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Disclaimer: The author’s thoughts should be taken with a grain of salt and a stick of Kablooie Gum, since they do not necessarily represent those of the site or its other authors. There are no spoilers in this review for the first episode of the program.
There’s a joke that Marvel movies exist only to build up more Marvel movies to come in the near future. Every post-credits sequence introduces a new narrative, maintaining the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a never-ending loop of self-propagation until the end of time, when all that left is the Mouse.
Many people were excited about the Loki concert for many reasons, including Tom Hiddleston’s Loki and Tom Hiddleston’s Loki. If we had the opportunity, we’d cast Tom Hiddleston as Loki. The character has all the time in the world to make a lasting impact on MCU fans as one of the first notable MCU villains to appear amid the boring ages of Phase 1 and 2. People adored the character and requested that he be given more screen time.
To tell you the truth, I was not one of those individuals. As my friends and relatives began to cry throughout the events of Avengers: Infinity War, I sat in indifference and curiosity, smack dab in the middle of the theater. Loki was a character I liked but didn’t really care for. Despite this, Loki was a program that shocked me in more ways than one, but did it achieve its own self-imposed magnificent goal?
Loki is a Marvel Studios television program set to premiere in 2021, starring Tom Hiddleston as the eponymous character, who inadvertently goes on a time and space journey while reflecting on his past as the god of mischief.
Concepts of Chronology
With the advent of time travel in Avengers: Endgame, the Marvel Cinematic Universe was expanded in an unimaginable way, ripping open numerous gateways into new story possibilities. Tremendous narrative power, however, comes with great storytelling obligations. The introduction of time shenanigans to any fictional world, if not managed properly, may result in the premature annihilation of the work as a whole. With the creation of the Time Variance Authority, or TVA, Loki provides an in-universe reason for this “worldbuilding cleanliness.”
Loki is apprehended by the TVA soon after escaping with the Tesseract in Avengers: Endgame, branding him as a “Variant,” or someone who deviates from their assigned “role” and therefore disrupts the pre-determined flow of time. I was all for the idea of Time Cops as my friends and I watched the first episode and it slowly dawned on me what we were getting into. By no means is it a novel idea, but the elegance and beauty with which Loki executes its take on the Time Cop cliché had me captivated for the duration of the program. I joked with my pals earlier this year while watching WandaVision that it would be the closest thing we’d come to a SCP Foundation show. It turned out I’d be receiving an even stronger version of that feeling here.
The show’s design seems new but fundamentally “Marvel” in its execution, even though the CGI was rough around the edges at times. The technology’s sound design is clean and unearthly. The original soundtrack by Natalie Holt is one of the finest and most distinctive to have come out of a Marvel Studios film—every scene is accompanied with a song that sells the film’s grandeur. My ears were equally as interested as the rest of me during the whole event.
Owen Wilson’s character Mobius was without a doubt my favorite portion of the series. I don’t think I need to say anything more to convince you that he deserves a jet ski.
…to bring the best out of others
However, as much as we enjoyed binge-watching all six episodes and seeing the daring climax play out in front of our eyes, Loki’s general structure and direction left many not just perplexed, but also irritated.
In keeping with the opening joke about every Marvel property serving as a setup for the next, Loki seems like it’s laying the groundwork to allow future Marvel characters to flourish. As important as that role was, it left the program with a poor storyline as a whole. Regardless of how self-contained the storyline tries to be, it’s difficult to see beyond the effort made into building up future series and movies. It also doesn’t help that the show’s pace slows to a crawl between narrative elements.
As I already said, I was never a huge Loki fan to begin with. Despite this, I agree that the titular mischievous scamp often behaved in ways that contradicted his portrayal. Despite being introduced as a strong Asguardian, Loki’s power levels varied from episode to episode, with him frequently being equally matched by ordinary humans in fistfights, only to suddenly levitate huge items in the following episode.
At the end of the day, I only suggest shows based on one criterion: did I enjoy myself or not? It was fun to sit through Loki, particularly with friends, so do it. However, in order to get the most out of the show, it’s best to put aside expectations for the “ideal” Loki performance. From one fan to the next, every headcanon version of Loki is unique. Loki really puts Phase 4 of the MCU into action if you keep that in mind and roll with the story as it progresses. Let’s hope they keep the momentum going for the rest of their lives.
A journey across time and space that is both entertaining and educational.
The MCU’s most unusual soundtrack
Mobius, played by Owen Wilson, is a fictional character.
From episode to episode, the characterization seemed uneven.
The fight choreography was unconvincing and uninteresting.
When you slow down too much, your pacing suffers.