‘Loki’ (S1E1-E2) offers wonder and glorious purpose

“Loki S1 E1 & 2” (2021) – The “Dr. Strange” (2016) feature is an obvious origin story about the title character.  Still, the movie revolves around the Eye of Agamotto and the Time Stone which this critic usually refers to as the Green One.

Well, the Disney+ series “Loki” series revolves, orbits, and embraces time, and there’s also a quick nod to the Green Guy (a.k.a. The Hulk). 

During “Avengers: Endgame” (2019), Loki (Tom Hiddleston) found a lucky happenstance when the other Avengers force The Hulk to take the Stark Tower stairs (instead of the elevator), and this led to The God of Mischief acquiring the Tesseract, otherwise known as Space Stone.   This acquisition, however, wasn’t so fortunate because that event was never supposed to happen, and Loki’s possession of the Cosmic Cube created “a standard sequence violation” in the flow of time.

In “Loki”, the Time Variance Authority, an otherworldly corporation of sorts who watches over the universe’s timeline, kind of like your mother’s sixth sense of everything. (Hey, I’m convinced that my mom has eyes in the back of her head, but I digress.) Well, the aforementioned imposing institution brings in Loki for questioning, but Mobius M. Mobius (Owen Wilson), a TVA agent, vouches for him.  Rather than punishing Loki, Mobius believes that he can help right some timeline wrongs.  

The script loads the first two episodes with exposition, but this is expected and welcome, because hey, this series stars Loki, who “loves to talk,” as Mobius states.  Additionally, we need a ton of explanation here because what is the TVA?  What is their purpose?  Where is the TVA located?  Please note that we receive answers to the first two questions, but your guess is as good as mine as to the locale.  Las Vegas, perhaps?

Well, director Kate Herron and supervising art director Natasha Gerasimova offer a fascinating visual world, in addition to the equally absorbing discussions.  On the outside, the TVA is a cross between “The Fifth Element” (1997) New York City and “Guardians of the Galaxy” (2014) Nova Corps corporate headquarters. 

On the inside, it all looks like 70s décor on steroids, with endless floors of brown walls and furniture that layer on top of other browns, and the individual offices have practical, ordinary metal desks with accompanying rotary phones.  Gerasimova also films the interior scenes at kneecap height (it seems) and points up, as modern 21st century lighting fixtures dot the ceilings, like Chihuly’s glass display at the Bellagio, but in orderly and functional yellows and whites. 

Punch card holders are probably floating around too, but that might be way too cliché. 

Owen Wilson as Mobius M. Mobius

It’s a wonderous, foreign – but also recognizable – world.  Still, it’s altogether different and a new MCU experience.  Consider this home base while Mobius and Loki team up and travel on their time-mission. 

After Loki died at the hands of Thanos in “Endgame”, it is such a gift to have Hiddleston reprise his most famous role. Loki – in “The Avengers (2012) – admittedly wasn’t the most menacing MCU villain, as opposed to Thanos or Hela. (I know, his big sister). Still, Hiddleston’s Loki owns the gift of gab, like Texas Hold ’em and 3-foot plastic carafes full of sugary-alcohol concoctions own Las Vegas.

Loki is a blast, a Cirque du Soleil show, a hot roll at the craps table, or a hit on the roulette wheel on the cinematic (and now small) screen, and his slow spin towards a quasi-protagonist in “Thor: The Dark World” (2013) and “Thor: Ragnarok” (2017) and eventually his end in “Avengrs: Endgame” (2019) is one of the most appreciated turns in the 23 MCU movie catalog.

For now, we have Loki for a six-episode series, and the only downside is that we only have him for a half dozen chapters.  Although Marvel greenlit Season 2, and after the first two episodes of Season 1 – which run 45 and 48 minutes, respectively – so it doesn’t seem like this story will complete its arc with four episodes left.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Mobius’ boss

I don’t want to reveal too much, but we learn Loki’s last name!  Well, maybe you knew it, but I didn’t.   What else will I/we learn? Well, let’s just say that some things never change, because Loki is now burdened with glorious purpose, but is forced to act rather than operate under his own semi-omnipotent, selfish motivations.

Buckle up, and yes, take the time to catch Loki on Disney+.

⭐⭐⭐ 1/2 out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Image and Trailer credits: Marvel Studios

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