Masters of the Universe: Revelation (Review)

After much ado the past few years about a Netflix-exclusive He-Man project, the moment finally arrived last week when the five-episode animated series debuted on the ever popular streaming service. With a cast that features the likes of Mark Hamill, Lena Headey, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Liam Cunningham, Justin Long, Jason Mewes, Chris Wood and Henry Rollins, viewers certainly cannot cite a weak roster for any problems with the production. So big names aside, just how strong is this show?



When the series is brought to you by not only a fan, but someone who grew up with the original Masters of the Universe cartoon, chances are that a reboot is in good hands.  Such is the case with Kevin Smith who serves as the showrunner for MOTU: Revelation.  The five-episode series, being referred to simply as Part I for now, takes us all back to Eternia with beautifully drawn lush visuals and a vibrant palette that never fails to keep your eyes from drifting away from the telly.

As for the story, well, you won’t find any spoilers here so pardon a bit of the vagueness, but at least you’ll be able to read this and then view Skeletor hatch his evil plans without the frustration of knowing what’s in the next scene.  With that disclaimer out of the way, the show does hold its own.  Watching the original series as an adult is near impossible as it either just didn’t hold up against time or is too juvenile to enjoy as a grown-up.  Watching Revelation is a treat.  Not only do we get to revisit a number of familiar faces both from Castle Grayskull and Snake Mountain, but they’re introduced in such a way that doesn’t feel like the production crew tried pouring ten gallons of water into a five gallon jug.  It’s organic, if anything, and conjures that, “Ah!  I remember him!” feeling along the way.

The voice acting is wonderful.  Chris Wood (The Vampire Diaries) plays He-Man, Mark Hamill (Star Wars) is Skeletor, Lean Headey (Game of Thrones) voices Evil-Lyn, Liam Cunningham (Game of Thrones) plays Man-at-Arms and Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) takes center stage as Teela.  Wood balances an impressive workload portraying the much weaker and mild-mannered Prince Adam to the muscle-bound He-Man, sans Dutch boy haircut.  Hamill gives us a solid delivery as the villain, territory he’s quite familiar with as he voiced the Joker back in the early 90’s Batman: The Animated Series.  Though with that being said, there is perhaps too much Joker in Hamill’s Skeletor at times.  It’s mildly distracting but still entertaining.

In regard to the story line, it’s your standard good versus evil, but unlike the original series, no one is safe from being eliminated here.  Eternia from the 80’s it is not and it’s definitely not a case of the old G.I. Joe cartoon where two sides shot at each other and no one got hit.  People are getting hit here and some will not get back up.  Even the Netflix rating at the start of each episode will tell you there is gore.  It may not be every episode, but it’s there and Kevin Smith made certain this show was an obvious update from the original Mattel series in more ways than one.

A definite who’s who of actors, wonderful animation and a much-needed update on the characters of MOTU make this series a no-brainer to watch.  There may not be any leaping off the couch in excitement and elation, but Masters of the Universe: Revelation is a high-end animated production that was worth the wait.



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