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Loki (1.01-1.02) Review

June 8, 2021 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
Loki Disney+
8.5
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Loki (1.01-1.02) Review  

Author’s Note: This is a spoiler-free review for Loki based on screeners for the first two episodes provided by Disney+.

Marvel’s God of Mischief, Loki, is back in a new adventure series from Disney+, and it’s a welcome return for Tom Hiddleston, who has repeatedly been one of the top performers of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Loki now takes centerstage in his own self-titled series, which debuts on Disney+ on June 9.

One thing to keep in mind: this is not the prime Loki as fans knew him in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This is the alternate, branching timeline version of Loki from Avengers: Endgame who absconded post-Battle of New York with the Tesseract. However, Loki’s escape is quickly waylaid by elite hunters of the Time Variance Agency (TVA); specialized agents who protect the proper flow of time from “Variants” that disrupt the space-time continuum.

Loki is put on trial for his crimes, but he’s been given a reprieve in the form of the TVA’s Agent Mobius (Owen Wilson), who requires Loki’s particular expertise. The TVA and the timestream is in jeopardy from a malevolent threat, and Mobius deputizes Loki in pursuit of neutralizing the threat, much to the chagrin of Mobius’ superior, Judge Ravonna Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw).

The series marks a glorious return for Loki, who is still in world-conquering mode. He’s not the person who was tempered or altered by the events that followed the 2012 Avengers film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While this Loki has regressed in many ways, it’s also a great opportunity to take Hiddleston back to this mindset for Loki and have the character face new challenges. Loki’s confrontation with his past misdeeds is incredibly satisfying.

Rounding out the central duo is Owen Wilson’s Agent Mobius. He and Hiddleston have great rapport and chemistry in this show. Wilson is fantastic in this series, and he’s actually the straight man of this pairing, which works very well. Wilson is playing against his usual type here, but still brings his own unique brand of charisma and style to the character.

The introduction of the TVA to the MCU is a fascinating addition to the series. The TVA is a weird, heavily bureaucratic institution with a retro 1950s/60s style and a bit of an alien, sci-fi gait. In some instances, the TVA is rather drab and dull. In others, it’s somewhat wondrous. For Loki, the TVA serves as both as a prison sentence and a potential opportunity.

Thus far, the show isn’t leaning too heavily on the idea of bleaching Loki for his past sins and making him the hero. Loki is depicted as an antihero at heart, and that is the best way to utilize Loki as a character. Director Kate Herron and head writer Michael Waldron appear successful in keeping the character on that tightrope.

The recent Marvel Disney+ shows have all been unique and interesting in their own way, and Loki continues that trend. While WandaVision was a trip through sitcom TV land, Loki is clearly more influenced by classic sci-fi literature, along with some of Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and a little bit of Men in Black. The show is still firmly set in the MCU, but it looks to be occurring in its own pocket of events. Herron’s direction also makes the show look visually distinct from other previous Marvel products.

Without giving away too many details, if there is one complaint for the start of Loki, there are a number of details about the TVA and the organization’s existence that are rather confusing. The show does appear to foreshadow a major reveal that hopefully will mark a satisfying, major payoff. Secondly, the series features the introduction of a new character who has potential major implications for the greater MCU. The placement and introduction of this character is a bit unusual, but it has the potential to make sense later.

The show instills a feeling of caution and a wait-and-see approach for how it will nail certain elements. WandaVision certainly ended stronger at the finish line, while the start of the show was a slow burn. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier didn’t quite finish as well as it began, especially with some of its disappointing reveals.

That said, Marvel’s Loki is off to a strong start with its first two episodes. Tom Hiddleston has not lost a step with this character. It’s a fresh new storyline for Loki, along with a great pairing with the God of Mischief and Agent Mobius, which appears to be the highlight of this miniseries.

Marvel’s Loki on Disney+ on Wednesday, June 9. New episodes will be streaming weekly on Wednesdays.

8.5
The final score: review Very Good
The 411
Marvel's Loki is a welcome return for Tom Hiddleston as the God of Mischief. This is a fresh new storyline and adventure for Loki, bolstered by an interesting relationship with Owen Wilson's Agent Mobius. The first two episodes have brought a number of interesting ideas to the forefront between the variant threat, the TVA and some other new characters that set the stage for an exciting miniseries.
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