Review: Marvel Studios' 'Loki' series is multidimensional wackadoodle

Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in Marvel Studios' LOKI streaming exclusively on Disney+ (Photo: Marvel Studios)

SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) – We’ll start within the safety of a synopsis pulled directly from the Marvel press release:

The starting point of the series is the moment in “Avengers: Endgame” when the 2012 Loki takes the Tesseract—from there Loki lands in the hands of the Time Variance Authority (TVA), which is outside of the timeline, concurrent to the current day Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In his cross-timeline journey, Loki finds himself a fish out of water as he tries to navigate—and manipulate—his way through the bureaucratic nightmare that is the Time Variance Authority and its by-the-numbers mentality.

Manipulate. How very mischievous. How very Loki.

What you need to know is that Michael Waldron, half of the creative force behind "Rick and Morty," is the showrunner and head writer for the first season of "Loki." "Rick and Morty" is located on the television landscape somewhere south of bonkers and just north of absolutely insane. It features Rick Sanchez, a mad scientist who takes his grandson, Morty, on interdimensional adventures throughout time and space. It was, should the internet be trusted, created as a "Back to the Future" parody that simply grew wild and free like a rabbit fluffle or a patch of knapweeds. At one point Rick turned himself into a pickle in order to avoid family therapy.

Considering the amount of time that Rick and Morty have spent jumping from one timeline to another, Waldron is something of an expert on the subject of multiverses or alternate dimensions. He's also the scribe behind the upcoming "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," a film that is expected to bring order to the Marvel Cinematic Universe following the chaos of "Avengers: Endgame." I suspect Waldron has no real interest in order and the strangeness that germinates in the first two episodes of "Loki" is a sign of things to come.

I don't know how I feel about that.

I like the strangeness of "Rick and Morty," I'm just not convinced that it will work in the MCU. However, I was skeptical that Taika Waititi was the right person to take on the Thor franchise. Waititi saved the Thor franchise.

The first two episodes of "Loki" are incredibly weird. Not "WandaVision" weird. Weird its own distinct way. The tone is playful, even more goofy that I expected. Waldron's sense of loving satire is on full display as we're thrown into a timeline regulated by three unseen, but omnipresent, authorities who determine what is and isn't supposed to occur. Any deviation from their approved series of events is quickly erased by the members of the TVA. There's a tongue-in-cheek aspect at play here. Comic books are famous, if not infamous, for their constant changes in what is and isn't cannon. Waldron might be mocking his own "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" screenplay. Only time will tell.

Time will also tell how I ultimately feel about "Loki." My initial reaction is that it isn't quite on par with "WandaVision" but is considerably more interesting than "Falcon and the Winter Soldier" turned out to be. I like the cast. I don't know why having Owen Wilson in the MCU as a interdimensional detective seems stranger than Paul Rudd being Scott Lang. But it does. I like feeling off balanced. I love the inclusion of Gugu Mbatha-Raw (check out "Fast Color" if you haven't already) and Wunmi Mosaku (she's excellent in Netflix's "His House"). They've even brought in the voice of Tara Strong for Miss Minutes, an animated clock who guides us through the origins of the TVA.

Two episodes into "Loki" I'm incredibly interested. Not quite sold. We'll see where this ride takes us.

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