Review: Marvel Studios’ “LOKI” Brings Big-Screen Feels to the Small Screen
A funny thing happened on the way to my television recently. It became a movie screen! At least, that’s the impression I’ve been getting as I’ve watched the latest TV series streaming on Disney+, with their big-screen names, cinematic sensibilities and over-the-top production values. And the most recent offering, Marvel Studios’ “Loki”, which debuts tomorrow, cements that feeling.
Whether you are a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but especially if you are not, you will appreciate how this new live-action series brings you all the best of this new breed of television: big-screen, movie-theater feels on the small screen in the comfort of your own home.
So what makes “Loki” the best of this new bunch?
Set after the traumatic events of the film “Avengers: Endgame,” “Loki” plucks the cheeky God of Mischief from a certain doom and plonks him into the middle of a time-hopping tale that gives him the featured storyline that he has long deserved.
The smooth-as-silk Tom Hiddleston reprises his role of Loki, Thor’s troublesome little brother, and he could not be more up for the task. Ten years into performing this character, you might think Hiddleston would be jaded, just phoning in the performance. You’d be wrong. Hiddleston retains all of Loki’s self-effacing charm and wit, traits that helped make him the villain you loved to hate, and embellishes them, adding in a touch of vulnerability and perception that deepen the character.
New to the MCU is Owen Wilson, in the aptly named role of Mobius. (Those familiar with earlier Marvel feature films know that the concept of a Mobius strip is linked to the idea of time travel.) An agent for the powerful Time Variance Authority (TVA), Mobius takes on the job of using the time-stranded Loki to find another criminal “variant” who’s been messing with world events and, subsequently, the universe’s timelines.
From the time the two men encounter each other, the show takes on a classic “buddy movie” feel. Much will be made of the verbal sparring and “bromance” between Hiddleston and Wilson, and rightly so. The easy camaraderie between these two actors is apparent from their first moments bantering together in Episode 1. By Episode 2, watching them chat over a coffee feels completely natural and leaves you wishing you could drop in and hang with them a bit, too.
The supporting cast includes Gugu Mbatha-Raw as respected Judge Ravonna Renslayer, a character familiar to MCU devotees. Mbatha-Raw (who you might recognize from her stint on “Doctor Who” several years back, or more recently, from Apple+ TV’s “The Morning Show” or Netflix’s “Black Mirror”) clearly has a soft spot for Wilson’s Mobius, but as the trophies scattered around her office attest, she is not an easy push-over. Where Mbatha-Raw displays quiet strength, Wunmi Mosaku, who portrays new character Hunter B15, the leader of a military unit searching for a time-traveling menace, shows a level of “bad-assery” usually reserved for her male counterparts. Strong women in authoritative roles have become more and more prevalent in Marvel’s universe (Captain Marvel, Black Widow, General Okoye), and these two carry on that new tradition well. (As an aside, both women attended RADA, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, with Hiddleston and know him from back in the day.)
The cast list also promises Oscar-nominated actor Richard E. Grant for future episodes of the series. (I had the chance to screen just the first two episodes.) Grant, who previously dipped his toe into Marvel’s waters with his portrayal of Dr. Zander Rice in “Logan,” is set to appear in “Loki” as an as-yet-unnamed character — possibly one of the TVA’s mysterious Timekeepers?
Emmy® award-winning head writer Michael Waldron and his team have crafted scripts chock full of humor and humanity, while keeping the suspense taut and the thrills coming at you a mile a minute. Director Kate Herron brings her own comedic sensibilities to the series, having previously helmed the Netflix show “Sex Education.” Herron has said in interviews that she also wanted to bring stylistic elements of film noir into the show. She succeeds on both fronts, as the levity in “Loki” is always tempered by that suspenseful sense of “what’s going to happen next?” In addition, it feels like no expense was spared when it comes to the action sequences, with highly immersive sets and special effects seemingly as big-budget as those of any MCU theatrical release.
Each hour of the two episodes I previewed for this review flew by, and I found myself dreading the end, literally sitting on the edge of my seat, eager to find out where the team was going to time-hop next.
But none of us will have to wait too long, as one new episode will drop each week for the next six weeks. That’s six hours of lovely Loki adventures! You do not want to miss them. And you will not even miss the fact that you are not at a movie theater — in fact, you will feel like you are.
Marvel Studios’ “Loki” launches tomorrow, Wednesday, June 9, exclusively on Disney+.
Take a look at the trailer for “Loki” and see what’s in store for you below:
Follow “Loki” on Social Media:
Twitter: @LokiOfficial, @DisneyPlus
Facebook: @LokiOfficial, @DisneyPlus
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