(Masters of the Universe: Revelation arrives on Netflix on November 23rd)
The first half of Revelation, released this summer and reviewed here, received exactly the kind of response you’d expect for a series that questions nostalgia. Guided by Kevin Smith, Revelation dared to put He-Man on the bench for much of the season. Instead, it focused on everything surrounding the musclebound champion, forcing the audience to ask why such a goofy premise meant so much to so many.
Picking up at the cliffhanger, where Skeletor finally seems to get the upper hand on Eternia, Revelation, happily, didn’t listen to its detractors. The second half of Smith’s ambitious take on a childhood classic is just as daring and rewarding as you’d hope.
There are plenty of surprises, including some shocking turns I found perhaps too dark for what is ostensibly a children’s series. (Genocide and necromancy are big numbers this time around.) But, on the other hand, it does free the series to go nuts with some impressive setpieces. With much of the narrative legwork accomplished in the previous five episodes, Smith and the gang let loose from the very first minutes. By the time Revelation gets going, it’s not hyperbole to say that the entirety of existence is at stake.
Which, luckily, doesn’t mean that Revelations skimps out on character beats. If anything, the second part of the season has more to say this time around. From using He-Man’s inner ID as a metaphor for toxic masculinity to dealing with explaining abusive relationships, Smith, and co. utilize the series’ potential as a message-driven show to full capacity.
The cast is equally strong on their second outing, with Lena Headey once again emerging as the MVP of the group. Hers is also the meatiest role as Evil-Lyn, Skeletors executive officer. Their relationship expands to previously unheard-of levels, including a certain seduction scene I don’t think my younger self could ever have imagined.
Beyond that, everything I said about Revelations last time around still holds true. This is a fantastic return to childhood favorites. It sidesteps the pitfalls of nostalgia by never lifting the past on a pedestal, instead of scrutinizing everything we’ve loved and often misunderstood with empathy and wisdom. And, in the end, it joins in on the fun by bringing all our beloved heroes into the field for one last hurrah.
In doing so, it revives the games we’ve played in a way that lets old and new generations enjoy them together.