WARNING: Spoilers from Netflix’s Masters Of The Universe: Revelation will be found below.
Sometimes a franchise gets attacked by the very people who claim to be the biggest fans. That was the case when The Boys viewers review-bombed the Amazon show because they were upset about the weekly installments (rather than a full-on season) due to the show’s streaming schedule. And before people even saw Captain Marvel, sexist trolls bombed it with fake user reviews because they were apparently upset about remarks made by Brie Larson about how press junkets and reviews are filled with “overwhelmingly white male” critics. Now, there’s a similar trend to what’s going on with MOTU at the moment over at Rotten Tomatoes. Lots of strong opinions out there.
On the review aggregator’s landing page for the Netflix series (with Kevin Smith in the showrunner seat), one can witness an overwhelmingly positive critical response (97% fresh) and an overwhelmingly negative audience rating (39%) for the same show.
It must be noted that the series began streaming on Friday, July 23, and every early on Friday, the review-bombing count was already over 100. This presupposes that those angry people woke up early (or stayed up super late) to binge five episodes (five more will arrive in the future). And sure, it is entirely possible to do if one does the math, but still, it’s maybe a little much. Also, those who “hate” the show are tossing out one star, and people who dug it are trying to hop in with scattered five-star ratings. As one might expect, it’s a bit of a clusterf*ck, and none of those audience ratings appear to be verified (which is possible with films/ticket sales, not TV shows), so whaddya gonna do?
Of course, the polarized reaction is also circulating on Twitter, and that’s something that isn’t surprising. The show is risky and ambitious and worthy of being called a sequel to He-Man’s previous adventures. What’s really getting under people’s skins, though, is that (and you were warned about spoilers) both He-Man and Skeletor get sidelined from action after an explosive battle. A contingent of very vocal viewers claims that Kevin Smith lied when he said there was still plenty of He-Man on the show. That’s what he said to us (about a rumor), too. And uh, He-Man (along with Skeletor) does still get chunks of screentime in subsequent episodes. Sure, some of it is flashback stuff, so I do understand why people are upset about, you know, the death thing, but yeah.
People were bound to be upset about this, even if this story is ultimately a lot more nuanced, well-written and full of character development than the original show. I liked the show (and appreciated that there were finally some real stakes for Eternia)! So did a lot of other people, but not everyone will love everything.
Here’s a sampling of the Rotten Tomatoes audience complaints, coming for Smith:
– “No wonder kevin smith got this job nobody else wanted job because they were fans. I was a fan of kevin smith but i think hes just committed career suicide.”
– “Not alot of he-man for show about he-man.”
– “Terrible and terribly disappointing. He-Man completely removed from his own show and we’re forced to follow an angry, bitter, fragile Teela and her girlfriend bumbling about and talking about feelings. It was a complete waste of time.”
– “Why make a He-Man Show without He-Man? Shame!”
– “kevin smith lied, but in trailer is showing he-man out, teela got the power”
Regarding the “teela got the power” claim, I do wonder if people watched Episode 5.
The story of Revelation does check out. It’s not inconsistent with the O.G. characters’ natures. With the sidelining of He-Man/Prince Adam, Teela discovers that she’d been lied to about Prince Adam’s true identity, even though she was supposedly part of his inner circle. For two seasons of the original show, Teela protected Adam. Once the truth comes out in the sequel, she decides to forge out on her own as a mercenary. It’s hard to blame her for feeling betrayed, since Man-At-Arms, Orko, and so on, all knew The Secret, and no one told her. Her journey is a Shakespearean one, and she’s later convinced to help find the missing Sword of Power to save Eternia. And even though her character — due to the events of the entire original show — is the logical character to be set up for such a journey in a sequel, some people are very, very mad. A lot of those complaints do read as sexist in nature, however, and there surely must be a better way to communicate fan frustrations.
‘Masters of the Universe: Revelation’ is currently streaming on Netflix.