Marvel takes its heroes and anti-heroes to a new level in the new TV series, “Hit-Monkey.” This series is available on Hulu in the United States while falling under the Star section of Disney+ internationally. In the first episode, an American assassin kills a Japanese politician before being attacked by the group of people who hired him for the job. He is then healed by a tribe of snow monkeys, but one of them knows he’s not a good person. When that snow monkey is banished for getting too aggressive and injuring another snow monkey, the assassin is discovered and murdered along with the remaining snow monkeys. The banished monkey takes up the weapons of the assassin and goes on a mission to avenge his tribe with the assassin’s ghost guiding him.
This is an excellent show, but it’s definitely for a much more mature audience than most Americans think of when they think Marvel. I love Jason Sudeikis as the voice of the assassin who becomes Hit-Monkey’s mentor. It’s the complete opposite of what I think of when I think of Jason Sudeikis. He has embodied Ted Lasso so much recently, it’s nice to see him in a completely different role and still nail it. This would fit right in with “Daredevil,” “Jessica Jones,” “The Punisher” and the other Marvel shows on Netflix. I love the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but I also love when Marvel takes a chance on something even wilder. And there are few things wilder than a Japanese Snow Monkey who becomes an assassin and is mentored by the ghost of the assassin who previously owned the Hit-Monkey’s weapons.
I understand completely why this was put on Hulu in the United States, because it is not what most Americans associate with Disney. Despite the fact, that basic research would tell many Americans that Disney has owned studios that made more mature content for years. For the Americans who want more mature content like this, Hulu is an option for now, but that’s only a short-term solution. This show is the perfect embodiment of the reckoning that Disney and Disney fans will have to deal with once the Hulu deal with Comcast is up. I don’t know what the answer is, but it’s clear Disney wants to put more mature shows like this on the service, but many Americans don’t want anything beyond a PG-13 rating on Disney+. Many do, but many don’t and that creates a problem going forward that one side is probably not going to be happy with.
This is a good pilot for a series that I’m looking forward to watching. I hope this show garners enough streamers to get a second season, but early numbers don’t look promising for “Hit-Monkey” or “MODOK.” That’s not a good sign for more mature Marvel content like this because “Helstrom” already flopped on Hulu. I hope Disney+ improves its rating system and profile set-up to allow for mature content like this through Star or some other similar branding going forward. Marvel has some good mature content, but I don’t like that content’s chances of succeeding in the US for now. I hope the international audience takes to it and it gets the support it needs to continue, but I’m just not sure right now.
Ranking: 4 stars out of 5
What did you think of the first episode of “Hit-Monkey?”