What I Did Not Like About BumbleBee

By:  Black Conservative (@BlackConservative93)

Once I heard BumbleBee was getting his own spin-off starring John Cena, I smelled bullshit. What got my attention were the earlier trailers revealing G1 Transformer skins and undoing the eyesore of Michael Bay’s rendition that gets a facepalm from fans. Bay’s Transformers universe was dreadful. Granted, the first live-action film was okay and somewhat of a classic to most people who were not die-hard fans. Throughout the sequels we got tons of explosions, run-on jokes, crude humor, slapstick and genetic boy meets girl film tropes.

BumbleBee did fans justice as there are tons of 80s easter eggs. One of my favorite was seeing John Carpenter’s The Thing movie poster in the background. Yet, the BumbleBee story does lack substance, especially when it comes to comparing the previous timeline from Michael Bay’s adaption as this film is supposed to be a prequel. As a standalone film, BumbleBee is reduced from a noble young warrior to a pet. The mystery to the plot is that Optimus Prime is missing and has not rendezvoused with the rest of the Autobots. BumbleBee leaves Cybertron seeing Prime outnumbered by the Decepticons. The rest of the film is a painful reminder that he is a cliche in of itself. BumbleBee loses his memory and voice box. Apparently lightning strikes twice as Charlie Watson, a teenage girl who befriends and protects him from the outside world decides to name the robot, BumbleBee. Whatever, let us roll with it, it is not like there are bumble bees in Cybertron so I will take it anyways.

For an hour, BumbleBee is the only friend that Charlie has, so we go through the story of a gothic teen who is an outcast to not just her peers, but also family as she cannot accept her step father and the death of her actually father. Honestly, I get bored of it because I ended up not caring for her life struggles. Not to be mean, but what is the title of the film again? Exactly!

BumbleBee’s concept prior to initial release focused on John Cena being a badass soldier. Instead, he is Agent Burns who hates Transformers and blames BumbleBee for the death of his men years ago. Cena’s acting is generic and I grew tired of his niche role as some guy in the military. It is as bad as Jackie Chan always playing a Chinese cop who knows broken English. Cena’s character is not even a good villain or confused hero, but an annoying person who could have been left out the film or left to be played by a C-list celebrity. The real star of the show was Angela Bassett as Shatter, a Decepticon bounty hunter partnering with Dropkick to find BumleBee. She is quite scary and two-faced at times as she tricks the military into syncing their systems to find their target in exchange for Cybertronian technology. Voice acting was good, but I hated the plot. Once again as a reminder, BumbleBee is hunted down to find Prime and the Autobot base, yet stupidly the main villains think they can beat a confession out of him. In my head, I am screaming to the screen that BumbleBee is mute so alive or dead he is a useless hostage. He lost his memory too and out of dumb luck, he vaguely remembers his mission sent by Prime.

Unfortunately, the nostalgia stops with the few scenes on Cybertron with a couple minutes of seeing Shockwave, Soundwave and other G1 Decepticons without explanation. Blitzwing is misdesigned as Starscream and Megatron are not mentioned or seen either. I should have known G1 Megatron was too controversial for the big screen in PC culture even for nostalgia’s sake. For those who do not know, the original Megatron transformed to a handgun that shrunk himself to be held by other Transformers in robot mode. In most renditions of Megatron, he has not been a gun. In most alternate Transformers universes, Megatron transforms to a tank or jet. Due to the many cases of gun violence and gun control being a national news discussion, maybe Hasbro does not want to deal with liberal parents crying over their kids playing with toy guns.

Beyond that, the lack of a strong villain did not bother me as much the film’s ending as Memo, a blerd who likes Charlie does not even get a chance to kiss or be in a relationship. Granted, she is the school/neighborhood reject, Memo likes her regardless which I thought was that was sweet because blerds are always gaslighted by women into believing that blerds are single due to their attraction to popular girls. Memo is not strong or courageous, but come on I had to sit through past seeing Shia Labeouf get a hot girl who was not in his league and screams like a girl in every encounter with a Decepticon, but whatever, a blerd getting with a girl in his league is too far-fetched. I do believe that the film did not want to include an interracial couple in the film as this bothers many white fans who are intimidated by black men’s swag. As a blerd, it is rare to see us win with any girl at the end. We are constantly “friendzoned” despite us being the center and brains of the team. In retrospects to PC culture, I think the film wanted to showcase female empowerment in dating. I will respect Memo in that he took being friendzoned like a champion and a mature teenager. He also asked for permission to touch or kiss Charlie. At least feminists cannot bitch that Memo practices rape culture and toxic masculinity.

By the way, do not expect end credits cutscenes as the film is still debatable if this is a prequel or reboot. For future Transformers titles and films, we hope to see some more characters that should get more screen time like G1 Hot Rod or Transformers Armada Hotshot. I have little patience to listen to BumbleBee talking through the radio and being a sidekick to teens who need a social life.

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