The reboot of the 1980s kids’ show misses the mark
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Children of the 1980s knew in every episode of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe at some point they’d see their hero lift his sword and proclaim, “By the power of Grayskull!” In Netflix’s newly released reboot, that expectation goes unfulfilled. Pivoting away from the hyper-masculinity of the original cartoon, Masters of the Universe: Revelation contains precious little He-Man, instead offering something more palatable to our current age.
Throughout the original series, the evil Skeletor tried to seize the magical power of Castle Grayskull, but He-Man continually stopped him. In the first episode of this reboot, Skeletor finally achieves his goal, but both he and He-Man die when Skeletor unleashes the castle’s magic. Subsequent episodes follow three warrior women in their attempt to restore order to the universe.
The animation pays tribute to the cartoon style of the 1980s, and the series boasts a star voice cast, including Sarah Michelle Gellar (as Teela, the real hero of the series), Lena Headey, Mark Hamill, and Liam Cunningham.
Showrunner Kevin Smith probably intends to be transgressive by removing masculinity from He-Man and hinting at a lesbian subtext. Instead, he’s just confirming Hollywood’s current ideological mood, offering a series that alienates longtime fans.
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