Cast your mind back to July, and you may recall the release of Masters of the Universe Revelation – Part One. The animated show, which streamed on Netflix, was conceived as a loose continuation of the 1983 Masters of the Universe cartoon and re-introduced audiences to He-Man, Skeletor, and various other characters from the Masters mythology.
The series was dubbed ‘Part One’ because the five episodes that were made available on Netflix, formed half of the show’s first season. This week sees the release of ‘Part Two’, aka the next five episodes in the story.
For those who can’t quite remember what happened at the end of ‘Part One’, Skeletor gained control of Prince Adam’s power sword and turned himself into a god. He also mortally wounded Adam in the process, and plunged the planet Eternia into darkness.
‘Part Two’ picks up the story directly after ‘Part One’ and shows the immediate fallout from Skeletor’s godly transformation. It then details the attempts by Adam and his friends to regain control of the sword and rebalance the power in Eternia.
Similar to ‘Part One’, this second offering features plenty of action, various in-jokes and references to the wider mythology, as well as a number of crowd-pleasing moments. The episodes continue to throw the spotlight on characters such as Evil-Lyn and Teela, but they also place a great deal of focus on Adam/He-Man and Skeletor too.
One of the biggest criticisms of ‘Part One’ was the lack of He-Man and Skeletor. The two iconic characters were less present in the first five episodes than many people would have liked, and this led to a great deal of negative feedback from some corners of the MOTU fan community.
Well, if the lack of He-Man and Skeletor was something that was a significant issue for you, then you will be pleased to know these characters get a lot more screen time during ‘Part Two’. This isn’t some last-minute change to appease disgruntled fans (animation doesn’t work like that), this is simply the show shifting its focus as the story expands, and was always part of the plan.
You wanted more He-Man and Skeletor? You got it!
However, while many will love the opportunity to see more from their favourite hero and villain, for me, the greater focus on He-Man and Skeletor in ‘Part Two’ is both a blessing and a curse. Some of it works, some of it doesn’t.
On the one hand, it’s always great to see this pair on screen together, and they both get moments to shine. On the other hand, there is a little too much time spent on watching these seemingly invulnerable characters pounding on each other, and that’s where the problem sets in.
With both He-Man and Skeletor ‘dying’ (but not really) in the previous half of the season, this robs ‘Part Two’ of a certain element of danger. As it is unlikely they will die again, the episodes in ‘Part Two’ get stuck going through the motions of having the characters battle each other, with little chance that anything significant will happen.
These latest episodes also suffer from a bit too much power play. Without dropping any significant spoilers, this half of the season focuses its attention so much on who wields the power sword, that it all becomes a little tiresome at times.
I appreciate this is a key part of the storyline, and always has been, but seeing characters go back and forth getting power, losing power, gaining power and so on, starts to get a bit repetitive. Sure, it is always entertaining, but perhaps not quite as interesting as it wants to be.
Putting those issues to one side, everything else about ‘Part Two’ works for me. The episodes are filled to the brim with great visuals, some of the supporting cast get an opportunity to shine, and there is a great fan-pleasing moment in the fourth episode, which put a HUGE smile on my face.
As with the previous half of the season, this second batch of episodes isn’t afraid to push the story into some new places and there is plenty of character progression too. Teela gets to move toward her destiny, Adam gets to have a much-needed heart-to-heart with his nearest and dearest, and some dangling plot threads are tied up rather neatly.
The show also isn’t afraid to kill off some established characters. While He-Man and Skeletor may prove impossible to bump off for good, this is less of a problem when it comes to the supporting players.
There are a few deaths quite early on which are quite surprising, and a couple of deaths in particular that are pretty gruesome. For fans, the death scenes might come as a bit of a shock, but they demonstrate this show isn’t afraid to go to some dark places when it wants to.
This collection of episodes also delivers a big battle, which is fought for the fate of Eternity and beyond. The battle provides the show with plenty of spectacle, as well as a strong climax, and yet another smile-inducing moment.
Similar to ‘Part One’, I enjoyed what was on offer in this latest round of episodes, and believe Masters of the Universe Revelation to be a fantastic series. It takes a world that I loved during my childhood, moves the story forward a little, and presents something which appeals to my mindset now that I’m… *gulp* …middle-aged.
Along with all that, the animation continues to remain strong, with some truly magnificent action sequences, while the continual nods to the wider mythology prove to be fun. Then there is the voice acting, which is truly excellent, with Chris Wood being simply great as He-Man/Prince Adam and Mark Hamill being his usual brilliant self as Skeletor.
When Masters of the Universe Revelation was first announced, I figured this would be a mini-series – a one-off and done kind of thing, and nothing more. In all honesty, I was fine with this, because there are other versions of He-Man out there (including another He-Man show on Netflix), and I felt this incarnation had a pretty finite amount of story to tell.
But ‘Part Two’ may not be the end of the road, and if it isn’t, then this pleases me greatly. While many of the major plot threads are wrapped up towards the end of this series, the door is firmly left ajar for more stories, and I would love to see where this show goes next.
Masters of the Universe Revelation has impressed me and as far as I’m concerned, long may it continue. If the production team and cast can make another solid set of episodes like these ones, then I will be back for more when the time comes.