The war between the Autobots and the Decepticons is at this point legendary, and over the years fans have seen it from several different angles. Despite the many previous iterations, Netflix, Rooster Teeth, and Hasbro find a way to showcase and explore this legendary war with absolutely stunning visuals and a more mature flair in Siege, the first chapter of their anticipated Transformers: War For Cybertron Trilogy. Siege captures your eye from the very first scene and keeps that attention with conflicted characters, surprising twists, and some of the most impressive Transformers battles you've seen to date, and the wait for Chapter 2 is going to be excruciating.
For those unfamiliar with the premise, War For Cybertron takes place right towards the end of the great war for Cybertron, with the Autobots on their last legs and the Decepticons attempting to snuff out Optimus Prime's rebellion. The Autobots are often a source of hope in a dark world when it comes to Cybertron, but it's rare that they've been this close to failure. That gives the series plenty to play with though in terms of internal conflict amongst the Autobots and Prime's leadership.
That was one of the more refreshing aspects of the series, as Prime is not yet the legendary leader he is known to be. It's not a year one style approach though, so he already has the respect of the Autobots, but the presence and exchanges with Autobots like of Elita-1, Ultra Magnus, and Ratchet allow fans to see some of the iconic leader's flaws and weaknesses through unique prisms.
This is especially true of Elita-1, who throughout the series challenges Prime's decisions and points of view. She backs it up too in more ways than one, and while I would've loved to see even more of this dynamic explored, what was there was definitely appreciated. Plus, Elita-1 is a straight-up badass, and hopefully, this won't be the last time we see her.
The added depth to these characters will delight any fan of the franchise, as will the harder edge to the world overall. The stakes feel continually high because you really aren't sure who will make it and who won't, and that's a level of unpredictability that previous iterations haven't always had. Things are bad for the Autobots, and seeing them confronted with their dire situation hits hard, especially in a few specific moments. The series offers up several big surprises and even a gut punch or two, but they all feel earned, and because they're grounded in character as opposed to just high concept lore it's ensured you feel something when those moments arise.
When the blasters come out the action is everything a fan could hope for. Fights take place all over Cybertron, and whether it's a jet battle high in the sky or a last-ditch effort to hold the line between Autobot and Decepticon ground forces, each of these sequences is delivered in style, though the air sequences, especially when they involve Jetfire, easily stand out as some of the coolest looking scenes.
Watching the Autobots roll out never gets old, and the series' decision to key in and focus on a handful of Transformers allows them to get the most out of them, especially with characters like Jetfire, Wheeljack, Mirage, and one particular Decepticon that I won't spoil, because he is at the center of an unexpected but extremely rewarding character arc. Oh, and there's one other appearance I won't spoil either, but it's amazing, trust me.
The series takes some chances with characters, especially Bumblebee, and early on I wasn't sure what to think really. The series won me over though on the beloved Autobot about midway through, though some of the voices just didn't quite click with me, even after a few episodes. There's also an odd dialogue pattern that pops up throughout the series where characters kind of stop midway through a word. It's honestly probably for dramatic effect, and sometimes it works, but other times it just becomes distracting.
While some of the voices didn't resonate, others knocked it out of the park, with some of the biggest standouts being Jason Marnocha (Megatron), Linsay Rousseau (Elita-1), Rafael Goldstein (Ratchet), and Edward Bosco, who pulled double duty with Ultra Magnus and Soundwave.
Transformers: War For Cybertron Siege takes a classic premise and brings it to life in a compelling and visually splendid new way, all the while setting the stage for the epic story yet to come. Longtime fans will appreciate seeing their favorite characters given new layers of depth in a world that feels as unpredictable as it is action-packed, while new fans will love the gorgeous action and the opportunity to get to know these characters on the ground floor. Regardless of which camp you fall in, Transformers: War For Cybertron Siege should not be missed, and we cannot wait to see what's next.
Transformers: War For Cybertron Chapter One Siege launches on Netflix on July 30.1comments
Rating: 4 out of 5
Are you excited for War For Cybertron? Let us know in the comments or feel free to talk all things Transformers with me on Twitter @MattAguilarCB!