Loki – Why it’s good and why I don’t want to watch it any more.

Trying something different here. In generating content, I figured I’d use this blog as a means to practice my review prowess. I always struggled with reviewing any topic consistently, so instead I’m going to try and review whatever has been occupying my brain.

We watched the end of Loki last night, specifically we watched the end of Loki Season 1. It wasn’t until the show’s final moments that it was revealed there would be a Loki Season 2 and I don’t know how to feel about it. We’ll get to that later.

Loki was an enjoyable six episode romp into the weirdest worlds the MCU has shown us yet. Backpacking off the 10 year success that was and is the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Disney elected to adapt Loki as a series, instead of a movie, on their streaming platform, Disney Plus.

Loki follows Tom Hiddleston as the titular god of mischief, or rather, the show follows a variant of Loki different from the character in the movies. If you’re not familiar with the MCU, or if you haven’t seen Avengers: Endgame, it’s going to take a lot of time and patience to explain why and how this Loki is a different Loki. Essentially, some whacky time travel stuff happened and a version of Loki from the past was given an opportunity to do something different from the considered “canon” of the official MCU stories. This opportunity in turn created a new, separate timeline that branched the canon universe into an entirely new reality where different events can and do happen.

If that makes your head spin, it doesn’t get any easier.

Also, spoilers from here on out.

Loki’s time-antics are almost immediately thwarted by a bureaucratic, metaphysical agency called the Time Variance Authority. The TVA exists out of the confines of time and works tirelessly to prevent deviances in the “Sacred Timeline.” Loki’s shenanigans just so happened to create one of these deviances and so, the TVA is quick to arrest him. It is explained that Loki is a “variant,” a person whose actions threaten the Sacred Timeline and must therefore be expunged from time and imprisoned.

After that, Loki gets brought on as a sort of special consultant to the TVA by Owen Wilson’s Moebius M Mobius, a department lead and special agent. Moebius employs Loki in hunting a dangerous variant who has been eluding the TVA’s capture and running amok through time. Along the way, Loki and Moebius unravel a mystery that threatens time, reality, and all of the multiverse. If you’re familiar with Doctor Who or Rick and Morty, this is all par for the course in the “Convoluted Time Travel Alternate Reality” subgenre of scifi.

Loki is weird and proud of it. The show brings the audience to doomed planets and spooky mansions beyond time and space. One episode occurs entirely on a barren world where dozens of alternate Lokis run amok and war with each other. Many surreal and subversive concepts are introduced to this universe that the MCU had only hinted at exploring before.

Loki signals a change to form to how the MCU operates. In 2008, Marvel’s Iron man started a welcomed trend of movie adaptations that tried to be faithful to their comic book counterparts. Before then, comic movies were a bit of a mixed bag. Hollywood studios didn’t trust their audiences to grasp onto the weirder, more conceptual ideas presented in comic books. These movies were often dumbed down, made more “realistic,” and played it safe to suspend the movie goer’s belief.

Marvel’s early movies still played it safe, but they slowly introduced newer and weirder concepts. Relatively grounded superhero plots soon gave way to bigger and weirder scopes. By 2012’s The Avengers, we were subjected to a universe where Norse Gods and World War 2 super soldiers were fighting aliens in the streets on NYC. 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy went even further, introducing an entire universe of wacky aliens and psychedlic worlds. Twenty years ago, no one would have accepted that an action movie with a talking raccoon and a tree person would become the biggest film of the year.

Avengers: Endgame brought all of Marvel’s weirdness so far to a head, where characters and concepts clashed together to stop Thanos, a villain that had loomed in the shadows of every other story since the MCU’s beginnings. Thanos, a genocidal tyrant from the planet Titan, had succeeded in gathering the Infinity Stones (magical jewels with extreme reality-changing capabilities) and using them to wipe out half of life on the entire universe. Spoilers, The Avengers and their friends succeed in undoing Thanos’ wrath and set the universe back into relative normalcy. After ten years of movies, audiences were subjected to a satisfying conclusion where the heroes fought off the absolute worst and most dangerous threat to the entire universe.

But with this satisfying conclusion comes a question: if the heroes have beaten the baddest bad, the worst possible threat, how could the series continue? Certainly the story couldn’t raise the stakes any higher. How could Marvel take it from there?

Enter Loki, a series that throws all subtlety and preconceived apprehension out the window. The answer to, “what could pose a bigger threat than the end of the universe?” is “a threat to the multiverse of course!” The show centers primarily on the idea that our reality and every possible alternate reality out there in the conceptual multiverse is at risk on a grand scale rarely explored by media before.

Loki is a lot to handle. I welcome the weird, the bright and comic-booky colors, and the concepts that it introduces and explores. That said, the show is a bit of a sensory and intellectual overload. The showrunners understood that their plots and themes might be a bit heady for watchers, so episodes are bloated with exposition. There are conversations and characters explaining what’s in front of them for minutes at a time. There is action, dramatics, and comedy, sure- but these scenes only pepper lengthy shots of people standing around and talking about what’s going on. Marvel is starting to trust their fans with the weird, but only through thorough and careful elaboration.

A lot happens within the six short episodes and, by the end, one can’t help but assume that the show only serves to set up the MCU’s fabled “fourth phase.” Disney has released its schedule of Marvel content for the years to come and it seems as though Loki (as well as Disney Plus’s other two short series, Wanda Vision and Falcon and the Winter Soldier) will serve as the introduction to the overarching themes of this new series of MCU movies. The antagonist of Loki, introduced in the last minutes of the season finale, is assumedly this cycle’s Big Bad, replacing and surpassing Thanos as the threat to the multiverse. I won’t reveal who it is but, if you’ve read enough of the comics, you will probably be excited.

Story bloat aside, I enjoyed Loki and all it had to offer. I am pleased that we are getting weird plots of branching realities and space magic. Guardians is one of my favorite movies for the same reason. Movies and television deserve weird, conceptual stuff, especially with the advancements of cinematography and CGI. I for one am happy to see Hollywood is no longer interested in playing it safe. That being said, I am remiss to say I was a little disappointed to see Loki was getting a season 2.

I was a dedicated fan of the MCU through its first cycle. I am not ashamed to admit I saw Avengers: Infinity War three times in theaters and Endgame twice. I was most surprised with how I felt after stepping out after Endgame. With the main plot resolved, it was almost like a massive weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I wouldn’t have to dedicated hype and impatience and unrest waiting for the next big cinematic event. I didn’t have to care about Marvel movies any more because the big story was done.

But of course the big story isn’t done. Disney has no plans to retire the Marvel franchise, not until it stops being a money printing machine. The Superhero genre has exploded into practically its own medium with Marvel at the helm. I liked Loki but I don’t want to consume it any more. Unlike Wandavision (which I thought was fantastic,) Loki has a high barrier of entry and serves to keep audiences enthralled and wanting for the next installment. To fully appreciate the plot at all, you will need to have been a fan and avid digester of this series since at the very least 2012. Furthermore, Loki demands you keep watching, not only the single series but the entire MCU catalogue as a whole. What happens in Loki will only be fully resolved by consuming every Marvel movie that comes out for the next three years.

I don’t want to dedicate another decade to Marvel. I would have much preferred Loki as a six episode miniseries with a sendoff that didn’t demand more of me. I just don’t want to care any more.

Advertisement

Published by markandrewswan

Videographer, Sound Designer, Author, Singer, Song Writer

3 thoughts on “Loki – Why it’s good and why I don’t want to watch it any more.

  1. Haha, but we can’t help but care, can we? I love all the delving into the multiverse. I’m fascinated by the idea of multiple universes actually existing, hence the name of my website. Lol In spite of ending up a retail pharmacist, I’ve always been drawn to physics, astronomy and the study of the true nature of reality, so I love the direction Marvel is taking!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve always love the multiverse concept and Marvel is definitely within the wheelhouse of handling it responsibly. I’m afraid that, since Marvel is such a big name, they risk “normalizing” the concept of the multiverse. That is, if the next big thing is “multiversing” your franchise, we’re just going to have all these messy, convuluted plots with the excuse of “well there are infinite universes so…”

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: