The last few Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) outings have grudgingly given antagonists their due place in the sun. Unfortunately, the most interesting, even endearing, of the MCU antagonists - Loki, the Norse God of Mischief - has been overlooked.
Played by Tom Hiddleston, Loki as Lord of Thunder Thor's adopted brother is the anti-hero we have all been charmed by. He finally gets his own web series, Loki, on Disney + Hotstar - helmed by Kate Herron - post other spin-offs in the Marvel Multiverse such as WandaVsion, and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
The six-part weekly takes off from where the audience last saw Loki in the MCU. He has been imprisoned by Thor, when a teleportation device called the Tesseract - also one of the infamous infinity stones - accidentally falls into his hands.
Always the opportunist, he grabs it and escapes in a flash. In the present day, the show opens with his arrival in the Gobi Desert, only to be whisked away by members of the omniscient Time Variance Authority (TVA).
He is charged with the crime of attempting to break the "pre-defined path of time" (remember, Thanos kills Loki in Avengers: Infinity War, so theoretically, he cannot still be alive). But in the TVA, as Major Mobius (a brilliant Owen Wilson) explains, time moves in a different manner, hence Loki is very much there even after the sequences of Avengers: Endgame.
For the first time ever, we get a glimpse of the real Loki behind the impish smile. This is not just someone wanting to be King of Asgard and the Nine Realms, or someone who is deeply shattered by the killing of his mother - which he accidentally initiated; here is Loki admitting to his vulnerabilities. He admits to his fears and how being scared makes him act more evil so that "they won’t know".
(Spoiler alert) A brilliant scene in the first episode also shows how little the Infinity Stones which started a multiverse war actually matter and how there is an even greater power in the MCU. Loki opens a drawer in the TVA to find the Infinity Stones just lying around and is told by a TVA office guy that "we use them as paperweights". If that isn’t a major spoiler for future MCU timelines, then nothing is.
Superhero story arcs usually follow a formulaic pattern where good emerges victorious over evil, every single time. As an exception to this rule, Loki is relatable and popular, despite the underhandedness of his methods.
He is one of the few MCU characters that unabashedly display the all-too-human feelings of jealousy, insecurity and self-aggrandisement. With Mobius to keep him company and match his wit, we are looking at perhaps the best duo to have come out of the Marvel Multiverse. Get set for a rollicking ride.