I wish Ibid was still around. He was big on the Homeric epics. The fact that he's not here to say anything means that I have to answer my own question and have to risk being wrong (probably for the first time
I'm too lazy to confirm this guess by looking at evidence, but it seems to me from distant memory that the gods in the Illiad (less so in the Odyssey?) are dramatic players along with the human warriors. They scheme for their favorite side and heroes and do not yield just because the outcome is already fated. God in the battle scenes of PL tends to suck the drama out by asserting his "foreknowledge" of the outcome and his allowing of the action to progress as far as it does in order to make everyone feel that they have an actual role and to give them some glory.
Since there is not that much suspense (to say the least) surrounding the battle in heaven, the role given to individuals seems perfunctory. Abdiel and Michael battle Satan in the two main cards in the battle, but we know how stacked is the deck agianst Satan.
I don't know how others react to these scenes. They seem somewhat ridiculous to me. Maybe I just can't get out of my mind the angels' wings getting in the way of their fighting. I have an unpleasaqnt image of those winged creatures that fly around in "The Wizard of Oz." The basis for this scene comes from a brief reference in "Revelation." Milton fleshes it out, as he fleshes out other brief biblical scenes, but with much better effect, I think, in the opening council in Hell and the Eden scenes. I also question whether the expansion of the six days of creation in Book VII works very well. The Genesis account seems more poetic in its spare details to me. Milton's spelling out of the details of creation only emphasizes the impossible aspects, such as plants arising without either sun or rain. But if the reader has enough leisure to read these sections, it is pleasant enough.