The second part of Kevin Smith’s He-Man adaptation which divided opinion will probably continue to divide opinion
Last Updated: 09.17 AM, Nov 29, 2021
The story picks up from the climactic scene of Part 1 where Skeletor gains the power of Castle Greyskull and presumably kills Prince Adam, He-Man’s alter ego.
If there was a sense of shock and horror that the first part’s finale offered as a cliffhanger, it evaporated in the blink of an eye in the opening minutes of the first episode of Part 2. The manner in which the scene was executed hints at the writers attempting to alleviate any fears fans had that the central character might not feature at all in the narrative.
Despite the criticism, the series faced, the creators appeared to have a clear identity of what they wanted from each character. The choice of focusing on Teela and Evil-Lyn did raise a few eyebrows, but in Kevin Smith’s defence, the female protagonists were given convincing arcs that fleshed out their characters. Leana Heady does an immaculate job at bringing Evil-Lyn to life, a far cry from the one-dimensional versions of the character from the past.
Sarah Michelle Geller also shines in her role as Teela, who is controversially the lead of the series. While Chris Wood’s portrayal of He-Man is excellent, his lack of screentime feels like wasted potential. However, it is Mark Hamil as Skeletor who truly shines. The iconic actor, who played Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars franchise and the Joker in Bruce Timm’s DC animated universe, has elevated his performance from Part 1 of the series and has given his added his own spin to the character.
The animation and the updated character designs are excellent, in fact, it is one of the few areas the second part shines. There are also attempts at symbolism and allegories in the finale but it lacked a degree of subtlety. The narrative flip-flopping between a mature story and cliched campiness has undermined the positives from Part One. It is disappointing considering how Kevin Smith had originally intended to reinvent the He-Man mythos but ends being another cheesy cartoon with uneven pacing and poor writing.
The hue and cry from the ardent fans of the franchise, that the first part created, appears to have forced the writers into making certain changes to the narrative which has ultimately tuned an intriguing take on an iconic franchise into a bloated generic mess.