In the series premiere of Loki, our titular character continues his journey post Avengers: Endgame. Well, technically, his story following the first Avengers film from a timeline perspective. It’s easy to get caught up in the exposition of the Time Variance Authority. The implications of the timeline, multiversal wars, and what it all means are captivating, no doubt. There was something else that stuck out in a way that was quite jarring. It was our protagonist with his ego and power stripped away. It was a god reduced to a man, a big fish reduced to a guppie in the grand scheme of it all.
Part of what makes storytelling impactful is when we get to know the why. Why is this story this way? What compels his actions? Owen Wilson‘s Agent Mobius interrogates Loki in a way that is more therapeutic than invasive. We know what happened in Avengers, but why? Loki has an obsession and a fixation on ruling and lording over. Yet, we never thought to ask why until now.
Forced to witness his life and its inevitability, Loki is held accountable for his actions. There are no tricks or escapes here. Well, there is that time twister escapade for some escape hi-jinx, but ultimately it’s just a diversion. After finding out that his words directly lead to Freya’s death, we saw a crack in the armor. Then Loki got a trip into his unknown future, a reconciliation with Thor and death at the hands of Thanos. He has a realization at that moment how insignificant he truly is in the grand scheme of things.
There’s a brilliance in the writing team headed by Michael Waldron that needed to get us to a place to care about Loki. Yes, as fans in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we will buy into any morsel of story. What is accomplished here surrounds the nuance of this once villainous character. Loki’s past and potential future is summed up perfectly by his brief monologue:
I don’t enjoy hurting people. I don’t enjoy it. I do it because I have to because I’ve had to. Because it’s part of the illusion. it’s the cruel elaborate trick conjured by the weak to inspire fear.
NIs Loki turning into a good guy and starting a new hero’s journey? Probably not, as he isn’t the God of Mischief just for kicks. What sets this series off in a fascinating direction is the feeling that we know Loki in a way we didn’t before. Sometimes introspection leads us down the most fruitful doors.