review of the animated series “Hit-Monkey” from Marvel – Movies and TV series on DTF

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A stylish, fun and in its own way dramatic show about a killer monkey, which almost no one noticed.

It’s hard to believe now, but once Disney didn’t have a separate streaming service. The media giant regularly had to make deals with third-party contractors: for example, we first received “Agents“ Shch. IT ”and“ Agent Carter ”from ABC, a successful and fruitful collaboration with Netflix began a little later. And against the background of their much more popular counterparts from other streams, joint projects with the almost exclusively American Hulu service have completely disappeared.

Almost purely American, because officially Hulu is available only in the United States and several cities in Japan. And they got lost because, compared to the spy dramas from ABC and the mundane, grim stories from Netflix, the typical teen series with superpowers that Disney released for Hulu looked downright losing.

Of the promised five cartoons (“M.D.O.K.”, “Hit Monkey”, “The Tigers and Sparks Show”, “Howard the Duck” and their crossover “Criminals”), only the first two

But soon after, there was a landmark deal to buy Disney for almost all of Fox’s assets, including Hulu. Not really knowing what to do with the relatively successful in his country (in America Hulu is consistently in the top 5 streams in popularity), but still irrelevant to the rest of the world online cinema, the corporation ordered the production of several “adult” cartoons about superheroes of the second , and even the third echelon exclusively for Hulu.

Most of Disney’s planned projects were later canceled because investing in the series for Hulu was unprofitable and illogical, according to the corporation, and flagship Disney + still, with rare exceptions, has no place for adult projects. The breakthrough of the pen was released in May last year, “M.O.D.O.K.”, in which the creators of “Robotsyp” tried to humanize the villain, adding to the plot of his family, work problems, middle age crisis and dilute this set with comedy stamps . It turned out ambiguous. As a result, “M.O.D.O.K.” resembles a sketch of “Robotsyp” stretched for the whole season, rather than a stand-alone work.

Perhaps the main problem of “M.O.D.O.Ka.” is that due to the production hell the series is obsolete at the time of its release

When, it would seem, all hope is lost and it would be worth accepting that there will be nothing on the screens in the coming years in the Marvel universe with an age limit above PG-13, before the release in November still gets a great “Hit-Monkey” which… passed by everyone.

It is not surprising if, reading this text, you hear about the animated series either for the first time in your life or for the first time in three years since its announcement. Hit-Manki had almost no marketing, and to watch it legally in Russia, you need to use a VPN, although mediocre “M.O.D.O.K.” for some reason it is fully available for viewing on “Kinopoisk”. To be honest, we also did not notice the release of this cartoon series and made up for lost time only now.

Meanwhile, “Hit-Monkey” is a reference cartoon series for an adult audience, in which almost everything works.

The plot is simple: the crazy killer Bryce (played brilliantly by Jason Sudeikis) comes to Japan to kill the prime ministerial candidate, kills him, but of course everything goes wrong, so Bryce is forced to flee to the mountains and hide from enemies among the macaque clan, who clearly sympathize with him. And then Bryce’s enemies still get to him, killing the killer and at the same time the whole macaque tribe. Somehow Bryce becomes a ghost, tightly (such a pun) tied to the only surviving macaque – unfortunately, it was this macaque one of his tribe could not tolerate Bryce.

At the heart of “Hit-Monkey” is a kind of classic buddy movie, in which two dissimilar characters are connected by fate and gradually become the closest people to each other. Of course, almost every action of theirs leads to misfortunes and comic situations, because no one sees one of the heroes, because he is a ghost. Subsequently, Bryce and Heath-Monkey will have to find themselves in a cycle of political intrigue, to give up their principles, and most importantly, to take revenge, take revenge and take revenge again.

At such moments, “Hit Monkey” is somewhat reminiscent of “Kill Bill” and other classic stories of revenge, only in contrast to the same Tarantino heroine Heath Monkey – empathy, at first scolding himself for every murder that could have been avoided. In general, “Hit-Monkey” does borrow many ideas from pop-cultural classics, but organically dilutes them with their own.

In addition to the main duo, Hit Monkey has a few minor characters, but only Olivia Mann as Akiko, the daughter of the prime ministerial candidate, stands out.

The image of the killer Bryce, who looks like a tracing paper from special agent Archer from the cartoon series of the same name, is gradually becoming overgrown with details from the past and perceived differently. And Hit-Monkey in many ways resembles the characters of “Planet of the Apes”, only the creators of the series change the usual cliché and in the universe of the show all the animals are smart: people just can not understand their language.

The well-written image of Hit-Monkey is one of the most serious achievements of the screenwriters of the animated series. Despite the fact that in a few hours of time the protagonist does not say a word in human language, and his communication with other animals is conveyed by subtitles, you can easily feel the liveliness of Hit-Manka’s character, his experiences, ideas and emotions.

And this is partly the main advantage of “Hit-Monkey” – the correct interpretation of the term “adult cartoon series”, which is not reduced to an endless stream of violence or inappropriate jokes about sex, but to a competent and believable disclosure of the experiences of the characters. It seems like an obvious truth and a golden rule, but for some reason it is still often neglected in adult animation.

But with the humor of “Hit-Monkey” everything is fine. The comedic element here is mainly the responsibility of the character of Sudeikis, who jokes exactly in those moments where it is appropriate and does not turn what is happening into constant clowning. Violence and blood are also used sparingly and in practice: in each episode of the series there is a massacre with the participation of the characters, which always somehow moves the plot forward and does not turn into unnecessary “torture porn”. You will never get tired of watching Hit-Monkey once again shred another Yakuza gang with a katana in ten twenty-minute series.

It is worth noting that in “Hit-Monkey” the spirit and belonging to the Marvel universe is constantly felt. During their adventures, the characters will meet a small, but very suitable for the setting of the series diverse ensemble of Japanese superheroes and supervillains.

The role of the main antagonist is formally played by Lady Marked, who has ten minutes of time in several final episodes of the show, but she really scares the audience every minute of her appearance. Lady Marked in this universe is an insane sadist who kills everyone in her path.

I want to insult “Hit-Monkey” for the faded beginning and side main lines about political intrigues and police investigation, which will make sense only in the middle of the cartoon, and at first against the background of the main adventures of Bryce and Heath-Monkey will seem dull and unnecessary. And in “Hit-Monkey” is not the most outstanding animation, the flaws of which, however, are more than compensated by a decent design.

“Hit Monkey” is a full-fledged, complete story that can be watched in one evening. You will definitely not regret watching: this is one of the most original and daring Marvel projects in the last couple of years, which makes it even sad that such things are somewhere “on the sidelines” and not within the general film universe. However, in January, “Hit Monkey” was added to Disney + a few months after its release on Hulu, so there is a very ghostly, but still a chance that the story of these characters will one day continue. Such adult, daring, but at the same time meaningful and insightful stories are one of the few things that the modern MCU lacks.

What I liked

  • Great balance between comedy and drama
  • Stylish and at the same time not annoying violence
  • One-piece, intriguing plot with unexpected twists
  • Decent work of voice actors and especially – Jason Sudeikis
  • Skillful work with the Japanese Marvel setting

What I didn’t like

  • The story takes time to swing: in the first series you can get bored
  • Sometimes you can feel the budget of the animation
  • For such a short animated series in “Hit-Monkey” a lot of story lines

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