Loki: Series Premiere Review
The next series for the MCU arrives in Loki as we see the titular god of mischief have a run-in with the time police and face their own actions and mistakes.
Ever since The Hulk’s big door blast put the Tesseract back into the hands of Loki (Tom Hiddleston) back in Avengers: Endgame, there’s been a lot of questioning as to what them vanishing into a vortex would really mean going forward and we get that exact answer with this series. After escaping S.H.I.E.L.D., Loki finds themselves stuck on some type of desert area but doesn’t end up coming alone. Shortly after their arrival, minutemen officers of the Time Variance Authority (TVA) come and arrest Loki. This is where things really kick off as the MCU takes on its multiverse directly and gives a stronger explanation of the impact of Loki escaping.
So, as explained in the premiere, there was once a multiverse war that threatened to destroy time completely until the mysterious timekeepers created a sacred timeline that keeps everyone on one singular path. In order to uphold the sacred timeline, the TVA was formed to police the timeline and stop any anomalies or variants from creating a multiverse that could war once again. Essentially, the TVA are the more buttoned-up, less gross looking versions of the time cops from Rick and Morty. However, they’re more than just plain old time cops and the premiere does a great job establishing them and the state of the timeline.
Loki being scooped up by them and walking through their systematic procedures was incredibly intriguing and establishes an enticing omnipotent presence. Right from the start, you can tell that the TVA is not exactly easy to fool even if you’re the god of mischief. Hunter B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku) knocking Loki into a slow-motion trance sets the tone for the TVA perfectly and they continue to make Loki more and more powerless as he goes through their legal system. They strip Loki of their powers, keep them on a very short leash, and basically make them conform to not having a sense of choice. They’re almost narcissistic in the ways that they make Loki completely powerless and enjoy putting them down to the point where it’s almost villainous. However, Loki’s tour of the TVA does come with a few funny moments, including an amazing animated sequence that evokes the style of shows like Space Ghost: Coast to Coast and is headlined by oddly adorable clock mascot Miss Minutes (voiced by Tara Strong), and introduces an equally charming adversary in Agent Mobius (Owen Wilson).
Wilson makes Mobius such a formidable opponent for Loki with him not even being remotely intimidated by Loki and pitting them in a mental and emotional power struggle that breaks Loki. Throughout their time in TVA, Loki is pretty much up to their old shenanigans as they try to threaten those with violence to get what they want to no avail and tries to retrieve the Tesseract to escape. Hiddleston even brings the usual villainous charm that’s made Loki a fan favorite, but it doesn’t fully come through here. This premiere is definitely not as lively or thrilling as the other MCU series premieres mainly because Loki isn’t let off their leash much. They’re not able to do any of the craziness that we’re used to seeing so it certainly doesn’t bring that fun, liveliness you would expect to see for the character, but that’s not completely a bad thing.
As with the other MCU series, Loki delves a little deeper into their character through a trip down memory lane that seeks to make them face their past and future actions. Thor: Dark World may be one of the more maligned MCU movies, I’m certainly not a fan, but the way it’s used here is great. To see Loki actually have to confront their murderous actions that nearly destroyed New York City and even actions in the future that would get their mother killed is something really unique. For the first time, we really get to see Loki become truly powerless and face a traumatic reality that includes them even seeing their own death by hands of Thanos. The cherry on top of this whole thing is them seeing how the Tesseract and other Infinity Stones are completely meaningless here and it’s a pretty mind-blowing moment as a whole. I mean think about it, the most powerful resources that have been a major part of MCU are now being used as paper weights. It’s signifies a big shift in power in the MCU and one that rocks Loki to their core. It’s a sequence that’s a perfect homage to Loki’s journey within the MCU and touches on their sort of anti-hero behavior. They’re at a point where they’re re-evaluating their entire existence and it’s a perfect time for that given the big reveal of who the villain of this series will be – another Loki.
As we initially meet Mobius, we see that he’s investigating the murders of minutemen across time, and we eventually come to find that he’s tracking down another version of Loki that’s wreaking havoc. It’s an interesting turn that makes sense for Loki to fight and it’ll be interesting to see them come to terms with themselves as they work more with Mobius.
Loki may not have the strongest premiere of the recent MCU series, but it does an excellent job planting the seeds for both Loki having moments of self-discovery and creating an intriguing entity in the TVA as the multiverse becomes a reality in the MCU.