For anyone who feels skittish after The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, let me be the first to say fear not, as Loki is terrific. While WandaVision primarily focused on trauma and The Falcon and The Winter Soldier dealt with identity, Loki is the complete package. Original, bold, vibrant, and compelling are just some of the adjectives that fit director Kate Herron and showrunner Michael Waldron’s fantastic collaboration.
Loki is less about mischief in the first two episodes and more about being introspective. There is no ego, no escape, and he is forced to realize the consequences of his actions. Is Loki truly a bad person? Does he enjoy inflicting pain? He’s to confront those questions head-on during the first two episodes.
The series picks up right where 2012 Loki (Tom Hiddleston) takes the Tessaract and escapes from custody in Avengers: Endgame. Now, this wasn’t supposed to happen, and his actions cause a split in the time continuum, which draws the attention of the TVA (Time Variance Authority). He is quickly processed and brought before a judge to answer for his crimes against time. Does he think this is some joke? Of course, it’s Loki, and he does try to escape to no avail. The judge finds him guilty and sentences him to be reset, but Agent Mobius (Owen Wilson) has other plans.
Mobius needs Loki to help him track down other time criminals to restore the time continuum. They, of course, clash with one another leading to another escape attempt from Loki. He certainly wants his freedom, but it seems that Loki doesn’t want to confront the truth about his actions for the majority of the first episode. These two form a dynamic reminiscent of the odd couple. Loki often attempts to maintain some element of control, but Mobius is one step ahead of him.
Hiddleston and Wilson are a dynamic pairing, and it seems Herron and Waldron have a deep understanding of how to bring the best out of each actor. The show’s tone is certainly unlike any other Marvel film to date. It’s a mixture of Film Noir, David Fincher, and a splash of snarkiness to add some levity to the narrative. While it seems like an odd pairing, it works in this setting.
One of the issues with reviewing this series was that critics were only provided two episodes, and it’s hard to make a judgment based on such a small sample size. We do a glimpse of Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Wumni Mosaku, but it’s hard to say anything about their character so far. I’m guessing we see more from them down the road. What we can determine is just how essential Owen Wilson is to this show. Wilson is perfect as Mobius and is one of a handful of actors whose delivery style can match Loki’s wit. Has Loki met his match? Perhaps!
Loki has the look and feel of a great detective series. While the tones of the TVA are dull and reminiscent of any office complex, the world outside of the TVA is bright, futuristic, and just begging to be explored. One has to think they will in future episodes. Now, they reveal late in episode one that they are seeking one time criminal in particular who is killing TVA agents. Towards the end, Mobius even tells us who is doing these acts. I would caution anyone to buy into what they are saying this early into the episode. Remember, Richard E. Grant is slated to be in this series, and they have yet to reveal who he is playing.
If anyone is looking for a show that fills the void left by a certain Pennsylvania-based crime show, then look no further. Based on what we have seen so far, Loki is appointment television.