Film Review: Bumblebee

This new Transformers prequel/soft reboot proves that it is possible to tell a good story in this franchise. Bumblebee is a breath of fresh air after years of nonsensical Michael Bay plots and non-stop explosions and mind-numbing action.

The story follows Charlie Watson, (Hailee Steinfeld) who comes across Autobot Bumblebee, who is severely damaged and suffering from memory loss after a battle at the beginning of the film.

The thing that sets this film apart from all of the Transformers films that came before is how grounded this is, I can’t believe I’m commending a film for trying to tell a story, but after the messes that Michael Bay has delivered in recent times, it’s so surprising to see a Transformers film take its time to make the audience connect and care for the human characters. The driving force for the majority of this film is the connection between Charlie and Bumblebee, and it’s great watching their relationship develop and grow as Bumblebee learns about the world around him as he deals with his memory loss. Hailee Steinfeld without a doubt delivers the strongest performance we’ve seen in the franchise.   John Cena is also decent as Jack Burns, who for the most part plays the human antagonist role.

We do, of course, get the standard portion of Transformers action, but it’s dealt with in a far better way than the Bay films, they are edited very well and don’t feel too congested due to the fact that the number of Autobots/Decepticons are kept down to the bare minimum. The phrase “less is more” couldn’t apply more to this film and I’m so glad that Travis Knight went down this route, the action is still entertaining but it’s not as ridiculous, the audience will actually be invested, they’ll be able to keep up, and they’ll be able to care about the outcome.

Bumblebee is a strong character story, which doesn’t need to rely on constant action to captivate its audience. In fact, you may well find yourself wanting to see more of the lighter, heart-warming stuff and less of the action! The relationship between Charlie and Bumblebee will undoubtedly put a smile on your face and you’ll be behind them every step of the way, but you’ll still get a healthy dosage of that trademark Transformers action, it might be watered down and nowhere near as full on as the other films, but it works, and it works well. This is unlike any Transformers film you’ve ever seen, and it’s probably the best. Travis Knight has reinvigorated the franchise, and for the first time in a long time, I’m looking forward to whatever comes next.

I give Bumblebee an 8/10.

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