A few years ago I did a review of the first Masters Of The Universe adaptation by Kevin Smith. Actually, it was closer to an autopsy. The usual issues with most revisits of our favorite properties: make the white male hero a loser who gives up, make it all about a “strong, female character”™, and generally make it awful. See The Last Jedi for your template.
All together now:
So yeah, I didn’t have any high hopes for Part II. Mostly I was curious to see how they would respond to the backlash. Interestingly enough, Part II came in with nearly zero fanfare or marketing. That has translated into zero ratings. But is it as bad as the first one?
Nope. In fact this whole second series plays like an apology. Gone are all the pissed-off whamen garbage. He-Man and Adam (depending on the situation) are definitely front and center here. There’s a ton of delving into the lore and even a moment that makes the Cannon movie.. well canon. This is Picard season 3. I won’t go into the story, it’s fine. It could be stronger but it’s clearly nothing like the first-season abomination.
So if you still care about Masters Of The Universe and it’s still a thing you have some passion for, there’s probably a lot to enjoy. But He-Man isn’t Star Trek. It just never really had the passion or staying power that Trek does. So even though Nu-Trek is just as insulting and ugly as He-Man season 1, it couldn’t destroy TNG, DS9, TOS, the movies, or anything else you loved about it. But going back to old episodes of the 80s Masters Of The Universe is just painful. So all He-Man ever had was nostalgia.
If you wanted to make Masters Of The Universe relevant again, you had to knock the remake out of the park. It had to be damn near perfect. Give it a newer grittier, more mature take on the original series, or create a new series. It had to be Batman: The Animated Series to the Superfriends. Unfortunately, it didn’t just fail, it failed in a way that was a thumb in the eye of anyone who might have still had an interest in the character. This was not a time to pull out your leftist woke messaging.
Season one so tainted the brand that there is no saving it. At least not anytime soon. No matter how much you tried to put together an apology season, the damage was done. This is not a strong enough brand to make as big of a mistake as the mistake they made.
A shame, there probably is still a good Masters Of The Universe story to be made. Embracing its Star Wars meets Conan roots, there could probably be something really entertaining to be made, but now that the bridges are burnt, I don’t think there’s any saving this patient.
I’m calling it. Time of death: 2024.
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