Despite its cheese, a He-man and the Masters of the Universe movie is inevitable. The franchise has a built-in cult following and potential for spin-offs. The nostalgia factor of the Mattel toy line and TV series can draw in older crowds, while the characters’ heroic whimsy can appeal to whole new audiences. The universe is full of enough colourful characters, too, that with the right director, a modern reimagining could be terrific. Does the likely involvement of screenwriter David S. Goyer now stepping in as director risk all that?
David S. Goyer
David S. Goyer has a mixed track record. His genre screenwriting credits speak for themselves: The Dark Knight Trilogy and Man of Steel were excellent, and even his less-acclaimed projects might point in the right whimsical direction for a He-Man adaptation (Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance was a lot of fun). Goyer has four directing credits to his name; the most high-profile of these, and closest in scale to a new superhero romp, is 2004’s Blade: Trinity. While Blade and Blade II are superhero-horror classics, the series’ third film leaves a lot to be desired. One of Trinity’s most blatant flaws is its stylish yet sporadic direction. Compared to the innovative first Blade or Blade II, rich with Del Toro-isms, Trinity felt stylistically empty and so parasitic on the series’ prior instalments.
However, we don’t want to take Masters of the Universe too seriously, even if it is a franchise close to many a fan’s heart. Goyer’s writing might often be “cheesy” or contrived, but that’s because he cut his teeth on superhero adaptations across television and film. And unlike others in his situation, he has remained a genre director throughout his career. Goyer might be one of a few directors who would take a Masters of the Universe movie seriously, and in doing so, he might be one of the only possible directors who would respect the bubble-gum barbarianism of the series enough to not take it too seriously.
Sony has set Masters of the Universe to be released on December 18, 2019.