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Masters of the Universe: Revelation (A spoiler-free review by Josh)

He-Man Masters of the Universe Revelation Kevin Smith review

As I write this, it’s just after 4 AM in my dinky little apartment. My living room is dimly lit with the glow of the scrolling credits of my most highly-anticipated show of 2021, scratch that, of the last ten years, no, scratch that too. Masters of the Universe: Revelation is quite possibly my most highly-anticipated show ever. In the twenty-some-odd years I’ve been on this planet I don’t think there’s ever been this much build-up to any entertainment property that I’m a fan of.

Sure, as a Star Wars fan, the road to The Force Awakens was magical. Regardless of your opinion of the film itself, or the sequels as a whole, that moment in the first trailer where the Millennium Falcon‘s theme plays as it rises into the frame was pure hype. The year leading up to that film’s release was unlike anything I’d experienced. I grew up on Star Wars, so seeing Han and Chewie come home in that second trailer was beyond cool. And then the film came out, and I remember the feeling that washed over me as I sat in that theater on opening night as John Williams’ theme began to play, and those familiar golden lines began to crawl: pure, unadulterated bliss.

Star Wars Marvel He-Man Masters of the Universe Revelation Kevin Smith review

Fast forward a few years, and I find myself in a strikingly similar position. In the same way that I grew up with He-Man, I grew up with Spider-Man and, on occasion, some of his amazing friends. While I never saw the first Avengers in theaters, I found myself engrossed in the story that Kevin Feige and his team decided to tell, starting with 2008’s Iron Man. From the next release, Iron Man 3, onwards I found myself in those uncomfortable theater chairs opening week for every film Marvel Studios put out. Through the ups and downs of phases two and three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe I was enthralled by the interconnected story and converging plotlines that ultimately led to Endgame, the culmination of what would later be called the Infinity Saga. It was both a love letter to the characters who originated the universe and carried the central throughline, as well as a genuine love letter to the fans who had supported the franchise for the first 10 years.

After those two monumental experiences, I thought I’d probably had my fill. Nothing could top the excitement and joy I experienced for those two franchises I grew up on reaching the pinnacle of Hollywood magic. And I was almost right. There are very few things in the world of entertainment that I love more than Star Wars and Superheroes. In fact, there’s only one: Masters of the Universe. The brief descriptions above of how excited I was for The Force Awakens and Endgame cannot begin to describe how I felt when I first heard about Masters of the Universe: Revelation during Power-Con. I’m not gifted with the ability to string words together in any meaningful way to properly convey my love for this franchise. From the very first poster revealed at Power-Con, to the stellar voice cast announced later on, and finally to the teaser dropped about a month ago and the full trailer that aired in early July, the anticipation only grew. And now that the series, Part 1 at least, is finally here… does it live up to the hype?

He-Man Masters of the Universe Revelation Kevin Smith review

If you’re looking for a one-word answer: no. And it pains me to say that, it really does. I so wanted this series to be everything that it was marketed as, everything that I dreamed of seeing Masters of the Universe become since I was old enough to say “By the Power of Grayskull” myself. But there’s so much more to that “no” than just my initial disappointment. Don’t take this paragraph to mean that the show isn’t enjoyable, or worth a watch. It is, in fact, both of those things. If you’re reading this to find out whether or not you should watch this show, the answer is YES you should. If you grew up on Filmation, the 1987 Theatrical movie, or the 2002 series, then Revelation is worth a watch. While I would love to outline what ultimately didn’t live up to expectations in my eyes, I can’t do that without spoiling some of the magic.

He-Man Masters of the Universe Revelation Kevin Smith review

So here’s my plan: I’m going to recommend you watch the series at some point this week. If you love it, great! If you hate it, great! If you’re somewhere in-between, great! No matter where you stand, don’t judge the show based on this, or any, review. Don’t assume you know what it’s about because of all the rumors and allegations that have been flying around since the first trailer dropped. Just watch the show. Part 1 is five easily digestible 25-minute episodes, so over the next week, sit down and watch them. If you want to binge them as I did, go for it. If you want to come home from work Monday through Friday and watch one episode at a time, Filmation-style, that’s cool too. But whatever you do, don’t skip the show because it wasn’t what I wanted it to be. Watch it for yourself and form your own opinions. Next weekend, after you’ve seen the series for yourself, check back here for my spoiler-heavy deep dive into what I did and didn’t like about the series.

My name is Josh, a fan for eternity and forever a Knight of Grayskull. Until next time…

He-Man Masters of the Universe Revelation Kevin Smith review

Random Awesomeness (part 2019.12)

Random Awesomeness


Purchase Let’s Rock by the Black Keys!
 

Random Awesomeness (part 2019.11)

Random Awesomeness


Purchase BCCIV by the Black Country Communion!
 

Random Awesomeness (part 2019.8)

Random Awesomeness

What I’m Reading Right Now: Almost Yankees: The Summer of ’81 and the Greatest Baseball Team You’ve Never Heard Of by J. David Herman.
 


Purchase Reckless & Me by Kiefer Sutherland!
(Yes, that Kiefer Sutherland, a.k.a. Jack Bauer,
a.k.a. President Tom Kirkman, a.k.a. David Powers.)
 

Random Awesomeness (part 2019.6)

Random Awesomeness

What I’m Reading Right Now: Injustice vs. Masters of the Universe written by Tim Seeley and illustrated by Freddie Williams III.
 


Purchase American Rock ‘n’ Roll by Don Felder!

Random Awesomeness (part 2019.5)

Random Awesomeness

What I’m Reading Right Now: Firefight: The Reckoners, Book Two by Brandon Sanderson. (Yes, still working on it.)


Purchase Feral Roots from Rival Sons!
(Greta Van Fleet is great, no doubt, but Rival Sons rocks harder for my money.)

Christmas gift ideas for your He-Fans and She-Ravers

By the Power of Grayskull! He-Man has one of the strongest fan bases of any 1980s cartoon series, and the merchandise available to choose from is insane. Here are just He-Man and She-Ra Christmas Speciala handful of suggestions for the He-Fan or She-Raver in your life.

Visual Media

He-Man minicomics

Books

Comic Books
He-Man Thundercats

Toys and Collectibles

AttireShe-Ra shirt

P.S. — If anyone wants to get me something for Christmas (because I’m not spending this type of money on a CD), I would love the Filmation Original Soundtrack. $45 just seems a little steep to me.

Masters of the Universe soundtrack

By the Power of Grayskull! He-Man is coming in 2019!

MOTU He-Man and the Masters of the Universe new film coming December 18 2019 from Sony

Both ComingSoon.net and EW reported yesterday that Sony has set an official release date for a new live-action He-Man and the Masters of the Universe film: DECEMBER 18, 2019. The movie has been in development for quite some time, and is currently without a director since McG exited stage left (despite ComingSoon.net’s outdated information). The screenplay is in the hands of David S. Goyer (Batman Begins, Man of Steel) and “many actors, including A-list talent, are vying for key roles,” according to EW.

What would really make a new He-Man movie phenomenal? Here are some thoughts:

  • Build a universe for the Masters. There are so many awesome characters that if the studio and screenwriters handle them correctly, Masters of the Universe could become a franchise as big as Marvel and DC.
  • No new characters. To me, one of the biggest flubs of the 1987 film was the addition of Gwildor, Julie, and Kevin. Where was Orko? Randor? They had so much to work with, but using these new characters just caused unnecessary confusion.
  • Keep the action on Eternia. There is no need to visit earth, unless in a brief flashback sequence with Queen Marlena. Eternia is a perfect setting; don’t waste it.
  • Cameos are great. Who doesn’t love Stan Lee‘s cameos in all the Marvel movies? I think it would be wonderful to see Dolph Lundgren and Frank Langella again, perhaps not in major roles, but cameos would be fantastic. In fact, Lundgren mentioned several years ago that he might be interested in portraying He-Man’s dad.

My oldest son Josh also came up with some great points:

  • Avoid the dark Batman-esque atmosphere that everyone tries to replicate.
  • If the origin is addressed, it needs to be consice, clear and to the point.
  • He-Man should be someone kids look up to. Kids should wish they could be He-Man when they grow up…like I did.
  • The villain needs to be Skeletor, and he needs to be scary and well written. One of Marvel fans’ biggest complaints is that the villains are weak or underdeveloped.
  • Don’t kill Skeletor or any of the Masters without a compelling reason.
  • Set up a universe, but don’t make world-building the point of the movie. Calling out Batman v. Superman here, look at how unsuccessful they were at cramming all of the setup for their universe into one movie, as opposed to Marvel’s much more successful slow build.
  • Make sure the story is strong, and faithful to the source material. There is so much rich background and engaging stories to pull from. It should be something longtime fans are happy with. Satisfy the people who will see the movie because they love the character, not the people who watch it for the studio or the actor or the director.
  • Make people like us, the fans, happy. That’s more important than anything else. That’s what will keep the movie alive and open up the possibility of everything that could come after.

The first season of the original He-Man series, as well as all 65 episodes of She-Ra, are currently streaming on Netflix.

How He-Man Mastered the Universe by Brian C. Baer (2017)

HeMan Masters of the Universe

How He-Man Mastered the Universe
by Brian C. Baer
McFarland, 2017

The story of He-Man is well-known to children of the eighties, but author Brian C. Baer is able to dig even deeper into the beloved franchise in his recent book, How He-Man Mastered the Universe. Baer examines every aspect of the Masters of the Universe, from the toys to the cartoon to the movie to the reboots and more recent collectible action figure releases. The author looks at the groundwork laid for the success of He-Man by the marketing behind Star Wars, and the influence He-Man had on many subsequent pop culture franchises such as Transformers, G.I. Joe, and the modern Marvel Cinematic Universe.

What impressed me most about Baer’s book is the attention paid to the big screen adaption of the Eternian hero in 1987. The toys and original cartoon have been widely covered over the years, with little more than a passing mention to the live-action film. A good bulk of Baer’s book, however, is devoted to how He-Man was brought to life by Dolph Lundgren. He breaks down the movie with an in-depth review, discusses the financial woes that hamstrung the ending, and even includes conceptual drawings for He-Man, Man-at-Arms, Teela, Skeletor, and She-Ra, who unfortunately was written out of the script.

Baer also discusses the New Adventures of He-Man cartoon that aired in the early 1990s, the 21st century reboot by Mike Young Productions, and the new line of toys that came with that. Baer wraps up How He-Man Mastered the Universe with a look at what many of the film’s actors are doing today, as well as others who were involved with He-Man through the years.

How He-Man Mastered the Universe is a highly enjoyable book; children of the eighties and He-Fans in particular will love it.

Learn more about McFarland.

Purchase How He-Man Mastered the Universe by Brian C. Baer on Amazon or directly from the publisher at www.mcfarlandpub.com or via the order line at 800-253-2187.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am thankful for YouTube and for people who upload gems like this for the world to see.

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