Masters of the Universe: Revelation

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Masters of the Universe: Revelation

Post by NotUv2 »

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I went into the first five episodes of this wondering how exactly they could update He-Man for modern audiences. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by how gutsy and unexpected so many of the story choices were.

It's very much a show for the streaming and binge-watching era with a connected, linear narrative throughout, but it's made with real affection for the source material. The animation looks good and preserves the spirit of the original -- characters are visibly and audibly still the ones we know from the show, but matured -- there is some rather arch humor at the expense of one or two of the old-timey "show that exists to market toys to 8-year-olds" Eighties tropes, and it doesn't hesitate to raise the stakes and bring more heft to certain characters.

I'd give it a solid 8/10. I was never that big a He-Man fan as a kid -- Transformers and Star Wars were my bag -- but then I was never a big She-Ra fan either and that show managed to pull me in. Masters of the Universe has a completely different feel to it, but it performs the same feat of livening up material that I had no idea what they were going to do with.

Kevin Smith has given a pretty informative interview or two about it (WARNING: lots of spoilers). Some of my own more spoiler-heavy thoughts below.
Spoiler
- The first episode outright kills off He-Man, Moss Man and Skeletor... or seems to. There isn't quite a massacre of old characters on the scale of The Transformers: The Movie (where one whole line of toys got whacked to make room for another) but we're on notice right away that this is He-Man, only with actual stakes. People can die. The baddies have teeth. That continues to be true throughout.
- Season One's story is focused around Teela and takes place in a world previously defined by He-Man, whose characters now have to figure out who they are without him.
- As a corollary of the above, the usual "woke SJW agenda" talking points are already getting trotted out, of course. I expect most of the audience will prefer to ignore the noise and give the show a chance. The overall story is going somewhere and the iconic hero-and-villain dyad does come back into the picture.
- The characters look great in both their classic and latter-day outfits and there's really solid voice acting from everyone, including Henry Rollins doing a turn as Tri Clops (who complains bitterly in one scene about the experience of being a henchman for a toothless Eighties cartoon villain), Sarah Michelle Gellar as Teela and Lena Headey as a surprisingly sympathetic Evil Lyn.
- Even Orko(!) and Cringer get cool stuff to do, which is pretty wild.
- We get to meet some earlier incarnations of the Guardians of Castle Greyskull and the Sorceress, all of which seem pretty fun.
- It's not without its flaws. Teela is shown coming to terms with anger after He-Man goes out, and I'm not really 100% sold on her character motivation, which is all about being outraged that Prince Adam was secretly He-Man and never told her. But it doesn't feel completely wrong or anything... just a bit stretched. Minor gripe in the bigger scheme, though.
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Re: Masters of the Universe: Revelation

Post by Femina »

Seems typical new-blood edge lord television making to me? I may not be He-Man's biggest fan, or really a fan of him AT ALL, but to bring his series back from the dead today essentially without him feels like a big NO NO... and then writing off reactions that don't approve of that as just the typical 'anti-woke' as though He-Man himself can't have a pedigree of his own disappointed fans without it being gender related is just the OTHER END of that disingenuousness. Certainly there will be SOME anti-female sorts joining the battlements, and I know I've seen enough of it in the complaints of the show to know it's at least a sizable segment in there, but removing He-Man from the only real He-Man show made in the last...what... TWO DECADES... and writing off negative reactions to that like they aren't anything at all is bad form. It's a reaction that you frankly should PREPARE for when doing something like this, and have a strategy all ready to respond too the criticism with ahead of time. This isn't the kind of criticism you can't see coming. You don't make a 'Blade' movie about two cops hunting werewolves and not have a respectful answer ready for the question 'why?'

Now the show could be good! I haven't seen it, it might be great, and if it IS great and the people making it believed in it, had something to say and such enough to believe in bringing it out in this form DESPITE what I wrote a paragraph above... than don't take what I said as me saying they shouldn't have gone ahead with it despite the OBVIOUS backlash that it was gonna cause... but than they ought to have at least acknowledged the complaints and said 'we understand, He-Man's important to all of you and this adaptation by nature is going to feel like a slap in the face because of that. We're sorry this may not be the story you want, this is the story we have to tell, and we sincerely hope that if you will like it by the end... but if you don't, that it'll at least bring about a resurgence to get you something you DO end up enjoying."........ I mean a little humility never hurt anyone. (no need to acknowledge the anti-female crowd at all. Their complaints don't matter. He-Man being removed from his own show isn't a gender issue and approaching it as such weakens your platform anyway)

In my opinion this is the sort of spin off series you do with a healthy franchise that's got the legs and momentum to propel itself for the next twenty years and can handle a few hardballs hucked at its noggin in order to push through the stuff that's gonna tick people off long enough to get around to what you're trying to say and hopefully convince them of its relevance... not when you are trying to ressurect the MotU brand from the absolute dead.
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Re: Masters of the Universe: Revelation

Post by NotUv2 »

Femina wrote: 1 year agoI may not be He-Man's biggest fan, or really a fan of him AT ALL, but to bring his series back from the dead today essentially without him feels like a big NO NO...
While I can see the argument, the branding was pretty specifically not "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe." It's not like calling it Blade and then killing Blade and I'm in no position to comment on the team's media strategies (beyond the fact that as regards specifically the troll demo I'd say Smith has it about right). For the He-Man purists who, OTOH, feel legitimately let down by the mere idea of a MotU show "without" He-Man (also not really the case here but... hard to explain without more spoilers than I want to lay down, you do have to see the show), I truly couldn't say whether or not Revelation will succeed in winning them over. I can only say that I think it's worth giving it the shot.
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Re: Masters of the Universe: Revelation

Post by Femina »

NotUv2 wrote: 1 year ago
Femina wrote: 1 year agoI may not be He-Man's biggest fan, or really a fan of him AT ALL, but to bring his series back from the dead today essentially without him feels like a big NO NO...
While I can see the argument, the branding was pretty specifically not "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe." It's not like calling it Blade and then killing Blade and I'm in no position to comment on the team's media strategies (beyond the fact that as regards specifically the troll demo I'd say Smith has it about right). For the He-Man purists who, OTOH, feel legitimately let down by the mere idea of a MotU show "without" He-Man (also not really the case here but... hard to explain without more spoilers than I want to lay down, you do have to see the show), I truly couldn't say whether or not Revelation will succeed in winning them over. I can only say that I think it's worth giving it the shot.
From what I understand... it's ALWAYS just been "Masters of the Universe" and He-Man's name slapped on it wasn't originally a part of that... but nevertheless, I must dissagree. He-Man IS Master's of the Universe. There is no Masters of the Universe without He-Man. The entire series has been about He-Man's battle with Skeletor. It's the face anyone who knows anything about anything imagines when Master's of the Universe is mentioned. As to branding... that's flawed as well. The trailer for the show ABSOLUTELY was branding specifically for the He-Man fans. It was all He-man vs Skeletor, high energy 70's-80's pop music. They KNEW what they were doing and who they were branding for. If they'd been honest then the trailer should have included a whole lot more Teela. As said above... if the shows great, and they believed in the idea enough to go ahead like this anyway, that's all fine... but the market dishonesty rings nevertheless, too loudly for them to fairly just write off the complaints like its the fans fault for wanting a He-Man series about He-Man 20 years after the last time He-Man did anything of consequence.
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Re: Masters of the Universe: Revelation

Post by NotUv2 »

I guess I can't speak too much to what was in the trailers or the marketing campaign, I didn't really know the show was even happening until it popped up in my Netflix feed. Perhaps you're right. About branding about all I can say is that I noticed the absence of "He-Man" from the show's title (the Eighties show most of us grew up with was very specifically "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe") and suspected something might be up. That was just my personal reaction, though.

I can speak to the fact that the show is a pretty fun ride, though. There's actually a lot more stuff in it that I'd love to talk about, but it's a bit early in the day to be spoiling the entire thing from end to end, even behind spoiler tags. I look forward to more people seeing it.
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Re: Masters of the Universe: Revelation

Post by Mr. X »

One thing I would add is I never really like the character He Man. He got his power handed to him. He never earned it. Teela on the other hand had to train her way to her position. So if that were more emphasized then that could make a better story. maybe Teela getting mad Heman just gets a sword that gives him all his power and he never worked for it.
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Re: Masters of the Universe: Revelation

Post by Damselbinder »

Mr. X wrote: 1 year ago One thing I would add is I never really like the character He Man. He got his power handed to him. He never earned it. Teela on the other hand had to train her way to her position. So if that were more emphasized then that could make a better story. maybe Teela getting mad Heman just gets a sword that gives him all his power and he never worked for it.
Isn't that true of virtually every character who has some kind of magical or supernatural power? Superman, the Power Rangers, Thor, etc
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Re: Masters of the Universe: Revelation

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Damselbinder wrote: 1 year ago
Mr. X wrote: 1 year ago One thing I would add is I never really like the character He Man. He got his power handed to him. He never earned it. Teela on the other hand had to train her way to her position. So if that were more emphasized then that could make a better story. maybe Teela getting mad Heman just gets a sword that gives him all his power and he never worked for it.
Isn't that true of virtually every character who has some kind of magical or supernatural power? Superman, the Power Rangers, Thor, etc
Yes and this is one of the problems of cartoons from that era. Always a male given powers. That's why Batman I think is more interesting than Superman. Same with Vegeta being more interesting than Goku. In fact, in that era, the villains usually built up power where as the heroes got power. Lex Luthor built his empire. Rita Repulsa had to build up her magical powers. Skeletor wasn't handed power. He may have stole it but he wasn't handed some magic sword. And so many times in comics and cartoons the bad guy builds up the funds to fund some base or robot or something that the hero (who has powers handed to him) comes and smashes.

Now Wonder Woman is questionable. She trained but she has a magically enhanced body. So does she get power handed to her? Clearly the fight skills are not handed to her.
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Re: Masters of the Universe: Revelation

Post by NotUv2 »

Damselbinder wrote: 1 year agoIsn't that true of virtually every character who has some kind of magical or supernatural power? Superman, the Power Rangers, Thor, etc
He-Man isn't my favorite kind of character. He evolved into being a blend between Conan and Superman, but more the latter than the former: basically, this unbeatable superhuman who can do anything. It gets hard to tell interesting stories about characters like that; I feel like that's another reason why they went with the unexpected this time out.
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Re: Masters of the Universe: Revelation

Post by Mr. X »

NotUv2 wrote: 1 year ago
Damselbinder wrote: 1 year agoIsn't that true of virtually every character who has some kind of magical or supernatural power? Superman, the Power Rangers, Thor, etc
He-Man isn't my favorite kind of character. He evolved into being a blend between Conan and Superman, but more the latter than the former: basically, this unbeatable superhuman who can do anything. It gets hard to tell interesting stories about characters like that; I feel like that's another reason why they went with the unexpected this time out.
Yes but that theme was part of that era's moralizing. Good always wins cause good people are inherently superior. Most of Skeletor's crew were out cast abominations. That kind of moralizing is what I referred to in my previous post. THOSE were the messages back then.
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Re: Masters of the Universe: Revelation

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Mr. X wrote: 1 year ago One thing I would add is I never really like the character He Man. He got his power handed to him. He never earned it. Teela on the other hand had to train her way to her position. So if that were more emphasized then that could make a better story. maybe Teela getting mad Heman just gets a sword that gives him all his power and he never worked for it.
Personally, I liked it. If anything, I'd say a missed opportunity here was a chance to retcon She-Ra by having Teela wield the magic sword, but I guess that would never fly with the purists.
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Re: Masters of the Universe: Revelation

Post by shevek »

Binged all 5 last night - episodes were short so it only took 2 hours. In general, very good animation! The art style is somewhat 'blocky', preventing the women from looking very curvy, but even so, the beauty of Evil Lyn comes through especially when she removes her helmet. There's just something about a woman with gorgeous long white hair.

The critics who were destroying Kevin Smith for first lying about the content, and then gaslighting them when they complained, do have a point. This is the Teela show. She has the most lines. But on the other hand, it's not as if He-Man is as absent as the critics claim. He is in the show either as himself, or Prince Adam, or through flashbacks in every episode.

There is also peril. Teela and Andra get knocked down several times, and the best scene is where Tri-Clops' minion wraps up the three main female characters in his unbreakable metal tentacles.
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There are of course a ton of progressive aspects to the show, as critics are reporting, but some might have been greenlighted higher up than Kevin himself. Netflix's Ted Biaselli likes to 'sell' you 'bias', I guess :)

Here's what Andra looked like in the comics. Add her to the list of disappearing gingers. And here's what King Grayskull looked like in the 2002 series. Neither of those characters were in the original cartoon..so no 1980s character was altered except for Teela's Current Year 'Alex Danvers' hairstyle (see below).
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I had a fun time watching this, really. Kevin Smith wanted to try something new with the property, while literally making a sequel of the 1980s show, and he did it. His big mistake, however, was to obfuscate to the audience and not be straight with them. If he had just said from the beginning, "Look, this show is going to be about what would happen if Eternia lost He-Man...who would step and defend the castle?" and also "I'm making this show for adults. There are going to be people and animals who are stabbed, wounded or killed." If he had just stayed on that message and been positive and confident about his plot choice, instead of trying to retaliate at the critics (who had valid points), he would have been better off, and probably weathered this storm.

Now, it's very possible he's lost some of the good will, he would have otherwise gathered towards the release of Clerks 3. I'm not going to quite say "RIP View Askew," but we'll see what happens.
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Re: Masters of the Universe: Revelation

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I was thinking last night that a good angle to this is the realization magic destroys merit. Heman is given everything. He just holds up a sword and he gets power, strength, skill, great body etc. Teela on the other hand had to fight for everything. Train, work out. She went into battle without a magical safety net.

It seemed most of Eternia's problems were due to magic. A lot of people had power merely because they had magic. The constant fighting was between two big magical beings. Everything Skeletor has his power from magic.

So what if Teela sees examples of merit being ruined by magic and decides in the end to destroy the sword pieces or keeps them in heaven and hell and lets the magic dissipate. Basically evens the pay field. She rejects taking the sword for herself and instead is proud to be the person she made herself be.
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Re: Masters of the Universe: Revelation

Post by NotUv2 »

One thing I learned as a result of this: there was a MotU reboot in 2002 - 2004 that I never heard about. I'm going to have to check it out at some point, I hear it was actually quite good.
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Re: Masters of the Universe: Revelation

Post by shevek »

Mr. X wrote: 1 year ago I was thinking last night that a good angle to this is the realization magic destroys merit. Heman is given everything. He just holds up a sword and he gets power, strength, skill, great body etc. Teela on the other hand had to fight for everything. Train, work out. She went into battle without a magical safety net.

It seemed most of Eternia's problems were due to magic. A lot of people had power merely because they had magic. The constant fighting was between two big magical beings. Everything Skeletor has his power from magic.

So what if Teela sees examples of merit being ruined by magic and decides in the end to destroy the sword pieces or keeps them in heaven and hell and lets the magic dissipate. Basically evens the pay field. She rejects taking the sword for herself and instead is proud to be the person she made herself be.
Magic destroys merit, sure. But technology has the potential to destroy privacy, individualism, and free will among a bunch of other things. To further your point about Teela, I wonder what the message really is here? If magic is bad, because it spawns elitism and privilege and smacks of tradition and history too much, and technology is also bad because it turns people into drones and traps them inside metal tentacles, then what kind of world does Teela really want? Is the answer some kind of balance or harmony between the two? That could actually be a very interesting question to answer...if Kevin Smith really thought of it.
NotUv2 wrote: 1 year ago One thing I learned as a result of this: there was a MotU reboot in 2002 - 2004 that I never heard about. I'm going to have to check it out at some point, I hear it was actually quite good.
Don't merely take my word for it, but yes, it's good. The early 2000s were a great interesting time for many properties!
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Re: Masters of the Universe: Revelation

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I've watched three episodes worth, I'll probably finish it up tomorrow. The marketing was quite disingenuous, and what was worse was Kevin Smith being an outright liar about it. Teela was always a significant character in the show, so if they'd just come out and said (without spoiling that He-Man dies in the first episode) that she was the central focus, there would be basically no controversy. You'd still get that same group of online misogynists, but they're just a noisy group rather than a large one.

That said, the show is kinda...I'd say it's middling. I got suckered in by the trailer and the really good animation, and even though I think it's deceptive, it doesn't ruin the show. I was annoyed that two different characters, in the first six minutes, had to sum up just how awesome Teela was in the first episode. Rule number 1: Show Don't Tell, and having two male characters prop up your female character IMMEDIATELY makes it feel like you're afraid of just letting her actions speak for her. And it's a continuing issue with some of the writing in the show with telling the audience things a bit too overtly.

I have some feelings on Teela and the way she's written, but I'll wait and see where her character arc goes before I say anything about her. She's clearly on some kind of arc and I think it could be good, but I need to see it completed.
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Re: Masters of the Universe: Revelation

Post by batgirl1969 »

Maybe Adora and Catra will show up and it will be a festival amongst all the girls, Evi-Lyn is such a witch, an evil Goth chick that seems like my kinda girl
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Re: Masters of the Universe: Revelation

Post by Damselbinder »

I can't believe MotU had the stones to just have a character called "Evil-Lyn". Just... just a normal name... but she's evil. I wonder if she's got a brother called "Villainous Dave". Or "Unpleasant Johnson". Or "Malefic Ian."
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Re: Masters of the Universe: Revelation

Post by batgirl1969 »

Damselbinder wrote: 1 year ago I can't believe MotU had the stones to just have a character called "Evil-Lyn". Just... just a normal name... but she's evil. I wonder if she's got a brother called "Villainous Dave". Or "Unpleasant Johnson". Or "Malefic Ian."
well they do have "Fisto" so I mean wow...Fisto??? lol doesn't get more weird and provacitive than that...Maybe Horny Dave or Drippy-Dano
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Re: Masters of the Universe: Revelation

Post by NotUv2 »

Fisto has the distinction not only of being a hilariously awful, cheesy name but also a name that the Star Wars franchise very distinctly ripped off to apply to a Jedi character (one of the prequel trilogy Jedi is named Kit Fisto).

But hey, this is all just how Mattel rolls. Actual character names from the old show and toy line: Snout-Spout. Plundor. Jitsu (yes, his whole thing was Being the Japanesey Toy). Buzz-Off. Two-Bad (who was a set of conjoined twin monsters). Clawful. Extendar. Mosquitor. Leech. Stinkor (who is actually in the new show IIRC). Scare Glow (also in the new show). Tung Lashor. One of my personal favorites was Rio Blast.
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Re: Masters of the Universe: Revelation

Post by Damselbinder »

NotUv2 wrote: 1 year ago Fisto has the distinction not only of being a hilariously awful, cheesy name but also a name that the Star Wars franchise very distinctly ripped off to apply to a Jedi character (one of the prequel trilogy Jedi is named Kit Fisto).

But hey, this is all just how Mattel rolls. Actual character names from the old show and toy line: Snout-Spout. Plundor. Jitsu (yes, his whole thing was Being the Japanesey Toy). Buzz-Off. Two-Bad (who was a set of conjoined twin monsters). Clawful. Extendar. Mosquitor. Leech. Stinkor (who is actually in the new show IIRC). Scare Glow (also in the new show). Tung Lashor. One of my personal favorites was Rio Blast.
Rio Blast is not an action figure name.

Rio Blast is a new flavour of Mountain Dew.
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Re: Masters of the Universe: Revelation

Post by NotUv2 »

Damselbinder wrote: 1 year agoRio Blast is not an action figure name.

Rio Blast is a new flavour of Mountain Dew.
IKR? Or a brand of chewing gum.
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Re: Masters of the Universe: Revelation

Post by Mr. X »

Or Ram Man.
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Re: Masters of the Universe: Revelation

Post by NotUv2 »

Oh damn, I forgot Ram Man. Whose 'real' name was Krass. I figure they had to have done a lot of this on purpose.
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Re: Masters of the Universe: Revelation

Post by batgirl1969 »

Wow what a kinky name line up, bet Tongue lashor was popular with the eternian ladies they captured!! And Ram Man and Whiplash...man those are rough...Probably all popular with the ladies in the series. whore-Dak, P'Nus, Puss-Ee I see now....
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Re: Masters of the Universe: Revelation

Post by Mr. X »

well the name Heman is also a bit absurd. In a lot of ways MOTU seems more like the cast of Rocky Horror.
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Re: Masters of the Universe: Revelation

Post by Bugsy »

Just finished watching it! I thought it was very cool! None of that halfassed animation!!! Looking forward to the next part!
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Re: Masters of the Universe: Revelation

Post by thegagster »

Sorry man, just watch the first episode and start of the second, and dropped, not my cup of tea, got really bored :(
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Re: Masters of the Universe: Revelation

Post by NotUv2 »

No need to apologize for your tastes, man. If it's not for you, it's not for you.

I mean, believe me, I completely get it: if someone had told me in the year 2000 that I'd be watching She-Ra and He-Man cartoons twenty years later, I would've laughed them out of the room. If that holds true for you, that just is what it is.
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Re: Masters of the Universe: Revelation

Post by patmac4 »

watched thought it was ok.
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Re: Masters of the Universe: Revelation

Post by batgirl1969 »

Evil-Lyn for the win!!! Why is it the evil chics are always the best!!! LOVE her hair
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Re: Masters of the Universe: Revelation

Post by shevek »

batgirl1969 wrote: 1 year ago Evil-Lyn for the win!!! Why is it the evil chics are always the best!!! LOVE her hair
Yes, Evil-Lyn is the only attractive character in the whole series (so far).
They are the best because confidence is sexy.

This hilarious meme is going around the Youtubes. It appeared in my recommends, and then Gary Nerdrotic tacked it on to the
end of one of his newest commentaries.

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Re: Masters of the Universe: Revelation

Post by NotUv2 »

batgirl1969 wrote: 1 year ago Evil-Lyn for the win!!! Why is it the evil chics are always the best!!! LOVE her hair
I've been enjoying the heck out of all the female characters, but I gotta give it to her: Evil-Lyn's visual design is so rad and let's be real: her flex is nothing new.

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That said: loved me some Andra and Teela snacks during the first chapter. Yummy-yum.
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Re: Masters of the Universe: Revelation

Post by shevek »

Kevin Smith just said that the second half of the season is about Evil-Lyn.
That might not be a bad thing for us if she looks beautiful and powerful as the lead character, so we'll see what happens.
What we do know is that the focus continues to be NOT on He-Man, and Lena Headey and Sarah Michelle Gellar are just fine
with that......

https://boundingintocomics.com/2021/08/ ... lyn-story/
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