TThe long-awaited Loki series has arrived on Disney +, with Tom Hiddleston reprising his role as God of Evil and Chaos, the beloved MCU villain he played in six Marvel films. In Avengers: Infinity War, however – spoiler alert – Loki died, nobly sacrificing himself in the first five minutes and finally becoming a true hero of Asgard and a credit to Jotunheim. But! For an MCU figure, nothing lasts forever except the franchise, and so Loki has been returned to us.
It was managed by simply establishing ramifications over time. In Avengers: Endgame, the heroes who survived Infinity War travel back in time to the day after Avengers Assemble in 2012 to retrieve the two Infinity Stones that Loki had in his possession at the time, in order to rewrite it. to come up. Loki (the real one, but now alive because, hello, 2012 again) took advantage of the heist’s chaos, as Lokis will, to seize the portal-maker Tesseract and transport the hell out of there. This created a Loki variant, and it’s that Loki we’re following in this series. Hope everything is clear.
Thus, the Loki variant (hereafter known as Loki, because argh) stands elsewhere in time and space and is quickly captured by the Time Variance Authority, the organization tasked with protecting sacred chronology. The what? The Sacred Timeline, the actual timeline as created by three Keepers of Time, who work to iron out the past, present, and future so that one day we can all live in peace. Or something.
The mechanics of it can be put to the test by more vigorous and deeply invested minds than mine. I’m sure it makes perfect sense that Loki would be recruited to help them track down a variant – of himself, they think – that murders and kidnaps members of TVA on their time travel missions (the job VAT is to go back and reset the timeline whenever someone does something they’re not supposed to do and starts a new unapproved timeline). MCU makers know their cosmological craft.
Usually, they also know all the other aspects of their business. The Marvel movies are precision-crafted blockbusters, mixing action and emotion, setting and storytelling, in near-perfect proportions, and the first foray into television with WandaVision was an incredibly sophisticated success. The first two episodes of Loki (which were all that was available for review – there are six in total), however, felt flat. The first game was a long exposure setup that seemed very static, and the second spent its first half traversing roughly the same pitch.
Loki is placed under the supervision of Agent Mobius M Mobius (Owen Wilson), who may know Loki better than he knows himself. He pushes and pushes Loki’s psyche, unsettling and upsetting him. Wilson is at the top of his game – the unassailable confidence and slight comedic touch that are his specialties given a complete ending – and his chemistry with Hiddleston (as fast-paced and funny as ever, in contrast to his serious acting vibe offscreen. ) in their extended scenes is a joy to see. Together they’re even better than they are apart, and obviously they’re having a great time playing against each other. It is perhaps this which encouraged so much to privilege the dialogue between them rather than the action elsewhere. We’ll have to see if their chemistry is enough to lift the burden that comes with transforming an ensemble character (best suited for going to the MCU, detonating a Chaos Bomb and then sabotaging it) into a main protagonist, we’ll have to. see.
The series obviously intends to ask questions about identity (what is Loki without his powers, which don’t work in TVA country? What if he’s forced to do endless good? under the ever-watchful eye of Mobius?), free will t the Timekeepers making everyone their slaves by setting the timeline for everyone?) and other such deep issues. But for the first two episodes, the characters feel like they’re nothing more than recipients for it, rather than the questions organically flowing from their stories.
Still, things improve at the very end of the second episode. If Loki leans more enthusiastically on the time-adventure aspect, as he surely should, I’m sure viewers will start to enjoy themselves almost as well as Hiddleston and Wilson clearly are.