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Wow! That is the only word I can think of to describe Loki – the latest Disney+ original streaming series from Marvel Studios, following in the footsteps of Wandavision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Whilst it may have followed in the footsteps of its predecessors, Loki achieves something arguably neither of the other two did making it by far the best Marvel TV series.
Upon reading my reviews for the other two shows (linked above), you will see the same sentiment, and generally the same sentiment across other reviews from other websites. These Marvel shows are hard to pull off because of the vacuum in which they exist. Furthermore, it feels like these shows have no real consequences as it just there to drum up excitement for the films.
Whether that be the expectations surrounding it, the anticipation of seeing a major villain (rumour has it Mephisto is the main villain in What If..?), the pacing of the show with delayed reveals in order to cause excitement or the complete lack of development for a villain.
But, Loki honestly does it all, which surprised me especially after where I ranked it in my anticipation list. It sets the bar in what you can expect from a Marvel show, and shows that these Disney+ originals can have a large impact without leaving something for the movie – which Wandavision felt like. And, the most incredible thing is, it doesn’t need long to achieve this! Loki manages to stick the landing of the show even though it had so much to wrap up.
After reviewing the first episode of the season and being blown away by the quality of it, it is incredible to say that it carries on throughout the show. Even though my intention was to review weekly, how good the show was made it hard for me to review. Because I felt it my review would be just me saying “welcome to my episode 5 review. Yep, you guessed it. It was amazing!”. And, I was not expecting to be as impressed by the show as I was.
Each episode is amazing, and it maintains the high standard of quality for each episode. Not a case of getting better episode by episode but rather just keeping the quality up there – a very very high quality, and that makes the weekly wait worth it! Something that wasn’t the case for the other shows.
The weakest episode of the series, is definitely Episode 3, but even that episode has vital character development for our titular hero, and achieves what is five years of character development (from Avengers to Thor Ragnarok) in a single episode and it doesn’t once feel like we (the audience) have been cheated.
The key reason the show is so great is because it is so rich in story, and rich in characters and their development. First up, the story is so rich – the writers are able to tease something and then reveal it by the end of the episode, instead of having to wait an entire season to figure out what is going on and then they move onto the next story point.
And, this makes it exciting to watch, as the pacing of the show is very good, even though ‘the true reveal’ is saved for the season finale, it never once feels as though the show is just waiting for the season finale to reveal its ace as it just feels so natural to the characters. The audience get answers fast, there is no reason to delay them because by the time the audience get the answers, there are new questions.
Moving on to the second reason this show succeeds so much, the characters. Every single character introduced is amazing, and instantly makes the audience ask when will we see them next! Tom Hiddleston is brilliant as Loki, taking it to a new level that I didn’t think was possible, as we all know what to expect with Loki, but he thrives in leading the show and I honestly don’t know how he could go back to being a secondary character in someone else’s film.
Owen Wilson is introduced as Mobius, my new favourite character – I’m not sure whether it’s because it’s Owen Wilson. But, everytime he is on the screen, I wish he is in every scene – the chemistry between him and Loki is so fundamental to the success of the show as it allows that development I spoke about earlier. Loki spent the past five years developing in the films yet it took the show two episodes to make it happen! And happen seamlessly, without feeling like a cheat.
Other new characters thrive in their limited screen time, Gugu Mbatha-Raw is very important in the later episodes, and Gugu plays her character brilliantly as she plays the line between her character being hated and thinking she may be redeemable. Wunmi Mosaku is the opposite in that sense, as she has a large role to play in the earlier episodes, but her interactions with Loki are brilliant and it allows for a truly amazing end to the second episode. Furthermore, there are many guest appearances; Richard E Grant is amazing, and I hope we see more of him and the big reveal is incredible which I will get into.
Onto the season finale, which when looked at in hindsight would sound like a hard thing to pull off. It had to wrap up multiple loose plot threads, had to give the answers everyone was waiting for and had to live up to the expectations it set up and live up to the speculation of the fans.
And the finale does just that, although it wasn’t action packed, it ties all the storylines together and teases a very exciting future. It surpasses whatever expectation the audience has as it gives the limelight to a character that will be fundamental to the entire MCU moving forward, and that character excels in ramping up excitement to see more.