I just watched Loki episodes 1 and 2, which sent me through a whirlwind of emotions. One minute I'm smirking at new characters I can't help but love, the next I'm feeling sorrow and grief. And right before moments of confusion (the good kind), I found myself actually laughing so hard my sides hurt.
In fact, these first two episodes are so fantastic that I'm ready to say that this will be the best Marvel show yet — and I loved WandaVision. The Loki TV series thrives in so many more ways that I'm absolutely in love with the show so far. I'm even happy to note that it's yet another series that Disney is releasing week by week. A show this good? You don't binge all at once. Here's why.
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Loki episode 1 + 2 review: Nailing the tones
There's a wonderful playfulness to Loki throughout each episode. It all starts off with a familiar scene from Loki's past that will make you chuckle — while also helping people catch up with the timeline if they haven't re-watched the MCU recently.
But once that's out of the way, the show's not-so-secret weapon makes things more fun. The Time Variance Authority — basically a police station for stopping time crimes — is filled with many oddities and eccentricities about how space and time work. This gives the Loki show so much to work with for gags and excitement, and setting up a world filled with bizarre whimsy.
And while we expected Tom Hiddleston to nail all the right moments with Loki, the early moments of the show reveal that the casting agents for the series know gold when they find it. Wunmi Mosaku, who plays TVA agent Hunter B-15 gets so much across with minimal dialogue that you immediately want to know more about her character.
Even the little things work well. For example, Loki dressed in human formal-wear, a shirt and tie, is somehow worth a smirk. He's out of his element, and it's truly entertaining. A TVA office-worker named Casey (Eugene Cordero), whose knowledge about the outside world is extremely limited, earns far more laughs than a tertiary character normally would.
I'm also going to go out on a limb and say Tara Strong's work voicing the animated Miss Minutes will probably not be praised enough — because it's so damn good.
Later on in the episodes, Loki digs into grief and sadness, and it all feels earned — despite the fact that they're referencing deaths from outside this series. This is all thanks to Hiddleston's performance, which constantly grounds the character in humanity.
WandaVision did a slow-burn on Wanda's grief, but the Loki series is attacking his head-on, and it feels more natural. It doesn't look like we're going to need one episode near the end to explain all the engineering of the show, such as episode 8 of WandaVision. While that episode was heralded, it felt a little shoe-horned at times.
Loki episode 1 + 2 review: Not exactly the Loki we know
The Loki TV series is so focused on answering the question "what makes Loki tick?" that Mobius M. Mobius (Owen Wilson) actually asks him that question. But as we remember from Avengers: Infinity War, the real Loki is dead.
Instead, Hiddleston is playing a version of Loki whose life forked sideways in the Avengers movie (as seen in Endgame's Time Heist scene at Stark Tower). That means he doesn't know about the end of Asgard, and most of the MCU as we know it.
He does get to experience his own future, though, thanks to one of the many gadgets at the TVA. This (plot) device opens up so much character work that gives Loki a chance to actually examine himself in a very meta level.
And that's what's so amazing about the Loki show. Rare is it that a movie or show can kill a character off and them bring them back — and have it all work exceptionally well. Somehow, the writers at Loki found a way to make the contrivances of the series (which Loki himself mocks) work to their benefit.
Loki episode 1 + 2 review: The big mystery
But why are we here, aside from getting deeper knowledge about an MCU character we already knew (the underlying mission for all the early Marvel Disney Plus shows)?
Well, Mobius wants Loki's help to stop Loki. Yes, this Loki variant we're following isn't the only one out there, and a fugitive Loki Variant — who matches Loki's temporal aura, think a spiritual fingerprint — is doing very bad things.
And herein lies what seems to be the root of the WandaVision-esque fun of Loki. Wanda and Vision's time in Westview, New Jersey wasn't merely entertaining because of the references to old TV shows — the ongoing big mystery of the show created a lot of talk and chatter.
Loki's first two episodes also give you enough answers that you won't feel like it's stringing you along. That said, the ending of episode 2 is such a "wait what?" moment that you'll find yourself wishing episode 3 wasn't a week away.
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