To say that the Transformers are somewhat of a toxic brand nowadays is to make an understatement like fire is a little hot. I, myself, am a huge fan of Transformers and I will freely admit that I simply adore the first Michael Bay Transformers movie and I’ve been waiting for a good sequel ever since. And I’ve been waiting. And I’ve been waiting. And I’ve been waiting.
Transformers is a movie franchise that is an expert at finding brand new ways to lower the bar. Every sequel has been bigger, louder, stupider, and more annoying than the rest. By the time The Last Knight came out, I was sure that this franchise was doomed.
This isn’t something I wanted. I’ve mentioned it before on a website far far away that I have always been rooting for the Transformers movies. I want them to be good. I want them to be fun. I want them to be something that I can sit through and enjoy. Every time a Bad sequel came out, it was like a steel toed kick to the groin. I take no joy in hating the Transformers movies because I love Transformers.
Lo and behold we have Bumblebee. By all accounts, this should be a stupid and worthless spinoff from a stupid and worthless franchise but, the makers of this movie have done something unexpected… They’ve actually given us a good movie.
Bumblebee, as you have no doubt guessed, follows the adventures of the Transformer Bumblebee as he arrives on Earth for the first time tasked with establishing an Autobot base in secret. However, two Decepticon agents follow him and threaten to stick their dipsticks in the entire mission which gets even more complicated when Bumblebee is damaged and loses his voice and memory.
Fortunately, he is discovered by a teenager named Charlie who befriends him and protects him.
Basically, it’s ET with Transformers.
That being said, Bumblebee is a vast improvement over what has come before. It’s a smaller movie, a lot more heartfelt, and nowhere near as brain-cell killingly stupid as its predecessors. Michael Bay’s ugly mitts are off this film so we get none of his casual racism or exploitative misogyny or incomprehensible action scenes. What we are left with is an enjoyable movie with an enjoyable Transformers character. Bumblebee is cute. He’s a cute walking war machine.
As a long time fan of Transformers, it does my heart good to see the G1 iterations of the Transformers and not the junkpiles that the movies gave us.
I’m not going to sit here and say that this is a perfect movie because it is a tad derivative. As I said, if you seen ET, Earth to Echo, or Mac and Me, you’re familiar with the whole “Oh no, the government’s going to discover my alien friend” trope and it does wear a little thin, but Bumblebee is an enjoyable movie and I haven’t said that about a Transformers movie in four sequels.