[Series Review] MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE: REVELATION
CHRIS WOOD as HE-MAN l Netflix
Remakes, reboots, and reimaginings litter the entertainment landscape. Met with equal parts nostalgic thrill and fandom scorn, each undertaking is tasked with finding the perfect balance between preserving a beloved source material and injecting new blood into an old property. As far as reboots go, MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE: REVELATION is strong! Fans of the original show will find a lot to love in this refreshed take and its forward-thinking approach is certain to draw in new fans of all ages.

MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE: REVELATION is the handiwork of an impressive gathering of masters of the pop culture universe. Kevin Smith (Clerks, Chasing Amy) leads the project, with a pedigreed troupe of executive producers with connections to the original He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and other animated powerhouses like Batman Beyond and Justice League. Speaking of powerhouses… Powerhouse Animation, who you will all remember from Netflix’s Castlevania series, brings its gorgeous and fantastical animation to the series.

As if the behind-the-scenes talent wasn’t impressive enough, MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE: REVELATION boasts a star-studded vocal cast featuring performances by Lena Headey, Chris Wood, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Alicia Silverstone, Justin Long, Alan Oppenheimer, and Mark Hamill.

In MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE: REVELATION a cataclysmic battle between He-Man and Skeletor brings Eternia to its knees. The Guardians of Grayskull are scattered, the magic that holds Eternia together is dwindling, and betrayal and deception threaten to dissolve any remaining hope. It’s up to the warrior Teela to reassemble the band of heroes, solve the mystery of Eternia’s flailing magical resources, and prevent the end of the universe as they know it.

(L to R) SARAH MICHELLE GELLAR as TEELA and LENA HEADEY as EVIL-LYN l Netflix

Some Negative Nellies would have you believe that the original He-Man and the Masters of the Universe was a shallow show invented by capitalist goons to sell toys. Well, I’m here to say to those nay-sayers… maybe. Maybe it was. BUT, puddle-deep storytelling aside the original cartoon was colorful and imaginative and a ton of fun! MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE: REVELATION certainly takes a more sophisticated, updated approach to the He-Man universe – but it doesn’t lose that spark of imagination that made the original so endearing.

At the most surface level, MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE: REVELATION is a fantastic-looking animated series. Once again, Powerhouse Animation brings a level of quality and attention to detail that instantly elevates the entire project. In a world as colorful and strange as Eternia (and beyond), each scene is taken to new and bold places. It’s beautiful to look at and ignites that spirit of adventure. Well done.

MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE: REVELATION benefits from more than just an animation facelift. As effectively as REVELATION captures the original spirit of Masters of the Universe, the entire story feels fresh and contemporary. The introduction of technological elements within the story and putting them at odds with the core magic that original fans are used to instantly creates a unique parallel. It’s a literal battle of the traditional with the cutting edge.

The new series also takes a refreshingly diverse approach to the cast. MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE: REVELATION does not tread the same tired path as its predecessor. The show seizes the opportunity to expand our understanding of familiar characters and introduces us to new and exciting cast members. The show is fiercely female-forward and comfortably leans into portraying characters of color – and richer stories for our animalistic and mechanical characters too! REVELATION’s approach to diverse portrayal is neither ham-fisted nor insincere, rather it’s the natural evolution of fantastical worlds. To put it plainly, REVELATION readily embraces the possibilities of its limitless new fictional world in a way that other franchises could learn from. Take notes, kids.

(L to R) MARK HAMILL as SKELETOR and CHRIS WOOD as HE-MAN l Netflix

Fans of the original series will no doubt be curious about what has become of He-Man and Skeletor. Rest assured that their battle for supremacy remains as epic as ever and fans can look forward to a side of He-Man they’ve never seen before. Skeletor, voiced by the incomparable Mark Hamill, is a standout of the show! Perfect portrayal and deliciously evil!

MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE: REVELATION is just the ticket to rejuvenate the Masters of the Universe property. An adventure at every step, hitting emotional and epic highs that will thrill viewers of any age. There’s a lot here for original fans to enjoy, but REVELATION stands firmly on its own merits and offers something exciting to look forward to with these characters.

MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE: REVELATION premieres exclusively on Netflix on July 23, 2021.

Caitlin Kennedy
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