This review contains spoilers for the finale of Loki
The finale of Disney+ MCU shows have often struggled to bookend the shocking reveals and exciting developments that they begin with – WandaVision’s underwhelming witchy battle and Falcon & Winter Soldier’s overwhelmingly on-the-nose soapbox speech. It can be tough to tie your loose ends together, and even more so is the problem of fan speculation – WandaVision was decried for not introducing Mephisto when the clear villain was Agatha All Along, where Falcon’s ending just felt like it didn’t add much to either character. Loki looks at those shows and goes “okay guys, let me show you how it’s done.”
Finally, we’re getting a look at the man behind the curtain. The spider’s web of timelines branched across the galaxy-crested sky revolving around two monolithic black holes feel like a Guardians-meets-Interstellar visual flair, giving this impossibly massive scale to whoever’s domain this is. Where there’s a castle, there is always a King – according to Miss Minutes, who turns out to be a literal baddie as well as a bad-girl baddie, this is He Who Remains’ domain. In the comics, this is the one True Loki, the ultimate winner and survivor of all his battles and villainous schemes, but why would a Loki be shacked up in a castle at the end of all time? Well, if you’ve been following the clues, Waldron’s misnomer won’t throw you – because up and out of an elevator swaggers no-one else but Jonathan Majors.
It’s Kang, baby! They did it! All the hints and the little thematic clues peppered in, picking up these little pieces and gluing them together is rewarded with our grand reveal – I’ve never been so excited to see Jonathan Majors. He’s without his iconic blue tri-faced masquerade, which may annoy some but remember, Thanos went through multiple iterations before his grand entrance – and it seems like Kang is going to have more than a few of those. It’s interesting that while many comic book fans will know it’s Kang, his actual name is never mentioned throughout this confrontation – maybe they’re saving the ‘official’ reveal for Ant-Man 3, and general fans can use Kang’s Loki appearance as an anchor. Majors plays this Kang like a Machiavellian Lando Calrissian, deviously charming with a flirtatious nature as he plays off the two Lokis. He feels like a cosmic Edgar Allen Poe character, jumping out of the eons-old pages to paint this immeasurably sci-fi aesthetic with a Gothic glow complete with eerie bookcases and echoing fires. The anachronistic sense of his castle offsets the futuristic end-of-time domain he occupies within, which further elevates Kang as this temporal anomaly through and through and creates a subtle off-kilter nature that he picks up and runs away with. He feels both at once remarkably young and impossibly old, like a menacing foil to The Doctor.
Majors plays Kang like the Grand Director of the MCU with a lackadaisical attitude, making him a frightening threat because of the contradiction between his power and his presentation – how do you stop someone who crafted your pathway to them and knows what you’re going to say and do next? I love that they’re fully leaning into the multiplicity of Kang, as Majors weaves his grand gambit to the two – he could be lying, but it feels genuine even through Majors’ overly charismatic façade. The devious caveat of Kang’s plan is that it puts the Lokis in a bind – they can either start a Multiversal War or become the dictators of time in the name of Kang. The Multiversal War has been name-dropped multiple times throughout this season, and given the influence Loki appears to have on Doctor Strange 2, Ant-Man 3 and potentially Spider-man 3, it feels like this is the seed-planting to that – we’ve had the Infinity Gauntlet Saga, and now I feel we are entering the Secret Wars saga. If this is the case, we may be able to possibly predict who will appear/be introduced next, as Secret Wars has a lot of moving parts to it we’ve yet to see emerge in the MCU.
Kate Herron and Michael Waldron have to be commended for their absolutely outstanding creative talent on this show – Herron’s fangirl devotion to Loki has translated to a beautiful tapestry of the essence of Loki, and also exploded the character to show the many reflections of themselves across the cosmos. Waldron’s writing has encapsulated a myriad of mind-boggling and beautifully bizarre Marvel constructs like the TVA into compelling, engaging microcosms that we’re all dying to see more of. This feels like a genuine labour of love from the MCU, from the melodic harps and strings of Natalie Holt’s score to the enchantingly weird set designs of Kasra Farahani, everyone from the Loki team have outdone themselves and made this to be one of the best Marvel Cinematic projects ever created. They started ambitiously and they’ve ended by going above and beyond, setting the stage for the rest of Phase 4 and possibly Phase 5 – Marvel Studios have put so much faith and trust in them, and now that we’ve seen all of Loki, it’s clear to see why. They are marvellously talented and truly, they have been burdened with glorious purpose.
Loki Episode 6 is available now to stream on Disney Plus.