All The Transformers Movies, Ranked Worst To Best

It’s almost hard to believe it’s been over a decade since the Transformers movies started taking the world by storm back in 2007. With director Michael Bay overseeing the first five films as director, the franchise has quite an identity it’s made for itself with those five entries. His tenure saw him direct Transformers through Transformers: The Last Knight, with Revenge of the Fallen, Dark of the Moon, and Age of Extinction filling the middle.

But, with the most recent movies, Bumblebee and Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, the franchise has seemed to switch tactics. While Bumblebee didn’t start a new Transformers universe like we thought, the shift in tone does make ranking the franchise itself all the more exciting. There’s plenty to talk about when comparing the tone between the original franchise run and the new era of all-audiences adventure, and that’s definitely going to come up in this rundown of the franchise so far.

Ranking them in order from the bottom of the bots to the Optimus Prime entry in the Transformers saga, we’ll run the table through all seven entries currently present in  Hasbro’s legacy toy brand canon, and describe what makes them great or not so great. Let’s roll out, and start with what is arguably the worst picture in the bunch.  

Optimus Prime standing with the Sphynx

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

7. Transformers 2: Revenge Of The Fallen (2009)

When pressed to give a reason why Revenge of the Fallen was as unimpressive a sequel as it was, director Michael Bay basically blamed it on the hoops he and the series’ writers had to jump through in order to complete the film before various industry strikes took place.

It certainly feels like they had trouble, as the second of the Transformers movies is an absolute mess in every way. Taking Shia LaBoeuf’s Sam Witwicky for a second ride, our hero found himself saddled with cosmic knowledge that could swing the war between Autobots and Decepticons in favor of the villains. But, of course, what Transformers movie would be complete without zany comedy?

With a story that felt as incomplete as it was offensive in some places, the rush to keep the series up and running definitely showed in this second bite at the apple. If there was more time and attention paid to the story, it could have been a pretty interesting follow-up, especially with legendary genre actor Tony Todd playing The Fallen, a rogue member of the Prime order.

Optimus Prime fighting Bumblebee in Transformers: The Last Knight

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

6. Transformers 5: The Last Knight (2017)

Considering how much of a breath of fresh air Age of Extinction was when it arrived, the Transformers movies would find themselves dipping in quality yet again with the fifth and final Bay-directed film, The Last Knight.

Doubling down on the “secret history” of humans and Transformers, this adventure would see Mark Wahlberg’s Cade Yeager returning on his own, with some new sidekicks in tow. Throw in a heel turn for Optimus Prime, an evil Transformers sorceress trying to resurrect Cybertron and a sassy robot butler that knows the words to “Move, Bitch,” and you basically have the gist of where this one went wrong.

For all of the care that was taken in laying down the mythos of the warring machines and their lost home of Cybertron in the previous films, Transformers: The Last Knight  became one hell of a slap in the face to fans, squandering that work for a disinteresting “finale.” It’s at least consistently dull, which gives it a leg up on Revenge of the Fallen.

Chicago's destruction in Transformers: Dark of the Moon

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

5. Transformers 3: Dark Of The Moon (2011)

After the writer’s strike of 2007-2008 interfered with the writing process of Revenge of The Fallen, the series had lost a good amount of the wind that was once in its sails. Then, Transformers: Dark of the Moon happened, which showed that while it had definitely taken a hit, the series wasn’t out of the game just yet.

The third and final film in the trilogy focused on Sam Witwicky, Dark of the Moon had a hell of a secret weapon to help tell the story. On the downside, the race against time between Autobot and Decepticon forces trying to recover an artifact from the moon, in hopes of ending their conflict for good, does depend a bit too much on the “secret history” angle. Moon landing conspiracy theorists may have even rejected this crazy twist. 

That said, even when things started to sag with this third film, it did have a show-stopping battle in Chicago, and an impressive turn by Leonard Nimoy as the villainous Sentinel Prime. For a moment, this movie got pretty dark and grim, and experimenting with that sort of tone this far into a series does score some style points.

Mark Wahlberg in Age of Extinction Poster

(Image credit: Paramount)

4. Transformers 4: Age of Extinction (2014)

Sometimes, a soft reboot is all you need to boost a series that needs a pick-me-up, and that’s what Transformers: Age of Extinction did in the series’ fourth outing. With a pretty much completely new human cast, led by Wahlberg’s protective father-turned Transformers crusader Cade, the possibilities for the series opened pretty wide.

By reintroducing some of the human element that would go missing in the two Sam Witwicky sequels, Age of Extinction gave the franchise a new lease on life, as well as room for a new trilogy dealing with an Earth that no longer ignored the presence of Transformers, but in some cases wanted to hunt them down and destroy them for good.

Capped off with the addition of Grimlock and other Dinobots entering the fray, this was more fun than most sequels get to be in a series that spans over three entries. The fact that The Last Knight squandered this promise so hard makes me appreciate this one a bit more every time I think about it.

Megan Fox and Shia LaBeouf in Transformers

(Image credit: Paramount)

3. Transformers (2007)

Out of all of the Bay-directed Transformers movies, the closest his series has ever come to setting the same sort of tone that Bumblebee did was with that first hit-making entry. As LaBeouf’s Sam shares a similar relationship with Bumblebee to the one that particular Autobot shared with Charlie in the ‘80s, the core of human and Transformer co-operation is its strongest in this particular Bay-fueled story.

The action is definitely a stand out when comparing 2007’s movieto Bumblebee, as there’s tons of frenetic heroism to enjoy in this more modern-paced blockbuster. Quite frankly, this film probably works the best because it’s where the entire franchise started, allowing this particular movie to be a little more experimental in what it wanted to do.

It takes a while to get to the actual gigantic action of Autobots and Decepticons fighting each other in public, which is actually best in hindsight, as it gave Transformers more time to really build its human component. But by time things take off, it’s full steam ahead for the rest of the film, as well as the franchise at large.

Hailee Steinfeld's Charlie behind the wheel of Bumblebee in car form

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

2. Bumblebee (2018)

There are so many things that Bumblebee gets right about being a Transformers movie. With an '80s setting that allows fans to get a bit of era-appropriate nostalgia mixed in with robot action, the stage is pretty well set for 2018’s kinda/sorta reboot to take flight.

What's even better is the fact that the breakout star actually takes his original form of a Volkswagen Beetle. Crafted as a film to warm the hearts of Transformers die-hards, going back to his original look was more than wise. However, there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to what makes this particular film work.

At the heart of Bumblebee’s entire effort to do something new is a story of Haliee Steinfeld’s Charlie, and her friendship with Bumblebee himself. Considered the most personal story in the series at the time, while also including a ton of Transformers movie action, another new day seemed to be dawning for robotic revelry.

Pete Davidson and Anthony Ramos in Transformers: Rise of the Beasts

(Image credit: Paramount)

1. Transformers: Rise Of The Beasts (2023)

Yes, I’m totally going to go out there and say that the 2023 movie release, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, is the best entry in the canon so far. Rather than waste the work that was done in Bumblebee before it, director Steven Caple Jr’s chapter in Autobot history actually doubles down on the charm shown previously.

What’s even better is the fact that the seventh Transformers movie has compelling characters in both the realms of machines and humanity. People like Noah Diaz (Anthony Ramos) and Elena Wallace (Dominique Fishback) made the flesh and blood components of this story the most compelling in series history.

Plus, continuing to roll out new Autobots like Mirage (Pete Davidson) just added to the colorful cast of mechanized friends that can be explored in sequels, and with firm ties to Michael Bay’s Transformers movies.

Of course, you don’t have to take my word on that claim. Now that Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is streaming with access to a Paramount+ subscription, it’s easy to catch the latest adventure in the comfort of your own home. Also, if you want to know what our favorite Transformers movie explosions happen to be, that information is also free and available to those who seek it.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

Mike Reyes is the Senior Movie Contributor at CinemaBlend, though that title’s more of a guideline really. Passionate about entertainment since grade school, the movies have always held a special place in his life, which explains his current occupation. Mike graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, but swore off of running for public office a long time ago. Mike's expertise ranges from James Bond to everything Alita, making for a brilliantly eclectic resume. He fights for the user.