The 8 Best Transformers Movies, Ranked (From Best to Worst)

The Transformers movies have had high highs and low lows. Here's how we'd rank all of the films in this uneven franchise.
The 8 Best Transformers Movies, Ranked (From Best to Worst)

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If there's one media franchise that's quintessentially 80s yet still connects with today's generation of kids, it's Transformers. Every child knows about the age-long battle between Autobots and Decepticons.

And it was only a matter of time before this successful toy line got the Hollywood treatment. Sure, there was an animated film back in 1986, but the live-action movies in 2007 and beyond really gave the franchise the blockbuster infusion it deserved.

Sadly, the results have been super hit-or-miss. The Transformers movies have been all over the place, much to the chagrin of die-hard fans—but the ones that were good have been really good.

Here's our ranking of every Transformers movie, starting with the worst and leading all the way up to the best.

8. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)

Trailer for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)

Directed by Michael Bay

Starring Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel

Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi (2h 29m)

5.9 on IMDb20% on RT

Many consider Transformers: The Last Knight to be the worst of the franchise, but if you ask me, it's Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen that sits solidly at the bottom of the ladder.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was so notoriously bad, in fact, that it won the Razzie for Worst Picture that year.

This follow-up to 2007's Transformers would've been a decent summer outing if Michael Bay didn't pump his stylistic flair to the utmost.

We're talking crass humor, obnoxious characters (like John Turturro's Agent Simmons), gratuitously long action scenes, illogical fallacies, and—you guessed it—way too many explosions.

Sam Witwicky's arc is the worst of it as Shia LaBeouf tries his hardest to pander to the lazy script. Despite the solid technical execution and the addition of other Transformers, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is nothing but numbing bombast from start to finish.

7. Transformers: The Last Knight (2017)

Trailer for Transformers: The Last Knight (2017)

Directed by Michael Bay

Starring Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Hopkins, Josh Duhamel

Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi (2h 34m)

5.2 on IMDb16% on RT

While reflecting on this franchise, it's truly remarkable how much money it pulls in when there are films as lazily made as Transformers: The Last Knight. It's a real contender for worst in the franchise.

Michael Bay was already inconsistent with previous entries, but he doubled down on all that by bringing back Megatron, bringing back Cybertron, refreshing the cast, and retelling the Autobots' first arrival on Earth with the inclusion of King Arthur.

Yes, that really happened.

Even the film's cast couldn't save this one. Despite being led by Mark Wahlberg alongside Josh Duhamel, Stanley Tucci, and even the great Sir Anthony Hopkins, Transformers: The Last Knight was a huge bust.

6. Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)

Trailer for Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)

Directed by Michael Bay

Starring Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Nicola Peltz Beckham

Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi (2h 45m)

5.6 on IMDb18% on RT

Transformers: Age of Extinction was many things, but most of all it was a soft reboot—a brand-new start, a brand-new story, a brand-new set of characters, all stuck with the same manic director.

With Sam Witwicky's story concluded, a new lead for the Transformers movies came in the form of Mark Wahlberg's inventor Cade Yeager.

Cade and his daughter Tessa find an abandoned Optimus Prime, only to get caught up in another war against the Decepticons. This time it's the bounty hunter Lockdown and Megatron-possessed Galvatron.

If it didn't have so much horrendous filler and if it focused solely on the war between the Autobots and Decepticons, Transformers: Age of Extinction would be far more engaging. But with a runtime that nearly reaches three hours, it's just too much to slog through.

5. Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)

Trailer for Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)

Directed by Michael Bay

Starring Shia LaBeouf, Josh Duhamel, John Turturro

Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi (2h 34m)

6.2 on IMDb35% on RT

Given how terrible Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was, it's a miracle that the franchise got a follow-up film. It would've taken a miracle to put the trashed franchise back on good footing.

While Transformers: Dark of the Moon was not that miracle, it did have some slivers of hope that showed how good these films could be.

Fans were able to celebrate the appearance of Sentinel Prime (voiced by the great Leonard Nimoy, who previously voiced Galvatron in the 1986 film), the addition of other Transformers like Mirage and Laserbeak, and the impressive skydiving sequence.

Unfortunately, those were all drowned out by Michael Bay's continued mad style, the gratuitous action sequences, the cashing-in of prestigious actors (like Frances McDormand), the annoying characters (like Ken Jeong's Jerry Wang), and still more explosions.

4. Transformers (2007)

Trailer for Transformers (2007)

Directed by Michael Bay

Starring Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel

Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi (2h 24m)

7.0 on IMDb57% on RT

Back in 2007, the hype was real. So many fans looked forward to the big-screen live-action showdown between Autobots and Decepticons in the highly anticipated Transformers.

Back then, the fact that it was "A Michael Bay Film" still had some pull and excitement to it. And in many ways, the original Transformers truly did deliver on all that built-up hype.

Obviously, the robots in disguise were the best part. Their first visit to Earth showed how larger-than-life they were. And even though the script only captured their surface-level personas (poor Jazz), their appearances were thrilling to see in live-action form.

But Michael Bay's fingerprints were all over it, from the male gaze and the offensive stereotypes in Megan Fox's Mikaela to all the product placement and extreme number of explosions.

To this day, the first Transformers remains the most tolerable of all the Michael Bay Transformers movies.

3. Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (2023)

Trailer for Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (2023)

Directed by Steven Caple Jr.

Starring Anthony Ramos, Dominique Fishback, Luna Lauren Velez

Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi (2h 7m)

6.6 on IMDb52% on RT

Five years after the success of Bumblebee, the Transformers franchise was eager to follow in its footsteps, hoping for a much-needed revival.

It's clear that they tried to learn lessons from Bumblebee, namely by moving away from all the Bayhem and refocusing the franchise on the titular robots in disguise.

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is far from a perfect film, but it's far more serviceable as a blockbuster than any of Michael Bay's flicks.

This one marks the cinema debut of the Maximals—primarily in Optimus Primal (Ron Perlman) and Airazor (Michelle Yeoh)—who assist the Autobots in stopping Unicron from consuming the planet.

Caught up in all of that are humans Noah (Anthony Ramos) and Elena (Dominique Fishback) with functional performances.

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is loaded with fun character interactions, solid dramatic stakes, and enough cool moments to get you through the overstuffed action (which, admittedly, is cleaner and clearer).

2. The Transformers: The Movie (1986)

Trailer for The Transformers: The Movie (1986)

Directed by Nelson Shin

Starring Orson Welles, Robert Stack, Leonard Nimoy

Animation, Adventure, Sci-Fi (1h 24m)

7.2 on IMDb62% on RT

A feature-length motion picture has always been a no-brainer path for the Transformers toys and TV series.

When it finally happened in 1986 with The Transformers: The Movie, the end result more than honored the rich universe of Cybertron, even if it had to go to some dark places.

Fans of the series were unprepared for the deaths of certain characters, and while the dour apocalyptic tone might've been fitting for the plot that extended from the show, it did make for a bleak story.

Nevertheless, it had bright spots like the new generation of Autobots (from fast-talking Blurr to fierce Arcee), the appearance of Unicron (Orson Welles), and the awesome soundtrack.

Without a doubt, The Transformers: The Movie is the franchise's most faithful movie when you consider its animated TV roots.

1. Bumblebee (2018)

Trailer for Bumblebee (2018)

Directed by Travis Knight

Starring Hailee Steinfeld, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., John Cena

Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi (1h 54m)

6.7 on IMDb91% on RT

After Transformers: The Last Knight, very few believed that the Transformers movie franchise should even continue.

Initial reception to the idea of a Bumblee spin-off was lukewarm at best, which is funny in hindsight. Bumblebee ended up being the best Transformers movie, the one that was so desperately needed.

For starters, Bumblebee was the first of the films to eschew Michael Bay as director (who opted for a producer role). In his place, we got Travis Knight (who previously directed Kubo and the Two Strings), who took the franchise back to its nostalgic roots.

In exploring Bumblebee's humble E.T.-like beginnings, Bumblebee finally captured the emotional depth that was missing in all the other Transformers movies.

With a great opening scene set in Cybertron, a heartfelt central performance by Hailee Steinfeld, and various Transformers Easter eggs, Bumblebee was a breath of fresh air and proof that the Transformers film franchise could be more than mindless action.

For all these reasons, there's no doubt in our minds that Bumblebee is the best Transformers movie by a long shot.