BUMBLEBEE Spoiler-Free Review; "[It] Doesn't Bring Anything New Or Original To The Table"
Bumblebee arrives in theaters next week but does the Transformers spinoff/prequel set the franchise back on the right track after Michael Bay's disastrous efforts? Find out my verdict right here...
Hailee Steinfeld is excellent as the movie's lead and is a layered and well-thought-out female character; it's just a shame that she's bogged down by a stereotypical background. Despite that, the talented actress (who also stars in this month's superior Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse) manages to shine for the most part and there are definitely brighter projects on the horizon for her in future.
Jorge Lendeborg Jr. is nothing to write home about and John Cena is, quite frankly, terrible. It's no secret that I'm a huge wrestling fan but The Rock he is not and if the leader of the Cenation truly believes that a Hollywood career is next for him once his in-ring career is over, he may be better off going back to starring in direct-to-DVD nonsense like The Marine. Cena has delivered a lot of solid performances but as Bumblebee's big bad, he's wooden and comes across as being constipated for the majority of his screentime.
For longtime Transformers fans, the original character designs and a brief visit to Cybertron are bound to be appreciated and while the fights are definitely easier to follow than Michael Bay's blur of VFX, seeing robots square off is nothing new at this point. They're certainly thrilling at times and the choreography is impressive enough but you won't be blown away. On the plus side, there's a cracking 80s soundtrack and some genuinely funny moments, particularly when Bumblebee is getting used to his new surroundings. For a kid's movie, this is fine, but between the cliched characters, an expected romance between the two leads, and a story which has been told countless times before, Bumblebee hasn't so much saved the franchise or entirely set it back on the right track. Should we be worried about Birds of Prey? (also written by Christina Hodson) Probably.
Your kids will probably love it but there's not enough here for hardcore fans to appreciate and, as a blockbuster, Bumblebee sadly falls short in a month with far better offerings.
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