Transformers: War for Cybertron: Kingdom Rolls Out a Fitting End to the Netflix Trilogy
Tim Adams
Transformers: War for Cybertron: Kingdom key art
Transformers: War for Cybertron: Kingdom key art
Since there have been several variations of the Transformers animated series, fans will often argue the merits of each one. However, there shouldn't be a debate over the importance of Netflix's Transformers: War for Cybertron: Kingdom, the final entry in the streamer's original anime trilogy series. Kingdom continues the story set up by its predecessors, Siege and Earthrise, and moves the action from the wartorn Cybertron to Earth. This allows the final installment to introduce characters from the fan-favorite Beast Wars animated series, who end up playing a significant role in helping the animated trilogy reach a satisfying outcome.
While Siege and Earthrise included guest appearances from various Transformers throughout different points in the franchise's comic, television and movie history, the Maximals and Predacons from Beast Wars get just as much screentime as stalwarts like Bumblebee and Starscream. One reason for this could be due to the popularity of Beast Wars, as fans get to catch up with their favorites like Optimus Primal, Dinobot, Airazor, Megatron and Blackarachnia. Kingdom may be an original story, but it sticks to Transformers continuity of the Maximals and Predacons being descendants of the Autobots and Decepticons, respectively. It makes sense for the Maximals to be wary of trusting the Autobots when the two groups meet, whereas the Predacons' Megatron is quick to worship his original namesake.
If you're not a fan of overly drawn-out seasons, then you'll love the brisk, action-packed pace of Kingdom's six episodes. The stakes are clear: The Transformers are on Earth searching for the Allspark, so they can return it to Cybertron to save their dying homeworld. You can feel the guilt oozing off of Optimus every time he references the Allspark since he feels responsible for its loss. But, Optimus is a bit too doom-and-gloom in Kingdom. At times, Optimus Primal and Bumblebee have to give the Autobot leader pep talks to kick his trunk into gear.
Of course, there are several surprises in Kingdom for longtime fans. A battle between the Autobots/Maximals and Decepticons/Predacons at the former's temporary base in the side of a volcano results in an unexpected character literally transforming to save the day. Another threat teased in Earthrise finally makes their introduction to team up with Galvatron. Last but certainly not least, there's Unicron lurking in the background pulling his puppet strings. The planet-sized Transformer's presence could have been even larger, though the ending leaves clues as to why the creators behind War for Cybertron decided to keep Unicron's role limited.
As popular as the Beast Wars characters are, the Transformer with the best scene-stealing moments is Air Commander Starscream. He's well-known for being a conniving, underhanded Decepticon, but for once he has a good reason for his cowardly ways. This actually causes Starscream to get a backbone, expediting events that spiral into Kingdom's final episodes.
Transformers: War for Cybertron: Kingdom is a satisfying conclusion to Netflix's first Transformers trilogy. There will understandably be a call for more content from this universe, with an ending that leaves the door open for more volumes. The war between the Autobots and Decepticons may feel like it's neverending, but fans wouldn't have it any other way.
Transformers: War for Cybertron: Kingdom makes is streaming now on Netflix.