Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Owen Wilson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Wunmi Mosaku, and Sophia Di Martino
Written by: Michael Waldron and Elissa Karasik
Directed by: Kate Herron
The God of Mischief returns to screens, burdened with glorious weirdness, in Disney+’s Loki.
Developed by Community’s Michael Waldron and directed with a keen yet vulnerable comedic edge by Kate Herron (Sex Education, Daybreak), Loki finds our favorite erstwhile Asgardian on the run post-Endgame. True Believers will recall that he made off with the Tesseract/Space Infinity Stone during the Avengers’ Time Heist. However, Loki shows that he didn’t get far, having been scooped up by the tenacious agents of the Time Variance Authority and brought outside of reality to answer for his crimes against The Sacred Timeline. Finally, giving the liar of all liars a problem he can’t talk his way out of.
On its surface, Loki is a tremendous actor’s showcase. Hiddleston returns to the role with an unmistakable joy. Alongside a whole new take on this already iconic character. Owen Wilson’s Agent Mobius provides a neatly droll foil for Loki as well, echoing the mannerisms and dress of cult-favorite Marvel creator Mark Gruenwald, the creator of the TVA and one of Marvel’s most “out there” creatives of the 70s-80s.
Furthermore, the rest of the cast acquits themselves just as well! The Morning Show and Black Mirror’s Gugu Mbatha-Raw lords over the proceedings as a haughty but immensely watchable “Time Judge” who tries and fails to keep our boys in line.
But that’s Wunmi Mosaku’s job. Though last seen spiriting away with Netflix’s horror hit His House, Mosaku’s poise and barely hidden anger are used to great effect here, positioned as the only TVA employee who “sees” Loki for what he really is; an aberration in need of correction.
With all this said, Loki’s true charm lies in just how goddamn WEIRD it all is, starting with the very concept of the TVA as a whole. Loki starts bonkers and then keeps pushing it. And pushing it, and then pushing it just a BIT further, proving that this creative team has no qualms about making this show just as weird as the comics that spawned it.
While I am loath to reveal some of the show’s juicier reveals, those wishing the MCU to “go for it”? They will find a lot to love here. Calling to mind some of the best visuals of FX’s Legion, Loki’s opening episodes provide plenty of lavish effects. They’re peppered through with equally impressive visual comedy and knowing mugging from its lead. (Who, again, just seems to be having a total fucking ball.)
But even though the impressive visuals and mind-bending scripts, Loki keeps the crazy firmly rooted in engaging characters. Never losing sight of the very thing that made Loki pop all those years ago when the MCU was young. Vulnerability. Charm. And maybe more than a little costumed sex appeal to boot.
It’s honestly just FUN to be hanging out with Loki again. If those revelations contained within these opening episodes are any indication, Loki has some grand schemes waiting for us throughout its episode order. These schemes could very well change the face of the Marvel Cinematic Universe forever. Simply by letting them finally be as freaking strange (and engaging) as the comics that inspired it.
This is a real win for us dorks clutching worn copies of Journey Into Mystery and wondering when “our” Loki was finally going to make the scene. And maybe even enough to get those who had written the MCU off back on board. Only (the proper flow of) time will tell. But until that arrives, I can confidently say Loki is a ball from start to finish.