Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Transformers: Rise of the Beasts’ on Paramount+, the latest installment in a declining franchise.

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Instead of a reboot, ‘Transformers: Rise of the Beasts’ (now available on Paramount+ and VOD services like Amazon Prime Video) delivers more of the same mindless chaos seen in the previous six movies of the series. While it comes after the slightly better-received ‘Bumblebee’ from 2018, which was directed by Travis Knight and had some endearing moments, ‘Rise of the Beasts’ still follows the path set by Michael Bay’s notorious films, which are known for their obnoxious tastelessness. However, this time, the film is helmed by director Steven Caple Jr. (‘Creed II’) and stars Anthony Ramos (‘In the Heights’) and Dominique Fishback (‘Swarm,’ ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’), who manage to salvage some aspects of the movie. Still, it falls short of becoming a great entry in the franchise.

The plot introduces Unicron (voiced by Colman Domingo), a colossal planet-sized Transformer that devours other planets and seeks the Transwarp Key, a significant MacGuffin that allows him to time-travel and potentially consume Earth. The story involves battles on different planets, the introduction of new Transformers like Optimus Primal (voiced by Ron Perlman) and his pals Cheetor (voiced by Tongayi Chirisa) and Airazor (voiced by Michelle Yeoh), as well as a battle against the villainous Scourge (voiced by Peter Dinklage). Eventually, the Transwarp Key ends up on Earth in 1994.

In New York City, we meet Noah Diaz (played by Ramos), an unemployed ex-military man trying to support his ailing brother’s medical expenses, and Elena Wallace (played by Fishback), an intern at a museum. Fate brings them together as they get involved in the conflict surrounding the Transwarp Key, with good and evil Transformers fighting over its possession. Series regulars like Optimus Prime (voiced by Peter Cullen), Arcee (voiced by Liza Koshy), and Bumblebee (voiced through sampled movie quotes) also join the action. The story moves from NYC to Peru, with the fate of the world hanging in the balance.

Despite some redeeming aspects, the film doesn’t quite elevate the Transformers franchise to new heights, leaving viewers wondering whether it’s worth their time or not.

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