Netflix and Rooster Teeth's Transformers: War for Cybertron trilogy is ready for its final bow, completing the series with the upcoming Transformers: War for Cybertron: Kingdom. As teased at the end of Earthrise, the Autobots and Decepticons crash-landed on Earth, paving the way for the introduction of the Beast Wars characters and mythology, and if you happen to be a fan of that particular entry in the franchise, you are truly in for a treat. Kingdom brings the epic Transformers adventure to a satisfying close, and while it's not perfect, you're going to end up falling in love with the Maximals all over again if you give it a chance.
Kingdom picks up right where Earthrise left off, and it doesn't take long for the Maximals to absolutely steal the show. The nostalgia kicks in as soon as they introduce themselves, and while they've received a visual upgrade, the designs capture the essence of the original series perfectly. Rhinox, Rattrap, and Cheetor appear just as you remember them, and while it takes a minute to get used to the voice of Optimus Primal (played by Justin Pierce), the design is spot on, and it makes the meeting of the Autobots and the Maximals all the better.
Some of the voices don't click right away, but over time most win you over. There was one exception, unfortunately, and that was Predacon Megatron. The character is depicted far less threatening than in the original series, and while Marqus Bobesich captures that in his delivery, the take on the character just didn't ever come together for me, especially when the character shares scenes with Jason Marnocha's Megatron. I get wanting a different tone and style, as seen when you compare Primal to Prime, but Primal still comes off as a leader and a badass, and Predacon Megatron simply does not.
While the Maximals are all delightful (especially Rhinox and Rattrap), it's actually a Predacon that holds the most impact. While Optimus Prime and Optimus Primal are the core elements of this chapter, it's actually Dinobot, voiced by Krizz Kaliko, who is the chapter's soul. Kaliko is outstanding in the role, bringing a sense of grounding and believability to his character's conflicted nature, and if you aren't a fan of the character as of yet, prepare for that to change.
As for the narrative holding this all together, there's quite a bit going on here, but Kingdom manages to keep all the various points from overwhelming each other while throwing in a few gut punches that invested viewers will absolutely feel. It does get a little heady at times, and there are slow points, but more often than not the pace picks up before a particular story point can overstay its welcome. It helps that the show doesn't shy away from frenetic battles, and when it focuses on the strengths of the Beast Wars cast, it really hits its stride. That includes two battles towards the end that are absolutely epic, and will assuredly bring a smile to any Transformers fan's face.
If there's a main flaw, it would simply be that far too often it feels the Maximals and Predacons are sidelined for the Autobot and Decepticon forces. When the Beast Wars characters are on the screen, you can't help but be invested, and seeing them utilize their beast forms in battle creates some of the series' best sequences. There are just far too few of those instances, and it feels as if some of the length could've been trimmed to fit more of those sequences in.
Despite that flaw, Kingdom delivers an action-packed and heartfelt finale to the newest Transformers trilogy, including two final episodes that will knock your socks off, and no Transformers fan should miss it.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Transformers: War For Cybertron: Kingdom hits Netflix on July 29th.