Continuing Marvel’s streak of thrilling shows that greatly expand the MCU into unexplored territory, Loki brings the God of Mischief back from the dead (so to speak) for one final time-bending adventure. This six-episode journey through time and space gives us more of the Loki (Tom Hiddleston) we love, while introducing us to some new, mysterious characters along the way.
When Loki begins, it’s hard to gauge what type of show it’s going to be. At times it feels like it’s more of a mystery thriller, then at others it seems like maybe it’ll be a buddy cop adventure. In the end, it’s both of these things and so much more, but it never plays out exactly how you’d expect. The charm of this series is that you never really know what’s lurking around each corner. It feels as though things could flip at any moment, sending the narrative on a completely different path – and that happens often through the short six-episode run. Reminiscent of Loki’s own lust for deception, the series itself thrives in leading you to believe one thing, then surprising you with more than you could have imagined. It keeps audiences on their toes – doing away with predictable arcs and moving along at a relatively quick pace.
The show covers a decent amount of ground across each episode, but it’s not without its rocky patches. Specifically, the third episode feels largely like a waste. It moves along pretty slowly, lacks the fun character dynamics seen in the first two episodes and doesn’t leave much of a mark on the series. I understand the episode is about trying to strengthen the bond between two characters, but the events are almost entirely forgettable in the grand scheme of things. That being said, the first half of the season does a solid job at getting you emotionally invested in the lives of the lead characters, but it’s the latter half of the season where things really pick up and pay off. Shocking twists, thrilling action and mindblowing answers are packed into the final three episodes, ensuring it keeps you hooked right through to the final credits. There’s barely a moment of downtime in these latter moments and it never loses sight of its end goal.
Going into the series, the titular Loki is the only character we really knew or cared about. Coming out the other end, I feel like there’s a great ensemble of characters whose arcs were all engaging in their own unique way. Mobius (Owen Wilson) is an example of a character who is instantly likeable, in part due to the writing of the character, but also due to how Owen Wilson plays the role. The dynamic between Loki and Mobius is undoubtedly one of the biggest highlights of the series. Whenever the two of them are on-screen together, it’s comedic gold! Forget the grand scheme of the wider MCU, just give me a miniseries of these two clashing personalities going on adventures and I’d be satisfied. Not only does Owen really up the comedic elements of the role, but he also enhances the emotional impact that the character has on the series. Aside from Loki himself, this is the main standout role and character from the series.
Speaking of Loki, Tom Hiddleston is unmistakably brilliant, bringing great depth to the character and developing him even more than he’s been able to in the films. You can certainly nitpick and say that it feels more like he’s playing that comedic Thor: Raganrok Loki as oppose to the ruthlessly evil post-Avengers Loki (which is what it should be). But the fact of the matter is that one of those is entertaining, while the other is not. So, if sacrificing evil Loki in favour of an entertaining show is necessary, then I’m okay with that.
As expected, we’ve also got a great performance from Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Ravonna, who doesn’t necessarily have a tonne of screen-time but is a force of nature whenever she does show up. She’s also at her best when sharing the screen with Owen Wilson’s Mobius.
In the end, Loki hits the ground running, is forced to pick itself back up a couple of times, and finishes strong with a couple of massive climactic episodes that make the overall journey very well worth it. As is with the character himself, predictability goes out the window while watching this series. There’s twists and turns that keep you guessing, gradually revealing more and more about the mysteries at hand and having enormous implications on the wider MCU. There’s a neat balance of crafting a story that serves the characters isolated to this show, while also catering to the future of the MCU. Capped off with an ensemble of great performances, Loki is Marvel’s strongest series to date – offering great action, laughs and thrills suitable for both the die-hard and casual movie fan.