When the Transformers franchise started, it was exciting and showed that the classic toy line/cartoon could succeed on the big screen – and succeed on a high level. However, something happened along the way. After the first movie told the story about a “boy and his car,” the second movie made things more about an all-out war, and by the third movie, the humans didn’t matter anymore.

While the movies kept making money, the quality dropped, and what was once critic-proof became something that no one really talked about liking anymore. After Transformers: Age of Extinction broke $1 billion, The Last Knight bottomed out at $602,000. Money isn’t what matters, but the point is that people stopped going to see the movies.

Even Bumblebee, the best movie since the first Transformers movie, failed to make a dent because the franchise had fallen so hard. However, things are turning around when it comes to quality. After the great Bumblebee, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts proved it wasn’t a one-movie deal. It is right up there with Bumblebee as the best movie in the franchise since the first one. And, it’s all about the humans.

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts Review

Optimus Primal in Transformers: Rise of the Beasts

Sam Witwicky and Bumblebee were the heart and soul of the first movie and Charlie and Bumblebee made Bumblebee great. Transformers: Rise of the Beasts made the story all about a human and his relationships with the Transformers. In this case, it was Noah Diaz (Anthony Ramos). Noah brought a little something extra to the role of the human. Unlike Sam and Charlie, Noah was a military man, although one who was discharged and didn’t go out the right way. However, he was still in over his head when he learned that Transformers were real after meeting Mirage (Pete Davidson).

This movie took place after the events of Bumblebee but before the first Transformers movie. That opens up a can of worms with some plot holes. It is better to ignore those to enjoy this movie. And there is a lot to enjoy here. Noah is trying to make money to help his brother get the medical care that he needs, but the medical facilities won’t provide it without payment. When he can’t get a job based on how he left the military, he helps a friend steal a car. That car turns out to be Mirage.

This happens at the exact same time that the Terrorcons arrive on Earth. Optimus Prime calls his Transformers into action. This puts Noah in the middle of the war. Thanks to the fact the Autobots need to get a device from a museum, they agree to have him help them. This brings in another human in Elena (Dominique Fishback), an artifact researcher who gets sucked into the action. After this, the Autobots meet the Maximals, and they all team up to stop the Terrorcons before they help the planet-eating Unicron show up to eat the planet.

While it sounds a little convoluted, the good news is that it isn’t. The last couple of Transformers movies before Bumblebee were overly complicated. This one is a little more by the dots. That is good because, once again, the story is about Noah as much as it is about the Autobots. That is what makes it better than most movies in the franchise. The main heart of the story is that there is a device that will help the Autobots return to their world to try to save it. However, it could also help Unicron get here to destroy Earth. Optimus Prime wants to use it, and Noah wants to destroy it.

That simple story is what really carries the movie throughout. It really is all that a Transformers movie needs to do. Make the Autobots cool and deliver some amazing action. Then make sure there is a story there that people care about – preferably one that includes humans wanting to protect their loved ones. Transformers: Rise of the Beasts does that. When it comes to the action, it is some of the best of the franchise, with the final battle between Autobots and Predacons full of fan-friendly moments. Movies like this could have saved the franchise 10 years ago.