When He-Man and the Masters of the Universe debuted in the early ’80s, it was a half an hour toy commercial. That’s not a joke. That’s what the show was created for: to sell toys. The characters were wild, imaginative, and held a special place in the hearts of those who watched it when it first aired; however, these cool-looking characters were paper thin. Luckily, Netflix’s Masters of the Universe: Revelation gives all these characters purpose, taking place directly after the end of the original cartoon, and Part 2 wraps up the story very nicely.
The latest batch of MOTU: Revelation episodes kick off with Eternia in a dark place. Skeletor is back from the dead and has the Sword of Power. He used it to call upon the power of Grayskull to become Skelegod. Luckily, Prince Adam is back as well, but without the power of Grayskull, he can no longer become He-Man. So along with Teela, Cringer, and Andra, the group has to find a way to stop Skeletor, which seems ultimately impossible.
Within the five episode final arc of this story, things get very wild–so wild that we really don’t want to mention it here. The story is a journey–a journey back to some sort of normalcy for Eternia that takes some unexpected twists and turns. Can you see these twists and turns coming from roughly a mile away? Totally. However, they all play out in such a satisfying way.
While Skeletor has the power of Grayskull flowing through his boney-veins, Evil-Lyn is still his right-hand, and she’s still uber-powerful. Her journey is the most developed during these final episodes of the first season. She’s put in a situation where she becomes a nihilist. The universe doesn’t have meaning, and everything she’s fought for in her years of being with Skeletor has been for nothing. This revelation–maybe pun intended–leads the show in a direction you don’t see coming but works exceptionally well. More importantly, it really develops Lyn as a character, giving us more of her backstory and why she’s so loyal to Skeletor.
More than anything else, this is what MOTU: Revelation does the best: expanding the backstories and character development of characters from the original series that were essentially toys. Prince Adam gets a bit of a boost throughout these episodes, proving he’s more than a prince who just happens to be able to turn into He-Man. He has deep-rooted issues with his family, which this new batch of episodes delves into. In fact, a number of characters get this treatment, giving a better appreciation for the world as a whole, which is quite the feat considering this is a mish-mash of cool-looking creatures.
Throughout the second half of the season and all this development, there is one specific moment between Skeletor and Evil-Lyn that doesn’t sit well with me. Without getting too into specifics, the two make out–which is weird because Skeletor is a bone-faced-man–and it’s the closest we’ll probably ever get to a sexual encounter between the two. It feels weird. It feels off. And to get to the point the story needs to get to, there were other ways the story could have gone. Yes, this is vague, but it’s a big moment for the season, and it just feels a little weird to sexualize MOTU characters. Many people who see this may not feel the same way, but as someone who loved MOTU as a kid, watching episodes before heading off to preschool, it was a tad unsettling.
Animating a series like this, where numerous characters engaging in these gigantic battles can be quite the task, Thankfully, the show looks great for the most part. The action sequences are exciting and will have you on the edge of your seats. It’s what you want from a MOTU show, as far as animation goes, as it pays homage to the style of the original show while updating it to look contemporary. There was one moment, however, that was a bit rough. At a military encampment, during an emotional scene, the background has some Royal Guard soldiers standing around–there’s no animation, they’re just hanging out. There are three different models of these characters, and one of them has his hands in the air, almost like an unsure shrug. This model is used in the background of every scene, and because of the pose, it stands out like a sore thumb and it becomes a “Where’s Waldo” search for the shrugging guard in every scene.
A standout portion of the season–especially the latter-half–is the score. The orchestra providing the background music provides another layer of emotion to each scene, and it never overtakes what’s happening on the screen. It’s the perfect accompaniment to the series moving the viewer along.
The actual final battle and ending felt a bit anticlimactic. The stakes were raised so incredibly high that there was nothing the show could do that could live up to the build. There’s the inevitable feeling of “Oh, that’s it?” as the fifth episode comes to a close. Everything wraps up pretty nicely, but the real kicker is the reveal for the possible direction of Season 2. If you’re a fan of MOTU lore, you’ll get very pumped for where the show could be headed.
Masters of the Universe: Revelation gives the original cartoon a reason to exist, aside from selling people toys. It took the concept of the original He-Man cartoon and expanded on it, focussing much more on the Masters of the Universe characters, which are all just as interesting as He-Man, if not more. While the finale couldn’t live up to the standards that the show set, this Netflix series is a blast and more than just a play on nostalgia for adults.
- the world