July 26, 2021 (Originally posted on Neocities)
I watched the Masters of the Universe: Revelations or Revolutions or Reloaded or whatever. So far it's just 5 episodes, and it's just part 1. I know that JoJo Part 1 had more episodes than this, and it was the shortest part. I also ended up watching this show as part of a watchalong with a stream I sometimes watch for the sake of having some commentary alongside a show I may not have checked out otherwise. Anyway, I put my general thoughts below. Spoilers follow, definitely spoilers. I kinda just end up recapping it in short with my thoughts alongside the moments. If you wanna watch the show first it's 5 episodes if you already have Netflix or some other way to watch. Maybe you could even watch alongside a watchalong yourself.
The show is apparently produced by Kevin Smith, who is known as Silent Bob, and not Kevin Bacon, which I'm not sure what degree of separation there is here, or Kevin James, who is known as Paul Blart. For whatever reason though, I decided to look up those weird Paul Blart edits again like the one about the Flesh Mall. I still find those hilarious for whatever reason even though they're weird dumb meme edits. I found this show decidedly less hilarious though. For a He-Man series, not finding it hilarious is a thing to consider, considering how hilarious the original show ended up being. If that's part of the charm of the original.
The first episode starts with this oil painting looking intro that generally discusses what the whole series tends to be. Long story short, the good guys and bad guys fight over this power from someone called Grayskull, which this guy called Adam calls down said power of to transform into He-Man. And Skeletor is there, most of all. Following that intro, He-Man is in a cloak traveling to Castle Grayskull with other people for some reason. They call out one of the party for being Skeletor in disguise and blast him with a laser. Meanwhile, at the royal castle place, they're throwing a ceremony about Teela becoming the new Man-At-Arms, taking over the role from the existing Man-At-Arms whose name is apparently Duncan. While Cringer, the Battle Cat whose name has actually been that this whole time and my superficial knowledge of the series didn't tell me that, freaks out over the fireworks show, Orko tries to help by trapping the cat in a bubble, almost suffocating him. Being the comic relief seems to be getting to the wizard after all this time. His eyes have also become more detailed and almost anime. And who else but Adam shows up as well.
Given that Adam's at the party, the He-Man with the others turns out to be a robot and the whole thing is a ruse to get the falcon lady Sorceress trapped to unlock the basement of Castle Grayskull. Also the Clawful there turns out to be Evil-Lyn, who declares that while she's not Clawful, she can be awful, like her attempt at humor. Sorceress calls for the real He-Man to show up and the good guys head right over, with the transformation sequence for He-Man and Battle Cat. He-Man and Skeletor have a showdown, and someone called Moss-Man shows up to try to stop Skeletor but gets burned to death. He-Man takes this personally and stabs Skeletor in front of the magic pyramid, which turns out to be exactly how to unlock it. The pyramid opens up and shows a magic orb, which Skeletor smashes open. Apparently this is a bad thing, as time breaks briefly so Sorceress can explain to He-Man and Teela that they need to somehow stop this before the universe implodes.
He-Man gets the idea to call the power of Grayskull while already being He-Man to try to stop the universal implosion, and this causes him to turn back to Adam, which was apparently a secret to at least some people this whole time, including Teela and of course Skeletor, but also breaks the sword into two swords, which given this original sword was a key, really reminds me of Kingdom Hearts plot stuff, whatever it is. There's an explosion anyway and both He-Man and Skeletor are annihilated. The good guys bring back the bad news to the royalty, and the king is so mad about finding out that He-Man was his son and also dead that he kicks out the existing Man-At-Arms and Teela just decides to leave, also having felt lied to. Meanwhile, everyone outside celebrates Skeletor finally being defeated, but at what cost. At what cost?! AT WHAT COST?!??!
The second episode is after some unknown timeskip and Teela is now a bounty hunter, working with someone called Andra whose name I forgot or missed or something. I had to look this up to be sure, Andra is apparently an existing character from some comics, but really seems like someone who could have been made up for this show. They dig around in a trash pile in search of a glove, and defeating Stinkor who belches a stock belch sound effect at them. They get a job from an old woman to get a special goblet from Snake Mountain, the old Skeletor hideout. Then there's a flashback to her being stuck in a pit there and climbing out while she and He-Man fought a lizard. With the power of flashbacks, she figured out to get around a newly installed electronic lock, they can just dig through the side of that pit. Inside the mountain, Tri-Klops, an old villain with three eyes needed to be randomly switched around for expressions I guess, as established his base for a technological cult of some kind. Said cult is against magic and hands out totally-not-magic cyborg juice that turns people into cyborgs, which is honestly pretty cool and they should have been offering this up to whoever asked in the first place. Of course they're using the cup the bounty hunters are after so they grab it and fight some cyborgs, including a bunch of hooded clones because they needed uniformed enemies to beat up.
After getting the cup back to the old lady, she tells them to take it to Castle Grayskull. Teela eventually agrees and it turns out the lady was Evil-Lyn, now just Lyn, in disguise, and the cup turned out to be an evil skull holding the last bit of magic in the world. Sorceress is there to extract it into Lyn's staff for safekeeping while the mission gets explained. Long story short, to save magic and therefore the universe which depends on it, they have to find the two swords the big sword split into and renew the magic source. Teela doesn't want to deal with her past, but eventually gets convinced to help.
The third episode starts with a flashback. He-Man and Teela are on a boat with Skeletor and Mer-Man, doing the usual jokes while fighting thing. Man-At-Arms shows up to save the day as well. This scenario was being discussed while the party goes in search of Man-At-Arms, also known as Duncan since he's not supposed to have a title since the king got mad at him, knowing he can forge the sword back together. At some village, an old man spills a cup full of magic water, which is in short supply, but a cloaked man punches the hell out of someone mocking the old man. Then the Techno Union shows up and shoots a big laser through the village and the forest behind it. The party in search of Man-At-Arms shows up in a timely manner, but ends up in a bind, where Beast Man shows up to scare the cyborgs and tell them to leave, and they just leave.
The cloaked man turns out to be Duncan-At-Arms and he brings them back to his place, where it turns out he was at the village retrieving magic water to keep Orko on life support, since he's weakened by the general lack of magic. He half-heartedly attempts to be the comic relief but being terminally ill and also depressed in general does things to a wizard. The group explains the situation, and after some back and forth, Duncan agrees to send his robot clone, Roboto, since he might be able to forge the sword as well, and Orko wants to tag along for one last adventure like old times. The party gets on a boat, and while Orko talks about keeping a journal to remember old adventures because he's apparently also losing his memories on top of his other problems, they get attacked by Mer-Man and his minions like in the flashback. Also like in the flashback, Man-At-Arms shows up and starts blasting. They convince Mer-Man to lead their now broken jet boat over to the entrance of Subternia, which I'm calling hell from here on out, and Man-At-Arms leaves as quickly as he came. The party heads down into the hell pit after the giant obelisk door takes a minute to open.
The fourth episode, fittingly, is all about traveling through hell in search of the evil sword. They soon get separated into two groups as well as Teela on her own. Teela encounters someone called Scare Glow, who I guess rules hell, and is asked to show her fear by bring dropped into a giant pit. Meanwhile Orko and Lyn are in what's apparently an illusion of Orko's homeland, but with nobody there. He tries to use a magic magnifying glass to get a better view of the situation but it ends up burning some birds and he remarks on his apparent failure of an existence. Lyn is there to be morally supportive and not evil. The rest of the characters, including the robot, are in some random battlefield fighting shadow monsters. Roboto admits to not feeling fear while the woman whose name I forgot again discusses being pants-wettingly scared at the whole situation.
Teela's fear is personified by fighting with an evil He-Man about her doubts and other concerns. Orko thinks solemnly out loud about how he's probably the last of his kind, regardless of how illusive this illusion is, and how his name was apparently Oracle before it got shortened and he couldn't live up to such a title, while Lyn is still doing her best to be supportive. They then get attacked by evil Black Mage ghosts, which turn into shadow mice, which then merge into some kind of evil shadow monkey or something. The rest with the robot continue fighting, but decide to make the robot flash a big light to destroy the shadow monsters for good. Meanwhile, Teela conquers her fear of her powers or something and gets the evil sword from hell from Scare Glow, who was masquerading as evil He-Man, and then an evil clone of her, the whole time. After Orko and Lyn get back from combining their powers to blow up the evil monkey, Lyn opens the door to Preternia, heretoforthwith referred to as heaven, from hell, using the evil blade as a key, but they all get caught by vines from Scare Glow, all except Orko since he doesn't have legs. He ends up being the one to fight back, calling forth super anime powers to hold back Scare Glow, which let me reiterate how funny so many of these names are while this show is meant to be taken seriously I guess.
In order to get the others through the door to heaven and wrap up the sad boy redemption arc, Orko causes a nuclear magic explosion to blast everyone through and sacrifice himself while also possibly blowing up hell itself. I'll be honest, I was kinda just waiting to see if they'd pull the dramatic death card for him because it really felt like that kind of show. I should also note the way he apparently dies could also be explained later as "no, you didn't see the whole story" if they did want to bring him back later like Gandalf, maybe weighing fan response or just having everything planned from the start. Regardless, he doesn't spontaneously reappear in heaven from being probably dead at the moment, and the group is about to get in a fight over the grief of losing their former comic relief, but Adam shows up to greet them.
The fifth episode, the last for now, starts with setting up a tombstone for Orko, still super dead apparently. They even call forth a bit of heavenly power to make the area around it look all wacky like his homeland. Following a brief bit of mourning, Adam just hands over the light sword they need and they go to forge the two swords together. Meanwhile, he takes Teela for a ride on the wild hunt that just happens in Valhalla here. They meet the real Grayskull and ask about how to bring back people to the mortal plane, since Teela's party is meant to just be visiting, but there's the concern about defying fate and reward and the natural order of things. There's just a door they can use it turns out, but there's the possibility of Adam not being able to return to heaven as himself, instead maybe becoming a flower or something. Moss-Man is there to talk to him as well, while plucking one of said flowers.
In the process to forge the sword and talking to someone called He-Ro, Roboto mentions his power reactor possibly being able to cause the intense reactions needed to merge the two swords into one, and they convert a whole building tower into a temporary forge to get the job done. The robot does get the job done, and gets blown up in the resulting explosion after. He also admits to feel fear after all about his apparent death, accepting that means he must have been truly alive, or at least somewhat programmed to feel fear, maybe. They don't seem to give him a gravestone on screen at least, but the remaining party gets to heading through the door back to the mortal realm. Adam also decides to follow to lend his power to the cause.
The moment Adam steps through the portal he immediately almost gets murdered by a cyborg, which would have been hilarious and maybe he'd have gotten a do-over, but the rest of the group fends off the attackers. Man-At-Arms is also there to blast lasers from above. They go into the magic temple they spawned right outside of and find Sorceress waiting. This temple, being the revealed form of Castle Grayskull apparently, is just the place to rebuild the magic of the world. Adam channels the power once again to do so, making Castle Grayskull look like a skull again, and locking the magic orb back in its pyramid. He is about to finish his signature catchphrase but is suddenly backstabbed by Skeletor. I have to admit I was immediately reminded of the scene where Sonic gets impaled during the last act of Sonic 06. I also admit I found this a bit funny anyway because he did just come back from heaven after all, just not as suddenly as the cyborg attack.
It turns out Skeletor was hiding in Lyn's staff this whole time, waiting for magic to come back. Lyn decides to strap the Evil back to her name and joins back up with him. Skeletor then picks up the super sword and calls the power of Grayskull himself, becoming some kind of Super Skeletor or something, achieving the good ending. For himself at least. And maybe some fans of Skeletor. But maybe some fans would have preferred him cracking jokes about the situation the whole time. Skeletor did sound a lot like the Joker this time, with good reason, but with fewer jokes. Maybe an occasional killing joke.
In conclusion, this was sure a weird continuation and it reminds me a bit of the Star Wars sequel trilogy, which in turn reminded me of anime, and so does this. Characters becoming overall more dramatic and also a few dying as well while some things just get out of control in scope. I also feel like the pacing was a bit jumpy, like only having the budget for five episodes so far and needing to explain a lot of other things for some reason before getting to fixing the sword. If there's a part 2, maybe it'll be a bit closer to more action, or maybe it'll end up being more dramatic stuff. I feel like the death of comic relief characters, first in their humor, then in their actual selves, makes me think it's going to be more the latter. I feel like there's this general trend of killing established characters for drama, whether or not they come back through some comic book means or someone else takes over. I don't know if Game of Thrones influenced this or not. At least in comic book movies the whole thing is probably based on existing plotlines from the comics, death and resurrection included. I was also forgetting a bunch of the show after just having watched it. It was late but still, I had to refer to general summaries to remember the key points I wanted to hit, to some degree.
I will add this, the watchalong did help with taking the show on, with the odd joke attempts, classic Skeletor impressions, and somehow calling some of the events right before they happened. The image of Orko suddenly sprouting Bayonetta legs also happened, and the question of if what would happen if Moss-Man got lit on fire in heaven and couldn't die from it. Otherwise I'm not sure I'd have sat through it as eagerly as it's another one of those edgy Netflix reboot sequels. But then again, most of my experience of He-Man prior was through cultural osmosis like Skeletor compilations and impressions and also that video where they ask what's going on. I feel like embracing the 1980s cheese would have improved the experience, like how the 1960s Batman show and movie were run. Then again maybe I'm just used to the idea of Skeletor telling He-Man to suck his bone and just having random evil laughter sessions and punching a mirror he just went through and so on. I would have probably given more considerations toward the show if not only Skeletor was there more but also made funny bone jokes. Even if they ended up killing off literally all of the comic relief characters anyway and left it that way.
I've just been watching a bunch of things lately, like some older classic anime for one thing. I've been generally enjoying getting back to that. Maybe with a bit more recent context of shows I've enjoyed, this one felt a bit more flat. I haven't exactly watched the classic He-Man series, but I feel like I'd enjoy that more. I also don't normally watch edgy Netflix reboot sequels anyway. There's also that superhero cartoon one that's actually on Amazon it turns out where that meme about telling the guy to think came from. For whatever reason the Amazon money service seems to get a bunch of superhero deconstructions like The Boys as well. However I don't have that, so I don't have opinions on those and haven't bothered to use alternate methods either. Maybe I don't always want a deconstruction, and maybe I want one with some more sense of humor like One Punch Man. Maybe I also don't feel like killing off mages and robots and mage robots for the sake of making things super cereal, even if the deaths could easily be reversed because comic book reasons. Maybe I just want to see skeletons talk about boobs.
Apparently the thing people seem most angry about is the lack of He-Man and especially Skeletor, which both are around for less than half of the runtime so far. The fact that He-Man is absent from even the show title is telling, and apparently the show focus was intended more around Teela. I would probably be more fine with focus on other characters if they had more character overall. I'm still not sure who this Andra character really is still, the woman who was being a bounty hunter alongside Teela if you already forgot again, so she needs a bit more definition for sure. Either that or just totally go the 80s route of campy humor action. Or somehow manage both, I don't know. Going the deconstruction route would need more thorough characters, but I don't know if a total deconstruction is what I would be looking for in the series. I feel like they attempted this with Orko, who I've refrained from calling Dorko for this whole review so you know I'm "serious", with chronic comic relief syndrome causing doubt, but it was executed a bit ham-fisted and may have ignored something about prior lore involving incompatible magic dimensions as I looked up trying to keep some references straight. There may have been subtler and notably less lethal redemption arcs for the character in the 1980s show. I'll find out if I sit down and watch that. We'll see if I decide to watch the rest of this show if it comes out, on my own or on another watchalong, and any subsequent review of such.
Also I decided to start adding header images to more reviews than just album reviews for the sake of me not really doing videos much but wanting to make weird thumbnails anyway. May or may not retroactively add them to previous ones however I feel they'd fit. I may be doing more show or movie reviews sporadically later on, particularly since I've noticed a number of notorious movies showing up on streaming services and so on.