Loki

In the first episode of Loki, the trickster god of the Marvel Cinematic Universe—last seen escaping in a time-travel snafu during >Avengers: Endgame—is captured and taken to a mysterious hinterland that exists outside of time and space and resembles nothing so much as a mushroom-colored 1970s airport. The walls are paneled in wood. The ceiling, covered in hundreds of circular light fixtures, stretches vastly into the distance, its composition pure Kubrick. Against this backdrop, a surly agent tells Loki (played by Tom Hiddleston) to take a ticket and join the line. “There’s only two of us in here,” he replies, chafing at the order. “Take. A. Ticket,” the guard spits.

a person wearing a suit and tie © Marvel Studios

This claustrophobically bureaucratic place is the Time Variance Authority, a nontemporal zone set up to stamp out any time-travel shenanigans that threaten the integrity of the “sacred timeline.” The MCU has sent its heroes and antiheroes hurtling through space; it’s set them up as gladiators on garbage planets; it’s had them absorb the heat of stars and channel the power of the entire universe. But it has never, even in all of Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige’s most twisted visions, sent them to the DMV. Until now. The setup is darkly funny: The MCU’s most chaotic and arrogant character, the one most resistant to any kind of authority, has found himself condemned to a purgatory of sign-in sheets, plexiglass tyrants, and piped-in Muzak. For Loki, it’s pure hell.

[Read: A Marvel series that cares little for Marvel’s universe]

Loki is the third Marvel TV show to debut on Disney+ this year, following the emotive, experimental >WandaVision and the earnest-but-uninspiring >The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Early reviews have praised the quirky chemistry between Loki and his TVA handler, Mobius (Owen Wilson), along with the series’s breeziness and sense of humor. But the show’s unmistakably dystopian, sci-fi aesthetic, in which cityscapes fade into nothingness in infinite shades of brown, suggests that the TVA might be more malign than it seems. There are other allusions to autocracy too: In the scene where Loki resentfully accepts his ticket, framed posters on the walls bear graphic eyes that represent an all-seeing police state, and cheerfully menacing slogans: BEHAVE OR GET YOUR CLOCK CLEANED. In Loki’s first interaction with a TVA officer, she hits him in the face with a baton and then slows time to one-16th of its normal pace to prolong his pain.


Video: Marvel's 'Loki' addresses gender fluidity (Reuters)

Marvel's 'Loki' addresses gender fluidity Reuters Reuters> Reuters See more videos "> See more videos > > > > > What to watch next
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