When I reviewed E4 of LOKI two weeks ago, I remarked how happy I was that it hit its stride and got better every episode. And then this finale hit, and I’m back to my original thoughts of, well, this was just okay.
What it did right was set us up for what’s bound to be a really huge Phase 4 of the MCU with infinite possibilities of new characters, villains, and heroes. And it does answer the biggest question that we’ve had during this series, “Who or what is the mastermind behind the TVA?” That answer comes with a fantastic piece of casting as well, but if you’re the type who keeps up on MCU casting news AND you were following a certain popular fan theory, there’s a good chance you knew who or what it was already. This welcome addition to the universe excites the fans of the comics who know the backstory while also being great for those who are just a fan of this person’s work.
There were certainly some other things about the finale that I did really enjoy. Tom Hiddleston is always fantastic, but I find he shines the most when Loki isn’t a completely over-the-top narcissist. When Loki has to deal with solitude, grief, loss, and serious decisions, sometimes in quieter MCU moments, it’s here that Hiddleston’s deep connection to the character he’s played for the last decade can really be seen. And what an absolute joy Sophia di Martino as Sylvie/Loki has been. She and Hiddleston have undeniable chemistry. I’ve read a few critiques aimed at the possible romance between these characters, which borders on bi-erasure. C’mon fans. It’s 2021, let’s be better! As mentioned above, the LOKI finale really got me pumped up for the rest of the MCU Phase 4. We have a lot of big films in the pipeline (3 more this year after BLACK WIDOW), but the next outings for SPIDERMAN and DOCTOR STRANGE seem to be the two most closely connected to LOKI. Or maybe I’m just assuming that since both have appeared in other films with him.
Where the finale went wrong for me was how it handled the big surprise. Remember the film THE MATRIX RELOADED from 2003? At the time of its release, I was a devout fan and defender of this film. Even in hindsight, I still mostly love it, but with fresh eyes, I can see how so many people disliked the scene between Neo and The Architect. And this felt a lot like that. It’s the same trap I felt early LOKI episodes fell into – the ‘tell you but not show’ you territory. It can be done really well, as almost any Christopher Nolan film will prove, but here it felt like a rushed info dump. Maybe we can blame COVID for it, but Disney still could have done better. I’m still 🤩 for what’s next, though.
All of LOKI S1 is now streaming on Disney+.