It took six tries to make a Transformers movie that was decent. Better yet, I should say that it took Michael Bay not directing to make a decent Transformers movie.
The story follows Charlie Watson (Hailee Steinfeld) who is grieving the recent death of her father.
While the rest of her family appears to be moving on the best they can, Charlie cannot fill the hole that his passing has left in her life. That is until she crosses paths with a giant alien/robot who has crash landed on Earth disguised as a Volkswagen Beetle.
That alien is the titular Bumblebee, who has come to set up a resistance base on Earth for the Autobots. Of course, a few decepticons have followed him and their intentions aren’t friendly. Charlie and Bumblebee bond, helping one another solve their various problems. Also, John Cena is there.
The movie is fun escapism that kept me engaged from start to finish. Granted, It wasn’t perfect. There were occasionally some eye rolling moments: Charlie’s family gets involved in the action at one point in a scene that felt straight out of the 1980s (I know the film takes place in 1987, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a 1980s movie). However, compared to the previous Transformers films this was practically a work of art.
The previous Transformers films were spectacles. The story and the characters came secondary to the CGI and explosions. Honestly, I couldn’t tell you the plot to any of the previous Transformers films and I’ve seen all five of them. “Bad guys fighting good guys” is the best synopsis for those films I have. The only things I actually remember are the racism, the misogyny and being so overstimulated that I would walk out of the theater with a migraine.
“Bumblebee” is a different in that it’s not action for the sake of action, but action to (gasp) tell the story. The plot is also insulated and simple. Yes, our heroes have to save the world, but at the heart of the picture it’s all about Charlie’s relationship with Bumblebee. Perhaps there’s hope for this franchise yet. Let’s just keep Michael Bay away.