Loki Ep 1 starts off at an amicable pace, as Loki and the viewers are caught up to the God of Mischief’s destined timeline deviation and Loki Ep 2 concludes with an epic cliffhanger promising a Loki-adventure extravaganza of epic proportions.
Loki Cast: Tom Hiddleston, Owen Wilson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Wunmi Mosaku
Loki Director: Kate Herron
*MINOR SPOILERS* Our favourite charismatic anti-hero is back and this time around, Loki is burdened with the glorious purpose of carrying an entire series on his trusted ‘Trickster’ shoulders. With the recent array of experimental Disney+ series like WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki adds itself as another complex U-turn for Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), steering away from the traditional popcorn action entertainers.
More importantly, Tom Hiddleston gets some duly deserved spotlight as the God of Mischief, a role only he could humanise in delightful taste. However, the Loki we encounter in Loki hasn’t gone through his tremendous character growth which MCU fans witnessed in Thor: The Dark World or even Thor: Ragnarok, right before his gruesome death in Avengers: Infinity War. The Loki we’re treated with is the 2012 version from The Avengers when the God of Mischief’s sole purpose was authority.
In Avengers: Endgame, when the Avengers travel back to the Battle of New York, just after Loki is captured and arrested, Hulk’s dislike for stairs makes a segway for Loki to use the tesseract and vanish, thus putting a dent in the ongoing timeline and making way for a cash cow series. In the first episode of Loki, which premieres on Disney+Hotstar Premium today, i.e. June 9, we arrive straight to the point with Loki getting caught by the mysterious Time Variance Authority (TVA), an organisation monitoring the timelines, for being a ‘time variant’ aka disruptor from his destined timeline.
Kasra Farahani’s production design excels when it comes to TVA’s claustrophobic, mundane government office vibes as Loki sticks outs like a sore thumb, with his magic being a mere prop to the bureaucratic organisation. Some hilarious sequences ensue as Loki is subjected to ticketing tolls, signing documents featuring every word he’s ever said, a robot detector test and even a trial to reset him for good. However, making the save for Loki is TVA agent Mobius M. Mobius (Owen Wilson), whose speciality is dealing with dangerous time criminals like the God of Mischief.
What follows is a well-thought-out therapy session between the two eccentric characters as Mobius’ unperturbed reaction to Loki’s kingly antics leads to a witty war of words. Through their tête-à-tête and summarised video montages of Loki’s ‘This is Your Life’ journey, Loki is caught up with his actual timeline, including the tragic deaths in his life, his included.
A disturbed Loki, undergoing yet another existential crisis, then answers Mobius’ trick question: Do you like hurting people? To which, Loki responds no, he doesn’t and that’s exactly why in spite of being a magnanimous villain, fans are intimately connected to the God of Mischief because you’re never aware of his true intentions. When given the opportunity of life over ceasing to exist by helping Mobius capture a great threat to the TVA (won’t disclose his identity!), Loki unsurprisingly jumps headfirst to the challenge.
We’re then subjected to Loki and Mobius’ odd couple shenanigans as their conversations range from talking about the latter’s love for jet skis, even though he’s never rode one, to actually solving the puzzle pieces in the mystery behind the time criminal on the loose, set to destroy TVA by tactfully killing off agents in different pivotal periods of time and space. There’s reckless energy surrounding the quirky twosome that instantly grabs your attention which is all thanks to Tom and Owen’s inimitable screen presence.
Speaking of the performances, Hiddleston gets to breathe even more life into the complexities of a character like Loki and as I mentioned before, only Tom could have uncovered the scraps of humanity behind the God of Mischief. In Loki, Hiddleston has tons to play with as it’s like an extreme makeover to the 2012 Loki, starting from near-scratch, without the sad ending. It’s also Tom’s Shakesperean dialogue delivery which will never fail to leave me enchanted, even if the conversation is merely arguing with a TVA agent about what a fish is.
On the other hand, Owen’s dry, straight pitch humour gels perfectly in the MCU fold as only Wilson could have added some notorious charisma into a workhorse like Mobius. To be able to match up to Loki’s over-the-top personality and leave him baffled is no odd feat and Owen takes to the challenge merrily. When it comes to Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Ravonna Renslayer, TVA judge, and Wunmi Mosaku as TVA’s Hunter B-15, Loki Ep 1 and 2 don’t have much to offer from the talented ladies, except providing fillers from Loki and Mobius’ buddy-cop bromance.
ALSO READ: Will Loki be an ally or a foe to the TVA? 5 Questions that should be answered in Tom Hiddleston’s series
Loki head writer Michael Waldron of Rick and Morty fame successfully excels in the first two episodes of setting an amicable pace for Loki’s prior journey while transforming the storyline on a swift pace for what’s to come. Moreover, we’re also given a more intricate layman’s language look (unlike the complicated time travel structure in Avengers: Endgame [Don’t even get me started on Steve Rogers’ confusing arc]) into the multiverse; which the MCU is diving deep into with movies like Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness which Michael has co-written with Jade Bartlett, and how it works, courtesy of the 1970s version of Siri, Miss Minutes. On the other hand, Loki director Kate Herron of Sex Education fame is the apt Hyde to Michael’s Jekyll as the intense time travel history doesn’t tamper with MCU’s trusted humour relief, both feeding off of inspiration from David Fincher movies. Even Natalie Holt’s score and Autumn Durald Arkapaw’s cinematography provides the right levels of eeriness fit for the God of Mischief, who even a powerful organisation like TVA could find as a manipulative threat to The Sacred Timeline, safely guarded by the three Time-Keepers.
While the first episode dealt with more prose than action, the second episode of Loki relied heavily on investigating with a concluding thrill-seeking piece, setting an edge of your seat cliffhanger that promises a Loki-adventure extravaganza of epic proportions. The two episodes, to me, felt like an appetising teaser and I can’t wait to see what tricks does the charismatic Trickster have up his sleeves in the next four episodes.
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