Loki Review: Marvel's experimental gamble pays off as the Tom Hiddleston series' 'glorious purpose' is served

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Tom Hiddleston's stellar performance and rich storytelling sets Loki apart from all other MCU projects.
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Loki

Loki Cast: Tom Hiddleston, Owen Wilson, Sophia Di Martino, Jonathan Majors

Loki Creator: Michael Waldron

Streaming Platform: Disney+ Hotstar Premium

Loki Stars: 4/5

"I'm burdened with glorious purpose;" if there ever was a greater phrase to deftly define Loki, an eccentric MCU villain we love to love, it's this. However, in Marvel's latest Disney+ offering knowingly titled Loki, everything that Loki has known about himself comes into questioning from the very first episode. And giving us a detailed outlook at the misunderstood God of Mischief, Tom Hiddleston offers another stellar performance, as expected of him.

*SPOILERS ALERT* Loki looks into the after-effects of Avengers: Endgame, where a quick-witted Loki is swiftly able to escape from the Battle of New York with the tesseract. However, he's immediately captured by the mysterious TVA (Time Variance Authority), a bureaucratic organisation in charge of keeping the infinite timelines in check. It's important to note that the Loki, who TVA agent Mobius (Owen Wilson) encounters, didn't go through all the intense character growth or get killed at the hands of Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War. Instead, we get the scheming, conniving throne-hungry Loki, who we were first introduced to all those years ago and who wanted to defeat the Avengers.

Loki's exceptional writing team, with Loki creator Michael Waldron as the head writer, deserves credits for how they were able to not just keep Loki up-to-speed but even those fans who might be new to the MCU, about what happens to the God of Mischief in his decade-long MCU journey, within the span of one episode. Loki, now a variant, is given an out from getting pruned (a subtle word for 'kill'!) by Mobius to hunt down another dangerous variant, who is at odds with the TVA and is wreaking havoc over the Sacred Timeline, which the three Time-Keepers control. Who is this variant, you say? Loki, himself, of course!

From an oddball buddy-cop bromance with Mobius to an alternate frenemies storyline, Loki meets his match, quite literally, in Sylvie, a Loki variant. While the two instantly dislike each other, given that their common personality 'Loki' trait is not trusting anybody including themselves, it soon steers into a blossoming romance which many including this writer find a tad bit creepy. But given that it's Loki, it's not all that surprising that when he does find a prospective love interest, it's he himself. There's also the delicate, poignant approach to Loki's sexuality reveal, whether it be through the witty conversation or the 'queer' mood lighting.

Finding himself a new "glorious purpose," Loki teams up with a reluctant yet equally determined Sylvie to get to the depths of the TVA and solve the mystery of who is the real mastermind controlling the Sacred Timeline. As expected, several bumps occur at every corner of Loki's intergalactic 'timeline' jumping action-adventure extravaganza and eventually, we see the reveal of the main villain.

Take a bow, Mr. Hiddleston! While Loki in itself is such a multifaceted character, his likeability heavily relies on Tom's sympathetic "free will" performance which oscillates between his always cherished character's conceited, self-centered personality and a sense of hidden vulnerability that explodes in the six-part show. With Loki, Tom is able to add more layers, if that was possible, into the God of Mischief as he's in a pivotal moment of his life, where his villainous destiny comes into question when "free will" is a viable option.

As for the new entrants, Owen is a sure-shot welcome addition to the MCU as Mobius and Loki's quirky camaraderie is a major highlight in the series, sometimes even eclipsing the rebellious chemistry between Loki and Sylvie. Sophia, too, gives a knockout performance and weaves into Loki's madness with equal vigour, all guns blazing. While Gugu Mbatha-Raw as TVA judge Ravonna Renslayer holds her own accord and leaves us puzzled on whose side she's really fighting for, Wunmi Mosaku as Hunter B-15 will find fans empathising with her situation and even rooting for her.

The inclusions of various Loki variants were such a fun spin into the delectable character with Alligator Loki and Kid Loki (Jack Veal) finding fanbases of their own. While Boastful Loki (Deobia Oparei) wasn't the least bit memorable and President Loki (Hiddleston) being bestowed with a big 'laugh out loud' callback moment, it's Classic Loki (Richard E. Grant), who remains the true MVP in the grander scheme of things. A huge shoutout of Tara Strong, the voiceover behind Miss Minutes, the vivacious 'Siri' of TVA.

In terms of storytelling, Loki quite literally changes everything we've ever come to know and love about the MCU. The sci-fi series amplifies the expectations for the future to a hundred and brings more clarity into the multiverse era while the introduction of He Who Remains (Jonathan Majors), of which Kang the Conqueror is a variant, helps make way for a new big MCU villain. Definitely, a greater threat than even Thanos (Josh Brolin) was and that's really saying something. Thanks to Loki and previously WandaVision, the wait game for Spider-Man: No Way Home, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (let's not forget Loki Season 2 which was confirmed at the end of Loki's season finale!) just crossed the point of unbearable. The cliffhanger ending in Loki's delightfully devilish season finale was a job well done, too, no matter how frustrating MCU fans will be left!

ALSO READ: Loki Ep 6 Takeaways: Sylvie wrecks 'timeline' havoc & a new mega villain steals the spotlight in season finale

With an impressive ensemble and rich storyline, Kate Herron's intricate direction stirred the right ingredients to cook up a series that loyal and novice fans can equally devour and enjoy. Kasra Farahani's nuanced production design and Autumn Durald's inspired cinematography makes you feel that the six-part series is at par with the blockbuster MCU movies. Whether it be the doomed moon, Lamentis, or the cracked "Citadel at the End of Time," every unknown destination leaves a visual impression on fans and the imbalanced timeline structure is a beautiful sight to witness, no matter how cataclysmic each break is, especially the spectacular ending. Natalie Holt's precarious score works wonders in adding more depth to even the mundanest of scenes.

Quite honestly, the only complaint this reviewer has with Loki is that six episodes weren't enough! Nevertheless, to be able to alter MCU for all its worth and embark on a multiverse journey that promises another decade of wholesome entertainment is "glorious purpose" served, indeed! Marvel, the experimental gamble definitely paid off!

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