'Loki' Review: The uncanny pairing of Tom Hiddleston and Owen Wilson propels the series to an unexplored but fascinating space

A Potpourri of Vestiges Review 

By Murtaza Ali Khan 

The new Disney+ series “Loki” based on the Marvel Comics character Loki Odinson aka God of Mischief is yet another reminder why American television is on a roll. Loki is the latest proof that the small screen is going to be an important avenue for the further expansion of the major superhero franchises as we have already seen with WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Superman & Lois, and Zack Snyder’s Justice League. Loki takes place after the events of the film Avengers: Endgame (2019) with Tom Hiddleston reprising his role as the mercurial Prince of Asgard. The six-episode series also stars Owen Wilson, Wunmi Mosaku, Eugene Cordero, and Tara Strong in pivotal roles. Now, like always, Marvel isn’t providing the bingeing option and so a new episode would be released every week. Viewers in India can watch the series on Disney+ Hotstar Premium.

The first two episodes made available to the critics globally that form the basis of this analysis do an effective job of introducing the world and setting the things in motion. But most importantly they succeed in establishing the character dynamics really well, particularly between Tom Hiddleston’s cocky and mischievous Loki and Owen Wilson’s cool and zany detective character Mobius M. Mobius. There are few actors around who can claim to be as charismatic as Wilson. But, in the recent years, he hasn’t been as prolific as we have known him to be. And it’s understandable given the state of American cinema which has completely been transformed by the superhero decade with superheroes raining cats and dogs. Before the 2010s, nobody was so sure about the future of the superhero films. But it all changed with the release of Iron Man 2 (2010) following which the Walt Disney Studios agreed to pay Paramount a whopping amount for the worldwide distribution rights to Iron Man 3 and The Avengers. And the rest, as they say, is history. Naturally, the superhero phenomenon didn’t augur too well for maverick actors like Wilson. But now that the makers are willing to experiment with the genre it has finally got the likes of Wilson interested. After all, a character like Mobius ought to be far more interesting for an actor like Wilson to explore than anything he probably would have been offered in the superhero space during the course of the last decade.

Marvel seems seriously committed to expanding the universe via the long form storytelling route. And really as audiences caught in a global pandemic we can't really complain. Loki is the third consecutive spin-off series from Marvel after WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. And just like the previous two it also takes place after the events of Endgame. Now, we all remember that the God of Mischief had reformed before dying at the hands of Thanos. Fortunately for him, when The Avengers went back in time during Endgame an alternate version of Loki succeeded in escaping which resulted in the creation of a new timeline in 2012. Now, owing to this, this version of Loki bypasses the events of Thor: The Dark World (2013) or Thor: Ragnarok (2017), which had reformed the original character before he was choked to death by Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War (2018).

So, obviously, this alternate version of Loki is the unreformed version of the God of Mischief. In other words, we have finally get our old Loki back after a long wait. After all, what's the God of Mischief without his usual mischievousness and cunning? Who knows the unreformed Loki could have even got the better of Thanos? But, fortunately for Thanos, he never got to encounter this Loki. One wonders if this Loki would succeed in creating his characteristic menace in the new timeline. But, things are not as simple as he finds himself corned by the TVA. Yes, you read it right! No, TVA has nothing to do with Nick Fury or SHIELD (in case you are getting any wrong ideas). TVA basically stands for Time Variance Authority—a bureaucratic organization that exists outside of time and space and closely monitors the timeline. Basically they are the people you don't want to mess with. But how do you do that? Well, it's very simple! Just don't try to mess up with time by being a "time variant". Oh, Poor Loki! He simply has no idea that even the God of Mischief isn't allowed to mess up with time.

So this new Loki must now stand a trial as per the norms of TVA. Will he plead guilty? Or will he succeed in conjuring one of his famous mischiefs on the TVA? What role will Mobius, a TVA agent specializing in time criminals, play? Well, the first couple of episodes give us a fair idea where the series is headed. The uncanny pairing of Tom Hiddleston and Owen Wilson propels Loki to an unexplored but fascinating space. One hopes that the series will continue to explore the uncharted territories in the upcoming episodes as well. And with Michael Waldron, the Emmy-winning writer-producer of Rick and Morty, at the helm one shouldn’t expect anything less.

A version of this article was first published in The Daily Guardian.

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