Spoilers for the first episode of bottle gourd Follow. Check it out first before you read it.
Several factors have propelled the Marvel Cinematic Universe to its lofty status as the greatest screen franchise in history—such as storytelling prowess, a unique penchant for casting, and an expanding stable of memorable characters. But arguably the biggest reason for the MCU’s phenomenal success is its unique blend of familiarity and versatility, where there are characters you know and love — or, really, hate — without leaving the safety net of a vast shared universe. Can jump between styles.
The new Loki TV show is precisely crafted to harness this unique power. Tom Hiddleston’s god of mischief has been a mainstay of the franchise since his brother-in-law in the original Thor in 2011 — and was arguably the MCU’s first great villain. Here, however, he is in entirely new territory, thrown out of reality by a bureaucratic organization charged with maintaining the space-time continuum.
This (an antagonistic version) is a match made in heaven, as Loki’s inherent penchant for chaos clashes head-on with the Time Variance Authority – although Loki never moves into TVA in the comics, as a more appropriate adversary for it. It’s hard to think about. A self-confessed “naughty scam”.
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Just as Guardians of the Galaxy makes its way into the Marvel mix and Doctor Strange peels back the magical corners of the MCU, Loki takes a deep dive into the time travel mechanics introduced in the TV show Avengers: Endgame. But more importantly, it’s the perfect performance for a character who always has a memorable one-liner up his sleeve—and whose allegiance is constantly, interestingly, changing.
The show begins during the events of Avengers: Endgame, as Loki – the 2012 unstructured version of the first Avengers film – uses the Tesseracts to escape captivity. Within seconds of his crash-landing in the Gobi Desert, portals are opening around him, with TVA workers (led by the skillfully named Hunter B-15) arriving to detain him.
Loki suddenly finds himself in the strangest environment he’s seen on screen since the ’70s adaptation of Gary Oldman’s Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy, a Brazilian-inspired office space powered by paperwork and analog tape. . With his Asgardian leather robes inadvertently replaced with standard-issue prison overalls, and the prospect of queuing for (probably) the first time in his life, Loki has lost his depth since his first meeting with the Hulk. Haven’t seen outside.
If the inner workings of TVA are new to Loki, they are equally strange to us. Luckily, by borrowing a plot device from Jurassic Park, this excellent first episode gets a potentially troublesome exposition in a highly efficient way.
Animated interpreter Miss Minutes is effectively rebranded Mr. DNA, her retro cartoon stylings being the perfect medium to explain how a trio of all-known creatures known as the Time-Keepers created a “Sacred Timeline” in the wake of a multi-faceted war established. The TVA was set up to do their bidding, stopping rookies who get out of the way created by the time-keepers. All of this explains why Loki – who created an alternate timeline to escape the Avengers – is on TVA’s most wanted list.
Loki narrowly avoids being “reset”—not as bad as “pruning”, we suspect—when Agent Mobius (Owen Wilson) escorts Asgardian to court, asking him to ask some questions of his own. ..
Loki’s tumultuous relationship with his adopted brother has always been one of the best things about the Thor movies, but he may find an even more amusing foil in Mobius. The TVA agent knows how to hit Asgardian’s buttons, telling Loki of his many failures – “it’s weird, for a man born to rule, you certainly lose a lot” – and telling him that he does not rank among the most dangerous ” variants” the authority is chasing: “You are just a little kitten.” Aside from some clever uses of the device known as a “time-twister”—”time moves differently in TVA,” Mobius often reminds us—it’s just two people talking in a room, and This is the best stuff in the episode. By being funny and wonderfully passionate, you know the next killer line is never far away.
Mobius also does a brilliant job of getting inside Loki’s head, as he repeatedly asks if the trickster god enjoys hurting people. Loki’s acknowledgment that it’s part of an “illusion, brutal elaborate trick made by the weak to inspire fear” is an unexpected display of vulnerability and self-awareness, and Tom Hiddleston plays it up perfectly.
Along the way he turns from pompous, fake-Shakespeareian bravado to real emotion (especially when Mobius’ “Greatest Hits” reel reveals the life he should have led other Timeline) shows why Marvel Studios decided to build a TV show around itself.
So is Loki going to be the hero or villain in the series of his namesake? This first episode suggests that he will be a bit of both, though even more tantalizing it appears that the menacing version Mobius is tracking is actually another version of Loki. Maybe the god of mischief is really about to meet his match…
After the radically different WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, the third Disney Plus/Marvel series shifts gears again – yet still feels 100 percent of the MCU.
From his over-the-top threats to the rarely seen tender side of the character, Hiddleston fully justifies Marvel Studios’ decision to bring the god of mischief back from the dead—especially when he’s in Owen Wilson’s fantastic Coping with the laconic Agent Mobius. The Loki TV show Marvel is the most quotable.
And in an episode that plays out like a textbook for world-building, the introduction of out-of-time TVA opens the door to an interesting new branch of the MCU, where the worst office environment in history is a front for something complicated. is. Temporary Mechanics – Not to mention an organization so powerful that they use the Infinity Stones as paperweights. We’re still learning the rules of this brave new world, but if the Time-Twisters’ fun tricks are anything to go by, finding out more is going to be a blast.
- The usual Marvel Studios logo has been given a Loki-appropriate green makeover, as well as (temporarily?) the Michael Giacchino theme.
- Loki in the first Avengers film was originally said to be burdened with a “brilliant purpose” – the title of the episode.
- The restraint that Thor placed on Loki’s mouth in 2012 is an Asgardian collar, a device that makes the wearer mute.
- Series director Kate Heron’s previous credits include four episodes of Sex Education.
- Head writer Michael Waldron has worked on Rick and Morty, and his Marvel involvement continues with the script for the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. He is also slated to write a Star Wars film produced by Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige.
- Time Variance Authority first appeared in Marvel Comics in 1986 in a Thor story. The bureaucratic organization has the authority to manage many realities, and it exists in null-time zones.
- Unsurprisingly, Heron has said that Terry Gilliam had a major influence on the Brazilian TVA’s bureaucratic office environment – along with his own experiences working as a temp. Oddly, she has also said that Teletubby was an influence on the show.
- Owen Wilson’s TVA agent Mobius M. Mobius (better known as Moby) also originated in the comics, making his debut in the Fantastic Four in 1991.
- Revona Renslayer, the Time Variance Authority judge played by Bayley’s Gugu Mbatha-Raw, goes back a long way – she made her first appearance in Avengers comics in 1965. That version of the character (as far as we know) is very different from the TV incarnation, though. Comic-book Renslayer was the daughter of the 40th century king of Earth, Carolius. Interestingly, she formed a relationship with Kang the Conqueror, who was already confirmed as the villain in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantummania.
- Time-keepers preserving the “Sacred Timeline” also have their origins in the comics, beginning with Thor in 1979. They were created by Hu Remains, the director of TVA in the previous reality.
- The Minutemen are the TVA’s police force. They should not be confused with the Minutemen of Watchmen, the original superteam of that universe, which included the Comedians, Hooded Justice, Night Owl, and Silk Specter.
- We see three members of the TVA wearing sash – Judge Renslayer and two older Officer Hunter B-15s collide in the aisle after his encounter with Loki. Miss Minutes animation shows that there are two male time-keepers and one female, so can all three in human form have three time-keepers?
- Whereas the time-twisters in the Loki TV show are tools used by the TVA to manipulate time, the comic-book time-twisters are a trio of creatures who traveled backwards through history.
- TVA’s rules of engagement are clearly more complicated than they seem at first glance. While Loki’s Tesseract-driven escape is considered illegal, the Avengers’ time travel adventures in Endgame are acceptable because they fit with the “Sacred Timeline”.
- The animated Miss Minutes character mentions that going out of her way in the timeline could create a “nexus event”. It is not…