REVIEW: ‘Transformers: War For Cybertron Trilogy,’—Chapter 3: “Kingdom”

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Transformers War for Cybertron Kingdom - But Why Tho

Transformers: War For Cybertron Trilogy is another original anime series added to Netflix’s arsenal of original content. Produced by Rooster Teeth, alongside Allspark Animation and Polygon Pictures, the series is divided into three parts: “Siege,” “Earthrise,” and the finale, “Kingdom.” Transformers: Kingdom continues immediately following the events of “Earthrise” and expands its cast two-fold.

If you’ve watched the first two parts of the series, you’ll be very familiar with the number of episodes that this one has to offer. Unfortunately, with just six episodes, which amount to less than 15 minutes apiece, this last leg of the trilogy is also a bit too short to really make a big splash. And while the last two parts offer a mixed bag in terms of plot, this one places itself right in the middle, offering some good points along with a handful of letdowns.

Transformers: Kingdom finds both the Autobots and Decepticons stranded after they crash-land on an organic planet. After getting their feet under them, they meet the local denizens of the planet who have been fighting their own war: the Maximals and the Predacons. With some cajoling, the locals join the fight for the Allspark.

The finale brings some surprises with the inclusion of the main characters of the Beast Wars series, originally aired over two decades ago. Optimus Primal and Megatron (the T-rex version) bring their own entourage of beasts from the animal kingdom, all of whom will be very familiar to long-time fans. For example, the likes of Dinobot, Cheetor, and Rhinox grace the screen. They’re brought to life in all their 90s glory, never moving far from their original designs and garish colors.

And while these characters bring some great nostalgia, their presence is never concretely explained. The present meets the future, but the plot’s focus is nevertheless on the Autobots finding the Allspark before the Decepticons. Or course, the Maximals, and Predacons are here to help their respective sides, but their inclusion does introduce some drama in the form of interesting subplots that will be familiar but still used in novel ways to keep long-time fans on their toes. But while the subplots themselves are engaging, the limited number of episodes means that we don’t get much time to ruminate on them. Instead, there’s a distinct collision of past, future, and present that is both exciting and confusing all at once.

While the plot is a mixed bag, the voice acting and the graphics are as impressive as the last couple of parts. While the older designs are used, the boxy designs of the Autobots and Decepticons don’t hinder their movement. The bit of action is smooth and avoids some of the clunky fighting seen in “Siege.” The Maximals and Predacons are visually more organic, with smoother, rounder shapes. And while their animal alt modes initially look a bit odd next to the boxier Transformers, they grow on you.

The voice actors continue their great performance in this part of the series. Rooster Teeth is known for its animated series, and this one is no different. While the characters’ faces aren’t the most animated, the voice acting effortlessly makes up for it.

But of course, the voice acting would be nothing without well-written dialogue. And just like how the visual designs of the Transformers rely heavily on past series, the characters are written in much the same way. Wheeljack is nutty, Megatron ill-tempered, and Starscream arrogant; even the mechanical way Soundwave speaks should be familiar. Despite this, the writing never becomes stale; the characters are familiar but never boring. The constant doom and gloom of the plot—after all, the entirety of Cybertron is on the brink of destruction without the Allspark—is inundated with enough humor and snark from the dialogue to make watching all six episodes in one sitting an easy affair.

My only gripe with the dialogue is that there’s a lot more of it than the past two parts, particularly in just back and forth dialogue between characters, and it drags the pacing to a stand-still at times. This is further hampered by the slow pace from the voice acting at times, possibly trying to make a more impactful moment but resulting in a jaded experience.

Transformers: War For Cybertron Trilogy—Chapter 3: “Kingdom” is a bit of a mixed bag. The plot is interesting, but it becomes hampered by the short length of each episode, never allowing enough time to be fully explored. On the other hand, the animation, voice acting, and dialogue pick up the slack.

Transformers: War For Cybertron Trilogy—Chapter 3: “Kingdom” will be available to stream on Netflix on July 29th.


Transformers: War for Cybertron: Kingdom
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    Rating - 7.5/10
7.5/10

TL;DR

Transformers: War For Cybertron Trilogy—Chapter 3: “Kingdom” is a bit of a mixed bag. The plot is interesting, but it becomes hampered by the short length of each episode, never allowing enough time to be fully explored. On the other hand, the animation, voice acting, and dialogue pick up the slack.