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LOKI series

Totenkindly

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First episode aired yesterday.

‘Loki’ Is a Fresh Start for Marvel - The Atlantic



This was actually really enjoyable. I already like it better than TF&TWS -- it's put together more coherently and feels like it has a thematic direction despite offering a variety of timeline jumps -- and it's the same sense of wonder as WandaVision was, where it is plotted but dealing with the character (their identity, who they are, what realizations they are grappling with) while being amusing and also fresh, in that you don't quite know what to expect next.

Owen Wilson is low-key (ha ha, LO-KI!) and a stabilizing force.

There's rewarding moments for the viewer in terms of anticipating what characters might do or say next and then having that payoff. (One of them comes when a particular moment occurs, and I was just like "OMG did he just...?!? I bet he did!" and then it happens just as I had guessed. Pretty hilarious.) As a character Loki often was just more of a catalyst for other characters including the Avengers -- something that this series specifically attests to -- whereas we haven't necessarily delved deeply into him, what he wants, and whether he can find fulfillment for himself. Already in Episode 1 we find Loki being forced to reassess (kicking and screaming, as it were) his own life, what he wants, and where he is going. Hiddleston is definitely up to the task, though.
 

Totenkindly

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Loki is now half over, I think. (Three episodes down.)

I would give it a B rating at this point -- but it's actually a consistent B, which isn't a bad thing. (I forget what I said about TFATWS, but I only see that as a D+ series, it was such a muddled confusing mess that should have just been background filler information in some other series. Meanwhile Wandavision would have been an A-, but a disappointing / mishandled finale knocks that down to maybe a B or B+ at best... its quality was highly variable.)

Loki avoids a lot of the muddledness by have a pretty simple throughline. Loki escapes Endgame and ends up at the TVA, where he is captured and pressed into service to help catch one of his own variants. He tracks said variant and escapes with said variant from the TVA. Episode 3 is his variant and him being in a tight place and having to work together to escape, with some amusement over the reality that, as variants of each other, they don't trust each other worth shit but eventually have to generate some goodwill between themselves or they are both hosed.

So it's not a show trying to make a BIG STATEMENT (like TFATWS, trying to say something important about race relationships at the expense of character and plot and class parity -- there was no story, really, just theme), and it is not an introspective on one character exploring their feelings of loss and guilt. It's a fairly external plot, not overcomplicated, and it focuses on one character. As a simpler show, it actually succeeds in staying on track. You know what is going on, what the goal is, the characters pursue the goal, and you know what success vs failure is.

It was an easier pitch to hit, and the show is consistently knocking out doubles with each swing -- so not breath-taking, but still actually accomplishing something.

Sylvie is also her own distinct character, with her own distinct background and power set, so it's interesting to watch her and Loki interact -- they are enough alike to not trust each other and to annoy each other, yet there's still a bond there because they've both been alone all their lives and seem to be developing begrudged respect.

The overall goal here seems to be setting up the multiverse as well as establishing yet another character (Sylvie) for whatever spinoffs are out there.
 

Totenkindly

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Totenkindly

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So I was gonna post my impressions and conjectures after the first few minutes of this episode -- and then by the end a lot of it became overt, so it's rather pointless. Still, Episode 4 has a lot of payoff for the build-up of the first three episodes.

I think the most meaningful was Loki in the loop with Sif. Behavior modification? Maybe. But basically it's how you generate change in particularly tough nuts, of which Loki is obviously one because he lies, and lies, and lies some more, and unless a situation is hopeless with his feet nailed to the floor, he will always dodge away from any uncomfortable truth especially about himself.

In this sense, both Wandavision and Loki have taken it upon themselves to explore the psyches of their lead characters (where TFATWS seemed more interested in delving into the social forces involved -- rather incoherently -- and just superficially the internal psyches of their leads). This might be the Loki from 2012 who did not go through the remaining 6 years of growth before his death at the hands of Thanos, but he's basically on his own forced fast-track of psychological growth, having been forced to admit some deeper truths about his own motivations as well as impending awareness of what the measure of his life had been if he had not shunted off on this branch of the time tree.

More spoilery:

 
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