‘Loki’ TV Review: Marvel Mashes Up Buddy-Cop Movies And Time Travel

Jami Philbrick reviews the first two episodes of the Marvel Studios' series Loki, which debuts on Disney Plus beginning Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Loki stars Tom Hiddleston, Owen Wilson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Wunmi Mosaku.
User Rating: 10

Premiering on Disney+ beginning June 9th is their latest MCU TV series, Loki. The new show, which stars Tom Hiddleston reprising his role, picks up after the events of Avengers: Endgame and focuses on a variant version of the “God of Mischief” teaming up with Agent Mobius (Owen Wilson) and the Time Variance Authority to stop a threat to the universe. In addition to Hiddleston and Wilson, the series also features Gugu Mbatha-Raw (The Cloverfield Paradox), Wunmi Mosaku (Luther), Sophia Di Martino (Into the Badlands), and Oscar nominee Richard E. Grant (Logan). The result is another homerun for the streaming service with a fascinating and thoroughly entertaining TV series that feels fully-formed from the get-go and features commanding performances from Hiddleston and Wilson.  

Picking up right after an alternate version of Loki stole the Tesseract from the Avengers when they time-traveled to the battle of New York in Endgame, the trickster finds himself on trial pleading for his own existence to the Time Variance Authority, an organization that polices crimes against time. Meanwhile, we are introduced to Mobius M. Mobius (Wilson), a TVA agent tasked with apprehending a dangerous time criminal who systematically hunts and kills other TVA agents. Mobius soon realizes that this “Loki” variant is uniquely equipped to help him find the time villain and convinces his boss, Rovonna Renslayer (Mbatha-Raw), to team up with Loki to help bring the criminal to justice. But, as you can imagine, when dealing with any version of Loki, things don’t go exactly as Mobius or the TVA had hoped. 

If the first two episodes of Loki are any indication of how the rest of the series will go, then I absolutely love this show! The two previous Marvel/Disney+ series, WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, both of which I ultimately loved, started slow. It took two to three episodes for each series to set up their story and get going, which is not the case with Loki. It is a fully-formed TV series from the start with a clear understanding of what it is and where it is going. Loki has a terrific “80s buddy-cop movie” vibe mixed with the high concept of time travel. Imagine if Hans Gruber had not died at the end of Die Hard, and the sequel saw John McClane team-up with him to take down the bad guys in a Timecop style story … that’s the tone of this series. 

The show does a great job of setting the stage for the Time Variance Authority and explaining through clever animation how it all works and how it fits into the greater MCU mythology. It’s easy to follow and understand yet does not take away from the main story. Wunmi Mosaku shines as Hunter B-15, a badass member of the TVA who butt heads with Loki and Mobius. Also excellent is Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Mobius’ boss, Ravonna Renslayer. While her role is somewhat limited in the first two episodes, it is clear that she and Mobius have a history together, and it will be fun for the show to explore that. Both Mosaku and Mbatha-Raw’s performances and Wilson’s help establish the TCA as a formidable secret power in the MCU. The series is also clever in using time travel, making it very clear how it all works while traveling to enough places and times throughout history to keep the audience engaged with the story. 

But it’s truly the fantastic chemistry between Tom Hiddleston and Owen Wilson, and their great character work makes Loki so much fun to watch. As Mobius, Wilson brings his trademark quirky coolness to the role and makes for a powerful ally, or possibly a formidable foe, to Loki. Thanks to Wilson’s sharp performance, the character crackles and is incredibly likable because of the actor’s oozing charm. Hiddleston, for his part, has completely mastered playing this character in a way that maybe has only been done before by the likes of Robert Downey Jr. or Hugh Jackman as Tony Stark and Wolverine, respectively. Hiddleston has been playing Loki since practically the beginning of the MCU and has grown so much with the character that it is no problem for him to jump back into the version of Loki that was last seen at the end of The Avengers. He seamlessly can tap back into “ruler of the universe” Loki while still retaining the audience’s admiration so well earned from the rest of his MCU arc. This is a Loki that we can both root for and fear, making for a great combination. 

In the end, Loki hits the ground running and needs no time to warm up, thanks to Hiddleston and Wilson’s amazing characters and hilarious chemistry together. If the first two episodes are any indication, Loki could ultimately be the best Marvel/Disney+ series yet. 

Jami Philbrick gives the first two episodes of Loki a 10 out of 10.

Written by
A graduate of Emerson College, Jami Philbrick has worked in the entertainment industry for over 20 years, and most recently was a Senior Staff Reporter and Video Producer for Mtime, China's largest entertainment website. Before that, Philbrick was the Managing Editor of Relativity Media's iamROGUE.com for 4 years and has written for a variety of magazines and online publications including Wizard Magazine, Nerdist.com, and Collider.com. Philbrick has also been a contributor on Fox News, News 12 Westchester, AMC Movie Talk, and the PBS movie review series, Just Seen It. Philbrick was the 2019 recipient of the International Media Award at the 56th annual ICG Publicists Awards, and has interviewed such impressive talent as Tom Cruise, George Clooney, Bill Murray, Al Pacino, Oprah Winfrey, Bruce Willis, Mark Hamill, Spike Lee, Frances Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Stan Lee, and Kermit the Frog.

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