Coming soon to a cinema near you is the latest entry in the infamous Transformers franchise, Bumblebee. Starring everyone’s favourite yellow beetle Bumblebee see’s the young Autobot head to Earth in the late ’80s to protect the planet from the appropriately evil Decepticons.
Unfortunately, not long after landing on Earth he is brutally attacked by a Decepticon. During the ensuing battle, he is heavily damaged. In his last moments, he finds a beetle and disguises himself to try and blend in.
Fast forward several months and the audience is introduced to Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld). Charlie is something of a tomboy. She spends her days working at the local carnival to help her fix the car she used to work on with her recently passed father.
She comes across the inert/unconscious Bumblebee and brings him home. Not realising this is an alien she has brought home. When he wakes up they have an almost immediate connection. Unbeknownst to them, there are more Decepticons on the way to reign down destruction in their search for the Autobot.
When I say these next words I want you to understand the weight behind them. Bumblebee is easily the best Transformers film ever. It is also one of the most heartfelt and emotional adventures you’ll see this year.
What works for Bumblebee are its two leads. Steinfeld and her relationship with Bee it’s brilliant. It’s akin to E.T. and Elliot or Hogarth and the Iron Giant. Steinfeld is full of that charismatic magic that has always been devoid in previous Transformer protagonists. Her journey through the whole film is trying to work through the traumatic event of losing her father who seemed like her best friend.
This is where Bee comes in. He is a brother, a confidant, and through him, Charlie sorts through her issues. It’s a symbiotic relationship. Bee betters himself as the film progresses thanks to Charlie’s nurturing ways. It’s just so heartwarming and compelling.
The relationship is the concrete foundation that Bumblebee sits upon and on top of this is the most impressive and innovative cinematography the franchise has ever seen. Watching Bee fight against other Transformers is so engaging. I adored every time there was a brawl. Bee fights like an MMA fighter. He brings every tool available to him to bring down his enemies. It’s just phenomenal watching him flip his enemies with his legs spin into the sky and kick them across the battlefield. This is the film that shows audiences that yes Bumblebee is the second in command to Optimus Prime for a reason. He’s a mother f**king boss.
If there are any issues with Bumblebee it would be the supporting cast can come across as annoying. Charlie’s family are nothing but filler. They are boring and if I’m being honest poorly developed. John Cena is a mixed bag. He gives some of the best one-liners during the film but there are other times where he comes across as two-dimensional. It’s strangely inconsistent.
There is also the constant reminder that the film is set in the ’80s. Nostalgia is a powerful element but my god Bumblebee shoves it down your throat. It’s so blatant and unapologetic. It genuinely took me out of the adventure of Bee and Charlie sometimes.
Ultimately though Bumblebee is an incredibly potent family film. I highly recommend it to non-fans and fans of the Transformers and remember – You’ve got the touch, you’ve got the power!” (that’s right that song is in the film).