Transformers: War for Cybertron: Kingdom

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Cast

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Reviewer

Lauren Cook

TV Series Review

Time travel, ancient rivalries, and political intrigue. Three things you probably wouldn’t associate with a brand of action figures.

Optimus Prime and the Transformers have been crowding toy store shelves since the 1980s, but behind the iconic bots is a lengthy history of their war with the evil Decepticons. In the world of Transformers, these two robot races have been fighting for millenia, constantly battling for control over their home planet of Cybertron.

Transformers: War for Cybertron: Kingdom is the third and final entry in atrilogy of Netflix-based television shows. The three series follow Optimus Prime and Megatron, the leader of the Decepticons, as they fight over the Allspark, a mystical artifact that will give one of them the power to save their dying planet.

Well, “save” might not be the right word. Megatron says he wants to revive the planet, but really just wants control—control that Optimus Prime isn’t going to give him without a fight.

An Allspark of Hope

At the end of Transformers: War for Cybertron: Earthrise, the previous entry in the trilogy, Optimus and his Autobots arrived on Earth in search of the Allspark, along with Megatron and his Decepticons. Now, the race is on to find the one thing that could give either side power over Cybertron. But things are about to get a lot more complicated.

Turns out, the bots actually travelled through time and arrived at a prehistoric version of Earth. It’s populated by Maximals and Predacons, two new races of robots that can transform into different animals. And that’s not all: they’re actually descendants of the Autobots and Decepticons, respectively, and have come from a future timeline in which the Allspark never returned to Cybertron. Without the power provided by the artifact, the planet fell into ruin. While the Maximals are trying to rewrite time and save their present, Optimus Prime is attempting to save the Autobots’ future.

Confused yet?

More Than Meets the Eye

On the surface, Transformers: War for Cybertron: Kingdom seems like a home run for kids. A TV-Y7 animated series about a bunch of robots that can turn into cars and trucks? What’s not to like?

And while it’s true that Kingdom is free of many issues parents might be concerned about, there’s more to the series than there initially seems.

Bots punch each other with robotic fists. Laser-type bullets (think the blasters from Star Wars) are fired with abandon, and one robot is even captured and tortured with electric shocks. We hear constant threats of violence thrown between the rival bots.

But even if we were to set the fear-inducing content aside, the plot here is still so convoluted that many younger kids will likely find it difficult to follow. The intricate political intrigue behind the Autobot/Decepticon war, as well as the constant discussion of different timelines and technicalities, seems oddly out of place in a series intended for children.

Older kids might find Transformers: War for Cybertron: Kingdom to be exciting and engrossing. Younger ones, however, may want to stick with their Optimus Prime action figure until they’re old enough to handle the mildly frightening content and confusing plot.

Episode Reviews

Jul. 29, 2021: “Episode 2”

The Autobots assist the Maximals on a mission to rescue Airazor from the Predacons, while Megatron follows a trail that he thinks will lead him to the Allspark.

In an opening scene, we see a flashback of the leader of the Predacons being betrayed by his followers. Blackaranchia, a spider Predacon, remains loyal in the flashback, but in the present, she conspires against him with the Decepticon Starscream. Airazor is tortured with electric shocks, which her captors claim they do “just for fun.” A few Maximals are able to save her, but they’re forced to fight through some of the Predacons by punching and beating them. The rescue mission ends in a shootout between the two sides in which one of the Autobots, Hound, is shot and incapacitated.

Optimus tells the Maximals to “have faith” that the Allspark will guide and protect them.

Jul. 29, 2021: “Episode 1”

After crash landing on a prehistoric version of Earth, the Autobots encounter a new race of robots called the Maximals. The two groups team up in order to find the Allspark and stop Megatron from taking over Cybertron.

The initial meeting between the Autobots and the Maximals isn’t exactly friendly. The Maximals, taking the forms of various predatory animals, attack them and toss them around. The Autobots fire back with guns, though the bullets only stun and knock their opponents back. After transforming into robots, the Maximals use giant swords to attack the Autobots. Airazor, a Maximal who can transform into a hawk, is shot down by the evil Predacons (the Maximals’ prehistoric rival race) and captured.

Blackarachnia, a female spider Predacon, has a very humanoid body when in her robot form. The camera briefly lingers on her figure.

Language is absent, although we hear Bumblebee tell a Maximal, “I’ve had just about enough of your scrap,” and Optimus uses the exclamation “What in all of Primus?”

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Lauren Cook Bio Pic
Lauren Cook

Lauren Cook is serving as a 2021 summer intern for the Parenting and Youth department at Focus on the Family. She is studying film and screenwriting at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. You can get her talking for hours about anything from Star Wars to her family to how Inception was the best movie of the 2010s. But more than anything, she’s passionate about showing how every form of art in some way reflects the Gospel. Coffee is a close second.

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