Creator: Michael Waldron
Director: Kate Herron
Writers: Michael Waldron, Eric Martin, Bisha K Ali, Elissa Karasik, Tom Kauffman
Cast: Tom Hiddleston, Owen Wilson, Sophia Di Martino, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Wunmi Mosaku
Streaming on: DisneyPlus Hotstar Premium
The third of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's DisneyPlus TV offerings, Loki, headlined by fan favorite Tom Hiddleston, is arguably its strongest so far. The show did not waste time in kicking things off. Loki found himself in the hands of the Time Variance Authority (TVA) within the first few minutes of episode one and from then on, barring some exposition, the show moved at breakneck speed. It raised the stakes constantly for Loki and his female counterpart Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) as they tried to avert their inevitable destiny and stop the man behind the curtain.
For the uninitiated, the Loki in the show, now streaming on DisneyPlus Hotstar Premium, has skipped his point in the timeline (as seen in Avengers: Endgame) and is now to be 'pruned' as a 'variant' by the TVA. However, Mobius (Owen Wilson), a good-at-heart TVA agent, thinks he can use Loki to capture another variant that has been taking down his colleagues. Loki being Loki, he betrays Mobius, teaming up with Sylvie, the time-hopping thorn in the TVA's side. A few apocalypses, train rides and heists later, the two decide to work together to take down the Timekeepers – alien beings behind the TVA.
Loki is a quintessential comic-book based series that delivers on its promise, fans' expectations, and its links to the grander MCU canvas. For longtime comic-book fans who were disappointed by the 'Quicksilver is actually Ralph Bohner'-kind subversions of WandaVision, don't worry. Loki is true to its source material. That's not to say the show does not stand on its own merit – it certainly does.
Hiddleston obviously owns the role of Loki by now, and he truly does glow like the bifrost in season one. Little moments, like when Loki watches his life flash by him, or when he finally accepts his place in the world, or when he sings Asgardian folk songs give viewers an insight into just how much the actor truly considers Loki his 'glorious purpose'. There is a moment in the finale that is a particular favourite – when Loki comes to terms with the events that have just passed. As he processes his grief, you hope with bated breath that this wiser, more mature Loki will not break into his infamous smile from The Avengers. He doesn't disappoint.
It is hard to imagine anyone else embodying Loki, but, then I would recommend waiting till you get to the fifth episode. Hiddleston is supported by a top-notch cast. Sophia Di Martino, Owen Wilson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Richard E Grant's performances manage to turn some otherwise-ridiculous premises into bonafide MCU classics. Loki, for all its occasional faults, including wonky CGI in parts, overused exposition, and a frankly underwhelming finale, is still an out-and-out comic book show. It's unafraid to tease fans, unafraid of its ridiculousness, and unafraid to let its cosmic and fantastical aspects breathe.
Much like James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy movies, it's unafraid to let its Easter Eggs shine. With the finale, Loki finally does achieve its 'glorious purpose' – of setting the stage for a possibly more fun Phase 4 . One with a wider, more universal canvas.
For those looking for 'deeper themes' in a comic-book show, Loki has a lot to offer, from self-love and healing to destiny vs free will.
What indeed, is a 'Glorious Purpose'? Well, it depends on the variant you ask.