On its surface, the upcoming Marvel project “Loki” may seem like an odd choice for a spinoff. After all, Loki died in “Avengers: Endgame.” But this project — which deals with an alternate version of Loki, who escaped from the 2012 Battle of New York as seen in “Endgame” — might be the best Marvel project to date, bringing us a full story of the god of mischief that truly puts us on an insane path in Phase Four of Marvel Cinematic Universe.
“Loki” is the third Disney+ series to come from Marvel, following in the footsteps of “WandaVision” and “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.” After seeing the first two episodes of “Loki,” I can attest that this show is more of a “WandaVision” than a “TFATWS,” but it has elements of both shows. It’s about alternate realities, timelines and weird magic, but is also a mystery show.
And — maybe most importantly, it’s setting us up for what’s to come next in the MCU. There are alternate timelines, cosmic realities, mystical villains and just madness all around. It’s easily better than “WandaVision” and “TFATWS,” too. It gets going from the first minute and truly doesn’t slow down. It has the laughs, wit and excitement of a normal Marvel show. And it gives us plenty to speculate, theorize over and wonder about in between episodes.
Here are my reviews for the first two episodes. Just be warned there are minor spoilers below.
‘Loki’ Episode 1 — 51 minutes
We start the series with Loki arriving in Mongolia after collecting the Tesseract during the Battle of New York — a scene that originally happened in “Avengers: Endgame.” Soon, police officers of the Time Variance Authority show up to capture Loki, deeming him a “variant” of the universe’s main timeline. They lock him up and plan to make him disintegrate because he is a variant.
But Loki — ever the charmer — talks himself out of complete annihilation and finds a way to stay within the TVA. He teams up with Agent Morbius (Owen Wilson) to seek out another variant, who is going through timelines killing TVA officers. Oh yeah, and that variant is ... another version of Loki.
The show is funny from the get-go. Loki and Morbius have great chemistry together that shines on screen. And it feels really comfortable. The storyline is weird and kooky, sure, but it’s less serious and boring. You’re comfortable spending 50 minutes watching Loki and Morbius talk about Loki’s past. The talk of timelines and multiverses doesn’t feel too strong and overbearing. It’s an easy watch with so much to think and talk about.
One problem with “WandaVision” was that it took three episodes to get going. But “Loki” doesn’t waste any time.
The first episode is a bit of a rehash of the MCU and Loki’s story, which is great for new viewers who maybe don’t want to watch the entire MCU collection. But it truly sets up an intriguing path forward — one you won’t want to escape at all. You see the signs of where we’re going next — there are even mentions of “madness” and “multiverses,” which might sound familiar if you’ve been keeping you with your Marvel news (“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” anyone?). So it’s no surprise this show is really giving us our latest taste in what’s to come in the MCU.
By the end of the first episode, you'll be left begging for the second episode. There’s no sense of fatigue for Marvel. Nothing feels played out or overdone. It’s a fresh experience. And that’s exactly what we need from the third Marvel project of the year.
‘Loki’ Episode 2 — 54 minutes
While Episode 1 was fun and a great introduction, Episode 2 is where we see that this show truly stands the test of time in the MCU. “Loki” proves to be a thrilling ride that you just can’t stop watching.
We learn in Episode 1 that there is another version of Loki going around to different timelines, killing TVA officers and collecting items to refresh the timelines. It appears the other Loki’s goal is to simple reset the timelines he is in.
We learn a lot more about the TVA in this episode. It’s more than just an agency that monitors timelines. It’s a group that honors and obeys the Time Keepers — a group of god-like beings who created the universe’s timeline. They control everything in the universe, creating a planned path for everyone. And the TVA honors their wishes and goals, despite there being no proof the Time Keepers exist. Obviously, skepticism arises about their existence in this episode. That’s quite an interesting theme to follow. The show is asking us to question how and why we believe in something, even if we don’t know it’s there.
The episode has a few, fun Easter eggs throughout — we need to keep an eye on that pen from Franklin D. Roosevelt that the TVA has in its building. And Agent Morbius hints that there’s another analyst helping out the TVA who we haven’t met yet, which could be another setup for another Marvel Cinematic Universe character to appear down the road.
More importantly, the second episode ends with a final confrontation between Loki and the other Loki. And it’s ... well, I won’t spoil it. But the last 20 minutes of this episode will fly.
Without spoiling it all, I really enjoyed “Loki,” and I think Marvel fans will enjoy it too. It combines the best of “WandaVision” and “TFATWS.” There’s that little bit of mystery, mystical and magic, combined with the action and investigation. And by the end of the second episode, you’ll be left not only wondering what’s happening next in “Loki” itself, but also what is going to happen in the entire MCU.
More than anything, “Loki” has a simple message for us: We’re in a completely new phase of Marvel projects.
“Loki” premieres on Disney+ on Wednesday, June 9, at 1:01 a.m. MT.