IMDb: Loki (TV Series 2021- )
Created by: Michael Waldron
Directed by: Kate Herron
Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Sophia Di Martino, Owen Wilson
Synopsis: The mercurial villain Loki resumes his role as the God of Mischief in a new series that takes place after the events of Avengers: Endgame.
THIS REVIEW OF LOKI DOES CONTAIN SLIGHT SPOILERS FOR THE SEASON.
My feelings on Loki’s character has changed throughout the years before the release of his own TV show. To me, he was one of the strongest villains within the MCU, particularly in The Avengers (2012). However, I felt like his death in Avengers: Endgame was one that I was okay with purely because of his development throughout the franchise and where he was at that point. At that point, I had seen everything that I needed to from the development of Loki and his story was wrapped up.
When the premise of Loki was announced and it was clear it was focusing on the 2012 Loki that uses the tesseract to teleport, I became hesitantly excited about the project. Not only did this seem like a fun take on a time-travelling adventure along the lines of Doctor Who, but to actually be able to see the 2012 version of Loki once again. It was still my least anticipated of the MCU shows we have had to date, but I was willing to give the show a try.
The opening two episodes immediately set the tone for the show and set up a premise that was instantly engaging to watch. It would have been so easy to take the route of Doctor Who and have the time travel aspect be the primary feature of this story, but instead it just so happens to be a story about Loki’s development told through the plot premise of time travel and the “Sacred Timeline”.
What makes the first two episodes of the show work so well is the chemistry between Loki and Mobius, played by Owen Wilson. I could simply watch Hiddleston and Wilson play alongside each other for many more hours as their dialogue works so well and is sold by the two performances. Who knew that Loki was going to be a fun buddy crime show?
Episode three is when the show starts to become more than just a buddy crime show however as the audience is introduced to another version of Loki. The casting of Sophia Di Martino as a female Loki known as Sylvie is fantastic as she adds many layers to her version, as well as bring out more in Hiddleston’s Loki. Their chemistry also works well as none of the emotions and storylines are rushed, giving both the characters and the audience time to familiarise themselves with the situation and follow the journey.
If I was to pick a favourite episode from the series, it would end up being the third episode. Whilst this might be the slowest episode of the series, I actually liked having the time to connect with Loki and Sylvie. Not only that, but this was such a well-crafted episode with a stunning one-shot take at the very end that felt more cinematic than most of the MCU.
As Tom Hiddleston hinted at in an interview he did during the show, the stakes are raised in episodes four and five. So much narrative is told in these two short episodes, and yet it somehow doesn’t feel rushed or overwhelming in the slightest. What is particularly great about these two episodes is the development of the side characters, something that Marvel has done particularly well with throughout all three of their Disney+ shows so far.
With these two episodes, we finally get a real look into the TVA and give more content as to why Loki and Sylvie are taking this journey. The TVA has been wonderfully written, making every reveal a gut punch as the show goes on. This is led by a fantastic performance from Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Judge Renslayer as well as Tara Strong voicing Miss Minutes, a character that has a great design and someone who I wish I actually saw more of in the series.
The finale of this series takes a completely different approach than most Marvel properties would, in which there is a lack of action. Instead, the series finale is focused on wrapping up Loki and Sylvie’s journey, whilst preparing for what is the future of Phase 4 and an upcoming second season for Loki. The big reveals within this episode are incredibly well done and I certainly cannot wait to see Jonathan Majors continue to shine with what was a stellar introduction.
The show doesn’t work just because of the story and the performances, but the technical craft within it as well. The world-building is so well done, whether it was showing a bit of history from years ago or creating a new world with Lamentis and the TVA. The world-building also includes the characters, and these worlds felt grounded and real because of how all of the characters were written and how they played into the worlds they were placed in.
One aspect that many people have been correctly highlighting is the score done by Natalie Holt. What an incredible piece of work from her as she fully embraced the darker moments of the story but kept the magic and light touches within the MCU. Whether it was a scene filled with jam-packed action or heavy dialogue, the music elevated every moment within it.
When all of the MCU shows were announced, I was hoping that these mini-series would all be one season max and prioritise the story and the MCU over becoming a separate entity. Now that I had the pleasure of experiencing the first season of Loki, I am glad that I will get to jump back into this world and get a second season for what is the best Disney+ show to date. If you were planning to give this one a miss after struggling with WandaVision or The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, I would highly reconsider that.