Log did something significant: it made me forget the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
It shouldn’t work. The whole idea of the MCU is that every story, whether it’s a blockbuster movie or a streaming TV show, serves a larger narrative arc. You will not only follow what is happening to the characters on the screen, but also clues to the next. Log cannot get rid of it completely, especially with its conclusion that sets the next big villain in the universe. But like the living variants LogOutside the world of time, the first season of the six episodes depicts its own timeline – in fact a few of them – which makes it perhaps the most independent part of the MCU to date. You can enjoy it as part of an all-encompassing world of cinema or as it really is: excellent science fiction.
Spoilers Logfirst season ahead.
The show doesn’t seem independent at first. It opens with a scene Avengers: Final game when Loki (Tom Hiddleston) sets off with a powerful device known as the Tesseract. From now on, the story is different from what was seen on the MCU. The Time Variance Authority (TVA) grabs the Log, which is kind of like a time-traveling FBI with one specific purpose: to protect the “sacred timeline.” From TVA, Loki learns that he is a transformation, which is a great word for someone who deviates from the timeline set by a mysterious trio called Time Keepers, who control the time flow and created TVA to keep it clean. .
Typically, variants are pruned, which is a nice way to say they are killed to protect the timeline from deviating from the plan. But TVA has other ideas about Log. Another variation has terrorized TVA, appearing in several episodes through time and space to kill its agents. This transformation also happens to be another Log – which makes our Log the perfect man to track them down. It has a lot to follow. There are parallel worlds and several timelines, not to mention that this is a show starring the least trusted narrator in the Marvel universe. The mystery of TVA grows steadily during the performance; it seems that everyone knows either much less or much more than they give.
Within this framework, the show jumps over genres, starting a bit like the guy-police series. When Loki is dealt with through TVA’s charming banal bureaucracy, he forms a troubled alliance with Agent Mobius (Owen Wilson) to track down the killer variant. From there, Log head for a clearer sci-fi area; one episode occurs with a dying moon that the planet is crushing, while the other is set in emptiness towards the end of time, which seems to be completely inhabited by alternative versions of the Log. Things are moving at an incredible pace. Hiddleston’s Log is constantly fleeing and eventually exchanging allegiances to work with the variant he was supposed to capture – calling himself Sylvia (Sophia Di Martino) – when the two decide to take TVA away together. Once TVA and its many confusing rules are established, this relationship between the two logs, which begins antagonistically before becoming more intimate, constitutes the work of the exhibition. There are a few synchronization issues, such as a third episode ending in a frustrating rock edge and a monologue-filled finale, but for the most part, Log moves comfortably fast.
The exhibition touches on many sublime themes, such as the idea of parallel worlds and whether free will even exists in the multiverse. But grounding everything is the Log taken by Hiddleston. This is the deepest, more intimate look to the character so far, despite the film spanning six decades. Here, he has been given the opportunity to grow on a nearly six-hour screen. Growth is not usually associated with the Log. He’s a compulsive liar and narcissist, someone so unanimously focused on himself that nothing else seems to matter. But in the performance, it changes – in the most logical way possible. He literally falls in love with himself. It sounds weird, but one of the main curves in the show is Loki and Sylvie, two versions of the same object, a novice romance. But Of course Loki finally found love in his variation of himself. But Of course someone with such violent self-hatred would find their true self in romance itself … with themselves. He grows up during the show, but he’s still Loki.
An outstanding actor brings up the story of love, betrayal and sovereignty. Hiddleston adds depth to the Log that we haven’t seen yet — he slowly peels back the trickster to reveal who he is when he’s not causing problems — and has magnetic chemistry with both Wilson and Di Martino; the first is full of playful tease, the latter a mixture of gentle moments and fierce fighting. There’s also an alarmingly straightforward bureaucrat (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), a clumsy man behind the curtain who threatens to eat an apple (Jonathan Majors), a tough but controversial TVA hunter (Wunmi Mosaku), and even a suspiciously friendly Sir-like character named Miss Minutes (Tara Strong) rounds things out. Everyone just seems to be having fun.
It’s also incredibly charming – not only the outstanding Actors, but also the universe and aesthetics, from 1970s-style retro-futurism to stunning alien worlds that look like a painting by Roger Dean come to life. Things get pretty weird, like when you meet an entire Lokis gang, including the alligator and Loki, who actually managed to survive into old age (played by Richard E. Grant, who seems to have the time of his life). Log there are mashup sci-fi influences – you can see everything Brazil that A Hitchhiker Guide to the Galaxy – that although it is not completely unique, at least it feels separate from the rest of the MCU. It’s playful and hearty to an equal extent, and everything looks really cool.
This idea of isolation from the rest of the Marvel universe is not entirely new. That’s part of what he did WandaVision so attractive – at least initially. The otherness of the sitcom-inspired world of the show was refreshing. But steadily, more MCU-like elements faded into Wanda’s imagination until the show felt like it really was: a sequel to the Avengers story. Log there is much more to its own cause. Of course, there are references to characters and plots, but they feel secondary. And even if the exhibition reveals its greater purpose in the machinations of the MCU (it introduces a Majors character, the conquering Kang, who is set to perform Ant-Man and Wasp: Quantum Mania in a few years), it won’t pull you out of the story. If you’re not in the Marvel story, you probably don’t even understand what’s going on. Rather, it feels like a natural setting now confirmed season 2.
In fact, if you’re somehow new to the whole Marvel thing, I recommend it Log as a starting point. It’s the best the superhero genre has to offer without all the homework.