The reviews for Transformers spin-off Bumblebee are now in, and the verdict is surprisingly positive. The mind behind the critically-acclaimed animation Kubo and the Two Strings helms this family action-drama which explores the origin story of everyone’s favourite autobot.

The film takes place in 1987 and follows the transformer as he seeks shelter in the scrapyard of a California beach-town. A young-girl finds the mechanical curiosity and an unlikely bond between the two forms. Now, this doesn’t sound like anything new, but skeptics of the franchise are praising the film for its charming coming-of-age approach to the Transformers mythology and its light and friendly tone. Michael Bay (Pain & Gain, Armageddon) began the live-action franchise in 2007, and despite tremendous financial success, the films have proved to be consistent critical bombs.

So, it’s rather pleasant to see that a filmmaker has managed to take the franchise in a new direction. Audiences certainly weren’t expecting miracles from the film, but to see that it has been received more positively than any of Bay’s output prior is a significant hurdle to overcome. Fans will be wise to venture out and see if Bumblebee really is worth the praise, because it looks like Michael Bay has resorted to producing a string of upcoming Transformers sequels – he’s credited as the producer on Bumblebee also – rather than directing. This may signal a much needed change, and who knows, perhaps the franchise can be resurrected, finally becoming the warm and joyful film series it always should have been.

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