee.

Bumblebee’s cast is a major improvement than the cast in the previous Transformer films. Hailee Steinfeld brings a ton of entertainment value to the film. She brings a lot of heart, comedy, and emotion to Charlie. John Cena also makes good use of his limited screen time. He may not show much emotion in the role, but he gives Bumblebee a ton of comedic relief with his random one-liners. At the same time, he’s much too likable to take seriously as a villain. Jorge Lendeborg Jr. is also great as the comic relief. However, there’s not much else that he brings to the character.

Overall, Bumblebee is a fantastic soft reboot/prequel to a franchise that seriously needed a shot in the arm. I’m a firm believer that for a genre film to be successful with critics and fans, the filmmakers must be huge fans of the franchise. It’s clear that Travis Knight is a true fan of Transformers which is why Bumblebee is so damn good. It’s a huge improvement over what we’ve had before and it’s easily the best film of the franchise. If Michael Bay is done with Transformers (let’s hope so), it’s my hope that Travis Knight takes over as the captain of the ship. He did that good of a job.

Rating: 4/5 atoms

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