‘Loki’ is here to take the MCU in a whole new direction. Starring Tom Hiddleston, reprising his role as the fan-favourite God of Mischief, the Disney Plus show is everything it’s expected to be – exciting, mysterious, and chaotic. Loki’s solo outing is a mystery box packed with a time-travel adventure, an intriguing whodunit, and Marvel lore. Although it starts off a little slow in the first episode, the possibilities teased from thereon are endless.
In an episode of Loki, ‘Holding out for a Hero’ plays during an intense action scene. That, in a microcosm, is exactly what we’re getting in MCU’s latest show – a hero (or antihero) we’ve all been waiting for. Starring Tom Hiddleston, the Marvel series gives Loki his own time-hopping adventure. It is by far the most mysterious addition to the studio’s small-screen slate, following the success of WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Arriving on Disney Plus this Wednesday, the show sees Hiddleston reprise his role as the God of Mischief. Joining him is Owen Wilson as TVA agent Mobius M. Mobius, making his MCU debut alongside Gugu Mbathu-Raw, Wunmi Masoka, Eugene Cordero, Richard E. Grant, and more. It’s written by Michael Waldron, directed by Kate Herron, and executive produced by Kevin Feige.
Loki picks up after the events of Avengers: Endgame where Loki takes the Tesseract amidst the time heist sequence and makes a neat escape, creating an alternate timeline. He finds himself captured by the Time Variance Authority (TVA) and is taken in for altering “the sacred timeline”. While Loki scoffs at this piece of information, he soon finds himself powerless and bound in a TVA building. And oh, he’s stripped naked within five minutes of the first episode. Just a PSA. Loki is now not only answerable for his crimes but is also about to be recruited to fix the problems he created. As he slips into a shirt that spells “Variant” on the back (that’s what they’re calling him), Loki embarks on a journey that will have him going up against unfamiliar forces. From what I’ve seen of the show, which is the first two episodes that run a little over 50 minutes available for select press, it’s a total blast!
Loki finds glorious purpose in a time-traveling detective drama.
Loki’s MCU history is full of his exploits. We meet the villainous younger brother of Thor in the first Thor film, he stirs up a bunch of trouble for the Avengers, is killed by Thanos as he takes a shot at redemption in Infinity War and then the character makes a surprise return in Endgame. The point is, we know him as a devilishly handsome trouble-maker, manipulating those around him to get what he wants and save for a few emotional moments, he seems to regret none of it. So the idea of Loki cleaning up his act and teaming up with the TVA although reluctantly, is the perfect premise to explore the character’s complexity. And so far Disney Plus’ Loki isn’t afraid to dig deep. Once he’s at the TVA, he’s left at their mercy, the sympathetic Mobius M. Mobius (Owen Wilson) in particular who seems to be the only one to believe this “variant”. It is here that we see tiny flickers of Loki’s vulnerable side. Sending characters we know little about into therapy/intervention-like situations is Marvel’s new thing and I’m here for it. The show asks questions like who is Loki and what makes him tick? It’s a promising start. The highlight, of course, no points for guessing, is Tom Hiddleston. He is still ridiculously charming and is clearly having a lot of fun playing Loki in a more nuanced storyline. Yes, Loki is up to his old tricks, but there’s so much more to it.
The first thing you’ll notice about Loki is just how different it is visually from anything we’ve seen in the MCU before. After a sitcom and an actioner, Marvel is giving us a detective drama. The show is a crime-thriller, a time-travel adventure, and an action-comedy all rolled into one. It takes us into uncharted territory with a noirish vibe and still manages to retain the lighthearted humour of most movies from the studio. Director Kate Herron and head writer Michael Waldron cited a heavy David Fincher influence invoking Se7en and Zodiac and that really comes through. In many ways, the show is a fun whodunit which is one of my favorite genres so that’s just icing on the cake. Did I mention there’s medieval music in the background score? The series also generously breaks down the multiverse, giving us our closest look at the multiverse madness we’re about to witness soon judging from the pace at which Phase 4 is moving. Expect to get a little head spin from all the chaotic time-hopping. And now for the main attraction –
Meet Loki and Mobius, your new favourite MCU pairing.
Okay, Iike most fans I was hyped about Owen Wilson’s entry into the MCU but I certainly wasn’t prepared to get this invested in his character’s dynamic with Loki. Wilson and Hiddleston come together on screen after Midnight In Paris and I didn’t know how much I needed this reunion. The chemistry between Mobius and Loki is palpable. And I hope I’m not just being imaginative in thinking that their interactions exude sexual tension. Loki is gender-fluid, the last time fans checked, in a tiny trailer detail to be precise. Okay, even if I am imaginative, there’s certainly a sweet bromance brewing here. From the moment they meet, Mobius plays his TVA point of contact, taking Loki under his wing and going as far as sticking his neck out for him. The two have banter, snarky comebacks, and a delightfully dicey equation where you can’t tell who is manipulating who. It is certainly nice to see the God of Mischief finding himself disarmed by a good-looking office worker (excuse me, Owen Wilson is hot). Mobius and Loki’s equation is officially my only source of serotonin. The rest of the cast including Gugu Mbathu-Raw’s Judge Renslayer and Wunmi Mosaku’s Hunter B-15 fit right into the Marvel TV-verse, making the supporting ensemble a pretty strong team of newcomers.
That being said, the exceedingly uneven first episode takes its time to find its bearings. Loki doesn’t have the best premiere. The showrunners initiate the protagonist and the viewer into too many subplots, not the kind of chaos you want. So while there’s a lot of fun to be had, the magic is only unleashed around the second episode. Without spoiling anything, it ends on quite the cliffhanger and makes you realise the high stakes of this adventure. There is a sense of things getting progressively darker. Come prepared to have your mind blown.
Final Verdict – You wanted a mysterious, unpredictable MCU show? Well, you got it!
So far, Loki is shaping up into a satisfying series the character’s otherwise starved fandom wanted. It expands on what we already know about the beloved Asgardian and promises to keep delving deeper into his complexities. About the big question of how Loki measures up next to WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, well, while the previous two shows had fans dissecting Easter eggs and predicting every next plotline, Loki is a lot more difficult to predict. With the multiverse explained, the formidable TVA introduced and even more layers added to Loki’s character, there really is no telling which direction the show will take. The possibilities are endless and Loki is limitless. In conclusion, Loki gets a good start not because it’s a solid first two episodes but because of the potential of its plot. We don’t know how many Loki variants we’ll meet, we don’t know which timelines the series will explore and we still don’t know what makes Loki tick. But the show (and Mobius) certainly is bent on finding out. And so is the rest of the fandom, I take it.
Loki will premiere on June 9, 2021, on Disney+ Hotstar Premium with new episodes streaming every Wednesday.
Cover artwork: Bhavya Poonia/Mashable India