by Chris Connor
Loki has been around the MCU for a decade now and while winning the hearts of fans and critics alike, he has been a supporting player in each of his appearances. The latest Disney+ series and 3rd of this year corrects this and puts the God Of Mischief firmly front and centre as we follow the aftermath of Avengers: Endgame with a variant Loki making off with the Tesseract only to be intercepted by a mysterious organisation known as the Time Variance Authority (TVA), whose mission is to correct the flow of time when it deviates from its natural course.
The tone and aesthetic of Loki really helps to separate it from the rest of the MCU with an array of influences clear to see including Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy, the works of Terry Gilliam and Orwell’s 1984 but it is fun to spot tonal influences throughout and this certainly leans heavily into the cosmic side of things.
The cast are fantastic with Hiddleston obviously standing out as he so often has in the role playing a slightly different version of the character Avengers onwards, younger and without his redemptive arc we are not sure how villainous he remains. Owen Wilson really shows his versatility as Mobius M Mobius one of the TVA staff tasked with interrogating and monitoring this Loki. The chemistry between Wilson and Hiddleston is superb and we can only hope for more of interactions between the pair in the recently announced second series of the show. Gugu Mbatha-Raw really excels as Judge Renslayer who in many ways is one of the show’s chief antagonists keeping us constantly unsure of her true intentions and loyal without fault to the mysterious Time Keepers who seemingly watch over the TVA. To say more about the cast would lead to some spoiler talk but safe to say the show’s supporting cast including Richard E Grant and Sophia Di Martino offer some terrific moments throughout.
Perhaps the show’s biggest strength and an overall strength of the Disney+ series to date is how well this sits on its own away from the wider MCU acting as a character study of Loki, delving deep into his psyche and background in ways we have perhaps only touched the surface of in his film appearances. It is so tonally and visually distinct from WandaVision and The Falcon and The Winter Soldier that it almost feels like a different universe altogether. While it does sit alone for the most part there are moments towards the conclusion of this first series that look set to have a profound effect on the wider MCU and its future beyond just the upcoming 2nd series.
Loki is an intoxicating and wildly unpredictable ride in the MCU with one of its most beloved characters, pushing the franchise in bold new directions and presenting seemingly endless opportunities for the future of the character and wider universe. Here is hoping that the rest of Phase 4 can meet the standard set by this most slippery of characters.
Loki is available to watch on Disney+