The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, a brand-new fantasy epic from Prime Video, draws viewers into the Second Age of Middle-Earth. With a budget to surpass a dragon’s treasure, Amazon is placing a large wager on The Rings of Power, a television series that follows the events in Middle-earth leading up to the War of the Last Alliance against Sauron. The show brilliantly realizes J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy world in all its magnificence, bringing Middle-Earth to life. However, its story is a little cumbersome and lacks the sense of adventure that distinguishes the classic Middle-Earth stories.
The first Dark Lord, Morgoth, who served as Sauron’s master, was finally defeated roughly 1,000 years into The Rings of Power. Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) had been looking for Sauron for millennia after he managed to elude arrest. Although Sauron is still free, a new era of peace has been established, and the inhabitants of Middle-earth must begin to undo the varied political and personal harm caused by the more than 600 years of war.
Contrary to The Lord of the Rings, where Middle-earth is threatened by the advancing shadow of a new conflict, this war creates a lingering pall that shapes the majority of The Rings of Power’s story. The effects of war are visible everywhere in The Rings of Power. Galadriel finds it difficult to put her weapon down. Elves continue to keep a watchful eye on the Men who supported Morgoth and breed enmity among their descendants in the south. As a result of their remorse over bringing the war to Middle-earth, elven lords like High King Gil-Galad (Benjamin Walker) and the great craftsman Celebrimbor (Charles Edwards) look for ways to make things beautiful and artistically beautiful again. It produces a more somber mood that gives the impression that everyone around the globe is in grief. Bear McCreary’s frequently gloomy, even sad soundtrack aids in capturing that atmosphere.
The expansive world of Middle-earth is vividly brought to life in The Rings of Power, from the pleasant golden plains in the south to the ominous, snow-capped mountains in the north to the underground chambers of Moria. There are occasions when the artificial backgrounds look odd, especially in close-up images. But as much as a Tolkien fan can wish for, there are times where The Rings of Powers’ Middle-earth resembles a real-life Ted Nasmith picture.
Middle-world earth may be beautiful, but their storylines are dispersed too thinly. The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit are quest tales (retake the Lonely Mountain, destroy the Ring), yet The Rings of Power opens with Galadriel’s search for Sauron coming to an end. The first two episodes of The Rings of Power, however, are primarily concerned with puzzles that might point to a developing evil. It is difficult to avoid drawing comparisons to Game of Thrones given this strategy and the ensemble cast’s global distribution. Although there are fantastical elements, the pacing lacks the urgency of an adventure, and these feel more like garnishes than like the main course.
This is not to imply that it is a miserable experience. The entire time, there are fantastic performances, especially Clark as Galadriel, who dances considerably darker than one might anticipate from the future Lady of Lorien. Strong chemistry exists between Clark and Robert Aramayo, who plays Galadriel’s pal Elrond and is currently just a young, aspirational politician. The strongest impression is left by the dwarfs, played by Owain Arthur as Durin and Sohpie Nomvete as Disa. They may give added vibrancy to every scene in which they appear because of their unbridled exuberance, which contrasts so sharply with the Elves in the cast’s stoicism and the Men of Middle-(at earth’s least the Men of the continent; we haven’t yet reached Numenor) reserved demeanor.
A series with solid foundations is The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. It features an impressive cast, fantastic action, and captivating plots. I yet felt as though I wanted more. These two episodes didn’t completely move me from disinterest to excitement, which is what I want instead. It is limited by the absence of adventure. Of course, something similar was always going to happen. The Silmarillion, which is a completely different beast than The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings and has piqued the curiosity of a few followers of Tolkien’s previous works, is where Tolkien introduced the Second Age through a historical account.
Two episodes might not be sufficient for writers J. Plans for Middle-earth justice by D. Payne and Patrick McKay (as mentioned, we don’t even reach Numenor, where several new cast members are waiting). It’s possible that we’re witnessing the gradual establishment of a fellowship that will hunt down Sauron wherever he may be hiding, providing the series with the quest it sorely needs.
I’ll definitely stay to find out whether that’s the case. That is easily earned thanks to the captivating depiction of Middle-earth and the superb performances by the cast.
I also don’t want to criticize The Rings of Power for not being something it never intended to be; the show’s creators promised that it would be a unique Middle-earth tale, and that is exactly what it is. I just hope that The Rings of Power speeds up the pace and provides the narrative it’s attempting to tell in a more condensed shape throughout the course of its first season.
Rating: 3 out of 5
Prime Video will release The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power on September 1.