Bumblebee ★★★

Aside from liking the comic relief in the first movie, I don't know if I was ever truly interested in Transformers. For some reason they make money and when Bumblebee was announced, I couldn't overstate my lack of interest.

Despite that, I kept an open mind and actually kind of liked Bumblebee. It's essentially ET with an autobot. And it suffers from issues one can only expect from movies about giant robots that transform into vehicles and fight each other. But there's a surprising amount of heart to the story of Charlie and Bee. Oftentimes when I wasn't rolling my eyes with the movie, I was on board with the friendship of the two leads and Charlie's connection with the autobot.

There are faults to be found in this movie. That's for sure. But how they impact your experience watching the movie is entirely up to you as the viewer. If you can suspend your disbelief (I mean, come on, they're alien machines that turn into cars) and overlook some gripes, it's a fun movie.

I laughed with the movie when Charlie and Memo suddenly appear in the exact location they need to be, immediately after breaking into a compound. I was afraid my eyes wouldn't roll back when I realized that a very forced backstory about a character was about to be paid off in a very silly way. I guffawed at John Cena saying the exact thing I was thinking: "They're called Decepticons, doesn't that raise a red flag?"

But for all its silliness, inconsistencies, and cringe, I still enjoyed the movie. Hailee Steinfeld really sells her role as Charlie. If the movie had a less charismatic or less committed actress in the lead, this review would be much more negative.

As for the set pieces. It's a Transformers movie. Even though it's not directed by Bay, it's still giant machines fighting one another. I don't believe there's much room for innovation there. However, Travis Knight does deliver a Transformers movie that is much more coherent in its action scenes than Bay's signature, frenetic style.

Surprisingly entertaining.