LOKI Episode 1 Review - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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LOKI Episode 1 Review

Hannah follows the sacred timeline and sits down to watch the premiere of Loki on Disney+.

The long-awaited series has begun! After the success of WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Marvel whetted our collective appetite for the God of Mischief’s solo outing; he is one of the most beloved MCU characters after all. After Loki died in Infinity War and Tom Hiddleston gave a subsequent interview in which he cried at the thought of never playing Loki again, I honestly thought that was the end. After all, we can’t keep reviving beloved characters and we have to make sacrifices eventually, right?

Well, wrong. Kind of. With the announcement of the second Doctor Strange film, we found out that Marvel were bringing their Multiverse to the big (and sometimes little) screen. This is where the Loki series comes in. Episode one opens in New York in 2012, as the Avengers go back in time during the events of Endgame to gather the infinity stones and find themselves back at the end of the first Avengers film seeking the Tesseract which has been retrieved from a defeated Loki. Still with me? Good. As we know, this gem heist doesn’t really go according to plan and Tony Stark drops the briefcase carrying the tesseract, in the ensuing kerfuffle Loki manages to grab the space stone and escape.

This is the Loki we will follow through this series. Not our beloved, post-redemption-arc badass, but the Loki who had moments ago launched a full-scale alien invasion of Earth on behalf of Thanos. The ‘I am burdened with Glorious Purpose’ Loki. He said that again too. Just in case you’d forgotten that we were dealing with the ‘God of Douchebaggery’ instead of the ‘God of Being The Best Brother’ we were getting used to, thanks for keeping us all on our toes, Marvel.

Herein lies the problem though, we are not dealing with the same Loki that we saw in the first Avengers, Tom Hiddleston is giving a much more nuanced performance, he barely tries to kill anyone, and he doesn’t call anyone a mewling quim (a crying shame in my opinion). He is picked up by the Time Variance Authority for ‘crimes against the sacred timeline’ and we spend the next thirty-five minutes finding out that Loki’s ‘glorious purpose’ is actually just masking his fears. How very ‘He’s bullying you because he likes you’ of you Disney…

It’s whilst in the TVA Headquarters that we are introduced to Mobius played by Owen Wilson. It is too early for me to say whether I like Wilson in this role or not. He does provide most of the comic relief in this episode, but there’s something just a little bit too Owen Wilson-y about him. The ‘talkie-talkie’ line, in particular, threw me straight out of Loki and into a scene of him and Ben Stiller in their Starsky and Hutch remake; a literal shudder ran through me. Time will tell if I will get used to him in this kind of role or not, I suppose.

We are also introduced to Miss Minutes in Loki’s introduction to the TVA. Voiced by Tara Strong (She of my childhood cartoons fame), Miss Minutes is the MCU’s version of Mr. DNA from Jurassic Park. It’s through her that we learn of the idea of a ‘nexus’, a point where multiple realities intersect. The astute among you will remember this as the anti-depressant advertised in WandaVision. It is described as ‘a unique anti-depressant that works to anchor you back to your reality […] or the reality of your choice’. At the time of airing, most people saw this as a hint that Wanda was beginning to heal and move on, however, it’s pretty clear now that Wanda was in fact subconsciously recognizing that she had created her own nexus event.

Talking about Easter Eggs, did anyone else spot Loki’s sex listed as ‘fluid’ in the file handed to Mobius? Whether this was a nod to the canonically female Loki from the comics or simply acknowledging that Loki is able to shape-shift, I thought it was a cute little detail, especially for something that was only on the screen for a moment. Also, the fact that Loki is very literally a time-travelling man with a blue box? Excuse me, I’m going off-topic…

We don’t glean an awful lot of plot from this episode other than that Mobius is tracking someone who is killing TVA agents and he believes that the killer is a Loki Variant. Most of the episode is focused on introducing the TVA, which is fine. It’s difficult to bring something new into an established franchise without explaining its purpose and why we haven’t heard of it before. It’s a pretty nice set-up episode for a time-travelling murder mystery.

All in all, I’d say it was a pretty solid opening episode, it sets us up nicely for the rest of the series even if it isn’t quite as polished as we’ve come to expect from Marvel’s TV outings. I certainly wouldn’t say it rivals the initial episodes of WandaVision or The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, but I’m willing to bet it’s the start of a wild ride into Phase Four of the MCCU and I’m ready to strap in.

Loki is streaming now on Disney+

Preferring the company of fictional characters to living, breathing people; it should come as no surprise that Hannah is a connoisseur of all things geek. Whilst their body resides in the capital of Wales, their heart resides in Middle-Earth and their mind remains firmly lodged in the memory of that embarrassing thing they did when they were eight.

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