The latest in Marvel’s long line of Disney+ series is Loki, centered around the always-captivating god of mischief. Loki finally steps out of the shadows of Thor and the Avengers and into the spotlight. Is he able to carry the weight of his own series, or should this show have been eliminated from the timeline completely. Let’s investigate each event to find out.
With all the time travel, mystery, and comic book action, the best part of Loki surprisingly ends up being the back and forth banter between Tom Hiddleston’s Loki and Owen Wilson’s Mobius. Their onscreen chemistry is somehow better than the chemistry between most of the other actors within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They play off each other so perfectly that it’s just as captivating and attention-grabbing as any well-crafted action scene.
One of the primary elements that help those incredible back-and-forth moments is how outstanding their performances are. It’s not just Hiddleston and Wilson who have performances strong enough to carry each episode, but Sophia Di Martino as Sylvie, Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Renslayer, and the rest of the cast give it their all and bring each of their roles to life. It definitely wouldn’t be a surprise to see some Emmy nods for multiple actors in Loki.
Similar to the first Disney+ MCU series, WandaVision, an extremely fun element to Loki is an underlying mystery throughout the story. Who is running the TVA and why they want control over the timeline adds suspense and keeps the audience guessing. There’s an element of surprise around every corner. The additional early mystery of who this Loki variant is and why they’re wreaking so much havoc adds to that mystifying feeling as well. All the speculation after each episode is part of the excitement of the series.
Not only is Loki a fun mystery, but it’s also an exciting science fiction adventure. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is chock full of good science fiction, but the sci-fi elements in Loki stand out. Sure there’s time travel, which is nothing new, but certain rules they add are legitimately interesting and unique, like “pruning people” to send them to the end of the timeline, being able to do whatever you may please during an apocalypse because it doesn’t change anything, and different timelines being at war with each other within the multiverse. There are a lot of neat ideas that are now added to the MCU, so it’ll be interesting to see what’s done with them in the future.
After Avengers: Endgame, the folks at Marvel definitely needed to come up with a way to keep fans interested since their central story came to an organic end. Loki helps to regain that interest in what’s next for the MCU. It celebrates what came before it while successfully setting up and building excitement for where the franchise can head next.
This is still a comic book superhero show, so the action needs to be just as satisfying as the story or performances, and it thankfully is. There’s a successful blend of superpowers (with Loki’s illusions) and hand-to-hand (and blade-to-blade) fights throughout that are each exciting enough to keep viewers on the edge of their seats. Unlike several other action movies and shows, the fight scenes in Loki don’t distract from the story. The emotion and story still play out during the action sequences, which is rather impressive.
This show is also overall a great character examination for Loki. It provides a way to look back at decisions the character has made in previous films and why, as well as seeing what truly makes him tick. Loki also gets some of the best character development in the MCU in this series, which is a lot of fun to experience, especially since it’s been a decade since we’ve been introduced to this mischievous character.
An unfortunately glaring issue with this series is that there are times when it becomes clear that it only really exists to tease the next phase of the MCU. Yes, the whole MCU is always building up to what’s next, but we do get fantastic in-the-moment stories along the way. Films like Captain America: the Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy both hint at what’s to come, but they also tell standalone stories to enjoy until whatever’s next actually happens. As entertaining and exciting as this season of Loki is, I only see it being rewatched during binges of the entire cinematic universe or if the coming season(s) allow for it. As for now, this whole season is buildup and teases for the next few movies, albeit fun buildup.
There are quite a few new characters introduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Loki, and they’re each entertaining in their own way. Some of them are compelling enough that it’ll be riveting to see what happens with them in the next season or other appearances in the MCU. However, given that there are only six episodes in the season, some of them don’t get quite enough time to truly develop or get the chance for the audience to really get to know them. Hunter B-15 in particular seems really interesting and the door has certainly been open for a truly intriguing arc for her, but she feels almost in the background compared to some of the more major characters. Hopefully Hunter B-15, Casey, and the rest do get the time they deserve going forward.
As entertaining as this season is, it does unfortunately have its dull moments. Sure, every series has its slow scenes, but in a six episode season, there’s not much room for that. Obviously, riveting conversation is always welcome and there needs to be more than just action. However, around episode three in particular, those important character moments and conversations go on just a little too long. After a few minutes, we see Loki and Sylvie bond as well as receive necessary exposition, but then it keeps going. Again, not a terrible thing, but every second should be important in a story that’s only six episodes long.
This first season of Loki was only written so future Marvel projects can exist, and the God of Mischief deserves a bit better than that. The season only being six episodes long leads to a couple of drawbacks as well. However, for just six episodes, Loki manages to be full of heart, humor, action, great science fiction, an intriguing mystery, and outstanding character development for the titular role. That’s pretty darn impressive. It’s without a doubt a fun and unique addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Something this original in the MCU has been needed after over a decade of content, so it is a breath of fresh air to experience. If you’re a Marvel fan and have followed the cinematic universe until now but have not seen Loki, then what are you waiting for?
Rating: 8.5 / 10