Marvel Entertainment’s shakeup in 2019 allowed new Chief Creative Officer Kevin Feige to install his vision of the Marvel Cinematic Universe on the series being created TV and streaming. While Marvel shows have generally trended high on the Tomatometer, the corporate refresh is being proven out one title at a time, as — one pandemic later — fans have been treated to Certified Fresh titles WandaVision (91%) and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (89%).
It’s no surprise then that the highly anticipated drop of a series about one of the MCU’s most popular characters, God of Mischief Loki, who has been played by Tom Hiddleston in six MCU films, would be met with critical acclaim.
Here’s what critics, who have seen the first two episodes of the series, are saying about Loki season 1:
(Photo by Marvel Studios)
Hiddleston seamlessly slides back into the Asgardian God role as the annoying, obnoxious adopted brother of Thor.
—Allison Rose, FlickDirect
“Loki” really is really just a character study of one particularly complex and – as Loki fans will attest – fun character. Moreover, a second season has been ordered, so the potential for “variant” timelines – and do-overs – multiply from there.
—Verne Gay, Newsday
The key to Loki – both the character and the show – is always Tom Hiddleston.
—Allison Keene, Paste Magazine
Through Hiddleston’s nuanced performance, we get to see Loki’s quirks and qualities laid bare at last-depths of character that have only been hinted at.
—Kaila Hale-Stern, The Mary Sue
Loki works because the filmmakers and cast click perfectly and give us a series that tells a story we have never seen before.
—Alex Maidy, JoBlo’s Movie Network
Thankfully, Hiddleston does what he does best and that is to embody the Norse God to perfection.
—Britany Murphy, Geeks of Color
Hiddleston’s deep, purring voice and Shakespearean training also do wonders for Loki’s melodramatic speeches, flourishing in this new Disney+ miniseries. The rest of the show, however, is less impressive.
—Gavia Baker-Whitelaw, The Daily Dot
The god of mischief is back! Time is on Loki’s side with charm, humor and a dash of humanity. Easily the best Marvel series to date.
—Christie Cronan, Raising Whasians
With Hiddleston’s assured performance at the center, Loki gets off to a promising start with a twisty mystery and fascinating world-building.
—Rachel LaBonte, Screen Rant
A longtime favorite of MCU fans, Hiddleston has never been better as the God of Mischief, savoring every arrogant syllable of his (frequent) soliloquies, while also being given more opportunity than ever before to explore the character’s nature.
—Brent Hankins, The Lamplight Review
The Beetlejuice-like atmosphere and wildly creative details of the TVA are hugely appealing, as is how the exploration of time will challenge Loki to assess/reassess his actions.
—Perri Nemiroff, Perri Nemiroff (YouTube)
It’s nevertheless a bit of a letdown when you realize halfway through the dense first episode that one of the MCU’s ostensibly most unpredictable lead characters has somehow landed in the most predictable of setups.
—Caroline Framke, Variety
Loki can get bogged down in its discussion of timelines and multiverses… but thankfully the creative team keeps the narrative engine humming, filling the screen with eye-catching details.
—Tim Grierson, Screen International
The approach is bold, the pacing is brisk, and the mix of humor within the narrative is perfectly balanced.
—Dewey Singleton, AwardsWatch
Balancing the standard Marvel comedy with strong character beats and heart-tugging moments, Loki is a well-balanced series that never once takes itself too seriously.
—Adam Barnhardt, ComicBook.com
Loki has a lot of potential, but in the first two episodes at least, a sluggish narrative and four phases worth of back story weigh things down more than we’d like.
—David Opie, Digital Spy
The TVA’s inclusion in this series is a stroke of genius, creating an apparatus [that] excises Loki from the main MCU (and dodges the usual “why don’t Hawkeye or the Eternals help out?” moans) while also creating a vast fantasy/sci-fi playground of all time and space for Hiddleston to play in.
—Huw Fullerton, Radio Times
Part workplace comedy, part time-travelling epic, Marvel Studios’ latest series is a great showcase for the collective charm of Tom Hiddleston and Owen Wilson.
—Rohan Naahar, Hindustan Times
Perhaps in its greatest accomplishment, Loki has now changed my perspective on Wilson – for the better!
—Alex Abad-Santos, Vox
Mobius and Loki make for an effective odd couple, with the “full-tilt diva”, as Tony Stark put it in Avengers Assemble, butting up against the unruffled, surfer-dude energy of Wilson’s agent.
—Helen O’Hara, Empire Magazine
The most cinematic Marvel show to date in large part thanks to Hiddleston & Wilson. Very strong across the board. A bit slow in parts, but overall top notch entertainment.
—Grace Randolph, Beyond the Trailer
If you’re a fan of the power of conversation akin to an Aaron Sorkin work, you’re going to love ‘Loki.’ You’ll adjust to its pace and will be excited by its detective mystery. Owen Wilson [is] perfectly cast!
—Preston Barta, Denton Record-Chronicle
The episodic nature of the series gives the story time to breathe, and Loki and Mobius spend a lot of scenes just sitting in chairs and talking. And it’s never boring!
—Emma Stefansky, Thrillist
Marvel has created a vastly different series. Hiddleston thrives, and Wilson owns this role. It may end up being Marvel’s best show yet.
—Austin Burke, Austin Burke/Flick Fan Nation
God bless Owen Wilson.
—Mike Ryan, Uproxx
Still, it’s essentially impossible to hide exposition when there’s this much of it, and the chatter becomes as distracting as it is endless.
—Ben Travers, indieWire
The wit and wackiness on display here is tempered by life-and-death stakes, as early on a clear mystery of sorts is established, offering up just a touch of a classic procedural format to help ground the action.
—Liz Shannon Miller, Collider
The devil is in the details of “Loki,” but we promise you that devil is not Mephisto.
—David Betancourt, Washington Post
Further proof that when Marvel colour outside the intended lines, they manage their own canvas that’s just as attractive and infinitely more interesting.
—Peter Gray, The AU Review
You’re going to have to pay close attention to know what the hell is going on in this colorfully convoluted that is Loki the TV series.
—Dominic Patten, Deadline Hollywood Daily
The set design for Loki is top-notch, evoking Terry Gilliam’s Brazil with its art deco depiction of the TVA’s base of operations, while nifty visual effects are employed to keep Loki “chained up” and to dispatch agents to time period after time period.
—Matt Webb Mitovich, TV Line
The first two episodes of Loki are extremely exciting and this has the potential to be the best of the MCU spin-off shows from 2021. Let’s hope it continues to be weird, dystopian and gorgeous to look at.
—Fiona Underhill, JumpCut Online
It thankfully seems to be dodging everything that went wrong with The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, and right now, that’s good enough.
—Kyle Pinion, Screen Rex
(Photo by Disney+)
A lot of rigamarole, a lot of time travel jargon and an entirely new science fiction side of the [MCU], but at the very least it succeeds as a showcase for Hiddleston’s mischievous smile. It also might give Disney+ its first genuinely good Marvel series.
—Kelly Lawler, USA Today
“Loki” is a great-looking, well-paced, original piece that’s equal parts workplace comedy, time-hopping adventure, murder mystery and superhero fantasy.
—Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times
After two episodes, Loki is at a tipping point. Having set everything up to an exhausting degree, things could be lined up to get really entertaining.
—Dan Fienberg, Hollywood Reporter
Loki could well improve, now that its arduous task of educating us about multiverses, and glumly explaining Loki to himself, is with any luck behind it. Let’s hope so.
—Tim Robey, Daily Telegraph (UK)
Marvel has another hit! Loki is smart and witty. A self-proclaimed “mischievous scamp,” we love to see what trouble Loki finds next.
—Tania Lamb, Lola Lambchops
Loki is a genre-defying series that is at once bizarre, funny, thrilling and did I say weird already?
—Joey Morona, Cleveland Plain Dealer
Like Loki himself, Loki the series is a little cocksure, reliant on this fan favorite to carry the story like so many Marvel properties do. But also like Loki, they’re not wrong.
—Proma Khosla, Mashable
It’s interesting to think and write about – a show that’s about control, order, chaos, and the unknowable notions of free will, determinism, and choice – but mildly entertaining, at best, as a whole.
—Rodrigo Perez, The Playlist
Nothing can prepare you for Loki, a mind-bending dive into the Marvel Multiverse that takes everything you thought you knew about the MCU and turns it on its head for one of the most ambitious, craziest stories Marvel Studios has ever told.
—Josh Wilding, ComicBookMovie.com
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, Detroit News