Following the theatre release of Black Widow, Disney plus’ latest Marvel series Loki premiered its finale last Wednesday — and there’s much to discuss.
Loki follows the same six-episode format of Falcon and The Winter Soldier: each episode is approximately 45 minutes long with some post-credit scenes sprinkled between a couple of episodes.
Although, the sequence of events in the newest Marvel series is more akin to WandaVision; in other words, it can get a little confusing. So listen closely. Loki takes audiences back to 2012 during the aftermath of the Avengers’ defeat of Loki (Tom Hiddleston), otherwise known as The God of Mischief, in their first collaborative film.
However, because of the mishaps from their “time-heist” in Avengers: End Game, Loki slipped away with the tesseract — a cosmic cube and vessel for the space stone that grants immense power to the holder, enabling them to travel through infinite time and space — but was apprehended by the Time Variance Authority (TVA), which exists outside of any timeline.
According to Mobius M. Mobius (Owen Wilson), an agent responsible for tracking down ‘variants’ from errant timelines, “Time passes differently in the TVA”; namely, it doesn’t exist at all and is more of an illusion than a definitive measure.
To redeem Loki for his outstanding crimes against time and humanity, with the additional gift of a second chance at life after his death in End Game, Mobius recruits Loki to help the TVA catch a variant of himself that’s creating errors in the universe’s timeline. Thereafter, leading Loki, his variant, and Mobius to perform an unexpected takedown mission.
Firstly, Loki left me in a state of existential thought as it explored common MCU themes such as power, time, space, and free will from a newer, more creative lens. That being, the concept of those things do and do not exist and they do and do not matter. If the show’s timeline didn’t make my head spin, these examinations surrounding the true nature of our existence definitely did.
For instance, as previously mentioned, time doesn’t exist in the TVA, it’s merely a fabrication. Superpowers don’t work either, as we saw Loki unable to use his while there, meaning in the grand scheme of being, even power is a nonfactor.
Additionally, the TVA has perhaps an infinite amount of Infinity Stones and tesseracts, which normally are objects that grant mortal beings unimaginable power. But at the TVA, they’re so insignificant, the stones are often used as paperweights.
We also get thought-provoking lines about other social constructs that Marvel has typically portrayed as black or white such as morality and the lines between good and evil. According to this show, all of that is also a ruse. In truth, “No one bad is ever truly bad and no one good is ever truly good,” Loki explains to Mobius.
It’s a sentiment that left me pleasantly surprised and even more excited for Marvel’s continuation of complex themes and conversations that grapple with the realities of what it really means to have power — given that we’re all watching a bunch of superheroes wield variations of their own.
What’s more, Loki has given the ol’ God of Mischief the most character depth we’ve ever seen him have. Loki has some much-needed, candid reflections on who he is, what he stands for, and why he continuously seeks to hurt others.
After learning of his adoptive status in Thor (2011), Loki has kept his cards pretty close to his chest regarding what his insecurities are and what drives him to enact “chaos” or “mischief.” In the past, audiences may have come to the false conclusion that Loki’s violence is his way of getting revenge on his father for lying to him about his identity. Or maybe Loki just embraced his truest nature: mischief.
But in the show, he humbly admits his crave for attention, his narcissism, and his ultimate fear of being alone are his reasons for enacting such destruction all of the time. These admissions represent a big step forward regarding his character arc, which has felt stagnant at times.
I also weirdly welcomed Loki’s budding romance with Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) in the show, and I say “weirdly” because Sylvie is another version of himself (the show gets very meta as the episodes go on). Just because seeing Loki let his guard down with someone and open up about himself demonstrated a softness in him that made me want to root for Loki that much more.
But of course, the first time we see Loki fall in love and be vulnerable, it’s really just with himself. That’s the Loki we all know and love.
Now, in regards to the production of Loki — Marvel delivers yet again. This time, they really went all out by showcasing the full extent of the “otherworldly” magic within the MCU. Loki is a super-fantastical, sci-fi, meta, existential time adventure that effectively progresses Marvel’s fantasy branch (which contains the likes of Dr. Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy, and The Scarlet Witch).
At the same time, “Loki, in its exploration of its title character’s identity, managed to carve out its own unique personality not just in the MCU, but also in the grander landscape of sci-fi storytelling,” as stated by Adam B. Vary in his review for Variety.
Loki is its own creation, or at least it can be. Viewers can watch the show as a stand-alone series or as a part of Marvel’s ever-growing, larger plotline. And both viewing options work perfectly fine.
All that being said, Loki was refreshing in more ways than one. It gave Loki a chance at redemption, explored complex themes with the nuance they’ve always deserved from the MCU, and gave fans some kick-ass sci-fi action to top it all off.
Hiddleston continues to outstand while playing our favorite trickster and I can’t wait to see the British actor take this character to newer heights. Loki will be back for a second season. And given the state of the universal timeline by the end of the series, Loki may even cross pathways with Dr. Strange to fix this multiverse of madness once and for all.
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