The Transformers film franchise is definitely something that divides viewers, more so in a negative light than positive. I love the first two films, its campy and dumb and rife with errors but still fun. The third has highlights as well. That’s where they should have ended them. The Age of Extinction and The Last Knight were both absolutely incomprehensible, loud, and all around terrible. The franchise needed to end, so I was hesitant on a prequel/spinoff about Bumblebee. Michael Bay not being directly involved helps, because Bumblebee is a massive improvement over the latter films of the Transformers series.
The film is about a teenage girl named Charlie Watson who is antsy to get her first car and settles on a Beetle, that turns out to be Bumblebee, an Autobot who is in hiding from Decepticons looking to persecute any associates of Autobot leader, Optimus Prime. Charlie gets caught in forming a bond with Bumblebee and the war between the opposing forces of the Transformers war. The film is directed by the filmmaker of Kubo and the Two Strings, which was relatively fantastic.
I think Bumblebee is fortunately able to focus on its narrative and simplicity, than focusing on large scale action which makes it a coherent adventure. The story is built on telling rather than showing. The action scenes when they come are easier to follow than that of the Transformers series, and the reduction in numbers of Transformers make it a more focused venture. There’s still weirdness in the film, mostly in the appearance of Steinfeld’s co star Memo, which felt like an unnecessary inclusion.
This film is likely the third best in the series for me, after the first two. Its fun, and has enough action to not make your head spin like the Mark Wahlberg led Transformers did. Still not sure if I want anymore films in the series but it was nice to see that the series could produce something good when the film switched hands from Bay to literally anyone else. Lastly, the film has a killer 80s soundtrack, which was pleasing.