Loki will premiere this week on Disney+. A large part of the conversation surrounding it has been about all the various (and sometimes out-of-left-field) other shows and movies that influenced it, which includes the likes of Blade Runner, Mad Men, Teletubbies, and many more. There are also all the beloved time travel TV series that people have been attempting to marathon before the series starts. Of course, that doesn’t include all the Marvel movies the God of Mischief has appeared in. As such, this list is for those looking to watch something that wouldn’t be the first thing they would consider being an inspiration, but are fun to take a look at and compare in different ways. So, I’m ruling out all movies based on comic book properties or anything that involves time travel. Without further ado, let’s jump into the potential inspirations behind Marvel Studios’ next Disney+ entry.
The science-fiction black comedy film, which was directed by Terry Gilliam of the comedy troupe Monty Python, is about a man who has dreams at night of being a warrior. He also imagines being with a certain woman who he soon spots in real life. Unfortunately, they both live in a totalitarian, bureaucratic society, which soon becomes an obstacle for them to escape. The society in question is not unlike the Time Variance Authority central to Loki, and the film has actually already been confirmed to have been an influence on the series. It’s easy to tell just from the trailers alone, as it appears to be a labyrinth of whimsical order, much like the dystopian future depicted in Brazil.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
This is the only movie on the list not to have any elements of magic or science fiction, but it may be the one with the spirit closest to that of Loki. Ferris Bueller is a high school senior who tricks his parents into believing he is sick. All this so he can ditch school for a day, bringing his best friend and girlfriend along for the ride. This John Hughes coming-of-age movie is all about the excitement and motivation behind getting up to mischief simply for the thrill of it, and that’s certainly a major side of Loki’s character.
Defending Your Life (1991)
Defending Your Life is another movie that has been confirmed as an inspiration for Loki. Director and actor Albert Brooks, who is co-starring alongside Meryl Streep, explores the story about another organization similar to the TVA, Judgement City. It is where people go after they die and are put on trial to receive a judgment on whether they were brave enough during their life on Earth to be deemed fit to move on to the next phase of existence or if they will be sent back to Earth to begin a whole new one.
Much like Judgement City, the TVA is inaccessible from the “regular” world as it can only be found on its own plane of existence. However, the element of this film’s world that Loki’s creative team seemed to take direct inspiration from is the courtroom in which the main character’s trial is held. The room contains a large screen on which scenes from the defendant’s life are played, and the time theater seen in Loki’s trailers is essentially the same thing.
Jurassic Park (1993)
Jurassic Park is sort of like a reverse time travel film. Instead of the characters visiting a different era, the different era is brought to them. It’s a cautionary tale about science as just because something can be done, doesn’t necessarily mean it should be done. Yet, this isn’t the reason why the movie is on this list, though. That honor goes to a scene early in the film in which the characters watch how soon-to-be-opened dinosaur park came to be. The intro features an animated anthropomorphic DNA sequence, which is appropriately named Mr. DNA.
The TVA has its own Mr. DNA in the form of Miss Minutes, an animated and anthropomorphic clock. She prepares time criminals for their trials at the organization. Both are upbeat as they deliver messages (technically exposition for the audience) with sinister undertones. They even have some level of an American southern accent. Universal Studios may be trying to give Mr. DNA a comeback in the queue of their new Jurassic Park ride, but Miss Minutes may very well end up giving him a run for his money in terms of modern-day popularity.
Midnight in Paris (2011)
Okay, so this one is a rule breaker because time travel is at play here. But if you’ve seen this movie you know exactly why it’s on the list. And no, it’s not because of the changing of different eras. Midnight in Paris is about a screenwriter who gets wrapped up in nostalgia while in conflict with his fiancée and her family. He ends up in various time periods of the past reliving the days of the great writers. The screenwriter is played by Owen Wilson, and he runs into various historical figures like F. Scott Fitzgerald, played by Tom Hiddleston. Again, I’m breaking my own rule here by including this film, but this is the only other project the two leads of Loki worked on together. So, I couldn’t help myself. And besides, would this truly be a Loki watchlist if it completely stuck by the books?