Loki Review: Time-Hopping Marvel Adventure Through the End of Worlds

Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is a cosmic mistake, a character says to his face early into the new Marvel TV show. In some ways, Loki’s series was just as unexpected. Loki follows the Loki who escaped with the Tesseract in Avengers: Endgame after Iron Man and Ant-Man went back in time to get one of the Infinity Stones but failed to do so due to Hulk’s dislike for stairs. The Endgame writers engineered all that to send Iron Man and Captain America further back into the past. They needed something that would take the Tesseract out of the Avengers’ reach — and the God of Mischief seemed like the obvious choice. There was no bigger plan then, but that happy accident has allowed Loki to happen as it is because this show wouldn’t be possible with the other Loki, even if he were still alive.

Marvel Adventure

Branching off the Endgame timeline, Loki — the six-episode adventure begins Wednesday, June 9 on Disney+ and Disney+ Hotstar — opens by answering where Loki disappeared with the Tesseract: Mongolia’s Gobi Desert. He rarely arrived there when cops showed up on behalf of an all-seeing body called the Time Variance Authority. As it’s shortened, the TVA is responsible for ensuring that nobody drifts off the predetermined path set for them. This Loki was supposed to be taken to Asgard as a captive (which would then snowball into the events of Thor: The Dark World). But his escape has drifted him off course. The TVA deems him guilty of crimes against the “sacred timeline” and orders him to be “reset” (read: killed), though Loki finds an unlikely savior.

Enter Mobius (Owen Wilson), a TVA analyst and detective-of-sorts whose job is to hunt down time variants like Loki, who have veered off their destinies and represent a risk to the sacred timeline. Mobius believes Loki can help him catch a “particularly dangerous variant” he is after, and that’s why the TVA detective saves the God of Mischief from imminent death. Mobius is also a self-proclaimed Loki expert; for the first time, he has direct access to the source. But while Mobius knows everything about Loki’s life, this Loki from circa 2012 — via The Avengers — is missing his character growth from Thor: The Dark World and Thor: Ragnarok. He learns about his life through the TVA, and it’s a series of shocks for him, especially when his life has been nothing like what he imagined.

All You Need to Know About Loki, the Next Marvel Series

The dynamic between Hiddleston and Wilson is the early heart of the story — at least for the first two episodes I had access to — and a lot of that is because the duo is great at embodying their roles. After all, this Loki variant — the “puny god” Hulk smashed on the floors of the Avengers Tower — is the petulant and always-scheming Loki that we remember from Thor and The Avengers. The one who tried to usurp Thor’s throne in Asgard and tried to take over Earth with the help of the Chitauri. It’s why the events of Loki — his worldview, intentions, and dealings with the TVA — only make sense with the state Loki is in. While Mobius wants to know why Loki does what he does, the God of Mischief is crafting new plans of his own.

Here is a guy who is beyond Loki’s “old pussycat” ways, as Mobius describes him at one point. What further contributes to that dynamic is that Mobius is unaffected by Loki’s ways — the God of Mischief is powerless inside the TVA — and he’s unperturbed by what Loki thinks of him or the organization he works for. That is also fuel for some rich humor on Loki, in addition to the bureaucracy of the TVA — be it the airport security vibe or the government office-like behavior — that lends to that. As Mobius digs into Loki’s actions, it allows Loki to search into his character like never before. Their interviews are almost like therapy sessions, though it’s more akin to psychoanalysis — the best TV that lets you dig into the character’s mind.

Rick and Morty alum Michael Waldron is Loki’s creator and head writer. He also takes the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the philosophical space, with Loki and Mobius’ conversations stretching into existence and the meaning of time. Hiddleston and Wilson share long heavy-dialogue scenes, and beyond the actors themselves, it’s a credit to the writers — Ms. Marvel showrunner Bisha K. Ali is among the story editors — that they stay fun and engaging. Owing to the TVA and its workings, the Loki writers have to juggle a lot of new world-building, too. Some of the exposition is done creatively via traditional 2D-style animation. A confused Loki — new to the TVA like the rest — is the audience surrogate for much of the other heavy lifting.

What starts as a situational comedy on the TVA becomes a crime thriller when Loki and Mobius step into the real world hot on the heels of the “particularly dangerous variant”. It helps that Loki director Kate Herron (Netflix’s Sex Education) also has a comedic background, as it’s her job to balance the varied tones of the new Marvel series. Herron brings the differences to life visually, too. With the help of production designer Kasra Farahani, Loki deploys a retrofuture aesthetic for the TVA. But everything outside the TVA is inspired by film noir, as Herron and Waldron have noted, especially the works of David Fincher. The bridge between them is Natalie Holt’s eerie synth-heavy background score that incorporates the clock’s ticking — it’s unsettling, intriguing, and keeps you on edge.

The first couple of episodes are light on action. They focus more on introducing the TVA and setting up the Loki-Mobius relationship. But a twist at the end of Loki episode 2 suggests the latest Marvel Disney+ series will be very different in the future. And it’s purposeful, with Waldron having spoken about how his initial pitch was to “blow up what people think the show is and do something different every episode.” Hiddleston has played a lot of different notes in his time as the MCU’s longest-running villain (and later, anti-hero), so it’s only fitting that Marvel’s first non-Avengers series would build off that. Loki premieres Wednesday, June 9, on Disney+ and Disney+ Hotstar. New episodes will air every Wednesday around 12:30 pm IST/12 am PT until July 14.


I have always enjoyed writing and reading other people's blogs. I started writing a journal as a teenager and have since written numerous books and articles. My blog is a place where I can write freely about my personal interests and those of others.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *