It’s honestly a bit ironic that the Disney+ shows have been carrying the MCU in a sense because that was definitely NOT the plan. But through WandaVision, Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and now Loki, we’ve gotten a return to the MCU in ways that are (mostly) meaningful and have teased what will come via Phase 4 and possibly beyond. As I hope to show through this Loki Season 1 Review though, they may have truly gotten their best series yet.
In all truth and honesty, the whole point of Loki Season 1 is to answer the question that Avengers Endgame posed when the Avengers time-traveling mishap occurred at Avengers Tower. Loki grabbed the Tesseract and disappeared to who knows where. Episode 1 picks up that thread and runs with it in many different ways that are sure to please fans.
Because Loki (this version of him) is a “Variant”. Or a part of the timeline that is not supposed to exist (in this case, Loki escaped when he was supposed to be taken back to Asgard), and that gets the attention of the TVA, the Time Variance Authority. Which for the record, yes, that is something from Marvel Comics. Just wanted to be clear on that.
Now, usually, Variants like him are cataloged and “reset” so that the timeline can just move along swimmingly, but a situation with the TVA causes one of their agents, Mobius M. Mobius to co-opt Loki into helping him stop a major threat.
That threat? Another Loki, obviously.
What beings is a quest through time and space to stop the Variant Loki while also showcasing the potential growth of Loki. Because remember, this is first Avengers movie Loki, not the one who had tons of character growth over several movies before his death. So this is a very raw and arrogant Loki, and that isn’t easy to change.
Make no mistake here, this series in many ways lives on the back of Tom Hiddleston, who is so epic as Loki it’s almost painful to think that he won’t be the character forever (though to be clear, he has said he would do it forever if asked). We get to see all the various sides of Loki in six episodes, and it’s played out in a very special fashion thanks to Tom’s acting.
For example, at first, he’s 100% scheming to take over the TVA and tries to play things his way but fails. Another key moment is from episode 1, where he sees his yet untold (for him) future and learns about the death of his mother and his own death, and he can’t help but utter his legendary phrase “Glorious Purpose” because he realizes the sad truth was that…that phrase is a lie in regards to him. Another GREAT moment for me was when Loki finds the Tesseract and when he does, he discovers Infinity Stones that were just being stored and not used. How Tom played that seem was magnificent as it showed how Loki, who thought he knew everything…honestly knew nothing.
Then as the episodes go on and he meets other characters (one of whom I’ll discuss in a bit), we see him grow in various ways that the Thor and Avengers movies couldn’t show because of who he was with (I.E., Thor, Valkyrie, Avengers, etc.)
One of the biggest highlights for me was the banter and relationship between Loki and Mobius. Owen Wilson will literally make you say “Wow!” at how he plays Mobius as a perfect foil to Loki. He’s smart yet caring, willing to take risks, but isn’t afraid to play hardball. Wilson and Hiddleston have a chemistry that you don’t want to see end. And theirs isn’t the only chemistry here…
Yes, Loki Season 1 would not be complete without other Loki’s and the arrival and portrayal of Sylvie by Sophia Di Martino. Who does a masterful job of playing a very original and special character. Yes, there have been “Lady Loki’s” in the past, but those weren’t quite what you think (he took over Sif’s body once, it was weird). Sylvie is a Variant, one from a timeline where the “Prince of Asgard” was actually the “Princess of Asgard,” and that was enough for the TVA to try and reset her.
Sylvie’s lived her entire life on the run and wants to bring down the TVA for what they did to her life. She’s very different from the Loki we know in terms of personality, powerset, and how she battles, making it all the more fun as the two mischief-maker’s bond.
It’s both hilarious and sweet to see them connect because, as Mobius so eloquently put it, “You fell for yourself! You narcissist!” And yet, as we see, it honestly makes sense that our Loki would care for someone who is essentially himself because who else, but a Loki can truly understand a Loki?
Now, usually in reviews like this, I would note that while the main characters shine that others, not so much…but I’m glad to say that’s not true.
Because one of the things that Loki does greatly is making the other characters we meet in the TVA and beyond feel special and important. Like Judge Renslayer, who has a series of great scenes with Mobius that were a joy to watch.
Or agent B-15, who goes from “I’m going to get the Variant” to “What if the Variant was right?” in a very organic way.
Even Miss Minutes was a joy to watch (voiced by the always incredible Tara Strong), as you saw this “program” exude more personality than you might expect.
And this says nothing of the Variant Lokis (not named Sylvie) that we meet in The Void via episode 5 because they are both varied, comic-accurate in certain cases, and infinitely hilarious.
But arguably the biggest and most important side-character was the one introduced in the season one finale…Kang. Or, in this case, “The One Who Remains”.
Why is this so important? Forget the teases for the future, this was FINALLY a series that gave fans what they wanted (we’re looking at you, WandaVision…). Kang was the likely option to have the TVA and everything that went with it to happen, and it was, and it worked beautifully! Jonathan Majors made his MCU debut here and gave us a history lesson of all history lessons and revealed the ironic truth of the whole series, one that even Loki and Sylvie struggled to grasp.
Without him…things get a LOT worse.
Kang is one of the biggest threats the Avengers have ever faced because he’s essentially immortal, killing him just lets him pop up in other places BEFORE he dies and change his path (think like a Reverse Flash from the comics and TV series), and there are even multiple versions of him scattered throughout the timeline that aren’t all evil!
The payoff with Kang is huge, not the least of which is that Sylvie gives in to her own “glorious purpose” and kills him…destroying the timeline…re-creating the multiverse…and bringing Kang The Conquerer to life in a way that now threatens everything.
You know, and setting up Phase 4 and possibly more in the MCU. Just saying.
I’d be remiss if I did not talk about the infinite number of Easter Eggs scattered around the series because there are plenty. From the many looks of Loki; to Thor Frog, to the Thanos Copter (it’s a thing, look it up), reference to various MCU movies, to the “return” of Sif (in hilarious fashion), and more. The team clearly had a lot of fun with this, and you almost have to wonder how things will be with the Multiverse now open because they can technically do anything and cry out, “Multiverse!”
Now, was Loki Season 1 perfect? No, but it did succeed more than it failed. For example, while the Loki Variant story was compelling, it STILL doesn’t answer what happened in Avengers Endgame post-disappearance (you can say the TVA “fixed it,” but that doesn’t line up with Rogers’ time voyage at the end of the movie).
Also, while seeing Loki and Sylvie bonding was great, it did drag while in the Lamentis-1 episode, and there were certain scenes with various characters that you had to go, “there’s no way they’re buying it” and yet they did for a time. Finally, while I’m THRILLED that there is going to be a season 2, they pulled some things (not Kang, but other things) that clearly were meant to be answered in Season 2, and that was a bit of a bummer given how it went down.
But still, even with those small faults, Loki shined in the ways that truly make this the best Disney+ series so far. And I couldn’t wait to write this Loki Season 1 Review because of just how much fun I had watching it right up until the heart-racing finish. Bring on Season 2!
Loki Season 1 Review
Loki as a series was a bold choice, but Season 1 made that choice not only worth it, but a catalyst for the MCU for years to come!