Following the critically acclaimed game-changer WandaVision and the relatively safe The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki is the third series set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) to hit streaming service Disney+. First introduced in Kenneth Branagh’s 2011 Thor, Tom Hiddleston’s fan favourite antagonist turned anti-hero is finally getting his own spinoff series – and it’s set to shake up the multiverse. Following the demise of the main timeline Loki, the six episode show follows the variant of the God of Mischief last seen in Avengers: Endgame, as he travels across time and space with the Time Variance Authority (TVA).
Directed by Kate Herron, Loki follows the alternate variant of the character who was last seen escaping from the Avengers with the Tesseract. However, this act “breaks reality” and the God of Mischief finds himself quickly arrested by the TVA, a mysterious organisation who are dedicated to protecting the integrity of the multiverse’s “true” timeline. Loki’s actions altered the flow of time, so the timeline bureaucrats offer him a choice, team up with agent Mobius M Mobius (Owen Wilson) and Hunter B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku) to hunt down a particularly dangerous time criminal, or face being erased from existence.
Events pick up straight after the flashback to Avengers during the Avengers: Endgame time travel heist, instantly placing you back into the MCU. However, thanks to the unique introduction of the TVA and The Timekeepers, with the series setting up an integral universe-expanding multiverse exploration, this is the studio’s boldest & most intriguing show yet. The world building is next level, setting the stage for a fun & sprawling “timey wimey” time travel escapade, as the “variant” begrudgingly works with the TVA to hunt down another “variant” who’s murdering timeline agents. This premise, coupled with the central crime thriller, could take the team literally anywhere across universes and timelines, opening the doors for an entertaining action romp. There’s plenty of quirky comedy introducing the bonkers bureaucratic world of the TVA and the rules around timelines, along with the central dynamic of Hiddleston and Wilson. However there’s also a surprising amount of pathos as Loki is forced to face his shortcomings, insecurities and failures.
Central to the time travelling detective story is the fan favourite God of Mischief, with Tom Hiddleston reprising his role – and he’s as brilliant as ever. Stepping out from the shadow of his brother, we finally get to explore the many fascinating facets of Loki, particularly as this is no longer Asgard’s martyr who’s grown from villain to anti-hero. Hiddleston brings an impressive range to the role, once again relishing in the cunning charm and hilarious disdain of the character, whilst also exploring his past traumas and future pain. However he’s certainly met his match with the TVA, and the central pairing with Wilson’s effortlessly charming agent Mobius M Mobius makes for a brilliant pairing as a fun (almost) bromance begins to develop – think Agent K and J in Men in Black. There’s plenty of sharp dialogue and amusingly snappy rapport between the two.
The talented supporting cast bring an added layer of mystery to the series, particularly Misbehaviour star Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s judge Ravonna Renslayer, who clearly has history with Wilson’s agent Mobius. Wunmi Mosaku’s high-ranking Hunter B-15 is a real badass of the TVA, impressively going toe-to-toe with Loki, and Miss Minutes, the cartoon orange clock that’s the TVA’s mascot, is also a scene stealing highlight.
The aesthetics and visual style of the series is unlike anything we’ve seen yet from the MCU. Due to the majority of the scenes taking place in the TVA, we’re transported to a 60s/70s inspired retro set. The impressive production is reminiscent of Legion, Mad Men and The Temps Commission of The Umbrella Academy – with expansive offices complete with old school fixtures and fittings, with a particular focus on the repeat lighting and yellow and orange colour scheme. In one entertaining scene, there’s a distinct feeling that the TVA may be some sort of purgatory, with a waiting room style setting as Loki is awaiting his sentencing. Most intriguing however, is the looming nature of the Time Keeper statues and imagery in many of the frames, leading me to question whether these mysterious figures really are benevolent God-like creatures or rather dictators of their own idealised timeline. There’s also plenty of connections and references to the wider MCU – which will undoubtedly factor into Spiderman 3 and also Doctor Strange: The Multiverse of Madness – excitedly teasing the concept of alternate universes and other versions of characters.
With an entertaining mystery wrapped in a time travelling adventure, paired with expansive world building and creative production, Loki is off to a strong start. The concept opens the door for plenty of mischievous missions throughout the multiverse, linking directly with future instalments of the MCU. It’s great to see fan favourite Tom Hiddleston finally as the leading man, and the cheeky dynamic with Wilson’s agent Mobius M Mobius is a real highlight so far.