PILOT EPISODE TV REVIEW: GMA Network’s “Victor Magtanggol” narrates the events beyond ‘Ragnarok’

Victor Magtanggol briefly explains the events during and before ‘Ragnarok,’ right within the first few minutes of its pilot episode. In Norse mythology, Ragnarok literally means ‘twilight of the gods,’ a series of catastrophic events where all of Asgard is decimated.

To followers of the myth, the uncanny similarity screams out. But perhaps, the extremely evident resemblance will strike harder to fans of its more contemporary iteration–Marvel’s Thor.

Image courtesy by GMA Network | YouTube
Showrunners were quick to address accusations that the show is a mere ripoff of Marvel Cinematic Universe’s hammer-wielding superhero, arguing that the show just took some inspirations from the mythology.
Image courtesy by Marvel’s Thor
Their bigger justification, however, is that Victor Magtanggol narrates the events beyond Ragnarok, which, as they say, is a public domain; which means, no one owns it and therefore can be interpreted by anyone without the fear of being sued for copyright infringement.The merit of this claim can be problematic, especially when you try to make sense of its 16-minute featurette–which the title claims as just a `trailer’ (there, some consistency).
For a show that staunchly asserts its originality (this is as far as what is beyond Ragnarok is concerned), Victor Magtanggol pretty copies a lot from Marvel’s Thor. Take note that the comic and film versions of Thor, themselves, are merely inspired by ‘Norse mythology’, which, according to Jules Katanyag, VM’s concept creator, is also where the show took inspiration from.
Save for the hilariously clown-looking Loki, there are a handful of things in Victor Magtanggol--Victor’s hammer, his armour, the show’s depiction of Bifrost, and some readily recognizable elements–that quite slap the showrunners in the face, for claiming that the show is not at all inspired by MCU’s Thor.
Image courtesy by GMA Network | YouTube
What is extremely boggling is the apparent capacity of Victor to wield the power of thunder and lightning like Thor. Okay, I get it, he is worthy to wield Mjölnir. But in many instances the hammer was lifted by someone deemed worthy in the comics and other media, has the Mjölnir ever granted the wielder the same godlike power of Thor?
Image courtesy by GMA Network | YouTube
We know Vision lifted it in movies, Captain America and the Hulk, too, in comics. What makes Victor so special? Maybe the writers have something to say.
Now, only if they can handle Mjölnir when it spins back to them. I hope it lands back to their hands, and not somewhere else. Kidding aside, there is hardly any point in comparing the two versions.
And the fact that GMA Network already used such ‘public domain’ excuse before (Alyas Robinhood, that is), makes any call for more acceptable justification, seemingly futile. I mean, come on! They’ve done this before.

That 16-minute full trailer tells a lot more about the show, than the entire 44-minute (without breaks) pilot episode, itself.  There is just not much to squeeze from an episode that is practically just trying hard to explain why Alden Richards is perfect for the title role, and why Victor deserves to wield the Mjölnir; which does not make total sense, to be honest.
I mean, he’s cute, handsome, and above all–has dimples (sigh). But do these attributes really fill the template of a true and capable superhero? TJ Dimacali, the show’s head writer, may most likely agree.
Like in its original iteration, the Ragnarok in Victor Magtanggol, kills nearly every inhabitant of Asgard, including the gods like Odin, Loki, and Thor. Thor’s sons: Modi and Magni, survive.
Image courtesy by GMA Network | YouTube
Image courtesy by GMA Network | YouTube
It is from here that Victor Magtanggol tries to stretch the myth and integrate the narrative to its modern Filipino setting. We learn that Magni went to Earth to find the new rightful wielder of the mighty hammer of Thor, sensing that evil forces are again gathering, and that a new threat to peace is slowly emerging.
Image courtesy by GMA Network | YouTube
In the pilot episode, it is the next wielder that finds Magni, and not the other way around. Victor Magtanggol comes to Canada with only two goals in mind: have a stable job, and find his mother.
Image courtesy by GMA Network | YouTube
The former leads him to Magni, who now assumes a mortal form-the human being, Magnus. Straight away, a hint that Victor may be the one he’s been looking for is given, with the magical compass he inherited from Thor, lighting up in Victor’s presence.
This prompts him to ask Victor who he really is, and wonder whether the young man is indeed, Thor’s successsor.
Image courtesy by GMA Network | YouTube
Alden Richards as Victor is as charismatic as the character needs to be. There is a charming verve that keeps the character alive, and Richards’ equally charming demeanor enhances the appeal, to several times over. These traits make the character an easy sell, but whether Richards, as an actor, really has it to pull off Victor Magtanggol, the superhero, depends on what he has to offer, in the succeeding episodes.
To be frank, though, the pilot episode doesn’t really deliver anything that’s meaty. Aside from the fact that it is inspired by Norse mythology, and therefore will continue to use terms and references to the lore, the trajectory the narrative seems to take does not strike much of any difference from the formulaic traditional soap opera–or is it, the now conventional light romcom?
The show’s immediate to establish Victor’s connection with Gwen (Janine Gutierrez), whom the ‘Hammerman‘ (like, seriously? right?!) will most likely fall in love with.
Image courtesy by GMA Network | YouTube
Image courtesy by GMA Network | YouTube
It is also apparent that the story has no intention to keep ‘family’ off its central themes. But should the creators of this show aspire to stretch the lore and shred it to more interesting details, the choice to keep the traditional tone is highly dubious.
The pilot episode is able to show Alden Richards in two action sequences, and sure, some grace of an action star is there, but the lack of tension and sophistication just make the scenes hard to appreciate.
Image courtesy by GMA Network | YouTube
Image courtesy by GMA Network | YouTube
But this judgment may be a bit hasty. It is just the pilot episode, after all. It is hard to come up with a reliable assessment, at this point, given how the episode itself offers limited avenues for scrutiny.
Image courtesy by GMA Network | YouTube
Image courtesy by GMA Network | YouTube
So until the next few episodes are rolled out, there is ready nothing much to say other than what has been already said in this article.
Victor Magtanggol now airs on GMA Telebabad, weeknights after 24 Oras.

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