Marvel: ‘Loki’ Series Review

Screenshot of Tom Hiddleston as Loki from ‘Loki’ on Disney+. Copyright goes to Marvel Studios and the Walt Disney Company.

Hey! Hallie here!

And we’re back! Annie and I recently took a two week break in order to go on vacation with our family! The first week was filled with pre-written content and we both absolutely appreciated the love you guys gave those posts while we were away. For the second week, though, we decided to genuinely give ourselves a break and go silent on the blog for a while. But the wait is over! We missed quite a bit while we were gone but I absolutely made sure I kept up with ‘Loki’. I have a lot of thoughts on this series, but before I go into those I want to suggest looking back at my review of episode four if you want some of my full criticisms of this series. I went on a very large rant that explains a lot of my thoughts there and it’s a bit too long to really get into here. That said, let’s get into the last two episodes and my final thoughts on this series as a whole. SPOILERS ahead!

Episode 5:

I’m not going to spend too much time on episode five. Nothing much really happened in this episode, unfortunately. I was really looking forward to it after I saw the after credits scene from episode four. It was one of the only things that kept my interest in that episode. But this episode was filled with quite a few bad decisions. The first was pushing ALL of the Loki variants, aside from Sylvie of course, into this episode. The series had promised an interesting look into the Loki variants. Even the tag line, “What makes a Loki a Loki?”, implied we would see a deep dive into the Loki variants and how they challenged Loki’s identity. But all we got was this episode. Where Boastful Loki, the only non-white Loki being centered, turned on the rest of the Lokis within only a few minutes and sat out the rest of the episode. Where President Loki showed up only so Alligator Loki could bite his hand off. Where Kid Loki revealed he killed Thor and moved on as if he hadn’t said anything. Where all of the other Lokis acted as though a female Loki was a crazy thing despite the sheer amount of Loki variants. It was disappointing and full of problematic moments. Classic Loki shone in this episode, though. His loneliness and the tragedy behind being taken away by the TVA just because he missed Thor actually gave him some depth. He was the only Loki the plot really focused on and he never disappointed. He also proved that Loki is much more powerful than he believes by creating an illusion of the entirety of Asgard as a distraction. I was sad to see the episode end with his death, but with a new season on the way I’m hoping his death was another trick. It would be a shame to lose such an interesting Loki variant.

Episode 6:

What I Liked:

Kang the Conqueror: (Or He Who Remains if you want to be super specific). I’m going to be honest here. I didn’t like this finale much. But this character completely blew me away. Jonathan Majors acted this role so well that it was impossible to look away. He’s obviously a scum bag who sees no problem with playing with the lives of actual individuals. But he’s such a FUN scumbag. He’s just the amount of crazy you’d expect from someone who attempted to control the entire multiverse. He spends most of the episode explaining how the first multiverse war occurred between his variants and how the return of the multiverse will release his variants. Which is a problem because they’re all just as crazy as he is and, according to him, quite a bit more blood thirsty. However, while he warns Loki and Sylvie that killing him will restore the multiverse, he doesn’t seem afraid of his death at all. In fact, he seems exhausted and ready to let go of his responsibilities regardless of what the two choose. He plays the role of an old god well. Tired and insane after years and years of living. His reactions to Loki and Sylvie’s fights during the episode saved many scenes for me. He managed to be hilarious and intimidating at the same time. I can’t wait to see him step into the actual Kang the Conqueror role in future films.

Sylvie: I’m not completely satisfied with how this episode used Sylvie, mainly because her romance with Loki took a lot away from it, but I did like the consistency of her character. The fact that she killed He Who Remains makes a lot of sense. I love that she didn’t change just because of Loki. There wasn’t enough personal growth in her own storyline to indicate that she would change her mind at all, and if she had changed her mind simply because of a forced romance with Loki, it would have made the romance even more condemnable. While a lack of personal growth could be criticized, I’d argue that it would have to be a storyline in season two. This season was tasked with introducing her and her goals and that’s already a large task. The fact that she was remorseful for the decision she made leaves promise for some character growth in season two. I suppose we’ll just have to see what happens in the future.

What I Disliked:

Loki: Loki never completed his journey of self love in this series. And while there is a season two, I can’t help but criticize the fact that his self love journey was completely diverted by his relationship with Sylvie. The last few episodes saw Loki talking about Sylvie and not much else. He constantly talked about how impressive she was and how devoted to her he was. Most of what he did was for her. And that didn’t leave him any room for self reflection. It also completely wiped away some of the Loki traits I love. Such as his mischievous nature and sarcastic sense of humor. Or his incredible mind and ability to come up with insane plans most don’t expect. All of it was gone. Sylvie came up with all the plans and Loki followed her like a puppy. While I love how capable and assertive Sylvie was, that shouldn’t have taken away from Loki’s character at all. All he did with his screen time was seek Sylvie’s attention. If the goal was to get Loki to a point where he could love himself instead of seeking attention to fill that void, the show completely failed. And I can’t forgive it for that. My second large issue here is the way the show made a very obvious move to remove Loki from a lose/lose situation in order to keep him morally unaffected. I hate when any media presents a large moralistic decision to its main character and then uses a cop out to avoid making them actually engage with this decision. I didn’t appreciate the blatancy of this move or the way the show continued to avoid any sort of major character exploration for Loki.

Loki and Sylvie Relationship: I mentioned my review of the fourth episode above for this specific reason. I have so many problems with it. It’s uncomfortable, poorly developed, accomplishes nothing the writer claimed it would accomplish, promotes heteronormativity, and forces a completely unnecessary relationship between its main characters. Hollywood really needs to stop forcing relationships and let men and women just be friends. The idea that men and women can and should be friends is constantly refuted by big companies like this and it’s always incredible regressive. In any case, my more in depth criticism is in my last review and I recommend looking at it there. It was exhausting to write and I don’t really have it in me to dive into it again. The point is, I hate this relationship and I recoiled at the kiss.

Monologuing: The majority of this episode was just He Who Remains explaining what happened between him and his variants. Then sometimes Sylvie or Loki would call him a liar. That’s it. That was most of the episode. I loved the introduction of Kang the Conqueror to the MCU. But this episode was almost entirely a huge monologue for He Who Remains. That’s not great.

My final thoughts on this series? It was my least favorite of all of the Marvel shows. It started out strong but then it slowly stripped away everything I loved about the first few episodes. Loki and Mobius never explored their friendship beyond episode two. Loki’s fun antics and self exploration was pushed aside for Sylvie. The mystery of the Time Keepers was scattered so thinly through the plot that it never felt as strong as it should have. Mobius, who I loved, showed up less and less. Hunter B-15 didn’t end up with the screen time she deserved. The use of the Loki variants was severely lacking compared to what the beginning of the show promised. Loki’s sexuality and gender identity were only explored in throw away lines. It was severe disappointment after disappointment. A lot of it was problematic. Season two may or may not remedy some of these, but that doesn’t absolve season one of its mistakes. My final ranking of the Marvel Disney+ shows? ‘WandaVision’, ‘Falcon and the Winter Soldier’, and finally ‘Loki’. I’m so sad to put ‘Loki’ last, but its mistakes feel much harsher than those of any of the other shows.

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!

Hallie

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