Bumblebee: What Critics Think

John Cena is the star of action film Bumblebee. He’s well on his way to realizing his dream of becoming a movie action hero. Here’s what critics thought of the film.

Entertainment Weekly

(L-R)Travis Knight, Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena, Lorenzo di Bonaventura attend Paramount Pictures' Beijing press conference for 'Bumblebee' on December 14, 2018 in Beijing, China.

Bumblebee cast | Yanshan Zhang/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures

Entertainment Weekly’s Leah Greenblatt says director Travis Knight does a great job of capturing the ‘80s (the film is set in 1987). She also appreciated the movie’s humorous tone.

[Knight] infuses the movie with the decade’s most beloved touchstones in ways that feel both familiar and somehow fresh. Not least because it puts a relatable, capable teenage girl at the center of a franchise that has hardly deigned to use them as more than decorative parsley until now. John Cena is top billed, and though this brick-jawed military man doesn’t actually get many scenes, he does get a disproportionate share of the script’s best lines. He gives good muscle, but Bumblebee brings something even more important—and actually transforming—to the series: a sense of humor, and a heart.

Variety

Travis Knight, Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena, Lorenzo di Bonaventura attend Paramount Pictures' red carpet for 'Bumblebee' on December 14, 2018 in Beijing, China.

Bumblebee cast | Yanshan Zhang/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures

Variety’s Peter Debrudge says Bumblebee has a clear plot and better character development than previous Transformer movies.

Imagine, if you can, a Transformers movie in which the plot is coherent, the robots feel like characters (as opposed to gleaming CG creations), and the action is staged and edited clearly enough to follow. After five rock ’em, sock ’em blockbuster features, it has become clear that audiences would never get such a film as long as Michael Bay occupied the director’s chair, and though he should certainly be credited for proving that a Hasbro toy line could support a massive global franchise, Bumblebee is basically the movie that fans of the 1980s animated series wanted all along.

Mirror

John Cena attends Premiere Of Paramount Pictures' "Bumblebee" at TCL Chinese Theatre on December 09, 2018 in Hollywood, California.

John Cena | Presley Ann/Getty Images

The Mirror’s Chris Hunneysett says Bumblebee reinvigorates the Transformers movie franchise.

The Hollywood machine has retooled the Transformers franchise for a sleeker, quicker and more enjoyable ride in this character driven prequel… Operating on a noticeably reduced budget, new director Travis Knight, who made 2016’s wonderful animation, Kubo and the Two Strings, aims for a lighter and more female friendly tone and has thrown out Bay’s leering up-skirt camerawork… Die-hard fans may not appreciate the comparative lack of mechanized mayhem as character takes precedence over action for the lengthy middle section. But for a general audience, the sparky chemistry of Charlie and Bumblebee means the series has got its buzz back.

Screen Rant

John Cena attends Premiere Of Paramount Pictures' "Bumblebee" at TCL Chinese Theatre on December 09, 2018 in Hollywood, California.

John Cena | Presley Ann/Getty Images

Screen Rant’s Holly Freeman says Bumblebee is the best Transformers yet.

To reinvigorate the property, Paramount brought in a writers’ room, a method of producing work typically reserved for TV. The Last Knight was created from this writers’ room, but so too was the Transformers prequel about the fan-favorite yellow Autobot—and one is more successful than the other. Bumblebee is a fun, heartfelt and still action-filled Transformers prequel that ushers in a new—and better—era of movies about the Autobots.

Bumblebee may not necessarily be a reboot of the Transformers franchise, but if it’s an example of what fans can expect from future movies, then Knight’s film undoubtedly ushers in a new and welcome era of the series that promises even greater success for the Robots in Disguise.

Read more: Aquaman Review: What Critics Think

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