Hasbro’s Transformers have been around for a really long time…despite Micheal Bay trying his damnest to destroy the franchise with his abominations.
Thankfully, Hasbro’s seen the light in recent years that fans hate the Bayformers. Why did you think that the latest (relatively speaking) Bumblebee movie featured radically different (and closer to the cartoons) robot designs?
The G1 Transformers love continues with the latest War For Cybertron toyline, which has been adapted into an animated series for Netflix. While the toys are at the second part of the trilogy now (Earthrise), the Netflix series is still on the beginning (Siege), which shows the new rebooted origins of the Transformers.
Unfortunately (for those who love the Autobots), the reboot’s been much kinder on the Decepticons (aka the ‘bad’ guys) than the Autobots.
From what’s been said in the series, it seems like the Decepticons only started the war with the Autobots because they were oppressed, forced to do menial and/or dangerous labour with zero hope of anything else. They were forced to do it because the Autobots deemed it so.
While the Decepticons worked and died, the Autobots lived in luxury and opulence, benefitting from the labours of the Decepticons. They literally built the Autobot society on the backs on Decepticons.
You know what we call that? Slavery.
The ‘heroic’ Autobots want to preserve the status quo, meaning the Decepticons rising in revolt is actually the right thing to do. Optimus Prime’s quest to regain Autobot dominance isn’t so noble now, is it?
In fact, the series doesn’t do him any favours…portraying him as a stodgy leader who won’t compromise, even if it means everybody under his charge dies. He’s hellbent on winning the war and won’t even entertain the idea of coexisting with Megatron and his Decepticons. Holy crap!
Prime has repeated chances to sit down with Megatron and try to negotiate a peace. Instead, he foregoes (or outright ignores them), and tries his best to get his hands on the Allspark, which he wants to nab for himself and get it off Cybertron.
Yes, Megatron wants the Allspark so that he can use it to reformat the Autobots into his way of thinking. That’s bad (loss of free will and all)…but Prime wants to take the Allspark offworld, despite there being legends and warnings that doing so would doom the planet.
Now think about this…one wants to incorporate his enemies into his legion, a bloodless coup. Another wants to screw the other over so bad, that he’d potentially doom an entire planet just to do so.
Now, it’s not just Decepticons that are on Cybertron. There are Autobots and unaffiliated Transformers living on it too! Prime would kill EVERYBODY just to keep the Allspark out of Megatron’s hands.
Who’s the badder guy here? Anybody who’s not an Autobot can see it’s Optimus Prime.
Personally? I love it.
As a fan of the Decepticons since I was a kid (Starscream’s my favourite Transformers character), it’s about time the villains get more depth. Megatron’s not out for just personal glory, he’s doing it for his race. Yes, it does get out of hand the further down the road he goes, but he’s not just evil for the sake of being the foil of Optimus Prime.
On the flipside, it also shows the darkness in Optimus Prime, a far cry from the almost-saint he’s been portrayed as in pretty much every media since the dawn of time.
Optimus Prime is noble, but he’s also headstrong, irresponsible and borderline insane. He doesn’t care what happens to a whole planet as long as he manages to do what he set out to do.
He barely heeds the advice of his advisers, overruling them whenever he thinks he knows better (which to him, is almost always). He barely acknowledges the death of his closest ally, Ultra Magnus. Instead, he wonders what became of the Alpha Trion Protocols after Magnus died. During the escape on the Ark, Red Alert literally falls off and Prime doesn’t even acknowledge it. Too busy? Yeah, too busy not caring.
Those are not the traits of a good leader, no matter how you look at it.
I honestly hope Netflix and Hasbro have the cajones to take Prime’s unstable leadership and explore more into it in the upcoming parts. Prime not being perfect is the best thing to happen in Transformers (IDW comics notwithstanding) and I want to see more of that.
Hell, in a perfect world, I’d even love to see an ending to the trilogy that has Megatron winning over the Autobots instead of the Autobots eventually triumphing over the Decepticons.