Who does not love the mischievous charm of the MCU’s villain turned anti-hero turned full blown hero, Loki? Fans have fallen in love with Tom Hiddleston’s Loki so much over the past 10 years that Marvel had to figure out a way to bring him back from the dead! But how? Loki was brutally killed by Thanos in Infinity War? Marvel will always find a way…queue Endgame. When the 2012 Loki, who is fresh off a sizable beating at the hands of the Hulk gets his paws on the Tesseract and runs across space. Good for him! But there is a problem…The Time Variance. Their job is to trim any bad occurrence that branches from the Sacred Time (the official timeline of the Marvel Cinematic Universe). Loki is now recruited in the fight to keep the timeline together and avoid…The Multiverse.
Sounds confusing, right? Loki is the farthest bridge the MCU has taken into full blown science fiction territory. Endgame brought about full-blown time travel (which was nuts) and now this Disney+ series takes things to a whole new level. One thing to love about this series is the fact that it is pure sci-fi glory. The score of the film, composed by Natalie Holt, feels “out-of-this-world” and atmospheric which really ties the tone of the series together. The cinematography is pitch perfect with its use of lighting (of all colors), the production design is unique and bold, and the narrative leans heavily into time manipulation and is always drenched in mystery.
What else makes this series stick out in the ever-growing MCU? You might come for the sci-fi, but you get drawn in by the character work. Sure, there is a narrative driving the series forward, but it is all based on Loki’s journey for self-realization. You meet multiple versions of the beloved God of Mischief along the way but two specifically carry us. The Hiddleston Loki learns to love and find a more meaningful “Glorious Purpose” beyond just a throne. Sophia Di Martino’s Loki variant, Sylvie, has revenge on her mind and a drive to find out who is running the TVA (luckily the audience gets drawn in and wants the same result). The budding connection between Loki and Sylvie is the heart of the show and carries the audience all the way to the end, even when the bigger picture is dropped in the finale.
But there is so much more to process in this series, right? You have the perfectly cast Owen Wilson as a wonderfully fun and charismatic bureaucrat named Mobius M. Mobius. Mobius develops a genuine and endearing friendship with Loki which has a wonderful payoff. The members of the TVA, including Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s Ravonna, soon fall to the background in the final episodes (for better or worse) but they make for a solid side story to engage with. The fifth episode, which I will not spoil, delivers a treasure trove of Loki variants and Easter eggs that are an absolute delight. Then the finale…so many questions! Will it be confusing? YES. Will it keep you thinking about the series long after watching? It sure has me thinking and processing and engaging.
But what are the problems this series contends with along the way? The first two episodes are effective set-ups for a third episode that screeches to a halt. Is it still fun and engaging? Yes, but it is by far the weakest episode. The fourth episode leads to intriguing revelations that feel a bit derivative at this point in the MCU as it utilizes an overused trope. The action sequence that proceeds it is subpar with clunky editing. Honestly, none of the action in this show is done particularly well. Good thing Loki is not really known to be a physical character and does not need hand-to-hand combat (despite them utilizing the character multiple times). The finale is bold and is a quake that will rock the future of the MCU. If done right, this might be the boldest and most exciting thing to happen in the history of comic book films. But if done wrong, this will most certainly confuse and alienate plenty of the audience.
So, what to think of this first season of Loki? Bold…that is the best word to describe this series. Good for the MCU! They knew they needed to give something new and different, and they delivered. This character driven sci-fi affair is a crazy fun time that will keep you questioning every step of the way. The franchise brings you in…but the mystery really kept me going.