Review: His crimes notwithstanding, 'Loki' not such a bad guy after all

Tom Hiddleston has a ball bringing the Marvel villain to life in latest Marvel series on Disney+.

Tom Long
Special to The Detroit News
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“Loki” is a splendid goof of a show, ping-ponging the God of mischief through time while relying on humor as much as action. 

But boy this third Marvel series made for Disney+ assumes its audience knows all the specifics of the Marvel Universe. Which is a pretty safe bet considering the movies have collectively earned some 73 gazillion dollars. Still, you have to wonder if this insular approach is going to shut some people out.

Tom Hiddleston in "Loki."

The show begins at the end of the first Avengers movie, in a sequence reproduced and altered in the most recent Avengers movie, as Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is being hauled off after having destroyed much of New York City. Yes, this is the first TV series in which the protagonist is an unrepentant mass murderer.

Through a fluke Loki steps out of time. What does that mean? Who cares, it’s Marvel. So when Time Police show up to arrest Loki you just roll with it.

Loki then has to stand trial and defend his own existence. Which is kind of difficult, what with the whole mass murder thing. Luckily a Time Cop detective (Owen Wilson) steps in and argues that Loki could be an asset in hunting a killer he’s after.

So Loki ends up visiting a Renaissance Fair in 1985, ancient Pompeii just as a volcano wipes out the town, and a gigantic mall in the future. As with all these Disney Plus-Marvel series the production design, action sequences and casting are movie-level quality.

And even though Loki delivers his usual subservience-is-freedom speeches and has bouts of self-analysis, the touch here is pretty light. Hiddleston is a wonderfully physical comic actor, all twitches and muttered asides, and Wilson offers a casual contrast to Loki’s royal airs. People die, sure, but it’s fun!

The breezy attitude seems right for the show’s scant six episodes, which will roll out on Wednesdays. He may be the God of mischief and a mass murderer but Loki knows how to show you a good time.

Tom Long is a longtime contributor to The Detroit News. 

'Loki'

GRADE: B

Disney+

Starts Wednesday

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