Masters of the Universe: Revelation Part 1 Review

Entertainment

IGN 21 July, 2021 - 10:00am 21 views

Masters of the Universe: Revelation Has the Power to Enthrall Fans Old & New

CBR 21 July, 2021 - 10:00am

While Revelation embraces seemingly every corner of the nearly 40-year-old franchise -- no character or piece of lore, from the cartoons or the minicomics, is too obscure -- it's not a straightforward continuation of the syndicated classic. Nor is it the "woke He-Man" some sniping culture critics have warned about. It's so much better than all of that.

Unlike He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, which was little more than a patchwork of 23-minute toy commercials, Revelation is imbued with a sense of genuine stakes. Characters experience their own arcs, during which they change and grow; some even die. It's refreshing and, occasionally, a little shocking.

In these first five episodes (Netflix will release the other half of the season at a later date), Teela emerges as the hero Eternia needs at this critical time. Angry about secrets kept from her for decades, she turns her back on her duties to Eternos and begins a life as an adventurer, only to be drawn back by her friends, family and, yes, enemies. Early criticisms of Revelation by some corners of fandom was no doubt sparked by the rumored role of Teela, who's exchanged her metal halter top and butt-hugging leotard for honest-to-goodness pants. However, she's earned both the spotlight and the costume change. So, too, has Evil-Lyn (Lena Headey), who finally moves out of Skeletor's shadow to become one of Revelation's breakout characters.

Smith and his writers -- Marc Bernardin (Castle Rock), Diya Mishra (Magic: The Gathering), Tim Sheridan and Eric Carrasco (Justice League Action) -- display a love for Masters of the Universe that is both obvious and infectious. Even some of the silliest characters (Fisto, Stinkor) receive at least a little attention, while others are elevated to more prominent, and even formidable, roles. And if you're a connoisseur of obscure He-Man lore, you'll find it here (you win 10 points if you know what the Glove of Globolah is without resorting to Google). Yet, the creative time is also willing to acknowledge the inherent, if perhaps endearing, cheesiness of the 1983 cartoon, which comes through most clearly in flashbacks to events set during that era.

Any review of Masters of the Universe: Revelation would be remiss in not praising the cast, which, in addition to the aforementioned Sarah Michelle Gellar, Mark Hamill, Chris Wood and Lena Headey, also includes Liam Cunningham, Stephen Root, Diedrich Bader, Alan Oppenheimer, Phil LaMarr, Tony Todd and Kevin Conroy. It's absolutely top-notch.

Fast-paced yet surprisingly nuanced, Masters of the Universe: Revelation honors the long history of the franchise while staking out new territory that should appeal to longtime fans and newcomers alike. This sequel doesn't require viewers to possess an encyclopedic knowledge of the 1983 cartoon or the Mattel toy line (a grasp of the basic premise and key characters is more than enough to enjoy Revelation), but it repeatedly rewards those who do.

By the power of Grayskull, Kevin Smith’s Masters Of The Universe series is more than a nostalgia trip

Yahoo Lifestyle 21 July, 2021 - 10:00am

Eternia, as it stands post-event, has lost its magic; the people of the realm stand in bread lines for enchanted water while familiar, formerly villainous lackeys become religious heralds of the vestiges of technology that dot this world. There’s something ironic in watching people attempt to cling to what once was loved and respected, and in how Revelations sets its characters on a fantastical, Lord Of The Rings-esque journey. Smith and the creative team wink at and play into He-Man’s corniest, outdated elements, but with a surprising amount of respect and admiration, while retaining a darker, richer sensibility.

This all hinges on that season-altering event at the end of the premiere, and how much viewers buy into it (and with a second part on the way, there’s a chance that the twist will lead to some real, intriguing revelations). As it stands, though, Masters Of The Universe: Revelation kind of feels like a winking counterpoint to the more disagreeable criticisms of She-Ra. While that show offered softer, cleaner designs and more “millennial,” character-based humor and drama, Revelations is committed to harder, ultra-detailed designs and the kind of jokes and references that involve sidekicks hiding under tables and clumsy wizards messing up spells, but allowing that tone to develop more dramatically in its own way.

As much as the pivotal event in the premiere opens up the larger storyline’s potential, Revelation is, by design, beholden to its past. Certain characters are updated in rich ways, while others are forced to remain as awkward and clumsy as before. Orko (Griffin Newman) gets the biggest makeover; his previous magical clumsiness is recontextualized as personal failing and a source of self-loathing. The revamped Evil-Lyn also fares well, as Lena Headey provides the character an extra layer with every line read and perfectly sarcastic quip. Man-At-Arms (Liam Cunningham), however, feels mostly the same, if a bit more world-weary; Cringer (Stephen Root) isn’t around long enough to really establish his new, self-reflective self.

Even if the characterization is hit or miss, Masters Of The Universe: Revelation still shows real acumen in its dynamic action scenes and vibrant colors, courtesy of Powerhouse Animation (which is also behind Netflix’s slick, stylish Castlevania series). Bear McCreary’s music for the show and the sound design are meant to match the 1983 iteration, but the writing and storytelling is leagues above its previous incarnations, as Revelation delves deep into themes of loss, trauma, betrayal, and trust. Revelation is billed as an adult animated show, but it’s not nearly as gory as Castlevania or Invincible; save for a moment in the fifth episode, it never shows any blood. That doesn’t mean the show is bloodless—it’s remarkable how Smith and his team manage to take a property so genuinely, obviously toyetic and turn it into something intriguing and reflective. If you can buy into the wholesale changes and choices made in this Netflix series—and it is a huge buy-in—Masters Of The Universe: Revelation is, indeed, eye-opening.

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Masters of the Universe: Revelation Is a He-Man Fan's Dream

Gizmodo 21 July, 2021 - 10:00am

If you’re not a He-Man fan, I have no idea what you’ll think of Masters of the Universe: Revelation. I don’t know what you’ll get out of it, or if you’d get anything at all. The show has been touted as a sequel to the classic cartoon, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, which means there’s very little on-ramp for new viewers to get into the franchise. Admittedly, it’s not a difficult premise to wrap your head around because Revelation is extremely devoted to the original series—which was made for kids. In fact, the first episode feels like it could be from the ‘80s series, just with infinitely better art, animation, and music.

This is also what’s so remarkable about Revelation. Smith has made an updated version of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe for adult fans that somehow still feels like it has the DNA of the campy, childish ‘80s cartoon in there. The floating blue wizard Orko (voiced by Griffin Newman) is still a nitwit. Prince Adam’s cat Cringer (Stephen Root) is still a coward. Bad guys still miraculously jump out of vehicles just before they crash or explode. The “adult” part of Revelation comes late in the first episode when Smith introduces something that He-Man and the Masters of the Universe cartoon never, even had: stakes.

The fact that Smith has managed to make a series where MotU characters can experience actual depth and development while Orko can still be buffoonish comic relief is, frankly, remarkable. I honestly didn’t think it was possible when the show was first announced, but I’m incredibly happy to have been so wrong. Honestly, I’m still sort of boggled how well Smith managed to stay true to the original series while telling a cohesive, compelling story about He-Man. Not to keep harping on Orko, but there’s a fantastic scene where the unfunniest part of the ‘80s cartoon displays actual pathos, and it’s absolutely gripping—at least if you’ve had some sort of feelings about Orko prior to watching Revelation.

This isn’t the only paradoxical feat the show accomplishes. It is, from top to bottom, clearly made for older He-Man fans, full of those sorts of scenes that we always wished the original series had gotten to, especially in terms of characters or toys we never got to see on-screen. Prince Adam is finally depicted as a younger kid instead of just a less-tan clone of He-Man. The confusing “evil ghost of Skeletor,” Scare Glow, gets a nifty explanation. The history of Castle Grayskull gets explored more than it ever did in the ‘80s. However, some of these changes take the story to some places that will likely bewilder some of these fans. I don’t mean the fact that some jackasses will inevitably decry the prominence of He-Man’s ally and one of the original series’ few female characters, Teela (Sarah Michelle Gellar), and (basically) new character Andra (Tiffany Smith), but rather some truly unexpected developments that can’t be discussed without spoiling them. Suffice to say, clock this official promotional image:

If you’re a He-Man fan, there’s far more to like about Masters of the Universe: Revelation than there is to dislike. It’s not perfect, but Kevin Smith has pulled off a remarkable tightrope act of making a sequel to a show that never had serialized storytelling, a series that somehow keeps the framework of a cartoon made for eight-year-olds while building a story designed for middle-aged nerds who still have the original Castle Grayskull playset hanging around in their garage, attic, or living room. If you’re one of those people, Revelation was literally made for you (and me). Everybody else…maybe go rewatch Loki?

Netflix’s Masters of the Universe erases the past to chart a new future

The Verge 21 July, 2021 - 10:00am

A direct sequel that almost feels like a reboot

On the surface, Masters of the Universe: Revelation, which stars She-Ra’s long-lost twin brother He-Man, isn’t quite so exciting. It’s not a reboot but a direct sequel, one that’s meant to pick up right after the original cartoon ended in 1985. It has the same cast of characters, some of which are pretty goofy, like a wimpy battle cat and an alien sorcerer with self-esteem problems. Skeletor (now played by Mark Hamill) remains a gigantic dork. Yet, thanks to a bold decision early on, the show manages to become something that almost feels new.

Because it’s a direct sequel, Revelation wastes no time in setting things up. Immediately Skeletor is in the midst of a plan to destroy Castle Grayskull in order to reveal its true power so that he can harness it for himself. Unfortunately, his attack has the side effect of not only destroying the planet of Eternia, but also all of existence. In order to prevent this, He-Man sacrifices himself and his magical sword, taking Skeletor with him in the process. After just one episode, the show’s two most iconic faces are killed.

It’s a dramatic shift, and from there Revelation resembles something of a post-apocalyptic fantasy wasteland. The story fast-forwards a few years when Teela (Sarah Michelle Gellar), a former royal guard, is now a scavenger, making a living by scrounging for old bits of tech and items imbued with magic. There’s a strange cult that worships technology, and, without Skeletor to lead them, Eternia’s many villains have scattered. Eventually, Teela learns that the planet is slowly dying as its magic leaks away, so she reluctantly sets about finding the two halves of He-Man’s sword of power in order to set things right. It’s one of those epic quests that involves traveling to both heaven and hell, and pulling together a group of misfits to help you do it.

This premise lets the show mostly get away from the Saturday morning cartoon vibe of the original, while still keeping the same characters and world. Eternia remains an interesting mix of sci-fi, swords, and sorcery, as if Frank Frazetta and Ralph McQuarrie had a jam session. Killer robots fight alongside beast men, and sword-wielding warriors ride mechanical horses and armored cats into battle. Things have a bit more of a Mad Max vibe this time around, with villages fighting over the last drops of magic while the techno-cult terrorizes them. In addition, Teela has a new job as a mercenary, Man-at-Arms (Liam Cunningham) has become an Obi-Wan-style hermit, and Evil-Lyn (Lena Headey) is left confused without a dictator to support. They all end up joining forces in the quest.

Because of all of these elements, the show doesn’t feel quite as refreshing or daring as She-Ra. But for a direct sequel to the original cartoon made to sell toys, its surprisingly modern; the dramatic opening paves the way for a new path even if Revelation never fully breaks away from its source. What’s available now on Netflix is also only a beginning: the first part of Revelation is five episodes long, and the final episode suggests there might be even bigger changes in the future.

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Masters of the Universe: Revelation Part 1 is the subversive revival that He-Man deserves

TechRadar 21 July, 2021 - 10:00am

Netflix’s Masters of the Universe: Revelation Part 1 does justice to the original He-Man animated show

Even a decade before X-Men and Batman’s hugely popular animated series arrived, though, kids (and some adults) tuned into 1980s animated shows, including ThunderCats and Transformers, to watch powerful beings duel in the eternal battle between good and evil.

Such franchises, fuelled by the nostalgia of present-day industry veterans, have since been rebooted to varying degrees of success – including another 1980s property in He-Man. The popular animated series, based on toy company Mattel’s line of products, has been adapted on many occasions since the original series ended in 1985, but subsequent revivals have failed to live up to their predecessor.

Now, it’s Netflix’s turn to try and breathe new life into He-Man. Created by Kevin Smith (Clerks, Jay and Silent Bob) for the streaming giant, Masters of the Universe: Revelation Part 1 looks to recapture what made the original animated show so popular while modernizing it for today’s audience.

A direct sequel to the 1980s show, Revelation Part 1 follows the adventures of He-Man (Chris Wood), Teela (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and other Castle Grayskull guardians as they attempt to fend off another attack from Skeletor (Mark Hamill) and his evil army from Snake Mountain.

However, when a cataclysmic event – due to Skeletor’s latest skirmish – threatens to destroy Eternia and the planets that feed off its magical aura, heroes and villains reluctantly join forces to locate the missing Sword of Power and save the universe.

What’s immediately apparent is Revelation isn’t your typical He-Man storyline.

With characters including Teela and Orko (Griffin Newman) forced to team up with nemeses such as Evil Lyn (Lena Headey) and Beast Man (Kevin Michael Richardson), Revelation Part 1 immediately subverts viewers’ expectations. 

Gone are the days of good and evil duking it out to protect and destroy Castle Grayskull respectively and, in its place, an uneasy alliance is formed for the greater good. It’s not a particularly novel plot device for Revelation Part 1 to use but, given how the animated series has always pitted He-Man and Skeletor’s forces against each other, it makes for intriguing viewing to see them join together for a common cause.

The subversion doesn’t end with the series plot, either. Unlike the 1980s animated show, He-Man fans may have noticed that the titular character’s name isn’t part of Revelation Part 1’s title – and with good reason.

Taking a page out of Netflix’s He-Man animated spin-off series She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, Revelation Part 1 installs Teela, a female character, as its protagonist.

Initially, it feels strange to watch Teela take center stage in a series that’s based on He-Man, but it works. 

Revelation Part 1’s focus on strong, badass female characters – Evil Lyn and Lieutenant Andra (Tiffany Smith) are also prominent throughout its story – updates He-Man for the modern age, and it doesn’t feel like a token gesture. Smith has crafted a story that puts He-Man’s female characters front and center, and it empowers these individuals in a way that the original series didn’t.

Combine this with shades of the series’ 80s-style humor and action, and Revelation Part 1 feels like a TV show that newcomers can enjoy as much as longtime He-Man fans.

Revelation Part 1’s plot and change in protagonist help to usher He-Man into the 21st century, but what of the voice cast? 

Some established fans may worry that those hired to voice the series' characters won’t be able to live up to those that came before but, thankfully, Revelation Part 1 is stacked with big names – and they do a stellar job of bringing He-Man’s various heroes and villains to life.

Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Lena Headey (Game of Thrones) bring strength and emotional depth to Teela and Evil Lyn respectively, while the likes of Mark Hamill (Star Wars, Batman), Liam Cunningham (Game of Thrones) and Kevin Michael Richardson (Invincible, Like Family) bring their immediately recognizable voices to the table as Skeletor, Man-at-Arms and Beast Man.

Throw in other notable names including Chris Wood (Supergirl) as He-Man/Prince Adam, Kevin Conroy (Batman) as Mer-Man and 1980s He-Man star Alan Oppenheimer as Moss Man, and the cast is as strong as they come.

Big names are needed to do justice to each character’s story arc, too. 

Without spoiling anything, certain individuals take a back seat throughout the plot, providing the opportunity for the show’s supporting cast to undergo sizable character development that wasn’t always prevalent in the original series.

It makes for interesting viewing, particularly when characters are paired together out of necessity and end up learning something from one another, whether that’s a life lesson or seeing things from another perspective.

These occasional heart-to-hearts are also the backbone for Revelation Part 1’s most important themes. 

Revelation Part 1 is more mature than its predecessor – its 12 rating and violence warning are proof of this – and examines more adult topics including existentialism, death, trauma, the extent to which we can shape our own destiny, and nature versus technology. 

Exploring these subjects shows how far animated shows have come since the 1980s, and while Revelation Part 1 retains some of the campiness that made He-Man such a hit nearly 40 years ago, it’s indicative of the growth that animated series have undergone since then.

Masters of the Universe: Revelation Part 1 is a terrifically subversive revival of He-Man’s animated series. It simultaneously gets the tone of the show right through its call backs (the iconic phrases and music are all here) while fleshing out the series’ world and characters in a way that wasn’t possible four decades previously.

Some viewers may be a tad confused about who everyone is, or what is going on, particularly as Revelation Part 1 – Part 2 is due for release later this year – only consists of five 25-minute episodes. It isn’t necessary to watch the original’s two seasons beforehand, but it may help newcomers to immerse themselves in the He-Man universe before they stream this new instalment.

That Revelation Part 1 packs so much into its near three-hour runtime, though, is testament to Kevin Smith and Netflix’s ability to reinvent He-Man as an animated show. It’s well paced, doesn’t feel rushed or too bogged down in its semantics, and its shocking ending will leave you immediately wanting more.

Established fans and newcomers alike, then, will get a kick out of this simultaneously nostalgic and modern take on the He-Man legend. If you’re looking for your next animated binge watch, Masters of the Universe: Revelation Part 1 should be at the top of your list.

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Masters of the Universe: Revelation Preview: He-Man Takes a Deep Dive

Bleeding Cool News 21 July, 2021 - 09:40am

Now that Chris Wood  (Prince Adam aka He-Man) has gotten everyone up-to-speed on the history of He-Man and his battles with Skeletor, there's nothing to stand in your way from checking out Mattel Television, Netflix, and showrunner & EP Kevin Smith's Masters of the Universe: Revelation, right? Well, there's one thing- it doesn't come out until Friday, July 23, so that kinda complicates things. How about the next best thing via a sneak preview that sets the tone for what viewers can expect? Then you're in luck…

Thanks to the folks over at IGN and their exclusive sneak preview, viewers get a small sample of the escalating war between Skeletor and He-Man. In this clip, the MOTU big bad has finally sent He-Man and his allies to a watery grave… right? Let's just say there's a reason the series is longer than one, ten-minute episode:

Now here's a look back at the official trailer for Netflix and Mattel's Masters of the Universe: Revelation, followed by Smith offering a deep dive into what you might've missed), with the five-episode "Part 1" premiering on July 23:

The war for Eternia culminates in MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE: REVELATION, an innovative and action-packed animated series that picks up where the iconic characters left off decades ago. After a cataclysmic battle between He-Man and Skeletor, Eternia is fractured and the Guardians of Grayskull are scattered. And after decades of secrets tore them apart, it's up to Teela to reunite the broken band of heroes, and solve the mystery of the missing Sword of Power in a race against time to restore Eternia and prevent the end of the universe.

Along with the animated series' July 23rd debut, fans can also look forward to the aftershow special, Revelations: The Masters of the Universe Revelation Aftershow. Hosted by showrunner & EP Kevin Smith; EP & Vice President, Content Creative, Mattel Television Rob David; and actress Tiffany Smith, the 25-minute talk show and celebration of all things "MOTU: Revelation" boasts a guest list that includes Mark Hamill, Chris Wood, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Lena Headey, Tiffany Smith, Henry Rollins, Griffin Newman, Jason Mewes, and Alan Oppenheimer. Now here's a look at the new set of preview images, followed by the official teaser and series overview. Now here's a look back at the first official teaser for Netflix's Masters of the Universe: Revelation:

Netflix's Masters of the Universe: Revelation stars Mark Hamill – Skeletor; Lena Headey – Evil-Lyn; Chris Wood – Prince Adam / He-Man; Sarah Michelle Gellar – Teela; Liam Cunningham – Man-At-Arms; Stephen Root – Cringer; Diedrich Bader – King Randor / Trap Jaw; Griffin Newman – Orko; Tiffany Smith – Andra; Henry Rollins – Tri-Klops; Alan Oppenheimer (original Skeletor) – Moss Man; Susan Eisenberg – Sorceress; Alicia Silverstone – Queen Marlena; Justin Long – Roboto; Jason Mewes – Stinkor; Phil LaMarr – He-Ro; Tony Todd – Scare Glow; Cree Summer – Priestess; Kevin Michael Richardson – Beast Man; Kevin Conroy – Mer-Man; Dennis Haysbert – King Grayskull; Adam Gifford – Vikor; and Jay Tavare – Wundar.

From showrunner and executive producer Kevin Smith (Clerks, Chasing Amy), Netflix's Masters of the Universe: Revelation is written by Marc Bernardin (Castle Rock, Alphas), Eric Carrasco (Supergirl), Diya Mishra (Magic the Gathering), and Tim Sheridan (Reign of the Supermen)- with music composed by Bear McCreary (The Walking Dead, Battlestar Galactica, Outlander) and animation from Powerhouse Animation (Castlevania). The animated series is also executive produced by Frederic Soulie (He-Man and the Masters of the Universe), Adam Bonnett (Descendants), Christopher Keenan (Justice League, Batman Beyond), and Rob David (He-Man and the Masters of the Universe)- and produced by Susan Corbin (He-Man and the Masters of the Universe)- and produced by Mattel Television.

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MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE: REVELATION Review - Kevin Smith's Revival Takes The Story In A Bold New Direction

CBM (Comic Book Movie) 21 July, 2021 - 07:58am

If you grew up in the '80s, there's a very good chance you were a He-Man fan. The Saturday morning animated series was based on a best-selling Mattel toy line, and followed the adventures of a muscle-bound warrior who, along with his various allies, fought to protect the secrets of Castle Grayskull from Skeletor and the forces of Snake Mountain.

If you watched an episode now, chances are you'd find the whole thing more than a little silly, but for an entire generation, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is fondly remembered as a captivating introduction to the world of sci-fi/fantasy.

Kevin Smith's Masters of the Universe: Revelation serves as a sequel (of sorts) to the classic series, as Skeletor continues his attempts to overthrow Grayskull and defeat He-Man once and for all. But whereas the original show took a "rinse and repeat" approach to He-Man foiling the villain's schemes, the first episode makes a bold narrative decision which takes the story in an entirely new and unexpected direction.

This will hardly be considered a spoiler at this stage, but yes, Teela does wind up emerging as the main focus of this show. Prince Adam's protector was one of the few major characters to be kept in the dark about her charge's secret identity, and Revelation deals with her reaction to learning the truth.

Teela abandons her responsibilities as the King's new Man at Arms, and when we catch up with her some time later, she's working as a mercenary with Andra (a brand-new character). However, a plea from the now diminished Sorceress forces her to rejoin old friends - and a few foes - on a mission to restore magic to Eternia.

Some are bound to take issue with this, but it really was the smartest decision Smith and his team could have made. He-Man is an all-powerful archetype, and while that worked for the basic premise of the '80s show, it simply makes more sense to spotlight the more well-rounded - and, let's face it, far more interesting - Teela for this revival. Also, it's not like He-Man/Adam is completely absent (it'd give too much away to elaborate, but he's still an important aspect of the story).

From a tonal standpoint, Revelation is undoubtedly more "grown-up" than its predecessor. That's not to suggest that it's unsuitable for kids, but it is a little darker, and explores more adult themes. We also say goodbye to a few beloved characters, and while we don't know for sure if those deaths will stick, they certainly pack a wallop in the moment.

The show does still retain a sense of fun, though, and Smith doesn't completely abandon the wholesome kitsch of the original. As for the voice-cast, Buffy alum Sarah Michelle Gellar does most of the heavy lifting as Teela, but pretty much everyone is on-point - though some may feel Mark Hamill channels a little too much of his Joker as Skeletor!

Masters of the Universe: Revelation

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