Culture Editor Ash Sutton finds Loki to be the most overrated Marvel show, attributing this dislike to disjointed plot lines, unlikable characters and wasted opportunities
Marvel has brainwashed us. I will stand by that forever. I can say that, because I will sit here and tell you how mediocre-to-awful every new project they release is, and yet every release night you will see me in Row G (the best row in screen 6 of Wolverhampton Cineworld) watching that movie. Or in the case of Loki, sat on my sofa right after dinner on a Wednesday night.
Everyone I have talked to will agree, yes, the Disney+ shows are not quite as good as the movies. However, when you ask them their favourite and least favourite, their answer is wrong (in my opinion). If you were wondering, for me WandaVision takes the top spot, and Loki very firmly takes last place. Though to everyone else, Loki tends to be in the top 3, if not their favourite. Loki follows instantly on from cinema game-changer Avengers: Endgame as we watch the anti-hero God of Mischief steal the tesseract to escape the events of The Avengers. This, for some reason, results in him being the victim of a manhunt from the Time Variance Authority (TVA). Owen Wilson is a nice addition to the MCU though, albeit his character arc made me just a little bit angry.
I think one of my biggest qualms is Loki’s character arc. He was such a huge part of the ‘Infinity Saga’, to the point he was practically at the root of all evil. He receives one of the most satisfying character development storylines from his first appearance in Thor to when the Russo Brothers decided to snap his neck and my heart in one fell swoop. At the start of the show, we watch our titular character revert back to the man he was before I loved him. And just as quickly as he is evil again, he is not.
Loki, God of Mischief, known for multiple films of double-crossing, lying and deceiving, watches one quick montage of his life, and all of a sudden he’s willing to lay down his life for a man he just met, a version of himself (we will get to that) that tried to kill him more than once, and a corporation who has been hunting him down for most of his life? I know we have to move the story along, but I really think they missed a few chapters. Besides, surely it would’ve been more interesting to watch Mobius (Owen Wilson) gain his trust properly, just like Thor did?
Let’s talk about Sylvie. Sophia Di Martino is a lacklustre actress. Though I will be honest, I am not sure if it’s so much her acting as her accent does not suit the role. Or maybe it is the pathetic attempt at script writing on Michael Waldron’s part. All of this aside, Sylvie manages to become one of the most easily hated characters of mine in the MCU. I do not mean this in the way of: “they did the villain character so well I hate her!” I mean she is just annoying, and I do not get the point of her character at all. I am sure when the rumours emerged about the show, we were promised Lady Loki, and while I know very little about this character, I know that I wish they had used her.
As for wasted character, I need to discuss Miss Minutes. Miss Minutes is the mascot of the TVA, the little AI companion that runs the place, and season two very intriguingly set up as a villain. She freaked me out, she got me excited, and then they turned her off. That did not look like the end of her though, for that night I went onto Instagram and the marketing team had decided to play a very clever game.
The Loki account had been stripped of its posts, and the only thing that remained was a video of Miss Minutes shutting down and a hint that if you messaged the account, you could be immersed in the world. Messaging the account (which I obviously did, brainwashed zombie I tell you) resulted in you signing up to receive messages from Miss Minutes herself. I thought to myself perhaps she was not gone after all, perhaps she would fight for control and her battle would be shown on Instagram, a way to scare us all further. It was a cool marketing technique, until they used it twice and both times you got nothing of relevance to the plot at all. She did not come back, well she did for a short while but she was not evil. A good attempt, poor execution.
The show in itself was boring. I’m going to throw some GCSE film knowledge at you: Tzvetan Todorov developed his Narrative theory in 1971. Todorov stated that every narrative product follows the five stages of equilibrium. Your hero at the start exists in their own equilibrium, which is then disrupted, when they realise this disruption they have to attempt to fix this before they can return to their, or a new, equilibrium. You can argue that each season of Loki does follow this to a degree, though not very well.
I believe that these stages of equilibrium have to exist within each episode too to provide an engaging story line. Loki does not do this at all. It’s rare that an episode contains its own story arc, and the few that do, I agree are not that bad! However, if you take the likes of season one’s ‘Lamentis’ you get 40 minutes of Loki and Sylvie wandering through a dying moon with no real rhyme or reason. I could not tell you a single important thing that happens in that episode.
To continue on the line of things the show was supposed to set up: Loki provided the first insight into Marvel’s next big bad Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors). We didn’t meet that character himself, we were introduced to him in almost equally disappointing Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, but we did meet two of his variants. In season one we were introduced to He Who Remains, in season two it was Victor Timely. The former was a much better character.
We were told this show would set up the villain, but what we ended up with was two dead variants and no mention of any more. This may be because of the scandal the actor is going through, and the potential decision they will have to make to recast or drop the character entirely. Either way, they could have done far more with him, built up some, any, anticipation for the future. Even with the way things ended, leaving Kang out of it entirely, I think the choices they made were silly. It made sense to the show I guess, but I am clinging on far too dearly to the character Loki was in the movies, and the way he is left doesn’t sit right with me at all.
I upset people when I tell them I thoroughly dislike Loki. I think it is a hill that I will die on. But with all of this, the questionable CGI – even in *that* scene, the odd choices of shots, the terrible writing and their inability to stick to their own time travel rules, it really does just make for 12 weeks of wondering what you just watched and why.
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