Tom Hiddleston’s Loki has been a favorite character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since he was first introduced in the 2011 film Thor. The compelling nature of this eternal thorn in the side of his foster brother Thor was especially notable in a franchise known for to forgettable, one-note bad guys.
Supposed to die in the second Thor movie, Dark World, a negative reaction from a test audience meant he was given a new lease of life, or rather a new life, in the franchise. No other supervillain has had such a shelf life in MCU.
Michael Waldron’s Disney+ series Loki, which premieres Wednesday, continues the story of the god of mischief. As we know, he was introduced as a super villain, but gradually turned into a kind of anti-hero whose loyalty is always at stake. He even died a heroic (and permanent) death at the hands of Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War after failing to save his brother Thor.
In case you’re not aware, the series follows the alternate timeline Loki from the aftermath of Battle of New York – the one who escaped with the Tesseract amid the commotion accidentally created by the future Tony Stark and Scott Lang.
This writer got to see the first two episodes of Loki, and here’s the verdict.
Loki of the series did not perform any heroic deeds. He still dreams of ruling the earth and its “humble” human inhabitants. This is an interesting and welcome touch, as I was concerned that the show would cover up his almost Nazi-esque designs during Avengers Assemble and turn him into what he later became in MCU – a mischievous but essentially harmless prankster.
Arrested by soldiers working for the multi-faceted, highly bureaucratic organization called the Time Variance Authority (TVC), he is once again incarcerated. This time, the charge is bigger: that he did something he shouldn’t have done (steal the Tesseract and escape) and his actions create branching timelines, and it’s TVC’s job to deal with “time variants” like him.
Mobius M Owen Wilson’s Mobius convinces Ravonna Renslayer of his superior Gugu Mbatha-Raw that he will deal with Loki himself. Mobius, an agent who specializes in hunting dangerous time variants, needs Loki’s help in tracking down a TVC headache that apparently killed their soldiers for sport, and steals devices that allow the soldiers to erase timelines. In return, Loki may not be pruned (a euphemism for erasing him from reality).
Loki has been a total win for Marvel Studios so far. (Photo: Marvel Studios)
The thing about Loki is that despite his pretensions to great power, he often feels powerless in front of others, and that’s the case here too. Some things never change.
Well, one thing has changed. This time we see a vulnerable Loki who feels genuinely guilty for his actions, including the crimes he would have committed had he not escaped. Mobius shows Loki what he would eventually become, his actions and what the consequences would be.
Together with Wunmi Mosaku’s Hunter B-15, they eventually join forces to take out the dangerous time variant. Their adventures take them through time and space in different timelines and realities.
Loki is written as if it winks at the audience, reminiscent of Taika Waititi’s style in Thor: Ragnarok. The goofball humor and action are also similar.
That is all to say that Loki has been a total win for Marvel Studios so far.
Both episodes are a hit from start to finish. An emotional core if not what you’d expect from a Loki TV show, but that’s exactly what you get here.
Hiddleston, who again looks skinny and a little thin, is reliably charismatic, charming and slimy (he’s Loki, after all) in the role and he makes good use of the solid writing and new tender side given to the character. The evil, opportunistic gleam in his eyes will make you want to re-watch past MCU movies with Loki. Wilson is, well, not really different from a lot of other roles he’s played before. He fits right into the role of an essentially nice man who wants to give Loki a chance despite, in his words, his history of stabbing people in the back.
While Wunmi Mosaku and Gugu Mbatha-Raw don’t have much to do, we expect that to change in the rest of the four episodes. Stay tuned for the full review.