Superb prequel will leave you buzzing
Despite gobbling up billions at the box office, the Transformers franchise was already on shaky ground before 2017’s awful The Last Knight did its best to turn off cinemagoers once and for all.
Ahead of that turkey’s release, though, plans were announced to expand the Transformers universe in a series of spin-offs.
For this first addition to the main franchise it’s a trip back to 1987 for prequel Bumblebee, telling the story of how the Autobot ended up on Earth.
Any fears that extending the Transformers universe would prove to be a colossal error are put to bed — for now at least — as this bright, breezy little adventure rates as the series’ best flick yet.
That’s in no small part to Christina Hodson’s simple script that’s a world away from the headspinning developments of the previous two movies.
Lifting elements from the likes of The Iron Giant and Short Circuit, it’s terrific fun, with Hodson also penning a believable teenage heroine in Hailee Steinfeld’s Charlie.
Steinfeld is the franchise’s finest human lead thus far and shares memorable chemistry with the titular Autobot, in different ways they are both outsiders who have had close family members taken away from them.
Kubo and the Two Strings director Travis Knight does a top job with his first live-action film, honouring Transformers fans with an nostalgic, old-school Bumblebee and Optimus Prime and rewarding audiences with a brighter colour palette, and unlike in previous series entries, it’s always clear who is fighting who.
The eighties setting was an inspired choice as it differentiates Bumblebee from its predecessors; the rock-fuelled soundtrack is brilliant.
John Cena’s square-jawed Agent Burns is a generic presence who adds little but it’s nice just to touch upon minor quibbles in a Transformers flick that offers hope to the franchise’s future. This heart-pounding thriller is packed with shocking twists, unbearable tension and a career-best turn from John Cho.
A clever script pulls the rug out from under your feet.
Best matesThe lead duo are a treat together