Loki has changed the Marvel Universe in ways Thanos never dreamed of! Season 1 Review | Series Reviews, Series

The fabric of reality is about to spiral out of control. Agent Mobius returns to Management of Temporary Change to reveal to his colleagues the shocking truth about the origins of UVI – unless, of course, the ruthless Judge Rensleier stops him. Meanwhile, the god of deception Loki and his beloved, the enchantress double Sylvia approach the gloomy castle on the banks of the river of time. He longs for answers, she for retribution. But, perhaps, the mysterious owner of the castle will offer them a different, even more tempting goal.

Spoiler alert!

We analyze the finale of the first season of “Loki” in all details: from the fate of individual characters to how the events of the series will affect the MCU Marvel… You’ve been warned!

Resistance is futile

Marvel has such a tradition. If the finale is necessarily a spectacular battle with flights and explosions against the backdrop of rapidly changing computer backdrops. This was the case in Wanda / Vision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and even Black Widow. But Loki, as befits a trickster series, goes against the rules. No more flights and explosions! Instead of a spectacular battle – a half-hour conversation over a cup of tea (two cubes of sugar each) in a single interior. But this half hour is fundamentally changing the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Strictly speaking, the final of “Loki” can hardly be called the final. Heroes do not defeat villains or restore justice. No one sacrifices himself for the sake of his comrades (this quota was closed by Richard E. Grant in the last episode). The romantic line does not lead to “they lived happily ever after.” Agent Mobius never gets his coveted scooter. Oh no, everything is just beginning!

Loki season one

To some extent, this is even annoying. According to all the norms of Hollywood drama, the protagonist must grow above himself and get rid of illusions in order to finally gain control over his own life. Indeed, Loki grows: overcomes his ambition, learns emotional openness, finds friends and loved ones. But where is the promised control?

In the first episode, the (anti) hero learns that his destiny is to serve as a catalyst for other people’s exploits. Since then, they manage to take him to the service in the UVI, arrest, release, discredit, save and offer a new job. In the course of the plot, Loki is not allowed to show activity, he always remains “a flea on the back of a dragon”, according to the apt expression of one of the characters. This is not a heroic, but a tragicomic role. In the hands of another actor, she could easily turn out to be faded, but Tom Hiddleston works wonders with her: he squeezes the maximum sincerity and pathos out of his sad jester, revels in his despair.

Loki would be happy to independently decide his fate, but circumstances turn out to be stronger over and over again, be it a cosmic catastrophe, a soulless bureaucratic machine or a broken heart of a girl. It is Sylvia who ultimately turns out to be the main character of “Loki”: she directs the course of history, makes cunning plans and faces moral dilemmas. If the show had focused on her point of view from the beginning, it would have been much more logical, emotional and consistent … and much less interesting.

Loki season one

The final episode once again reminds us that Loki (at least its first season) is not the classic Campbell story of the hero’s journey, but a postmodern battle between the characters and the author. As omnipotent as Thanos is, he can be defeated, even if you have to travel back in time to do so. And how to cope with someone who outlined your destiny in advance, prepared your evolution and prescribed you two equally bad ending options? Rebel as much as you want – the script is already finished and approved by the producer.

On the meta level, this can be even more annoying. Those who at least occasionally follow the news about new releases of Marvel know perfectly well that next spring “Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness” awaits them. So, the outcome of “Loki” was obvious from the very start of the series. Just as in 2018, the effect of the “shocking” ending of “Infinity War” was dulled: it is immediately clear that all the deceased characters will return – they still have to appear in the sequels!

But this is what attracts “Loki” because its plot not only moves along pre-laid rails, but constantly attracts attention to these rails. Emphasizes the passivity of his hero, beckons him with the hope of liberation, seeks sincerity and spontaneity in worked out genre schemes. The series more than once or twice overlaps with the Star Wars sequels and especially The Last Jedi: like Ryan Johnson, showrunner Michael Waldron tries to look beyond the worn-out clichés and see in the archetypal characters living people – doubting, confused, even outright frightened in the face of inevitability. Sylvia, your Kylo Ren, is trying to kill the past. But in vain, JJ Abrams has already taken up the pen …

Loki season one

Forward to the future!

Hence the feeling that the main villain “Loki” appears as if out of nowhere. He was not announced in previous episodes, did not hide under the guise of one of the episodic characters, the UVI employees did not even talk about him in a frightened whisper. “Kevin Feige didn’t have a plan!” Outraged fans shout (or does this only work for Kathleen Kennedy?).

However, there is a plan. Rei is afraid of her past – and the past literally rises from the grave. Loki is afraid of the author – and here he is, a mischievous peasant in a purple robe and with a full printout of dialogues on the table. Simultaneously god and devil, scientist and tyrant, immortal sage and just “goat”. He does not need special effects to instill terror in his interlocutors: on the contrary, the time lord is openly clowning and does not take anything seriously. In part because he himself is a hostage to the plot – in the same way that Marvel authors are doomed to follow certain patterns. Otherwise, there will be chaos.

Naturally, the entire episode turns into a benefit performance for Jonathan Majers as “The One Who Abides.” The young African-American actor has been shining in powerful indie dramas for several years (“Five of the same blood”, “The last black in San Francisco”), and now he has finally made his way to the general audience. The script favors him: in half an hour, the Majers replaces a dozen emotional states, easily passes from pathos to farce, from frivolous self-confidence to sacred awe on the eve of the denouement. Even the routine exposition (alas, there is an unreasonably large amount of it in the finale) is transformed by the actor into an exciting performance with elements of stand-up and prayer.

Loki season one

The name of his character in the series is coyly hushed up – even in the credits! – but Marvel fans will of course instantly recognize Kang the Conqueror, the 21st century genius scientist and time traveler. One of the oldest characters in the Avengers universe (Kang made his debut back in 1963), he managed to be a hero and a villain, a pharaoh and the head of a church, exchanged half a dozen images and names.

In fact, Loki’s timekeeper is closer not to the tyrant Kang, but to his more noble version, Immortus. But, judging by the last scene, the tyrant is already on the way – and it seems that he will become the main antagonist of the MCU for at least the next couple of years. His appearance (again performed by the Majers) has already been confirmed in the future “Ant-Man”, and the second season of “Loki” cannot do without him. In addition, Kang is a distant relative of Reed Richards, the founder of Fantastic Four, a film about which is currently in active development. What a coincidence!

Finally, Kang is an important building block in the Young Avengers team that Marvel Studios has been unobtrusively building for the past six months. Viewers have already introduced Speed ​​and Wiccan (children of the Scarlet Witch in Wanda / Vision), Patriot (grandson of Isaiah Bradley from Falcon and the Winter Soldier) and teenage Loki. Next in line are Kate Bishop (Hawkeye), Miss America (second Doctor Strange), Altitude (third Ant-Man) and, in fact, Iron Man – a young version of Kang, intent on stopping himself from the future.

Loki season one

The situation turned out to be interesting. For a long time, Marvel serials were considered an appendage of films, and they were boldly ignored: the lot of some “Agents of S. I. T” were local plots and one-day villains, all the most important and spectacular happened only in the cinema. This year the alignment has been turned upside down. New movie releases – hello Black Widow – tell little personal stories and fill in chronological gaps. On the contrary, TV shows expand the boundaries of CME and set the direction of the entire universe.

At the very least, Doctor Strange will have to clean up the consequences of Loki (according to rumors, Tom Hiddleston will also appear in The Multiverse of Madness) and Peter Parker, who in No Way Home will have to fight the villains from previous Spider-Man movies. It is logical to expect an early start of the advertising campaign for these films, since the parallel worlds have now finally and irrevocably come to KVM.

And all this, of course, sounds very tempting and promising, but the question is: what about Loki? The character, whose villainy was needed only in order to rally the “Avengers”, finally got his own series – but that one turned out to be a prologue to the next phase of the Marvel universe, and the story of Loki himself faded into the background. There is a bitter irony in this; which, however, the authors openly admit and play up in the course of the plot.

Loki season one

Does Loki deserve more? Maybe. But, firstly, a more traditional plot would rob the show of its originality. There are many superhero projects – and you go, tell an absurd metahistory about a character who was pushed to the periphery by the vile author! By Marvel standards, this is a daring move, revolutionary in five minutes.

And secondly, personally Loki no longer strives for glory and heroism. Let others bash their foreheads, fighting the will of the writers in the name of “glorious mission.” This god will have enough hugs of a faithful friend and the confidence that everything is in order with a loved one. Unlimited power over time cannot be compared with someone else’s warmth – and this is perhaps the wisest lesson of the first season of “Loki”.

Enough theories and recaps. Better hug those who are dear to you. And feed the crocodile.

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“There are things we don’t do”

The businessman, now very ill, is probably after the director Tristan Séguéla, who would not have him “request [s]we agree in principle ”.

“As soon as the idea came up, I informed him because I thought it was good to do it”, affirmed Olivier Demangel, the screenwriter of Wonderman , the series in preparation on Netflix telling the multiple lives of Bernard Tapie. The reality would be more nuanced. The businessman, very ill today, spoke about this in an interview with Nice morning, Var-Matin, Provence and France Télévisions.

“READ ALSO – Philippe Lellouche reveals that TF1 wanted Eric Dupond-Moretti in” Dance with the stars ”

“Doing it without asking for my agreement in principle is not very good”, begins the former boss of the Olympique de Marseille, who explains the creator of the series is “The son of a friend”. It probably evokes the director Tristan Séguéla, son of the publicist Jacques Séguéla. “There are things we don’t do”, continues the former minister.

A significantly different version, therefore, from that of Olivier Demangel. “He did not try to prevent it (…) He took note and that’s all”, assured the screenwriter, who worked on seasons 2 and 3 of Black Baron, adding that «son implication [aurait été] incompatible with the part of fiction that we want to put in the series ”. If he did not perhaps seek to prevent the project, it is clear that Bernard Tapie does not appreciate that his life is thus adapted, with Laurent Lafitte of the Comédie-Française in his role. “Borrowing my name is heavy, retorts the businessman. That there are documentaries is something else.»

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Loki, Episode 2: The Enchantress, Sylvia or Lady Loki? | Series Reviews, Series

What is it like to live when you have no place in reality? Loki learns this on his own skin: the powerful “Management of Temporary Changes” almost disintegrated the god of deception for daring to escape from his destiny. And he survived only because the cunning official Möbius decided to use Loki to hunt an elusive criminal who creates temporary anomalies and eliminates UVI agents. However, serving wretched bureaucrats is a lot unworthy of God! And so Loki starts his own game …

We must give credit to Kevin Feige. Any other mega-producer with a successful comic book franchise would take the path of least resistance. Here is a muscular hero for you, here is a villainous bunch of pixels, and here they are spectacularly fighting each other for a couple of hours – and so on until the license fizzles out. But Marvel Studios has other plans. They began their entry into television with sitcom about overcoming traumacontinued political thriller about the essence of heroism, and now they have completely gone into an absurd comedy exploring free will.

Already the first episode of “Loki” resembled not some “Venom”, but rather “Thinking how to finish everything.” This is the story of a man (even worse, God!), Who for the first time realizes that he is nothing more than an auxiliary element of someone else’s script, and any step away from his prescribed role is punishable by shooting. Therefore, in order to break the vicious circle, the character needs to defeat the author – be it the trinity of space reptilians or showrunner Michael Waldron. “I am such a post-post, I am such a meta-meta,” as the great philosopher of our era, the singer Monetochka, composes.

Spoiler alert!

We don’t go into details and don’t reveal secrets, but we analyze the general course of the plot and the development of the heroes.

The second episode only increases the pressure on the hero. Despite the steady stream of jokes and visual gags (ah, that salad metaphor!), The mood of the show is pretty dark. Sometimes “Loki” turns into a hymn to nihilism: what is the point of living if the end is prescribed in advance and cannot be appealed, and all our dreams and aspirations are nothing more than a fake?

It is no coincidence that the episode starts in a medieval town … which in fact turns out to be a booth from the mid-1980s. And the climactic battle unfolds in the scenery of a devastated shopping center: deserted rows filled with empty promises of a comfortable life. Even the employees of the all-powerful “Office” understand the futility of their personal hopes. They were created solely to work for the good of Order, and all alternatives are, at best, on the pages of magazines.

Ironically, Loki feels most comfortable on the edge of the apocalypse. When the plot brings the god of deceit to Pompeii a minute before the eruption, it cannot contain hysterical joy: “Everything is meaningless! Eat and dance while you can! ” And this is just one of the local ends of the world in the series. From the point of view of UVI, Armageddon is so commonplace that ordinary agents do not show even a fraction of sympathy for the doomed people. Grieving for extras is not allowed.

Michael Waldron and his co-writer, director Keith Harron, even treat the style of the series with black humor. The second episode is unexpectedly full of references to the legendary thriller by David Fincher “Seven”: here are scenes of crimes immersed in the twilight, and sleepless nights parsing papers, and even a passage through the library under the Bach suite. And the plot itself is a classic detective story about two detectives (from the time police, but so what?), Who follow the trail of a mysterious maniac.

The duet of Tom Hiddleston and Owen Wilson continues to work wonders. Even simple conversational scenes – which, as before, take up the lion’s share of timekeeping – are transformed by the actors into an exciting and witty clash of characters. Loki and Mobius stand against each other: both do not disdain manipulation, both hide a tough pragmatism behind a friendly smile, and a touching vulnerability behind pragmatism. Depending on the circumstances, any of them can be represented as a hero or a villain. Yes, Loki is credited with invading Earth and killing innocents. But are officials from a soulless bureaucratic machine that grinds everyone who deviates from the course it has set much better?

It is all the more interesting how the appearance of a new powerful hero will change the dynamics of the characters. Despite the seemingly measured pace of the narrative, already the second episode of “Loki” seriously changes the rules of the game – both for the series and, potentially, for the entire cinematic universe of Marvel. But we will probably hide these spoilers separately.

Click if you want to find out the answer!

In the series finale, a mysterious assassin conducts a massive “bombardment” of the timeline, revealing many time anomalies at once. Having played enough with Loki, the criminal opens up to him. But who is this blonde girl played by British actress Sofia Di Martino?

According to UVI, Loki’s “variant” is behind the anomalies, and it seems that the villain’s arsenal really looks familiar. The same ability to subjugate someone else’s consciousness, the same deadly wielding of blades, the same crooked grin and love for horned armor, finally. It would seem that before us is Lady Loki; one of the many iterations of the character long known to Marvel fans. But usually she is drawn with dark, not light brown hair – this trait is typical for the vast majority of comic versions of Loki, regardless of gender and age. Really the creators of the series overlooked such an obvious “blunder”? Or is it just a mask for a completely different character in front of us?

The clue was unexpectedly revealed in the credits of the Spanish dub, where the character “Variant” passes as “Sylvia”. In Loki’s comic mythology, this name is by no means accidental: in one of the plots, the god of deception bestows his abilities on the girl Sylvia Lashton (also known as “Enchantress”), who then joins the team of “Young Avengers” and draws them into a destructive conflict. Considering that many of the Young Avengers members have already been announced in previous MCU series, this coincidence seems far from coincidental. And yes, in the comics, Sylvia Lashton is exactly the same blonde.

Loki, Episode 2: Apocalypse Now and Always

In any case, the series will have enough mysteries, surprises and personality crises for a long time. Showrunner Michael Waldron is extremely adept at keeping the intrigue, and along the way pushes the Marvel Cinematic Universe towards previously unknown genres and plots. The author uses ridiculous comic characters in order to explore real existential anxieties – without, however, being too serious. It’s not hard to see how Waldron became one of Disney’s leading new creators: over the past year and a half, he has also worked on the Doctor Strange sequel and the secret Star Wars project.

After the tempting premiere of “Loki” and does not think to slow down. A premonition of disaster hung in the air: the usual temporal order is about to fall apart, heroes and villains (go and figure out who is who) are trying their best to fool each other – and the audience as well. And we are glad to be deceived!

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