Transformers movies on Showmax: ranked

By Stephen Aspeling14 February 2024

Transformers movies on Showmax: ranked

Transformers is an adaptation of the beloved 80s animated series, which essentially upscales the complexity of plotting and design with heavier themes. Having made ET, produced Back to the Future and generally taken a shine to all things alien, it’s not all that surprising to discover that Steven Spielberg has been a producer of the live-action films from the very beginning. At first reluctant to make a movie about creatures from outer space that can convert from man-made vehicles into robotic beings, and vice versa, Spielberg’s involvement and a whistle-stop of Transformers lore convinced Michael Bay to sign on as director. 

Seven films and over $5 billion in box office takings later, the Transformers continue their dominion with legions of fans ready to jump to attention and punch the sky. Love or hate him, Michael Bay has continued to smash the box office with larger-than-life movies about Hasbro’s popular line of toys. While GI Joe was originally primed for adaptation, Hasbro pushed for Transformers to go first, incorporating a militaristic aspect thanks to Bay wanting to ramp up the intensity and violence.  

1. Transformers (2007) 

Transformers is on Showmax

The Transformers mega-franchise started with a story about a boy and his car, a slow immersion into the shimmering world of alien robot warfare. A smart move initiated by Spielberg, this gave audiences a chance to connect with the human story of a kid learning to take responsibility before graduating to the idea of epic battles between robots in disguise. 

Featuring cutting-edge technology and heightened audio-visual mayhem, this explosive live-action debut was a visceral blast from the past. Resurrecting the beloved animated series and bringing it to life in all its metallic glory, this epic sci-fi action adventure is awe-inspiring and well-balanced in terms of that 80/20 sci-fi rule. Ramping up the action intensity as the Autobots and Decepticons begin to wage war on our planet, this blockbuster set the franchise in motion with a robotic “hells yeah”.  

2. Bumblebee (2018) 

Bumblebee on Showmax

Bumblebee is a spin-off Transformers movie, the first not directed by Michael Bay, which proves that a simpler story can often make a world of difference. Travis Knight worked wonders with Kubo and the Two Strings and delivers more storytelling magic in this entertaining tale about Charlie’s discovery and rehabilitation of a battle-scarred and broken Bumblebee on her 18th birthday.  

Bumblebee stars Hailee Steinfeld, who brought tremendous depth to her role in the coming-of-age drama Edge of Seventeen. While not a rinse-and-repeat by a long shot, the bond between car and teenager echoed the original Transformers movie for its heartfelt charm and nostalgia. The refresh is that it’s 1987. Taking Spielberg’s influence a step further, there’s an ET undertone to this tale of a girl and her junkyard stray… sorry, car. 

3. Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) 

Transformers: Dark of the Moon is on Showmax

Sam Witwicky is ready to save the world again in Shia LaBeouf’s cockiest performance opposite the drop-dead gorgeous Rosie Huntington-Whitely in the third film. Supported by John Malkovich, Frances McDormand and John Turturro, the Coen brothers connection is undeniably strong. This star-studded affair goes a step further with Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson and Patrick Dempsey as the GI Joe contingent while Alan Tudyk and Ken Jeong boost the comedy – a driving force in this sequel. 

A monster cast helps counterbalance blistering Transformers action as first-rate visual effects, a likable cast and hilarious comedy keep you transfixed and entertained. Complex story lines are the norm in the world of Transformers, which typically operates like a grand disaster movie in the key of Roland Emmerich. While it’s simple enough to follow Transformers: Dark of the Moon, this also adds intrigue to all the dazzling spectacle and exhilarating action sequences. A solid sci-fi blockbuster, it moves at such speed that it’s hard not to be mesmerised by the wild flights of fancy and all-out robot showdowns. 

4. Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014) 

Transformers: Age of Extinction is on Showmax

The biggest change in Transformers: Age of Extinction is Mark Wahlberg, who steps in for Shia LaBeouf as mechanic turned inventor Cade Yeager. Saving the world from complete annihilation three times in a row is already a bit of a reach. This loud visual extravaganza of a reboot finds Yeager wanted by the Transformers and a paranoid government official after the purchase of an old truck leads authorities to detect alien activity. Going head to head with a Steve Jobs type in Stanley Tucci and a steely-eyed bigwig in Kelsey Grammer, the charismatic and convincing Wahlberg just seems better equipped to lead the charge. 

Sporting the visual effects and action sequences we’ve come to admire, the cast is bolstered by Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor, TJ Miller and Thomas Lennon in a similar dynamic to Dark of the Moon. Solid cast aside, the emphasis is still on the explosive cacophony of shiny robot metal as the humans dodge high octane carnage. Loud, flashy and slick… everything about Transformers: Age of Extinction is larger-than-life with an almost three hours running time. The Dinobots scream Dino-Riders, much like the GI Joe undertone as an entertaining and eye-popping barrage of big action set pieces and fun one-liners give us a taste of “Transformers in Space”. 

5. Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (2023) 

Transformers: Rise of the Beats on Showmax

Would it even be a Transformers movie if the piston-pumping action was anything but top drawer and the visual effects didn’t blow your mind? The latest entry, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts finds series favourites Optimus Prime and Bumblebee join forces with gorilla leader, Optimus Primal. A cross-over of Transformers and Beast Wars, this time-travelling epic contrasts Brooklyn’s mean streets with lush Amazon rainforests. Adopting a light-hearted tone, this kick-ass blockbuster harnesses satisfying nostalgia, popcorn spectacle and a killer soundtrack to bring it all together. 

The seventh instalment serves as a prequel to Transformers, a standalone sequel to Bumblebee and the introduction to new director Steven Caple Jr of Creed II fame. Starring Anthony Ramos and Dominique Fishback, the film tracks a former military electronics expert and a researcher as they try to protect the Transwarp Key from the threat of the Terrorcons. Finding more connection in the heartfelt human drama and pairing it with top-notch action make this one of the more enjoyable Transformers movies. 

6. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) 

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is on Showmax

You could blame the Hollywood writer’s strike for the extreme close-up action, confused story lines, grandpa robot, product placement and Transformers testicles. Starring rising talents in Shia LeBeouf and Megan Fox, the second live-action Transformers movie from Michael Bay cements LaBeouf as a charming and unassuming lead actor with Fox there to double down on sex appeal. Continuing the same metallic clash of machines and humans, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen supersizes everything for a bigger, louder and longer blockbuster. 

Candy-coated and stunning visual effects ensure the Transformers are the real stars in this bombastic and glossy sequel. The CGI is realistic and the fight sequences are mesmerising to the point of being kaleidoscopic as metallic objects clash and explode. Centred on Megatron’s resurrection, an ancient artefact and Allspark convulsions, it’s a bit of a jumble with Adam Sandler-style humour. Thankfully beyond the sequel’s flaws is a light, upbeat and entertaining action extravaganza rehash. 

7. Transformers: The Last Knight (2017) 

Transformers: The Last Knights is on Showmax

Transformers meets Arthurian legend in Transformers: The Last Knight, a fantasy sci-fi epic that finds Merlin deciding the fate of a battle between The Knights of the Round Table and Saxon forces with far-reaching consequences. Not taking itself too seriously, it’s Anthony Hopkins who sells the drama opposite Mark Wahlberg and Laura Haddock, there to anchor the high flung storytelling with comments like “No whoopeee, Mr Cade?”. 

While it may be a bit of a stretch, even for a Transformers movie, those who love the series, medieval conquests or that gritty Darren Aronofsky adaptation of Noah and the Ark will find something to appreciate. From a sword-wielding Optimus Prime to the full-tilt Bayhem you’ve come to expect, there’s never a dull moment in this kid-in-a-candy-store instalment to the live-action Transformers series. Aiming for totally awesome in a bid to heart-shock the child within back to life, this is Transformers unhinged.