WarningMight contain spoilers.

Fantastic and fun, from start to finish. The difference between Loki and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier cannot be overstated. The music is excellent. The visual effects are very well done—quite seamless in many places. WandaVision struggled to fit a unique tale into the MCU, but the approach here is to tell a story entirely within the conventions of the established universe—an easier task in some ways, accomplished with skill and flair.

Tom Hiddleston is of course superb, especially when Loki is overcome with emotion and lets his guard down at moments like when he sees his future and his death at the TVA. The way Sophia Di Martino and he play off each other is excellent. I really enjoyed Owen Wilson’s completely unexpected, unadorned, and yet hardly uninteresting bureaucratic avatar. It was fun to see Eugene Cordero after his hilarious performance as Pillboi on The Good Place . (I wonder if he’ll ever be reunited with Jameela Jamil in She-Hulk.) I’m always delighted to see Gugu Mbatha-Raw, even with an unnecessary, slightly jarring American accent. Wunmi Mosaku turns in a surprisingly compelling performance as Hunter B-15. I like what Jonathan Majors does as He Who Remains, even though it starts to pall a bit over the course of such a long stretch of nothing but conversation. The Please confirm this is everything you’ve ever said and Are you a robot? bureaucrats were great.

I was surprised not to see more of the MCU’s future when Mobius shows Loki his future, but it comes in time. I do have to point out that telling Loki he isn’t a villain doesn’t square with what we know of him, especially this version, fresh off an attempted invasion of Earth. He’s certainly complicated, and has good in him, but he is also a villain.

I don’t know anything about the TVA or the Timekeepers, as my knowledge of the comics is quite limited, so I was able to fully enjoy all the twists and turns. It’s a nice twist to have the variant they’re chasing be a woman. While the romance between two variants of the same person doesn’t sit right with me, I was impressed by Sophia Di Martino’s careful navigation of the nuances of Sylvie’s fears and vulnerability when Loki and she confess their feelings for one another. She’s always interesting, but that’s when she steals your heart.

One curiosity concerns Loki himself. I repeatedly assumed his actions were part of a grand scheme, as we’re used to seeing. For example, when he gets Sylvie and himself ejected from the train on Lamentis and persuades her to explain enchantment to him, I thought he was preparing to betray her, but it was all ultimately real. The only time we see Loki’s trademark betrayals are near the beginning and then near the end, in the hilarious sequence with the variants.[2] And speaking of Lamentis, while I praised the visual effects earlier and the planet is as well done as the rest of it, the CGI-riddled faux–single take showing the two of them trying to get to the departing spacecraft was not at all up to the mark.

Seeing Mobius be pruned is a devastating moment, but it naturally made me question the concept of pruning. The post-credits scene after Loki’s pruning is a superb twist (if it can be called that). Richard E. Grant is brilliant as Classic Loki, from his first appearance there to his awesome last scene. Boastful Loki doesn’t make much of an impression, Kid Loki has a quiet confidence and self-assurance, and Alligator Loki is both amusing and interesting, assuming he is a Loki, which was an enjoyable conversation in and of itself.

Sylvie sending Loki back to the TVA was a truly sad moment, though not exactly a surprise. The real heartbreak came when Mobius failed to recognize him. It was an amazing end to the show, all in all. The multiversal madness to come looks to be something spectacular.

  1. It also felt like a bit of a waste to use the variants only for that joke.