When Disney+ announced they would have MCU series on their platform, they did so by revealing the first three shows: Wandavision, Falcon & Winter Soldier, and Loki. They released a teaser shortly after that. If you notice, the only thing they had for Loki was a logo and a short clip with him looking into the camera and saying “I’m gonna burn this place to the ground”. Obviously, they hadn’t started filming the show yet but a lot of fans noticed the TVA logo on his uniform. This, combined with Loki’s cameo in Endgame, led a lot of fans to theorize the show dealt with time travel and for once, a fan theory was correct in regards to Disney+ shows. I’ll be honest, of these three shows, I was only skeptical about Loki. I loved Tom Hiddleston as Loki but he had a great send-off in Infinity War, so I wasn’t hyped about the character getting resurrected, even if it was a time variant. So what did I think when the show finally aired? Well, I’ll tell you but first, let me give you a spoiler warning. Um,… there are spoilers. Now, let’s go!
Some More World Building
This series was weird. Gloriously weird. Wonderfully weird. Of the initial three shows that dropped, it was my favorite. What’s interesting is that between Wandavision, Falcon & Winter Soldier, and Loki, “Falcon” was the odd one out as it was a more typical superhero story when the other two went into entirely new directions. It was as if the showrunners of Wanadavision and Loki had an internal bet as to how bizarre they could get. And they both won. And yet, like Falcon and Winter Soldier, it added new layers to the MCU.
The time travel plot allowed for the characters to explore crazy potential futures that hinted at what may or may not happen in the MCU. The Void, a dimensional dumping ground at the end of time, also served as a great way to introduce Multiversial concepts such as the variants of Loki, one of whom, was played by Richard E. Grant as Classic Loki (complete with a comic-accurate costume). One of the cheekiest things about this series was that they often showed President Loki in the trailers and promos (I even used him in the pic above since it’s an image closely associated with the show) without cluing the audience in to the fact that it wasn’t the show’s protagonist but rather a variant who only appeared for one scene. Honorable mention should also go to Kid-Loki and Alligator Loki who made their live action debuts and added to the weirdness quite well. If you couldn’t tell, the episodes dealing with the Void were my favorite. They even found ways to incorporate a bunch of Easter eggs in these episodes such as the Thanos Copter, the Philadelphia Experiment, and Polybius among many others. I really liked the inclusion of the variant-eating monster Alioth as well since the MCU doesn’t delve into weird cosmic horror very much. I’m probably getting ahead of myself, though. Let’s talk about the TVA.
The MCU version of the TVA (Time Variance Authority) had such a great balance of disturbing omnipresence and bureaucratic incompetence that it reminded me of Terry Gilliam’s Brazil (and not Time Bandits, ironically). The organization was funny, oppressive, warm, violent, dull, and fascinating all at the same time. Each episode revealed something new about the TVA, which kept audiences on their toes. Depending on the episode, it was hard to tell if they were good or evil, let alone smart or dumb. The organization existed outside time and space and oversaw what they called the Sacred Timeline, wiping out entire timelines that branched off in fear of recreating the Multiverse. The group’s headquarters mostly resembled a weird ray-gun gothic office building; there was a subtle religiosity with the organization as well since they had their own creation story, cast judgement on those that “sinned” by not abiding by the Sacred Timeline, and they had faith in the Time Keepers who were powerful beings most of them had never seen. As the first season went on, the TVA was revealed to not be as noble as they claimed, not as all-powerful as they claimed, and the Time Keepers ended up being the cosmic equivalent of the animatronic band at Chucky Cheese’s. Once the TVA was exposed, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for them since even their highest ranking members had no idea of the charade. Plus, not only were their previous lives taken from them due to being time-variants, but their new lives were a lie as well. Granted, one of the main sources for sympathy for the TVA was because of this guy:
Owen Wilson as Agent Mobius was inspired. Wilson is such a likeable guy anyway and his chemistry with the equally likable Tom Hiddleston made for a great relationship. Mobius came off as a guy who was just doing his job and enjoyed the simpler things in life. His monologue about how he wanted a jet ski because he simply liked the idea of it without ever riding one could have come off schmaltzy under a lesser actor. His intellect was something to admire as well since very few people can out-con the God of Mischief (well, maybe not every time, but it’s Loki we’re talking about).
Of course, if there was one character who might have stolen the show from Mobius, it would have been Female Loki. *ahem* Sorry… Sylvie. Sylvie acting as the female time-variant of Loki was great and it did a wonderful job of comparing and contrasting the two. It was interesting that Sylvie’s childhood depicted a young girl who wanted to be a heroic Valkyrie, showing she had perhaps a greater propensity for good than Loki but due to the actions of the TVA, she was a bit darker than Loki as well. BTW, the reason why Sylvie was a variant was because the Sacred Timeline dictated that Loki be born a male. That basically means that when Loki’s parents decided to make a baby, and assuming Frost Giant reproduction is the same as humans, essentially the wrong sperm “won the race” in Sylvie’s timeline. So both Loki and Sylvie came from the same loins. Biologically speaking, this would make Loki and Sylvie brother and sister.
Rounding out the major new characters was Kang, or as we were introduced to him in this series, He Who Remains (a somewhat obscure character Kang was amalgamated with in the MCU). Johnathan Majors was interesting as the playful and well-meaning big bad of the series who was responsible for the TVA being what it was. He only appeared in the final episode of the first season and instead of a huge fight, he mostly just sat our heroes down and chatted with them. Some people were disappointed by this but I thought the eccentric nature of the character worked for a quirky series like this. It’s interesting that his character died in order to introduce a more villainous version of himself later so we have and haven’t been introduced to Kang.
Back To The Future
This was the first Disney+ MCU show that promised a second season whereas the previous two were one-off miniseries. We got a great cliffhanger that hinted at Kang (the “real one”) taking a more active role in a newly constructed TVA with none of Loki’s allies remembering him or the truth behind their organization. Meanwhile, Sylvie was last seen at the Citadel At The End of Time after unlocking the Multiverse. It’s actually interesting that Wandavision was meant to be the lead-in to Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, but this show seemed to have much more to do with that movie’s plot, at least in terms of the Multiverse and its fragility.
As mentioned above, Kang is finally showing up in the MCU as the Thanos of the next few phases and is set to appear in the next Ant Man movie. My theory is that Kang will also be the main villain once they make the Young Avengers movie (or show). Speaking of which, I haven’t commented on Young Avengers much. Wandavision introduced the Maximoff twins, Falcon and Winter Soldier introduced Patriot, and this show had Kid-Loki. The Hawkeye series, of course, introduced Kate Bishop as a major character as well, but more on that at a later entry. All of these characters were members of the Young Avengers, a team of teenage superheroes, in the comics. Those first six episodes not only set up things to come next season but also things to come in future movies and shows. Not bad for a series I wasn’t sure about.
Loki exceeded my expectations and was a fun, crazy romp. The show ended up being pretty vital to upcoming MCU projects as well and is likely a much-watch for casual viewers. Up next, we’ll ponder the question… What If?