Almost one year ago, Netflix launched the latest chapter in the Transformers saga called War For Cybertron. Books and comics covered the fall of Cybertron, but this was the first visual media to cover it. In Siege we saw the fall of Transformers society and the loss of the Allspark at the hands of Optimus Prime. Then in Earthrise, the race to recover it from deep space began. Now, at the end of the month, we get the Final chapter of the trilogy – Transformers Kingdom.
When the series left off with Earthrise, the ending teased an incredible addition to the story. The final shot teased the introduction of the Beast Machines. We see a shot of a velociraptor’s head that electronically focuses on the action up above. Fans of the old CG animated series instantly recognized the head as Dinobot’s Predacon muzzle. Leaks of toy images later confirmed the Beast Machines were indeed being introduced in this final installment. This begged the question, the Beast Machines were supposed to be a future of the Transformers we know and love. The Autobots and Decepticons crash on a planet and the only way they can survive is to take on their animal forms. How can these versions coexist with the G1 versions?
We Have Seen This Movie Before
How can the future versions of Prime coexist and interact with their G1 versions? Earthrise laid the foundation for the answer and Kingdom explains everything a few episodes in, and the story will seem a bit familiar. In Earthrise, we saw Unicron for the first time. That in and of itself is not a big deal. Unicron is ancient, but the bigger shock came from when we saw Galvatron confronts Megatron. Given Unicron transforms Megatron into Galvatron this should not be possible! Optimus Primal explains everything a few episodes in and from there Transformers Kingdom goes 100% Back to the Future. That’s right – Time Travel.
I will admit the middle episodes lost my attention for a short while. The series went from so well grounded to a far flung time travel romp. The Maximals, Predacons, and Galvatron are trying to alter the past to their own ends. It makes perfect sense how they tell the story, but it seems to convenient an excuse to include every Transformer in the series. This weighs down the middle of the story, but the last couple episodes do an amazing job kicking the story back into full gear.
This final chapter does an amazing job with the new characters and using their stories to further the overall narrative. Amongst the best is of course Dinobot. In the original series Dinobot, the Starscream persona of the Predacons, undergoes a journey of personal discovery. He starts as the traditional Starscream. He undercuts, betrays, and schemes against Megatron at every opportunity, but by the end of the series he joins the Maximals. I will not spoil his arc in this show, but the writers do a wonderful job using that duality here. Black Arachnia is another stand out. She, too, has a history of betrayal and double cross. Attempting to figure out which line she tows in Kingdom keeps you guessing.
Transformers Kingdom – The Flaws Are Small
This final installment continues the awesome visuals the first two chapters started. The Beast Machines look amazing. They stay faithful to their original designs, but the animation polishes up the rough edges of the original series. The story drifts a bit in the middle, but there is one thing that I really did not like about this third chapter. The voices of the Beast Machines come off very flat and generic.
All of the Predacon voices sound familiar and lack their defining tones and inflections. The Maximals aren’t much better. Of them all, T-rex Megatron is perhaps the worst. His voice carries no power, presence, or menace. In fact the mighty T-rex Megatron plays lackey to G1 Megatron the entire time. He grovels for Megatron to follow his lead, and it feels very un-Megatron. Although Galvatron does a good job making up for that. Galvatron desires one thing and its not what you think. He wants freedom. He searches for any way to escape the clutches of Unicron. The Galvatron/Unicron storyline doesn’t show up much, but when it does it’s powerful.
Other than the lackluster voices of the Beast Machines, and the tiny slow down in the middle, Kingdom delivers on every front. When the action picks up again in the end episodes, it ramps it up times ten! The toys spoil a couple key moments, but let me say this. One toy, set to release in August, actually spoils a big moment in the show. I thought the toy looked cool, but I thought I might pass on it. After seeing the scene in the show – GOTTA HAVE IT!
Transformers Kingdom – Does It Have To End?
When the final credits role I felt giddy. The writers do an amazing job wrapping up the story lines and journey of all of the transformers. How the Beast Machines work in the story is handled very well and the conclusion is equally satisfying. It feels like this trilogy gave us a complete story arc for Prime, Megatron, the Beast Machines and anyone else introduced. It was a great and satisfying journey that used many of everyone’s favorite Transformers. There’s just one problem. You call that an ending?!
The show doesn’t leave us with an ending. Kingdom leaves us with the makings of the next chapter! This is supposed to be a trilogy and this is chapter 3. You don’t end a series like that and NOT follow it up with more. Having Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance end the way it did and then get cancelled by Netflix was bad enough. The final scenes of Transformers Kingdom are even worse! The lack of news or leaked toys means no future is in the works – yet. If Netflix doesn’t get off their asses and get the next chapters green lit and in production soon I’m going to be pissed. Yes. The ending scenes are that good!
The final Chapter of the War for Cybertron trilogy drops July 29th. Get ready!
For more on Transformers, make sure to check back to That Hashtag Show.