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Loki Episode 1 – Review

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Marvel Studios

Episode one of Loki from Marvel is here, streaming now on Disney Plus, how does it compare to the other recent MCU series, here’s our review.

SPOILERS: If you’re reading this then you’ve probably seen the show, but if not there are spoilers ahead.

He’s back

Loki is the latest streaming series from Marvel and Disney Plus. It is their third series this year following WandaVision and The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. It is also the one I have been most excited about, as I think Loki is one of the strongest characters in the MCU. This is largely thanks to the scene-stealing performances every time he is on screen from Tom Hiddleston. He plays the role with a level of mischievous malevolence akin to the late Alan Rickman as The Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. He plays the role in a way only an Englishman could. It was extremely amusing to see a small vignette of him playing the classic English character of James Bond. A role he has been heavily linked with.

This series is set after the events of Avengers Assemble and before all that happened in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. Meaning that none of the cinematic timeline or plot is spoilt. In fact, it looks very much like this series may explain Loki’s ‘reformation’ between those films. We’re treated to a ‘This Is Your Life’ style film of his best and worst moments as he discovers what is to transpire in his life courtesy of the Time Variant Authority (TVA).

The Time Variant Authority

The TVA are designated protectors of ‘The Sacred Timeline’. Which Loki had disrupted with his theft of the Tesseract during Endgame. Their sole purpose is to round up those who transgress against it or affect it. Loki is captured in the Gobi desert and sentenced to be reset before Agent Mobius intervenes as he feels Loki can help him. Owen Wilson is playing the unusually named Agent Mobius M. Mobius as he continues his metamorphosis into looking like the long lost brother of John Slattery (aka the older Howard Stark).

It’s great to see Owen Wilson away from his comedy roots. Although there will be comedic moments in this, it’s nice to see him in a slightly more dramatic role.

Mobius and the rest of the TVA are skipping through time to try and prevent a serious timeline breach or apocalyptic event. We find them at one stage in a church in 16th Century France. One with a stained glass window seemingly depicting Mephisto. His appearance in the MCU has been teased for a little while now with multiple references to him in WandaVision and The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. But now, it seems the teasing has stopped he is being unleashed upon us. We’re left wondering at the end of the episode as an unseen hooded figure attacks a group of TVA agents with fire. Could this be Mephisto or are they teasing us still further.

A world away from time

The TVA’s HQ is set somewhere in the universe where even Loki is staggered by what he sees when he looks out from it. It is a visually stunning utopia. It is a cross between Wakanda and Ridley Scott’s vision of Los Angeles in Bladerunner. The Bladerunner references continue as Nexus events are occurring. As TVA agents (or ‘Minutemen’) skip through time and space looking for timeline transgressors. I’m sure fans of Doctor Who and HG Wells will lap up this kind of thing. It also gives Marvel so much licence to have fun with historical events and retroactively create events that affect future happenings in the MCU.

The TVA’s raison d’etre was explained by their mascot(?) Miss Minute – played by Family Guy’s Tara Strong. I have a feeling her character is going to be akin to Jarvis in Iron Man films i.e. a sentient, AI bout of comic relief.

What’s coming?

As expected with any Marvel series, the production values are outstanding. The attention to detail is absolutely spot on and the cinematography is mind-blowing. Given this is a six-episode series, I’m hopeful the pacing will be quicker than The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. I’m also hoping that we may get the cameos we missed out on in the previous series. Equally, I’m praying there’ll be a more streamlined story with fewer threads that don’t really go anyway or affect the overall plot, which was a major criticism of the last Marvel outing.

I don’t think this could be described as a Loki, sorry, low-key opening. It’s another really promising start to a series. Let’s see if it lives up to that promise.


CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 7/10


Thank you for reading our review of Loki episode one. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.


Read our The Falcon And The Winter Soldier episode six review HERE.

Read IMDB information about Loki HERE.

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TV News

Cobra Kai Season 4 – Review

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Cobra Kai Season Four image
Netflix

Cobra Kai season four is out now on Netflix and the All Valley is back and better than ever. Here’s our review.

SPOILERS: If you’re reading this then you’ve probably seen the show, but if not there are spoilers ahead.

It’s January, and new shows are popping up everywhere. This brings us to the show that I and my friends have been holding our breaths for: the fourth season of the hit Netflix series Cobra Kai! After three seasons, I wondered if there was anything left to mine from the Karate Kid lore or the Johnny/Daniel dynamic. I am happy to report that this might be my favourite season yet! It manages to not only expand upon the universe it has created, but to bring in a new villain, who is so bad that he threatens to outdo even John Kreese!

Alliance

Season four sets us off where the third left off, with Johnny and Daniel having joined forces to fight Cobra Kai. Their friendship arc is the glue that holds this season together. The story focuses largely on whether they will be able to pull it together and make their partnership work. As in previous seasons, their relationship has its ups and downs. The stakes are heightened, however, as the season leads up to the All-Valley Tournament. A bet between the three senseis – Kreese, Daniel, and Johnny – means that losing the All Valley is losing the title of sensei.

This season explores the ways that both Johnny and Daniel work with the kids. It also examines the kids’ struggles as they prepare for the All Valley while dealing with conflict within the ever-changing network of friends and enemies in the dojos. Robbie has left juvenile hall and decided to join up with Cobra Kai as a means of inflicting revenge on both his dad and Daniel. Tori and Sam continue their rivalry. And John Reese’s old friend Terry Silver (of Karate Kid 3 fame) shows up to kick Cobra Kai into high gear.

Daniel’s son, Anthony, who has largely been absent until now, faces his own dilemma when his friends begin bullying Kenny, the new kid in town. This soft-spoken middle school character brings us into the world of the younger kids, setting up yet another storyline. Kenny becomes the victim of a gang of kids (including Anthony), enduring round after round of bullying before Robbie takes him under his wing. After his induction into Cobra Kai, the formerly shy middle-schooler becomes a bully himself.

Shades of grey

This brings me to one of my favourite things about the show. The constant back and forth dynamic between characters makes us feel that anything is possible. There is no black and white in the world of Cobra Kai. Where the Karate Kid told us that Daniel was good, and Johnny was bad, this show gives us a very different point of view. It’s a world where we’re never sure who to root for. In this season, we even see Hawk make a return to the “good guys” side after giving up his spot at Cobra Kai.

With Eagle Fang (Johnny’s new dojo) and Miyagi-Do teaming up, the kids – and the adults – have to learn to work together. Of course, complications ensue. Johnny becomes jealous of what he perceives as Miguel’s preference for Daniel over him. Sam wants to learn both her dad’s karate style and Johnny’s, despite her father’s discouragement. Meanwhile, at Cobra Kai, Kreese is losing his grip on the dojo. His former war buddy, Terry Silver, puts off a rather benign appearance in episode one, growing more and more evil with each episode.

This season is lacking in many of the big fight scenes of the previous seasons, instead choosing to focus their energy on the characters. The All Valley Tournament features several great karate matches and offers a satisfying conclusion to Johnny and Daniel’s arc. In the end, Cobra Kai takes the tournament win, but Johnny and Daniel have reached an understanding.

New champions

Tori defeats Sam to take the women’s All Valley trophy but later overhears her sensei paying off one of the referees. It’s clear that Cobra Kai has pulled yet another fast one. But the season ends on an even more ominous – and unexpected – note. Terry Silver assaults the over-aged former Cobra Kai member, Stingray, sending him to the hospital. He then makes a deal with Stingray to blame the crime on Kreese. We end the season with Kreese in handcuffs, Terry Silver set to take over Cobra Kai, and the future of Eagle Fang and Miyagi-Do uncertain. In a last shocking twist, Miguel leaves town in search of his biological father.

Although some may miss the school hallway throw downs, I found this one satisfying in a different way. It just goes to show that the ever-expanding Cobra Kai universe can keep bringing surprises season after season.


CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 9/10


Thank you for reading our review of Cobra Kai season four. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.


Check out our Hawkeye episode one and two review HERE.

Read IMDB information about Spider-Man: No Way Home HERE.

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