Loki Review: Tom Hiddleston and Owen Wilson Charm
Everyone’s favorite ‘Naughty Scam’ is back from the dead with its own television show Loki. Marvel Studios’ third streaming series for Disney+ is a stunning showcase for star Tom Hiddleston’s major man charisma, and another stylistic leap forward for the MCU.
After taking root in the mind-bending WandaVision and the relatively slick The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki boldly steps into the ‘Multiverse’ phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Two episodes (out of a total of six) were provided for preview. And if the back half of WandaVision taught you anything, you should take it as a review of just episode two.
Watch the trailer of Loki here
The first episode begins with a scene from Avengers: Endgame; The one in which Loki steals the Tesseract and teleports himself by dodging. Almost immediately, he is arrested by a group of frightening-looking soldiers from the Time Variance Authority (TVA). Think of TVA as the adjustment bureau from the Philip K. Dick short story, or the inappropriate use of the magic office in the Harry Potter books—bureaucratic organizations tasked with keeping things under control.
TVA, in particular, ensures that no one deviates from their pre-determined paths. Loki’s escape at the Battle of New York should not have happened in the life set for him, and therefore, he is captured and put on trial for his crimes. At a facility in the 1960s that appears to be stuck, he meets Agent Mobius M. Mobius (Owen Wilson, enthusiastically earning “and” billing in the end credits).
While TVA will take the easier route and simply ‘reset’ it – like it’s an iPhone – Mobius senses that Loki may be of some use.
Realizing that free will is a myth, and seeing the illusion of its grandeur shatter before his eyes, Loki accepts an offer to join TVA as an informant. Their job: to help them locate another ‘version’ – someone who is disrupting the ‘sacred timeline’ at key moments in history by tilting it in different directions. And so Loki and Möbius begin an inter-dimensional search. Not only does it make for solidly structured episodic storytelling — none of this “it’s a six-hour movie” nonsense here — but it also lays the foundation for future Marvel properties.
Producer and “head writer” Michael Waldron — no showrunner on these Marvel series — is also involved in the upcoming Doctor Strange in the multiverse of madness. This is because the film shares DNA with Loki. But stylistically, director Kate Heron painted the show in a procedural tone—David Fincher’s films, he said, were an inspiration.
While the first episode is primarily devoted to setting the ground rules—TVA is set up, the stakes are explained, supporting characters are introduced—episode two takes on a more flamboyant tone as it explores the office. Enterprises outside the facility. Loki, the show, appears to be part workplace comedy and part time-traveling epic. I don’t know about you, but this sounds like a killer set-up.
And in the steady hands of its two stars, the show is relentlessly engaging. It’s heartening to see Owen Wilson rediscover his enthusiasm for his job, just like Moebius himself; In many ways, Wilson was the Hiddleston of his time. Both actors have an off-hand charm that is hard to replicate, and indeed, direct. The show is as two-handed as The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
Hiddleston brings a unique blend of entitlement and empathy to the enigmatic Loki. He is a ‘broken object’, as one character describes him. Remember, this is Pre-Thor: Ragnarok Loki; His morality is still questionable. But that’s what makes him such a compelling character. “I’ll do what I want,” he tells Mobius in one scene. Note the subtext-led drawl with which Wilson responds: “Sure.”
But if everything is pre-ordained—including Loki’s death, as directed by the Rousseau brothers—then what about the stakes? It’s a pity that most fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe have already learned to live with. Death in the MCU is just an excuse for one character to get its own spin-off—a tremendous deal for actors like Hiddleston and Scarlett Johansson, but nothing more than a shame on the faces of audiences who cried when Loki and Black Widow died. Died was a movie that had the word ‘endgame’ in its title.
ALSO READ: Avengers Infinity War movie review: Marvel creates an epic tragedy of godly proportions
Loki, watching the show, is like time travel in his own way – we see the ‘missing years’ of the Lord of Mischief, even as he becomes more aware of his true nature.
creator — Michael Waldron
director – Kate Heron
cast – Tom Hiddleston, Owen Wilson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Wunmi Mosaku
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The author tweeted @RohanNahar
Loki Streams on Disney+ Hotstar Premium in India