Tom Hiddleston is back as the god of mischief in Disney’s new limited series Loki, and he’s definitely up to no good. Or, maybe a little bit of good. It’s not really clear, but that’s half the fun. Loki has always been in it for himself, but now he has Owen Wilson to add some direction, and the results are good.
Disney+ and Marvel’s new Loki series picks up immediately after his escape in Avengers: Endgame. This isn’t the Loki that grew and helped save the people of Asgard from destruction; this is the Loki that just led an army of Chitauri through a portal in the sky and devastated New York.
And you know what? He’s kinda great, in his own way. Hiddleston slips immediately back into this arrogant and angry version of Loki. Still, at the same time, the show remembers that Hiddleston has excellent comedic timing and really leans into that.
As mentioned, this story picks up immediately after Loki escapes in Avengers: Endgame. Wasting no time, the Time Variance Authority arrests him immediately. After a fun trip through the TVA’s bureaucracy, he is saved from being eliminated by agent Mobius M Mobius (Owen Wilson) and recruited to help them track down a villain attacking the TVAs minutemen, soldiers that reset the timeline when things go awry (like when an Asgardian trickster escapes from a team of heroes).
I don’t know what I was expecting from this series headed it, to be honest, but it certainly wasn’t a police procedural. That is effectively what we have though, with Loki as the handsome, roguish outsider that assists the police with their investigations. Think Castle, or Elementary, or Sherlock Holmes. of course, they’re hunting a mass murderer through the entire of the Marvel timeline, so there is a lot of fun to be hand jumping from era to era.
The series also really shines in the production design department. Yes, they get to create all kinds of different time periods (a near future shopping mall is my favourite, because it’s low key terrifying), but the TVA itself has an aesthetic that looks like they travelled back to the early 1970s and imagined a future from there, and it’s just gorgeous to look at.
One surprising thing is how light the first two episodes are on action. That isn’t to say they’re boring, but this isn’t the action-adventure series you might be expecting. Much of the first episode gives Loki a fast track to some character growth via a highlight reel of his life and a drawer full of infinity stones. The second episode deals mostly with good old fashioned detective work: positing theories and reading files.
The reason this works is the cast. Hiddleston and Wilson have an easy chemistry, and their repartee is delightful. Wilson is excellent as Mobius, and every time he puts Loki in his place is effective and fun.
So far, the other two standouts are Wunmi Mosaku and Gugu Mbatha-Raw as a TVA soldier and judge, each of which clearly has their own back story and inner life. Each of these women is talented actors, and they bring depth to each of their roles that could be one-note and have little screen time, respectively.
The second episode ends on multiple major bombshells, each of which has me intrigued and excited to see what comes next. For those of you like me who are invested in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this series will almost certainly end up mandatory viewing for continuity reasons (there have already been a few things mentioned that I believe will play directly into the forthcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness), too.
Time will tell which of the Marvel TV series will work out best, but as with both WandaVision and Captain America and the Winter Soldier, Loki is off to a strong start.
- If you are the type that likes to watch closely for Easter eggs and references, this series might have been made specifically for you.
- There’s a line near the start of episode one where Loki describes his clothing as being made of “fine Asgardian leather”, which is a reference/joke aimed at me, specifically.
- Eugene Cordero appears in this series as an office worker, and he is quite funny. I especially like an early scene where he explains why there’s a random drawer in the office full of infinity stones.
- Hiddleston and Wilson are both really great comic actors, and part of me wishes that this series was a straight-up slapstick comedy. Watch them both during the second episode scene where they discuss a theory using a salad as a prop.
- I must remember to lookup more of composer Natalie Holt’s work.
Loki premieres on Disney+ on June 9th, and will run for six episodes with new episodes following each Wednesday.
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