Masters of the Universe: Revelation 2021 misses mark with “Tone Deft” Kevin Smith’s “Spiritual Successor
No morals to be taught by Teelah while Prince Adam putters around the netherworld in He-Man’s latest animation…
As a child of the 80s and 90s, He-Man was an installment of modern mythos. It was created by hard working animators to sell toys and give a moral in every episode back when it first aired. This would place He-Man in the zeitgeist of 80s culture and carry it ahead. Sadly, the modern incarnation lacks the soul, pacing, and teachable moments the old show had. So much so that MOST of the “Lessons” this “Spiritual Successor” didn’t carry over in the least.
The Voice Acting of the show was a competent cast. Mark Hamill, Sarah Michelle Geller, Lena Headey, Liam Cunningham, and the rest of the crew nailed most of their characters. However, Chris Wood who played He-Man had made a few missteps before release such as not knowing anything about the show or really the depth of the character with the alter ego. This may be due to the fact the showrunner, Kevin Smith, was more interested in matching the visual tone and arranging action scenes to force viewer engagement over actual “substance”.
It all begins with Episode 1 and the introduction of the characters. However, the jarring tone-shift and pacing makes for a disgusting “tonal whiplash” as our characters are placed center-stage. The Chess Board was set, so to speak, and the characters resumed their “Epic Fantasy Battles” as all children of the 80s would have loved to see. The forces of good and evil on a battlefield portrayed in a very “Lord of the Rings” wide-angle shot from above scene. Combat ensues, the big animated scene fades to a battle between named characters. Enter the Skeletor and He-Man crescendo and as Kevin Smith put it “He-Man is like Jesus Christ and sacrifices himself to save everyone” oh boy!
At that moment I turned the show off and walked away for about an hour. Skeletor and He-Man were GONE so there was no reason to watch right? WRONG! So, the next 6 episodes are basically a slow-crawl redemption arc for Teelah to be later revealed that she “has power within her” by the “Devil” of Eternia. We get it, Teelah is a strong female character but the entire cast of characters lack agency. Man-At-Arms, Teelah’s adopted father whom is supposed to be what we call a “Cornerstone Character” huddles in a shack. Even old-show antagonists that are given flashback scenes lack any resolve beyond “Gotta do my thing now…” ala Triclopse. At least Beast-Man decides to help Evil Lyn whom gets a redemption arc only to blunder it at the last moment after pretty much cheerleading for Orko whom they pretty much kill off while they’re in Hell? Wait how does the Netherworld work again?
It’s ok though. Teelah and crew get the Cosmic McGuffin, The Swords of Power, and fuse them together. However, not at the cost of Roboto, Man-At-Arms’ self-duplicate android. That’s right, they killed Orko and then Roboto within 2 episodes just to ramp up the emotional manipulation after they had just got Prince Adam back from the Light Netherworld and met the original “Master’s of The Universe” and the “First He-Man” after Teelah conquered her “fear of her own potential” in some strange “woke” double-talk from Space Satan.
So far: He-Man, Orko, and Robot have sacrificed themselves, “Like Jesus Christ on the Cross” -Kevin Smith, for the “Greater Good of the Universe” which actually lessens the FIRST sacrifice of He-Man in the first episode. This takes the convoluted writing to the next level. It’s ok though. We have more to go through in the next episode…
Whiplash, that’s all I can tell you that’s what happened. All those episodes. All that build up. All the Teelah angst for Adam not telling her he was He-Man… and Skeletor wins? I think I know what lesson we were taught:
No matter what you do in this show you’ll get BONED… get it? Because Skeletor stabbed him in the back and he’s SKELETOR?!
When asked about on the “woke nature”, “jarring pacing”, and given a low score on rotten tomatoes Kevin Smith had this to say to everyone on a podcaset he was a guest on:
Like, you really f***ing think Mattel Television, who hired me and paid me money, wants to do a f***ing Masters of the Universe show without He-Man?Kevin Smith, on a podcast
Grow the F*** up, man!Kevin Smith, on a podcast
F*** off!Kevin Smith, on a podcast
Let’s not forget Kevin Smith built his entire career of Pot Jokes, Fecal-Humor, and worshipping Stan Lee as his hero despite his content mirroring far more golden-age D.C. than Marvel content. When you’re entire history of videography is pretty much Drugs and Escapism while trying to prove to the world you’re hip and cool over 25 and being known for crying about sub-par star wars film releases you’ve really got to take a look at your body of work and say “Maybe going woke will make me go broke with my 236 million in the bank…” but it’s probably not going to matter and someone else will give Kevin another property to destroy.