With “Loki” Season 1 now behind us, I thought it would be nice to reflect on the show, and where the MCU is going. If you haven’t finished the show, I’ve reviewed all six episodes of it, which you can find below:
Generally speaking, I found “Loki” Season 1 much more consistent than “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier”, though it was nowhere near as developed or fleshed out as “WandaVision,” which had a really nice buildup until around its halfway point, where the show feels the need to spell everything out for you.
All of Marvel’s Phase 4 shows have suffered from rushed endings, with “Loki” and “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier” in particular sprinting through their final arcs, as they both suffer from 6-episode seasons that introduce the final arc in the second-to-last episode. Unlike many Netflix shows, which usually have around 8 episodes and have the liberty of starting their endgames around episode 6 or 7, I definitely have noticed “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier” and “Loki” violently shifted from their relative equilibriums at the shows’ midpoints where we get necessary character development, to the shows’ endgame, though “Loki” isn’t the worst offender.
Tom Hiddleston and Sophia Di Martino shine as our series leads in Loki and Sylvie, with Hiddleston proving that he has the star power to carry his own feature MCU film, and Di Martino acting as a key balance to Loki. Hiddleston also has excellent chemistry with Owen Wilson as TVA Agent Mobius, and it’s the core dynamics between these three characters that make the show work.
I was disappointed by Ravonna Renslayer, though I think her actress, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, did fine with what she had. Her character just suffered from bad writing, particularly when she finds out the TVA is a sham, and instead of reacting with distrust like anyone else would, she immediately doubled down, even when forging a short-term alliance with Mobius and the Lokis was in her best interest. This is not an inherently bad thing, but we really need to know why she did those things, but unfortunately there wasn’t any room in this 6-episode show for us to fully understand her. And as a result, she comes off as an incompetent roadblock our heroes must overcome, being outwitted and tricked at every turn of the story.
I liked Hunter B-15, and her evolution from one of the TVA’s most ardent followers to one of the Lokis’ best allies was a great part of the show. I just wish they had done more with her. Again, she suffers from the finite space in a 6-episode show; arguably Loki’s cast was too large for its own good.
Of the cameos, Kid Loki (Jack Veal) and He Who Remains (Jonathan Majors) make memorable impacts, and we’ll probably see more of them in future MCU projects, But Classic Loki (Richard E. Grant) really stole the show, and to me, he is the best character in the show, and is a big reason why Episode 5 is my favorite episode. Classic Loki wears the most ridiculous costume in the show, but he is somehow its most dignified character, aged and wisened by years of isolation, and he also is the only Loki variant we’ve seen that has unlocked the full extent of his powers. He appears to die at the end of Episode 5, but this variant was also clever enough to trick Thanos when Loki was supposed to canonically die, so he’s probably clever enough to trick viewers, too.
As a whole, Loki is a decent show, but I do realize that it doesn’t really have a reason to exist outside of following up on a plotline opened up in “Avengers: Endgame” and making sure people stayed engaged with Disney Plus. I’ve been thinking a lot about how important these Phase 4 shows are going to be to the movies, and so far they’re not really important at all. Everything you need to know about how things are different for the films can be explained away in a short throwaway line (Vision is alive and white now, Sam Wilson has a new Captain America suit, there is a multiverse now with dangerous alternate versions of people), and I think this was intentional, as Disney knows not everyone who is going to see their Phase 4 films will watch their obligatory homework on Disney Plus in the form of these shows.
For now, they’re expensive gimmicks to dominate online discourse every week there’s a new episode, and to keep subscribers happy. And for now, the gimmick is working, but I do think that if you strip these shows of their Marvel IPs, you won’t be left with much outside of the weird things WandaVision was doing. Right now, I think the difference between Disney Plus and the rest of streaming is that Disney is living off of their already-established IPs, while the rest of streaming is enticing subscribers with shows/films based on new IPs that live or die by their quality alone.
“Loki” Season 1 gets a 7/10