I’m a huge fan of most of the MCU films, but unlike many others, I’m not a big fan of the character Loki. Tom Hiddleston is absolutely perfect in the role, but I don’t go gaga over Loki like a lot of people do. I’m also a bit bored of the film and tv industry trying to retcon so many villains into misunderstood heroes – see JOKER, CRUELLA, VENOM, or MALEFICENT. The best villain-turned-hero for me has been HARLEY QUINN who, in my humble opinion, was always destined to do better than what the Joker tried to make her anyway, even if my colleagues here at SFR disagree. The age of the television anti-hero was hugely popular in the early 2000s with shows like DEXTER, THE SHIELD, and BREAKING BAD. Even Don Draper himself was usually more of a villain than a hero. A decade later this trope feels far too played out.
It’s for that reason that LOKI was my least anticipated Disney+ MCU series for 2021. Don’t get me wrong, I still knew I’d watch it all, I just wasn’t in a rush. Episode 1 was fine and mostly as I expected. I’d give it a 😊, just like my colleague Aaron did. Once again here in EP 2, Hiddleston shines again as the God of Mischief, and Owen Wilson is absolutely delightful. Wunmi Mosaku (LOVECRAFT COUNTRY, LUTHER) as Hunter B-15 is probably my favorite part of the show so far and I hope her role gets larger as we travel through time and space with the TVA.
I enjoyed THE VARIANT more than the pilot because we’ve dumped most of the story exposition in favor of more action and mystery, but I still found myself a bit confused. Perhaps the writers want the viewers to feel discombobulated like Loki himself is? That does work with some shows built on a central mystery, like LOST, but it just doesn’t quite pull me in here as much as I wish it did. The details on how the TVA and the Sacred Timeline work are really convoluted and without that, there’s not any one other thing stealing the show. WANDAVISION suffered from this at times as well, but the whimsical travel-through-tv-history and the incredible chemistry between the two leads rose so far above the technical mumbo-jumbo, it didn’t really matter.
In LOKI all of that magic, time, and space travel is so central to the story it overshadows the wonderful performances mentioned above. As I said above, I know I’ll keep going, but a small thought in the back of my mind is that maybe Loki should have stayed dead, a victim of Thanos’ destruction.
LOKI EPISODES 1 & 2 are now streaming on Disney+ with a new episode each Wednesday.