Loki (S1) | A Somewhat Complex Talkathon

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, out of all the Marvel Cinematic Universe Television Series that were announced Loki was the one that I was the most excited for. Not because I am a Loki or Tom Hiddleston mega stan – Hiddleston can get it I’ll admit that – but the look, the feel of the show and the time element sold me on it. The head writer Michael Waldron was not known to me but I’ve seen and enjoyed Ricky and Morty; same thing for the director Kate Herron (Daybreak, Sex Education). However, I had to admit that the rest of the cast was both known to me and surprised the heck out of me. I mean we have Owen Wilson (Marley & Me, Inherent Vice), Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Come Away, Concussion, Belle, Miss Sloane), Sophia Di Martino (Yesterday, Into the Badlands), Richard E. Grant (Star Wars IX, The Nutcracker, Logan, GoT), and Wunmi Mosaku (Lovecraft Country, The End of the F***ing World, Philomena).

Premise: In Avengers: Endgame – where an alternate version of Loki created a new timeline when he stole the Tesseract – the TVA (Time Variance Authority), a bureaucratic organization that exists outside of time and space who monitors the timeline. They give that alternate Loki a choice: face being erased from existence due to being a “time variant”, or help fix the timeline to stop a greater threat. Loki ends up trapped in his own crime thriller, traveling through time and altering human history.

Review: Not sure what I expected the series to be but this ain’t it, and I’m glad about it. The show is a bit more complex and smarter than I would have guessed. It’s designed for a specific type of fan, one that knows the MCU like the back of his hand, who loves to speculate about it, and would pick up on the many implications the series has.

By putting the 2014 Avengers’ Loki in this situations, being outside of the MCU we know and protecting it from anything that might disturb it. From a character’s perspective, it gets a bit fascinating because we know the growth Loki’s capable of, he can become a somewhat nice guy. However the one in the show is still angry and bitter, just like ours was back in 2014. So the process of getting him where we know he could be starts anew and that is, when I think about it, the redundant part of the show. As great as it was to see the old Loki back in the beginning of the season, it kind of gets old because regressions aren’t very fun to watch. I think it’s why Mobius is a lifeline at the start, and when he wasn’t there, he was missed.

Since this Loki has a different experience during the series, the road to get him where we know he can be wasn’t very exciting for me. For a good chunk of it the show seemed a bit slow, not much was happening, there was a lot of talking, but it was necessary. We needed the time to redefine the 2014 Loki. The quips, the memorable lines, and the visuals in the series were a good distraction but the show wasn’t as exciting as WandaVision or Falcon and The Winter Soldier got by the second half of the season.

Despite amazing action scenes, the story is cerebral throughout, like a chess game. The main vilain being a bit abstract, a vague entity that they’re up against and that we don’t really know, the action scenes have a different impact. To me Loki is best when he has a clear concrete foe, someone we know, which is why I think season two will be even better. We’ve met that vilain, a variant at least, and by the time next season rolls out we will have learn more about that enemy.

Pacing and story aside the cast does a great job, casting is key here. They are one of the reasons why I was so engaged. When the pace was a bit slow, the story not developing fast enough, they kept me entertained. The visuals were also amazing, hands down more impressive than all the shows so far. It helped getting immerse in the story but also with the scope. It very much felt like what was happening in this show will have repercussions not only on the main characters but on the cinematic universe at large.

So season 1 of Loki is visually striking, fun, very well acted and a great primer for the following MCU films and the upcoming season 2.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

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Loki (Pilot) | A Recap and A Mystery

Michael Waldron (Head Writer) & Kate Herron (Director)

CAST
Tom Hiddleston
Owen Wilson
Gugu Mbatha-Raw
Wunmi Mosaku

Review: I suspected as much but Loki has a different vibe than the other shows and I love it. The set and costume designs, the cinematography, it all look singular yet it fits with the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Story wise most of the pilot was flashbacks, ones that served to brings us back to Loki’s past. It’s history to us but news to him since this Loki is an alternate version. The flashbacks also shine a light on his state of mind back in Avengers. We get an accelerated version of the crumbling of his armor, some of his façade is shed when his trajectory is revealed to him.

The rest of the episode pretty much sets up the mystery around the show. If you follow this kind of stuff it is not a surprise but it does set up Loki to face his own demons in a more hands on way than the flashbacks did. Like WandaVision was, Loki also seems to be some kind of a therapy session for the character, a form of active therapy to try and get him to know himself better.

The pilot does raise a few questions but there’s not much excitement so far. However, we get to revel in the beauty of the show, banter and the amazing acting performance.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

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Wandavision | Poster Analysis

I love this! This WandaVision poster is brilliant. Given what we know of the series, meaning that it’s inspired by different sitcoms throughout the ages, the static wave like ripples on the image screams TV. In fact the whole thing looks like a picture of a temperamental television screen.

The demarcation between the black and white, and color seems like the result of a TV that’s not receiving the signal properly. But most notable is the red color of that demarcation, it is how Wanda’s powers manifest in every movie she’s appeared in. They’ve mixed Wanda’s powers with the static of television. We know she’s the one doing this, creating different realities. The jagged edges the demarcations in the image make it look like a portal, a tear, a rip in reality? It tracks with the reality warping powers we know Wanda to have in the comics.

The black and white part of the image is the dream, the warped reality, and the color is reality. Since what happened to the couple in Infinity War it weirdly makes sense that they’d end up in the….1950s? Where everything is perfect, not a hair out of place. I don’t know about you, but I find that the 1950s esthetic can easily look creepy. For instance, the whole image has a trippy look to it, particularly the parts of it in colors at the edges of the poster where it’s wavy and we see Wanda and Vision as we’ve seen them in the MCU.

WandaVision is gearing up to be a weird, trippy but sophisticated show and I’m here for. Even the posebthey’re in is reminiscent of a familiar image, the 1930 painting by Grant Wood, American Gothic.

My trailer reaction

The Program | Poster Analysis

I like when a poster tells a story and this one is one if the brilliant ones. From top to bottom it tells a story, besides the name of the people who worked on this film, which depending on your tastes, it will give you faith in this movie or not. The story really starts with the title The Program. Lance Armstrong’s rise to prominence and downfall was a highly publicized, this title immediately puts you in the right frame of mind. Winning seven consecutive Tour de France while using Performance enhancing drugs must have been difficult, and achieving such a feet was quite an ordeal, a whole Program.

The tag line “Winning was in his blood” is a such a genius double entendra that it makes me smile. “It’s in your blood, you can do this” is such a popular phrase, a mantra when it comes to winning, overcoming hardship or some great task. It is meant to empower, help push through limits, give a boost of energy and hope….just like performance enhancing drugs. The tag line both illustrates the a winner’s mantra and a cheater’s confidence in his drugs.

The cyclist with both his arms raised to the sky is often The Pose you’ll see when cyclists are crossing the finish line. He’s in the center of the poster, like he would be in the middle of the road, so the eyes are drawn to him despite all the yellow around him. Yellow, in the Tour de France, is the color of the jersey the leader of the general classification wears. So the fact the poster and the cyclist on it wears that color makes sense, after all yellow reminds us of gold, winners are given gold medals, and Armstrong won a lot of them at the time.

The fact that the cyclist on the poster, supposedly Lance Armstrong, is making the “Ok” sign with his left hand is so smart. It could be easily dismissed but means so much, like “we’re ok, we did.” “got away with it again.” It’s the kind of small details that many, who got the general idea of the poster and this the film, might miss.

The needle of what appears to be a syringe give the impression of a trajectory, the middle line of a road, and a nice metaphor of that syringe pushing him through the finish line, to the win, calling back to the tag line “Winning was in his blood.”

It might have been great if the syringe was made to look like one of those caravans that often follow cyclists along, it would have reinforced the idea that it was “a team effort” that Armstrong didn’t do this by himself. But then maybe it would have been harder to see the syringe.

If there’s anything I missed don’t hesitate to share it with me and what’s your take on this Poster ?