REVIEW: ‘Loki’ Premieres with a BANG

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Loki

I know, I know, another “villain” focused thing from Disney. But truthfully, Marvel Studio’s Loki pushes past the standard “make a bad guy good” narrative and embraces the chaos the God of Mischief while also adding emotional depth that Tom Hiddleston, the actor behind the titular character, is able to pull off. Created by Michael Waldron, the series is directed by Kate Herron with Waldron serving as the series head writer. And, if you’ve kept out of the loop for all of the teasers and featurettes that Disney has released, the series has a stellar cast with Owen Wilson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Sophia Di Martino, Wunmi Mosaku, and Richard E. Grant joining Hiddleston.

The series concept is actually fairly simple. Loki, in all his infinite power, has been arrested by the Time Variance Authority (TVA). The TVA is a bureaucratic organization that exists outside of time and space and monitors the timeline, correcting those who fall out of it and returning them to the path they’re supposed to take which is a very polite way of saying that they erase the time variants. But where does this story fit? Well, it’s after Avenger’s Endgame but looks at a Loki that is very much from the start of the character’s journey in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Loki’s crime is stealing the Tesseract and becoming a “time variant” by escaping capture in New York City. But this even more important because it means that this Loki is a character without the growth of Thor: The Dark World or Thor: Ragnarok which is well, a character set on power and control and hasn’t had his brotherly love on display.

Now, let’s be real, a show with time travel is really hard to talk about without spoilers. That said, Loki is a stunning addition to the Marvel canon that embraces chaos, the female gaze, and pushes Hiddleston’s acting in a role that has mostly been villainous one-liners and dark humor that worked to balance Thor’s himbo energy. But now, center stage in his own show, Hiddleston finds his footing and excels at pushing the character to a new height while still keep the core of what made him a fan favorite.

In the series, the TVA has given Loki a choice – well this version of Loki a choice. He can be erased from existence because he is now a “time variant” or he can help fix the timeline and stop a greater threat lurking. Self-preserving at his core, the God of Mischief decides to help the TVA and the series takes on a move from kitschy time travel to crime drama in the best of ways.

Hiddleston as our titular force of chaos is perfect and we get the chance to see him in ways that we haven’t before. While yes, the character has grown over the course of the nine years since he was introduced in 2012 The Avengers, the moments of emotion have been stunted for the character. In fact, across the films that he is featured in his screen time only accounts for a little over an hour, which isn’t really a lot of time to get to know him. That said, he’s been a scene-stealer since his appearance, and to see him embrace the fact that Loki has a lot to offer. In fact, in the series’ first episode, we get to see Loki confronted with the path he was supposed to be on which prompts an incredibly emotional scene of feeling all the growth, grief, and loss, of the last nine years in one moment. It’s expertly done and sets the tone and promise for a dynamic story to be told with a character all too often relegated to humorous villainy.

That said, the agents of the TVA aren’t to be overlooked. In fact, Wilson’s Mobius M. Mobius is a phenomenal addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is sure to not only a bevy of memes but also shoot to fan-favorite status. Additionally, Hiddleston has chemistry with absolutely every person on screen, no matter how long or short their screen time is. But none more so than Wunmi Mosaku’s character Hunter B-15. She’s the most capable TVA agent and the physical confrontations with Loki bring an energy that shows that she isn’t impressed with his Asgardian status. Additionally, with Wunmi, we get the chance to see the importance of the Timekeepers as well.

It’s also important to point out that Loki, has comedy at its core. The way it uses seemingly outdated-looking tech to restrain Loki and apparently be the most powerful source in the universe is a kind of humor that works in the little details. It’s about showing and setting an atmosphere more than it’s about quippy one-liners. Set to be a genre-bending endeavor, similar to Wandavision in that way, the genre trope toybox is theirs to play in and I don’t mean that in a bad way. In a way, Loki is the best of Doctor Who in humor and aesthetic, while bringing the charm of the MCU, the mystery of a crime drama, and topping it all of with an anti-hero bravado and charisma that only Hiddleston can bring.

For a premiere, Loki tells audiences exactly what it is, what it’s going to do, and confirms that the fan love of its title character wasn’t just because of his beautiful hair. But rather because of the charisma that Hiddleston brings to the character. Which, when given the chance to push beyond what we’ve seen from him and the character lets you know exactly why Disney greenlit giving the character his own show. He can carry the spotlight with glorious purpose and I’m going to keep tuning in. Which to be honest, with these first two episodes, Loki is on track to be the best Marvel TV series on the Disney+ Platform.

Marvel Studios’ Loki is streaming exclusively on Diseny+ June 8, 2021 and airing every Wednesday.

Loki
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    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

For a premiere, Loki tells audiences exactly what it is, what it’s going to do, and confirms that the fan love of its title character wasn’t just because of his beautiful hair. But rather because of the charisma that Hiddleston brings to the character. Which, when given the chance to push beyond what we’ve seen from him and the character lets you know exactly why Disney greenlit giving the character his own show. He can carry the spotlight with glorious purpose and I’m going to keep tuning in.