Placing the devilishly charismatic villain in the interpretation of Tom Hiddleston at the center of the action, the latest excursion of the famous film franchise on television skillfully bridges the gap between the inventive and the well-known, writes Stephen Kelly.
The Marvel Film Universe’s television tour has been an intriguing mixed experience so far.
Beautiful vandavin (WandaVision), for example, set the bar high with formally inventive and creatively risky variation on classic sitcoms – although it gave the impression of curiosity more than the striking Marvel series.
Falcon and the Winter Soldier, a much more conventional series that pleases fans on the surface, was actually too conventional, slow and sluggish in performance.
The first two episodes of Loki, however, suggest that this is a series that skillfully managed to bridge the gap between the inventive and the well-known, with an enchanting script full of unusual ideas led by one of the most popular characters in the Marvel movie universe.
With a plot set after the events from the film Avengers: End of game, in which the tricks of time travel have enabled Loki from the past to teleport from captivity, the story begins when the god of mischief is caught by the Directorate for Time Variations, a bureaucratic agency in charge of preserving the integrity of the “sacred time flow”.
Just imagine the Lords of Time from Dr. Hua crossed with the daily sacrifice of the Madison Boys.
This Loki – who, let’s not forget, is not the same Loki who killed Thanos in the War of Infinity, but a younger version that appeared in the Avengers in 2012 – was recognized by the management as a “variant”.
This means that it should not exist – it is a product of an alternative flow; The administration does not allow alternative flows – and therefore must be erased from history.
Even in those early scenes – while Loki is being processed through the Kafkaesque bureaucracy of the Administration, full of lifeless office workers sitting in a gloomy yellow-brown decor in the style of the fifties – the series manages to draw you into its extraordinarily absurd tone and rhythm.
The disgruntled apparatchik pulls out a pile of paper and asks Loki to sign every word he has ever uttered.
The disfigured corporate mascot destroys all his clothes.
A fellow prisoner was disintegrated because he did not take a note to stand in line.
The idea of presenting the other side through the prism of banal office life is nothing new, of course.
Take only the recent sitcom Good place or, on film, Brazil Terija Gilijama.
But the comedic flywheel of the screenplay by creator Michael Waldron – with the sure, measured direction of Kate Heron from Sex education – manages to present this idea as fresh.
Not surprisingly, Waldron’s roots can be found in the screenwriting team’s room behind the animated Rick and Morty, a series famous for combining imaginative science fiction with sharp humor.
But Loki would be nothing without the man himself, when Tom Hiddleston makes him devilishly charismatic, as always.
In later Marvel films, Loki went through a kind of penitential development, such as smoothing out his relationship with his brother Thor.
This Loki, however, is firmly rooted in the register of the arrogant villain.
He is ruthless, narcissistic and – with rumors about how the strong deserve to rule the weak – openly fascist.
And yet, all of his crime has been somewhat mitigated by the Administration, an organization so absurdly powerful that its employees use the stones of eternity as paper press.
Negatives who appear as protagonists of their own stories have become a kind of trend; perhaps motivated by a postmodern desire to resolve the duality between good and evil.
But there is an uneasy feeling that Loki is trapped between the attractiveness of his main character and the unpleasant truth about who he really is.
The script tries to solve this by pairing Mobius in the interpretation of Owen Wilson, an agent of the Administration who seeks Loki’s help in finding a particularly dangerous variant.
But before accepting him for the job, Mobius organizes a de facto therapy session to find out what drives Loki.
Why does he do what he does?
What does he want?
Does he enjoy hurting people?
It all seems designed to calm the audience’s conscience, to reassure them that Loki is not evil per se – he is just playing the role assigned to him by history.
But it is debatable whether that sounds true.
Nonetheless, Wilson brilliantly parries Hiddleston, and the aura of his own likable, detached, chilled dude fits perfectly into the dislocated atmosphere of the Board.
And indeed, this film chemistry becomes even more pronounced in the second episode, when the series grows from an action comedy into something like a crime with a cop tandem, a couple who get closer while researching crime scenes over time.
You can guess who is the uncontrolled cop who doesn’t play by the rules, but achieves results.
This change of genre with a little luck could be an indication that Loki will dedicate himself to episodic storytelling, instead of performing it as one big, expanded film, as is, sadly, a frequent case with TV series lately.
This certainly looks like this.
There is not much to write about the second episode, for obvious reasons.
Needless to say, it takes on a larger, more comprehensive mystery set at the end of the first episode – which is intriguing in itself – and develops it in ways that suggest wider implications for the future of Marvel’s film universe.
The end of the second episode is quite shocking and will probably result in some of the most perverted prose works by fans that the internet has ever seen.
It is, in many ways, the Marvel series that fans have been waiting for all along.
Loki has been streaming since June 9, with weekly episodes coming out every Wednesday
Source: Dnevni list Danas by www.danas.rs.
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