A part of what made She-Ra and the Princesses of Energy so good was the best way it fully reimagined the traditional cartoon. It was nonetheless set in a magical realm with speaking horses and evil robotic armies, but it surely took an outdated present — which, if we’re being sincere, was created for the categorical function of promoting toys — and gave its characters and world some actual depth and that means. It was humorous and thrilling, heartbreaking and delightful, with out a toy business in sight.

On the floor, Masters of the Universe: Revelation, which stars She-Ra’s long-lost twin brother He-Man, isn’t fairly so thrilling. It’s not a reboot however a direct sequel, one which’s meant to select up proper after the unique cartoon resulted in 1985. It has the identical forged of characters, a few of that are fairly goofy, like a wimpy battle cat and an alien sorcerer with shallowness issues. Skeletor (now performed by Mark Hamill) stays a huge dork. But, due to a daring resolution early on, the present manages to change into one thing that just about feels new.

Large spoilers for Masters of the Universe: Revelation forward.

As a result of it’s a direct sequel, Revelation wastes no time in setting issues up. Instantly Skeletor is within the midst of a plan to destroy Fort Grayskull in an effort to reveal its true energy in order that he can harness it for himself. Sadly, his assault has the potential facet impact of not solely destroying the planet of Eternia, but additionally all of existence. The following battle between the 2 iconic leads largely removes them from the story, and shifts the main focus to different characters.

It’s a dramatic shift, and from there Revelation resembles one thing of a post-apocalyptic fantasy wasteland. The story fast-forwards a couple of years when Teela (Sarah Michelle Gellar), a former royal guard, is now a scavenger, making a residing by scrounging for outdated bits of tech and objects imbued with magic. There’s a wierd cult that worships expertise, and, with out Skeletor to steer them, Eternia’s many villains have scattered. Ultimately, Teela learns that the planet is slowly dying as its magic leaks away, so she reluctantly units about setting issues proper. It’s a kind of epic quests that entails touring to each heaven and hell, and pulling collectively a bunch of misfits that can assist you do it.

This premise lets the present largely get away from the Saturday morning cartoon vibe of the unique, whereas nonetheless holding the identical characters and world. Eternia stays an attention-grabbing mixture of sci-fi, swords, and sorcery, as if Frank Frazetta and Ralph McQuarrie had a jam session. Killer robots battle alongside beast males, and sword-wielding warriors trip mechanical horses and armored cats into battle. Issues have a bit extra of a Mad Max vibe this time round, with villages combating during the last drops of magic whereas the techno-cult terrorizes them. As well as, Teela has a brand new job as a mercenary, Man-at-Arms (Liam Cunningham) has change into an Obi-Wan-style hermit, and Evil-Lyn (Lena Headey) is left confused with out a dictator to help. All of them find yourself becoming a member of forces within the quest.

Picture: Netflix

It might probably really feel like a reboot, however the present does retain a few of the inherent silliness of its predecessor. Revelation’s writers by no means met a horrible pun they didn’t like, and characters just like the dopey villain Mer-Man and the perpetually terrified Cringer really feel misplaced on this grittier world. The appearing can also be uneven. There are some good particular person performances — Cunningham provides a welcome gravitas, Headey channels her interior Cersei, and Hamill hams it up as at all times — but it surely usually feels like a online game the place everybody recorded their traces individually. (There are additionally a couple of weird jokes, like a “no glove, no love” quip that doesn’t appear applicable in a PG cartoon.)

Due to all of those components, the present doesn’t really feel fairly as refreshing or daring as She-Ra. However for a direct sequel to the unique cartoon made to promote toys, its surprisingly fashionable; the dramatic opening paves the best way for a brand new path even when Revelation by no means absolutely breaks away from its supply. What’s accessible now on Netflix can also be solely a starting: the primary a part of Revelation is 5 episodes lengthy, and the ultimate episode suggests there is perhaps even larger modifications sooner or later.

Masters of the Universe: Revelations might be on Netflix on July twenty third.

Replace July twenty first, 12:40PM ET: This evaluate has been up to date to take away a particular plot spoiler.


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