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Loki Season 1 (2021) Review

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Loki Season 1

Cast:
Tom Hiddleston as Loki
Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Ravonna Renslayer
Wunmi Mosaku as Hunter B-15
Eugene Cordero as Casey
Tara Strong voices Miss Minutes
Owen Wilson as Mobius M. Mobius
Sophia Di Martino as Sylvie
Sasha Lane as Hunter C-20
Jack Veal as Kid Loki
DeObia Oparei as Boastful Loki
Richard E. Grant as Classic Loki
Jonathan Majors as He Who Remains
Director:
Kate Herron
Creator: Michael Waldron

Loki, the God of Mischief (Tom Hiddleston), steps out of his brother’s shadow to embark on an adventure that takes place after the events of “Avengers: Endgame.”

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Loki was yet another show from the MCU which would be releasing on Disney+. Out of the shows that Marvel initially announced, I was wondering about what the point of this one was, especially after Loki had his death in the opening of Avengers: Infinity War. From the trailers I reckoned that it would be just filling the gap of the Loki who disappeared with the Tesseract in Avengers: Endgame, and would generally just consist of him getting into shenanigans involving time periods. Some of that was true, but it ended up being a lot different than I thought it would be.

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There’s some aspects of the show worth experiencing for yourself, so I’ll try to be light with spoilers and details. Loki starts out with a whole lot of worldbuilding in the first episode with the TVA, an organisation that preserves the current timeline, and I thought it was quite interesting learning about all this. Like with WandaVision and Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki also explores its lead character and the show is character focused. The lead character certainly goes through a change, even when it’s picking up with the Loki from 2012’s The Avengers. The show is definitely slower paced and for some that might get a bit dull. However I appreciated the slower pace and what it was going for. There are some action scenes in the show but it never feels like it is reliant on it. It does take a while to get into what the story is really about, the first couple of episodes takes its time to develop things and while I was invested, I know that some will find that its just meandering. After the first three episodes though I think you’ll get into it. There is some humour but unlike some other MCU projects it doesn’t interrupt anything and actually works well for the tone of the show.

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Usually the finale is where the MCU shows have an issue. WandaVision changed from what it was trying to do and just devolves into a very typical Marvel climax with large special effects. The Falcon and Winter Soldier was more consistent but the way the finale played out ended up highlighting the issues that the entire show had. However, Loki actually nails the ending quite well. Without spoiling anything, it doesn’t end with a traditional climax, and once again I really appreciate that. It is staying true to itself and being more about the story and characters rather than just ticking another box in the Marvel formula. I will say this however, unlike the other two shows, it ends in a cliff-hanger. I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to say this since its been announced that Loki has been renewed for a second season. Some character arcs haven’t been quite completed and story plotlines weren’t quite fully resolved, as a result some aspects feel less satisfying compared to the other Marvel shows because they haven’t been finalised yet. So much critical stuff happens in the last episode that I’m surprised that it was happened in this show as opposed to one of the bigger Marvel movies. I know that not everyone watches the MCU shows, even people who watch the movies, and some will probably look over Loki because it seems like a one off show just about Loki. However for what it’s worth I think the show is worth watching if only because of the roll on effect it will have on the other movies and shows. In terms of credits scenes, surprisingly there’s only one in episode 4, and just a little tease in episode 6, which are worth watching.

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The cast were also great in their parts. As expected, Tom Hiddleston reprises his role of Loki. Not only does he get to have a lot of fun as Loki, but Loki goes through a change of his own over the course of the show. To put this in context, this is the Loki from The Avengers (2012) finding out what happens to him (including his death in Infinity War). So he goes through his own change and development, like the lead characters in the previous Marvel shows. However, there’s something even more fascinating about a character like Loki going through the change, and this show makes me like Loki more as a character. Sophia Di Martino plays a vital character named Sylvie, and she’s great in her part too. Her onscreen dynamic with Loki was great to see, especially considering the connection the two of them have (won’t get into it more than that). Another notable character is that of an agent of the TVA named Mobius played by Owen Wilson, and this might actually be one of my favourite roles and performances from Wilson. He has great chemistry with Hiddleston and I loved seeing the two of them interacting, especially in the earlier episodes. Other supporting actors with the likes of Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Wunmi Mosaku are also good in their parts. There are two guest performers in this who stand out, both of them are particularly great in their screentime. The one actor whose name I can mention is Richard E. Grant, and while I won’t go into what his role is, he pretty much stole the entire episode that he was in with his performance. The second performer is a critical role, and who makes me very excited for what’s to come next in the other movies and shows.

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This show is directed by Kate Herron, and she’s done a great job with it all. The show is visually striking and nothing like what the MCU has done before. The set designs, environments and CGI are great (the look of the TVA alone was immediately distinct), those and the cinematography came together to form a gorgeous looking show. As said previously, there is action here and to be honest they aren’t that spectacular. They usually just consist of Loki and other characters involved with hand to hand combat with maybe some weapons. They are filmed okay and are solid enough, they are good enough for the purpose of the show. There is one large set piece involving a lot of CGI in one of the later episodes but even that’s handled very well. Another standout is the score from Natalie Holt, which is incredibly distinct and really gives the show a unique tone and feel. One of my favourite scores from the MCU.

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Loki has ended up being one of my favourite instalments in the MCU. As someone who almost begrudgingly likes some of the MCU projects, I was thoroughly surprised by it. While it is still in the MCU, it remained true to itself and didn’t feel too constrained by some of the formula that some of the movies and shows have to follow. The performances were all solid, the direction was great, and I was invested with the story and characters. If you are interested in the MCU I think it is worth checking out.

Batman: The Killing Joke (2016) Review

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The Killing Joke

Time: 76 Minutes
Age Rating: 2773-o[1] Violence and Sexual References
Cast:
Kevin Conroy as Bruce Wayne/Batman
Mark Hamill as Joker
Tara Strong as Barbara Gordon/Batgirl
Ray Wise as Commissioner James Gordon
Director: Sam Liu

Batman (Kevin Conroy) must save Commissioner Gordon (Ray Wise) from the Joker’s (Mark Hamill) twisted quest to drive him insane.

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I like The Killing Joke graphic novel. I’m not crazy over the story like so many people are, but I do understand why it was so famous. I was actually quite interested to see the adaptation of this story, especially as they got Batman and Joker voice actors Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill to do voicework for the film. Having seen the movie, I have to say that I actually liked the film quite a bit. Aside from the first 30 minutes which do have some problems (and really the majority of the problems of the film), I think that this film adapted The Killing Joke quite well. Looking at the reception though, this film seemed to have divided people, shame really, as I think this is a very solid movie. I do think that it is worth checking out though.

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By far the biggest flaw of this movie is the first 30 minutes, and I think that’s something that most people will agree on. It’s a prologue largely focussing on Barbara Gordon and her as Batgirl. It dragged quite a bit, felt quite weak, didn’t connect in any way to the Killing Joke segment and felt quite out of place, especially when you’re going into an adaptation of the Killing Joke. I can understand why she would have this focused on her, considering that a criticism of the graphic novel was that Barbara wasn’t given great treatment, and they wanted to give her more development and characterisation. The thing is if you cut that out of the movie, you’d just get the Killing Joke story and you wouldn’t notice that anything had been taken out. And yes, for some who know, there’s a controversial scene between Batgirl and Batman during these 30 minutes. All I’ll say is, it felt really out of place and didn’t work at all, and felt forced in and awkward. I think the 30 minutes was also added in just to make the movie longer, without it the movie is about 46 minutes long but I think that’s preferable to having a forced in prologue. I really liked the rest of the film. It’s very similar to the graphic novel, the story and dialogue are all there and if you liked the graphic novel, you will most likely love this section. And in that it’s worth noting that if you don’t like certain things in the graphic novel (like Joker having a tragic backstory, what happened to Barbara during it) you will feel the same way about that in the movie. There is an end credit scene, while not bad, it felt unnecessary.

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The voicework by Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, Tara Strong and others are great, and do suit the characters (unsurprisingly since they have been voicing the Batman characters for a long time). I personally like the animation of the movie, a lot of people have complained that it looked quite cartoonish, but I think it’s trying to imitate the comic books. Then again this is the first animated Comic Book Movie/Cartoon/TV show I’ve seen, so I can’t measure the Killing Joke up against any other animations.

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This film seemed to have divided some people. If you didn’t like the Killing Joke story, it’s highly likely that you won’t like this movie. It doesn’t go any more or less extreme than what was done in the graphic Novel. However I think it’s at least worth a look for those interested. It’s not perfect, once again the first 30 minutes really doesn’t work the best in the story (and had the majority of the flaws of the movie), but I still think it’s a solid DC animated movie with the voice talent and the telling of the Killing Joke.