WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Paramount Pictures' Bumblebee, in theaters now.
Despite frequently negative critical reception, Michael Bay's Transformers franchise was one fans couldn't stop flocking to see. Although it lacked a coherent continuity, featured many offensive jokes, over-sexualized its female leads, and pitted Autobots and Decepticons against each other with no attempt to create an emotional connection to either group, the franchise was a gold mine for Paramount Pictures. That is until 2017's The Last Knight tanked.
The Last Knight was the last straw for many fans, with critical and commercial reception confirming people were tired of Bay's style-over-substance approach. However, with Travis Knight's Bumblebee, loyalists can finally sink their teeth into the course correction they've been so desperately seeking, as this spinoff rights all the wrongs of the Bay era.
IT PROPERLY BALANCES THE HUMAN ASPECT
Bay's films spent a lot of time focusing on the franchise's human characters, prioritizing Sector 7, the U.S. military and other humans like Shia LaBeouf's Sam Witwicky over its robot characters. Apart from Optimus, Bay didn't really delve into any of the Autobots or Decepticons, not even Decepticon leader Megatron.
Bumblebee, though, gets this balance right. Knight doesn't focus too much on Hailee Steinfeld's Charlie or 'Bee; instead, he crafts a film that gives each their time in the limelight and allows the two to form a partnership that feels natural and not just based on crude punch lines. Charlie's family and Memo also get proper screen time without compromising Bumblebee's fight against the Decepticons. Knight even allows Sector 7 to factor into the film, but it's tastefully done and doesn't shift the spotlight away from the fan-favorite yellow Buggy.