Bumblebee is a Transformers spinoff that adds nothing new to the series. Even though it rights many long-existing wrongs to create a good popcorn flick, there’s not much else under the hood.
Set in the ’80s, this prequel is about Bumblebee being shot to Earth as the Autobots scatter across the universe after a war. A young outcast, Charlie Watson (Haliee Steinfeld), finds and teams up with the injured Autobot to save both their homes from Decepticons.
This outing has some of the best action ever in a Transformers film, while losing the offensive CGI characters that weighs them down. Unfortunately, the chains for Bumblebee are a thin plot combined with non-existent characters.
The faces of Bumblebee
I wished someone warned me about bringing a rain coat before seeing Bumblebee. No, not because I cried so hard at the emotional scenes, but the rather insane amount of crying Steinfeld does. She has snot bubbles and watery eyes every other line. I’ve seen people at funerals sob less.
Steinfeld plays the lead role very well as the likeable outcast. She carries the movie on her back with the only help being Bumblebee to bring in the comedy. Every character outside of her is paper-thin, plain unlikable, or a means to deliver “jokes”.
Jack Burns (John Cena) is the lead agent of a secret government agency called Sector 7. He is tasked with capturing Bumblebee and fighting off any other giant talking machines that land on Earth.
Cena’s character switches between good and bad throughout the runtime more than The Big Show. If he were to let our heroes go once one second, it’s not farfetched to think that he would throw a grenade towards them the next.
Cena does a good job in the role, having some of the best lines. He points out how stupid it is for anyone to trust a race called Decepticons. Of course, this doesn’t stop the government from teaming up with them… And you can guess the rest.
When the credits rolled, I realized he didn’t do too much besides be a minor obstacle to our heroes. He is a speedbump to Bumblebee when compared to the Decepticons that arrive.
Fresh paint on an old whip
Bumblebee uses a bunch of tropes that have already been done to death: A kid running from the government with an adorable alien and blah blah blah. You could catch a rerun of E.T. or Iron Giant, but say you saw Bumblebee and no one would be the wiser.
The funny thing is Bumblebee is not bad at all; it does most things competently. It hits all the beats a girl and her [insert cute creature] movie is supposed to. It just doesn’t do anything new or excel at one particular thing to make me want to watch it again.
Action scenes in Bumblebee are actually more than seeing giant metal balls fly at each other. For the first time in a long time, I can distinguish who’s fighting in a Transformers film and it’s less of clips like this.
The opening scene with the fight on Cybertron is great. Crazy action is happening everywhere with Autobots transforming, shooting, and even getting some nasty deaths.
This is one of the few reminders that Transformers are soldiers. When the hand-to-hand combat starts, they fight like they have training, instead of two trains smashing into one another. The war for Cybertron seems like a way more interesting tale from the glimpse shown.
A lot of the middle of this movie is filler as not much goes on during it. You could leave, watch Spider-Verse and come back to not have missed anything. The filler doesn’t help it’s near two hour runtime and I started to drift away at points.
A film score can be generic as long as it does its job, which is the case here. Bumblebee‘s score sounds like something that would be in a cheesy ’80s flick. The music barely stops short of a late-night drummer hitting the cymbal every time Bee does something funny.
What you get is what you see
Overall, Bumblebee has many parts to enjoy that might be overshadowed by non-existent characters, a boring middle section, and a cringy score.
This marks that the series is going in the right direction, even if it didn’t knock it out the park here. The action and a BIG maybe for the comedy could be enough for some people.
If you enjoy Transformers then this one is right up your alley. If you don’t, then continue playing Smash Ultimate or whatever people with lives do in their spare time