LOKI Review; "One Of The Most Ambitious, Craziest Stories Marvel Studios Has Ever Told"
Loki arrives on Disney+ tomorrow, but we recently got to check out the first two episodes of the series, and it's no exaggeration to say that this might be Marvel Studios' best small screen effort yet...
We may have been without a Marvel Studios movie since Spider-Man: Far From Home was released in July 2019, but Disney+ has been the place to be to get that Marvel Cinematic Universe fix in 2021. Now, hot on the heels of WandaVision and The Falcon and The Winter Soldier comes Loki, an ambitious, darkly funny, and richly awarding new entry in the ever-expanding MCU.
With the introduction of the Time Variance Authority, history is a big part of this series, though not in the way you might imagine. The first two episodes peel back a lot of layers, better explaining the Marvel Multiverse and the place time-travel, alternate timelines, and even D.B. Cooper have in it. With every passing moment, Marvel Studios establishes a bold new status quo both for Loki and the MCU, all while delivering some insane visuals and tapping into sides of this world we never knew existed. This God of Mischief, pulled from 2012’s The Avengers after his daring escape with the Tesseract, feels both familiar and new, and Tom Hiddleston is given the opportunity to deliver some of his best work as the trickster. After an exposition-heavy premiere establishes the role of the TVA and brings Loki up to speed with his past, present, and future, the stage is set for a story that promises to take us to a lot of unexpected new places, exploring what makes the God of Mischief tick and where he goes next as a "Variant" from his original timeline.
Marvel Studios is definitely playing a little fast and loose with explaining how time-travel and the Multiverse work, but as we move into the second episode, certain things start making more sense, and it doesn’t seem like a stretch to suggest that by the time all is said and done, Loki will have fully established a set of rules for the Multiverse laid the groundwork for a bold new era of storytelling in the MCU (that's likely to continue in What If? before playing out across both Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness). It's in the second chapter the series embraces a procedural approach to storytelling, and a compelling mystery - and two cliffhanger endings across both instalments - will ensure you're hooked from the start.
As mentioned, Hiddleston is an absolute delight as Loki and knows how to command every stage he’s placed on. With just a couple of hours screentime combined from his past Marvel Studios appearances, the actor is clearly relishing the opportunity to better explore what makes Loki, well, Loki. Whether it’s as a fugitive incensed at the TVA’s interference in his plans or as the more "human" Loki we saw mourn his mother in Thor: The Dark World (a movie that’s revisited here in a big way), Hiddleston just gets this character and steals the show, as a result. However, Owen Wilson gives him a good run for his money as Mobius and when these two share the screen - both during an interrogation and as unwilling partners - we witness absolute magic. The buddy cop dynamic works perfectly for Loki, and all these different elements combine to deliver a bonkers series that manages to deliver a premise that feels wholly fresh in this MCU setting. The first town episodes only really begin to scratch the surface with the show’s supporting characters, but we’d be remiss not to mention Wunmi Mosaku as Hunter B-15, a brilliant foil for the God of Mischief and someone who never fails to entertain. Gugu Mbatha-Raw, meanwhile, is a very intriguing addition to proceedings.
Written by Michael Waldron (Rick and Morty) and directed by Kate Herron (Sex Education), Loki has something of a dream team at the helm, and these two could be the best thing to happen to the MCU since the Russo Brothers landed Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Waldron brings touches of that Rick and Morty madness and weirdness to the table, but it never overshadows his powerful character work and a firm grasp of what makes Loki great. Within minutes, we’re fully invested in new characters like Mobius, and fascinated by the likes of Judge Renslayer and an actress we won’t get into too much detail about here for fear of spoilers (they’re nothing short of excellent, though). As for Herron, she makes the creation of this sprawling, thrilling new side of the MCU look effortless, and brings blockbuster visuals to television in a way that makes Loki feel every bit as grand in scale as Marvel Studios’ feature films.
Marvel Studios has not disappointed with its Disney+ TV shows, but Loki is on a whole new level and feels like it's destined for iconic status. This series expands the MCU in unimaginable ways, and after just two episodes, we already feel like we’ll be throwing around the world "masterpiece" by the time the finale hits the streaming service. This series promises to generate heaps of speculation, plenty of discussion, and the sort of excitement that only Marvel Studios is capable of delivering on a weekly basis. Oh, and how could we review Loki without mentioning Miss Minutes? Prepare to fall in love (move over, Tom).
Nothing can prepare you for Loki, a mind-bending dive into the Marvel Multiverse that takes everything you thought you knew about the MCU and turns it on its head for one of the most ambitious, craziest stories Marvel Studios has ever told.