“Masters of the Universe: Revelation” Part 1 – Solid Characters, Comedy and Animation Made This Memorable

“Masters of the Universe: Revelation” Part 1 is a sequel series to the classic 80s “Masters of the Universe.” The 80s show is a show I know mostly through cultural osmosis as it is before my time. I was drawn in though due to the voice cast and how neat the premise looked. This is a beautifully animated show that Netflix did good work on.

The show was created by Kevin Smith.

The story takes place after a final showdown at Castle Grayskull that leaves magic sapped from the world and our heroes exiled from the Royal Family as Leeta (Sarah Michelle Geller) must uncover the reasons why magic is disappearing as she finds herself in unlikely alliances after Adam / He-Man (Chris Wood) and Skeletor (Mark Hamill) and the Sword of Power are gone after that final battle.

SPOILERS ahead

The Pros:

The Premise – The idea of magic leaving a magic filled world and technology rising to fill that hole is compelling. The world feels broken after the final battle which sets the stakes really well and gives a reason for Leeta to work with Skeletor’s former allies.

The Animation – The animation is beautiful and brings the world to life. I loved how it illustrated the darkness of the underworld Subternia and the vibrant colors of the paradise of Preternia. All the people of Eternia feel distinct too and I loved the classic designs from the buildings and ships from the 80s.

The Characters – Most of the characters work, especially those core relationships to Teela. I liked how nearly all the supporting cast had their moment to shine and got some good character development.

Duncan / Man-At-Arms – Liam Cunningham is wonderful as Duncan, Teela’s father who is exiled after Adam’s death in the final battle. He lives with that guilt until Teela and his creation with his personality Roboto remind him of his responsbility as he protects his wife the Sorceress from the Techno Cult that is trying to destroy all magic in Eternia.

Teela / Man-At-Arms – Teela’s arc is becoming a hero again after she is living a life as a mercenary with her friend Andra until Evil-Lyn pulls her back into the quest to restore magic as she shows her people can change. Eventually she confronts Adam in Preternia after facing her fear of power in Subternia and they resolve things as he leaves Heaven to join her in the fight to restore magic in the world once more. Teela didn’t know Adam was He-Man and that secret hurt their relationship and her relationship with all their friends (Duncan, Cringer, Orko) who knew and never said. Sarah Michelle Geller was so good I didn’t even recognize her voice for the character.

Adam / He-Man – Chris Wood’s Adam’s arc is choosing to return to the world and risk permanent death as he’s been granted a reprieve in Preternia for saving the universe. It is a good and small arc that ends with him mortally wounded when Skeletor’s trap is revealed. I doubt he will die and will probably become He-Man or be healed by magic now that it is back in the world.

Skeletor – Mark Hamill is great as Skeletor. He is in the beginning as he destroys the source of magic that causes the conflict and later mortally wounds Adam and takes the Sword of Power as he had been hiding in Evil-Lyn’s staff. I liked the flashbacks where he clearly just loved being evil and I wonder what he’ll do now that he is a Master of the Universe and won at the end of Part 1.

Orko – Orko is the heart of show as he is dying from the lack of magic and we learn he might be the last Trollen. He grows to form a friendship with Evil-Lyn as she helps him overcome his parents lack of faith in him as he holds off Scare Glow in Subternia giving time for the heroes to escape to Preternia. I loved this character and he was my favorite besides Evil-Lyn. Griffin Newman did a great job.

Evil-Lyn – Lena Headey gives us the most compelling character in the show as Evil-Lyn is left to question her assumptions as she sees the selflessness of heroes and realizes that Skeletor caused the problem of magic dying in the first place. In the end she does rejoin Skeletor but I suspect she will betray him. She left her crown at Orkos tombstone so she’s been changed by all that she’s experienced. She and Orko were my favorite characters.

Okay:

Tri-Klops – Tri-Klops has a techno cult and has taken over Snake Mountain and believes technology will fix people and the world. He is the primary antagonist and I wish we’d seen more of the influence of the cult. I’m also curious how the Royal family and their forces interacted with his.

Andra – Andra is Leeta’s engineer friend who wants to be a hero which in turn inspires Leeta to be a hero. She has a lot of moments she helps but we never learn her backstory, which was a shame.

Roboto – Roboto is Duncan’s creaion and the being who reforges the Sword of Power and gains a soul in the process as feels the fear of death. I wish we’d had more time with him. The arc is interesting but we needed more time and backstory like Andra.

Beast-Man – Like Andra and Roboto I wanted to know why Beast-Man was still loyal to Evil-Lyn and Skeletor as all the other minions went rogue. Kevin Michael Richardson is great but I wish he’d gotten some development.

The Cons:

More Skeletor Set-up Needed – Skeletor hiding in Evil-Lyn’s staff needed more set-up. I had no idea what is overall plan was and not one of his former minions says what his plans were before his “death.” Given how key he is to the plot this story development was needed.

The Missing Royal Family and Their Power – King Randor exiles Duncan for failing to protect Adam and outlaws people from Castle Grayskull. Given Leeta and her group were going against the Royal Family I’d like to have seen their power. They are shown to be so core at the beginning but never come up again beyond being referenced.

Part 1 is promising and I like how it ended in tragedy as Part 2 has Skeletor with his ultimate power as the main threat. I do think Skeletor’s plan and agenda needed more set-up but the core character relationships are what made this show good and I’m looking forward to Part 2 of the series. Kevin Smith has done a good job on the show so far.

Final Score: 8.3 / 10

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