Let me say up front: I like the Disney+ Loki show. Tom Hiddleston and Owen Wilson are the balsamic vinaigrette of cinematic pairings — sweet and sour in a way that makes everything around them that much more delicious. The addition of variant Lokis to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, particularly Sophia del Martino’s Sylvie, has been an enormous delight. Long live Alligator Loki!
But three episodes into season two, which finds Loki desperately trying to save the multiverse, keep Sylvie from killing more variants of Kang the Conqueror and other stuff—Loki’s super busy, you guys!—I find myself longing for the good old days. You remember, the days when Loki would deliver a line insisting on his innocence in whatever evil plot he was accused, give that smile that made the internet forget that Ryan Reynolds exists for a little while, and then attempt to burn down the universe. You know the god I’m talking about: Loki the Liar. Loki the Villain. Loki the Trickster.
You know, this guy:
What with the multiverse in jeopardy and his boo still real mad at him, Trickster Loki seems like a variant these days. The Loki we have instead is unexpectedly earnest, an action hero, and, dare I say, grim?
(Seriously, is it me or does it look like Tom Hiddleston's in the new season of Luther? "You thought Alice Morgan was bad. Wait until you meet Luther's new partner, Loki Laufeyson.")
Structurally, it all makes sense; Owen Wilson is bringing the low-key comedy, Sylvie gives the series its loose cannon Loki, and Loki Prime-ish has been on a journey of redemption these last few years. But can’t a half-Frost Giant god magician still have a little fun from time to time?
When he’s in a fight, can’t he whip up a spell that’s a little more creative and naughty than your standard green energy blast? Or when Loki’s creating dupes, could we get a little Multiple Man action, each dupe a different look and personality?
People who have been paying attention to the character of Loki for a while might say the real villain in all of this is comic book writer Kieron Gillen. It was his Journey into Mystery run that reinterpreted Loki as a whole lot more than the standard skinny be-horned and B-list villain who loves a green and yellow number.
But even as Gillen gave Loki a much more complex and heroic journey, his run also underlined that the character is nevertheless always a force of anarchy, betrayal and fun. He may very well be working toward a good end, but he can absolutely never be trusted. (Am I talking about Loki or Gillen? The answer is Yes.)
Loki can break hearts or have his heart broken, but hilarity and grief ensue in equal measure, and no matter what his intent, chaos follows wherever he goes.
It’s those qualities that's got us to fall in love with the MCU Loki in the first place. He’s the guy who is literally always betraying everyone, and yet each time Hiddleston unleashes those baby blues and insists he’s for real you still think, I don’t know, maybe this time?
He’s the little brother who transforms Thor into Sif and himself into Captain America for a lark, cheers as his big brother gets absolutely thrashed by the Hulk even though they're allies, and has also been through the same (and so many other delightful embarrassments) himself.
I’m glad that Loki has gotten to develop. Truly, has any character in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe evolved more? I don't think so.
But Marvel, can the other Loki occasionally take off his suit, pop on his horns and come out to play? Because life is a lot more fun with him. And while there may be endless variants of Loki in the multiverse, Grim Loki just doesn’t seem like a real Loki at all.
Relive the glory days of Loki with our MCU Loki watch order.