The pacing runs the risk of being uneven, typical of the MCU shows so far
Hiddleston's charm isn't gonna be enough fuel this
So, right off the bat, my favourite thing about Disney+’s Loki series is the company’s choice to move the show from the typical Friday slot to Wednesday. Obviously, this could just be a smart business move, having The Bad Batch unaffected by Loki–after all, why hurt your own show? But the true ingenuity lies in a little bit of Nordic myth.
Where Fridays are named for Frigga, wife of Odin and one of the few people Loki actually holds beloved, Wednesday is named for Odin (or Woden). This would essentially suggest that Loki, in honouring his mother’s day, has also seen fit to replace his father… essentially summarising much of the character’s journey in relation to this version (who is from 2012, and was still bent on stealing the throne of Asgard).
And the cheese-cream filling? Wednesday comes before Thursday which is named for, you guessed it, Thor–finally positioning Loki before Thor.
All this superficial geekery aside, Loki is a pleasant surprise. While early trailers and peeks more or less revealed the premise of the show, Loki’s actual involvement, and the precedents that the show sets for the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) at large has remained unknown. And it’s a little unexpected, to say the least.
Loki steps into territory that may otherwise have never found a place in the MCU. Introducing the Time Variance Authority, an entity dating back to the mid-80s, the authority is suitably enough from the Thor comics. Long used as a device for continuity maintaining and are theorised to be behind the regular retcons of the comics.
While the TVA is substantially different from the version from the comics (for one, they aren’t all clones of editor Mark Gruenwald) they seem to serve a very similar purpose here, too, claiming responsibility for monitoring the multiverse and pruning branching timelines where needed.
While Hiddleston’s return as Loki is ever-awesome, the show may actually be stolen by Owen Wilson. Wilson’s turn as Mobius M. Mobius is less mysterious than his comic book counterpart, but I daresay that there’s more to him than meets the eye. Their easy repartee is a joy to watch, and a return to 2012 Loki might just be what MCU fans needed. Amazingly, Hiddleston gets to exercise some mad acting chops here, something we haven’t had much chance of seeing since Thor: The Dark World. The pilot even makes Ragnarok worth existing.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Wunmi Mosaku round up the seemingly core cast of characters as Ravonna Renslayer, and a new character Hunter B-15, respectively. While little is known about B-15, Ravonna’s been a significant character pertaining to Kang the Conqueror’s history. Although she’s appeared in animated form, like Mobius, this is the character’s first live action appearance.
Surprisingly, a lot of Loki’s pacing and nature of story-telling is comparable to WandaVision. It might be a little easier to follow, if only for the reason that much of the content is confined to the Marvel universe(s), but it’s obvious that WandaVision’s perspective on the narrative was an influence here. Hopefully, the shorter run of Loki would help the show’s pacing where WandaVision somewhat suffered.
Ultimately, the potential of the series will lie in its ability to be independent of the MCU without having to impact the perception viewers have of the larger events of the movies. Sure, it’ll be great if it can do both without having to feel like an interlude to the movies a la The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
But for now, the joy remains in the journey of watching Tom Hiddleston and co. rule the screen!