All you ’90s kids remember the animated Hercules movie and him being a selfless and also ambitious hero. It’s one of Disney’s best animated movies, even by today’s standards. What’s there not to love about a young man (who initially wasn’t aware he was a god) wanting to be great? A great movie, but perhaps not the most accurate portrayal of the deity figures of Greek mythology. But that’s okay because after all, it was a movie meant for kids. For those who have read about Greek mythology, however, you’re well aware that those god figures aren’t nearly as benevolent as they’re seen in the movie. That especially goes for Zeus, who was the actual father of Hercules in the Greek legend, and even more so for Hera, who was actually a bitter enemy of the demigod hero.
Let’s talk about why Hercules is the most noteworthy got in Record of Ragnarok.
He Is A God Who Fights For the Survival of Humanity
The actual legend of the Greek mythological figure Hercules is actually far more complicated than the story we all saw in the Disney movie. The name “Hercules” is that of his Roman counterpart. The Greek legend that the animated movie is based on is really named Heracles. Maybe the Disney movie is the reason we’re so used to just calling him Hercules, but no matter what we call him, it’s the story behind the legend that we should focus on. Many versions of the demigod portray him differently in movies, video games, and shows, but a more recent iteration of him is one of the most interesting we’ve seen in a long time.
For all you anime fans out there and also subscribers to Netflix, you might have checked out the second season of Record of Ragnarok. Right now, the second season is still ongoing, with the remainder episodes most likely being released sometime later in the year. The first season ended with the fourth grudge match of Ragnarok between gods and humanity, beginning with two combatants who couldn’t be any different: The greatest and noblest of the gods, Hercules, and one of humanity’s most deranged serial killers, Jack the Ripper. It sounds like a classic battle between good and evil, but the irony is that Jack the Ripper was fighting for the survival of humanity.
The very purpose of this match was to make humanity question if they should even root for their representative. Do they cheer for the psychotic murderer fighting for their very survival, or do they cheer for the most heroic god to kill him? Well, the second season begins with this epic showdown between the best and worst of both sides, but right away, Hercules admits that he is fighting for the gods, hoping to ask for humanity to be spared. So out of all the divine figures in Record of Ragnarok, Hercules is the only one on the side of the gods that truly cares for humanity. If that doesn’t convince you enough, further episodes go into his backstory that tell a different tale than the one you read in mythology books. Some spoilers will be revealed if you haven’t caught up on season 2 yet.
This Hercules Comes From Humble Beginnings
The story of this version of the Greek hero has the humblest of beginnings. He wasn’t always a god. In fact, he was a scrawny human who went by the name of Alcides. The young and weak Alcides would often pick fights he couldn’t win but did so because he would always stand up for others. He knew he would lose, but all that mattered to him was that he stood for what was right. His bravery and selflessness would eventually pay off when Ares led a small army to annihilate the inhabitants of his hometown. In order to combat the gods, Alcides drank Ambrosia (or the blood of Zeus) and transformed into a being of immense strength. This only worked because Alcides had the heart of a true hero. Otherwise, Ambrosia would have destroyed him.
And if you’re a reader of Greek mythology, yes, it does mention the twelve labors. He faced these challenges to obtain godhood, which he would eventually earn. This led to his grudge match with Jack the Ripper, a human he rightfully looked down upon and still tried to save. Why would he show mercy to a human as devious as him? He loved all humans and firmly believed they deserved a chance to improve. For a being with godlike power, this Hercules was the epitome of a true hero. Kind of sounds like the Disney version we all remember watching as kids, doesn’t it?
He Believed All Humans Deserved A Chance
You know how the match ends if you’ve seen the first half of the second season. And if you haven’t, go check it out. The Greek legend is a tragic hero in the mythology story, and in a way, he’s still that in Record of Ragnarok. But in the mythology legend and in the series, he’s still the noblest of the gods. That makes his match with Jack the Ripper one of the best of the series so far. And remember, we still have quite a few matches to see. The rest of season two’s episodes have no set release date yet, but you can be assured they will be released in the summer or the fall. And for you Greek mythology nuts, the series has given us one of the best iterations of the Greek hero Hercules yet. But don’t worry. We still have to see how Marvel handles him.