Photograph: Disney
Rating 6.6
Streamer Disney+
Seasons 1
Episodes 6 x 50 mins

The superhero scene loves nothing more than an origin story, and next up is everyone’s favourite Marvel villain, Loki, who it turns out is a low-key antihero.

For people who haven’t yet quite got their heads around the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) with who’s who and what’s what, you’ll be pleased to know this one is much easier to get into than the hit show Wandavision, which required a little more background knowledge.

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But for the benefits of the Marvel-ly challenged among us, we’ll give you a rundown – everyone’s favourite posh boy Tom Hiddleston plays Loki, the god of mischief and brother and nemesis of Thor. We join him shortly after the film Avengers: Endgame (2019) ended, after he nicked the Tesseract, which is basically a magic, portal-creating cube, and transported himself away during the time heist. Now he’s been captured by the Time Variance Authority (TVA), who are hacked off that he’s messing with the Sacred Timeline. Unfortunately, that isn’t the timeline of a Facebook page which posts exclusively cat memes, and is actually something created by the Timekeepers, who are trying to organise the past, present and future, so that eventually peace will be restored. Come on – keep up reader.

Love Tom Hiddleston? It’s time to watch The Night Manager

Our leading Timekeeper is Agent Mobius, played by Owen Wilson who has been turned into a moustachioed silver fox – wow. And together he and Loki are pretty fun – with Wilson as the charming agent prodding at Hiddleston’s arrogant and uninterested villain, their scenes are a joy to watch. But things really start to ramp up when Mobius recruits Loki to track down a timeline offender, who the TVA have thus far been unable to catch.   

For more Marvel adventures, check out Wandavision

Fans of Loki will be pleased to unpick his psyche in this series, which considers his powers and the fine balance between good and evil. And though the first two episodes get off to a slow start, with way too much time spent explaining who the TVA are and how their offices work, there’s plenty of action to be found if you stick with it, as Loki attempts to find this time travelling criminal. Hiddleston, too, is brilliant as always, and alongside Wilson his really comes into his own. Is it as good as Wandavision? Probably not, but for Marvel fans it’s still worth the watch nonetheless.

The reviews for Loki are a mixed bag, many of them commenting on the slow start to the series. Tim Robey of The Telegraph says of episodes one and two, “the character deserves a lot more room to get frisky and freaky than these cramped openers carved out,” adding that “instead of getting that wicked glint in his eyes, this Loki is pushed through the motions of cleaning up his act.” However, The Guardian’s Lucy Mangan says “things do perk up by the very end of the second episode,” commenting that by the third episode she’s sure “viewers will begin to have almost as good a time as Hiddleston and Wilson clearly are.”  The Independent’s Clarisse Loughrey, however, thoroughly enjoyed the first two episodes, saying: “Loki’s premise may not be as bold as Wandavision, nor as crowd-pleasing as The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, but it’s proven to have the strongest opening of the three. Now it just needs to maintain that bit of wizardry for the rest of its series.”

First shown June 2021. You can watch the trailer by pressing play on the show image, or by clicking here.

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