Friday, August 6, 2021

Val Kilmer bears his soul in the unforgettable "Val"

                                         

It may seem like a sleazy vanity project when an actor decides to make a documentary about their own lives. Or, when handled right, it can be the summation of a person's soul. Thankfully, we get the latter with "Val."

Even if you are apart of the Generation Z crowd, if you become a big enough cinephile, you will come across Val Kilmer eventually. He was a big name throughout the 80's and 90's, who eventually struggled to find work when it was deemed he was too hard to work with. He disappeared from the limelight by the mid-2000's, sometimes coming out of the wood work to star in a indie drama or two. The ruggedly handsome man ballooned to obesity. Then sadly, eventually developed throat cancer. Thankfully, Val Kilmer has survived his cancer, and he's still trucking along. Still attached to make an appearance in that "Top Gun" sequel that is still apparently coming some time soon.

Val Kilmer grew up in the heart of Hollywoodland, and he and his brothers were always making films of their own. Kilmer was one of the first stars who had a video camera when they were made, and he created seemingly endless home movies, and testimonials from all of the films he worked on. All of this footage used to tell the story of a man who loved movies and acting. This is the story of Val Kilmer. Whether you like him or not, whether you thought he was jerk or not. The truth is, you got the story that the media furnished for you. We sometimes forget that every story has two sides. 

From what I gathered from this documentary. Val Kilmer was a man who was ridiculously in love with the world of film. So much so that he is relentless on himself and he was relentless on those around him and sometimes that can cause some tension, to say the least. I don't believe he did the things he did because he is a malicious person he just a very intense artist. I am not saying I excuse his bad behavior, he feels remorse for his own behavior. Understanding where it all comes from is the first step we make to bettering ourselves as people. Val Kilmer digs deep in these recorded memories, and rehashing the things he's done and what has come of all of it.

Val has mad respect for all the people he's worked with (except maybe John Frankenheimer, that's up for debate!) It's definitely inspiring to see a man who has been living his dream, seemingly from out of the womb. Also, living his dream for others in his family (His younger brother accidently drowned at age 15, he enjoyed making home movies with Val). No matter how big we get as stars or how big our heads get from working in the industry for so long, Val Kilmer proves that we never too big for self-reflection and watching a man throw it all out of there, to get his story out there is an overwhelmingly inspiring experience.

"Val" is not the movie I thought I needed this year, but something I am so glad I got this year. With all the down time COVID brought this passed year, it was a year full of my own self-reflection. It's always good to look yourself in a mirror and take inventory on what you've become and it can help you enormously. "Val" isn't just a beautiful summation of a man's career, its not just the x-ray of a man's life, it is lovely self-portrait of the rollercoaster of good and bad on the ride called life. 

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Yep, that's "The Suicide Squad" alright.

                                         

One of the biggest letdowns of the 2010's for me was "Suicide Squad." After many superhero movies that had hit the big screen up, I was ready for a movie about supervillains being forced to work for the government for shortened prison sentences. I was hoping for a different kind of comic book movie, because that's what you do with that kind of premise...something different. I wouldn't have minded a gritty movie. If anybody could have made this work, it was David Ayer. So what did Warner Brothers do? They panicked, stripped Ayer's vision for spare parts and just gave us another, carbon-copy "superhero" movie...except this time it starred supervillains. Hard pass.

I hope Warner Brothers is starting to see that if they give their artists the opportunity to fly, they make great comic book movies. Just like what James Gunn just did with "The Suicide Squad." James Gunn's film is basically the comic book version of "The Dirty Dozen," which is exactly what I want from a Suicide Squad movie. The worst of the worst supervillains are forced to work for the government. That pesky Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) always knowing how to manipulate the baddies with ease. All of this within the James Gunn anesthetic. Count me in.

"The Suicide Squad" is so amazing, you're going to be begging for a James Gunn DC Universe. I want that. Come on DC, make James Gunn the Kevin Feige of DC. You know you'd see your profits soar if you decided to do that. Make him the main producer of a DC film universe. Imagining where Gunn not only allowed each DC superhero to really shine, but also the bottom-of-the-barrel characters to shine as well!? Oh man, I long for something like that.

The film begins with Johnny Cash's "Folsom City Blues" playing as Savant (Michael Rooker) gets recruited into the Suicide Squad. The movie doesn't waste time introducing new characters. You get to know some as the film progresses, but don't expect a 30 minute Wikipedia information dump like the first film did. Some characters you'll only learn their names, you'll get to see them in action and then poof. They're gone. This is a movie that definitely makes the team live up to its name. Not everybody makes it out of this one, in fact, most of the team is dead by the end of the film. I loved the unpredictable nature of this film. There are character deaths that take place that I am absolutely shocked happened. I knew there were going to be deaths, but not THOSE deaths. I thought to myself, "wow, they really let James Gunn go there." But we are all richer for it. An unpredictable movie like this is exactly what we needed.

Joel Kinnamen, Margot Robbie, and Jai Courtney return as Rick Flag, Harley Quinn and Captain Boomerang from the first film. The movie plays coy about this really being a sequel, even if some of the players from the first film appear again. They are joined by Bloodsport (Idris Elba); an assassin you put Superman in the hospital with a kryptonite bullet, Peacemaker (John Cena) very much an anti-Captain America, Ratcatcher (Daniela Melchoir); who can control rats, King Shark (Slyvester Stallone); who is a giant walking talking shark, Polka-Dot Man (David Dastmalchian) who kills people...with dots, TDK (Nathan Fillion) who can detach his arms, Weasel (Sean Gunn) a giant weasel, Blackguard (Peter Davidson); a gunman, Javelin (Flula Borg); who can kill with a javelin, and Mongal (Mayling Ng) an alien. All have to go to the island nation of Corto Maltese to destroy a base working on a secret threat to world peace known as Project Starfish.

The mayhem and anarchy start right away, and Gunn barely slows down the carnage. His style of humor shines through and through here. Everybody does really well here. It will be hard for you to really pick a favorite of the bunch. Idris Elba is a straight up badass here. John Cena is surprisingly amazing here, I never knew there would ever be a day I'd love John Cena, but here we are. Polka Dot Man is a bottom-of-the-barrel Batman villain nobody remembers, so of course Gunn takes him and makes him the heart of the film. Along with Ratcatcher and Dastmalchian does some of his finest work here as Polka Dot Man. Daniela Melchoir is a real discovery here. Viola Davis plays Waller with much more malice here than before, very much the anti-Nick Fury.

The film is packed with cameos, both from the DC Universe and Gunn's previous films. (Look for Pom Klementieff moment, who played Mantis in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2). As trailers have shown, Starro shows up and its an amazing scene with him in it. The only character complaint I have is the lack of personality with King Shark. Sly does a good job, but giving King Shark a dumb personality just seems very safe. Especially with all the personality he has in the Harley Quinn cartoon on HBOMax.

Where the film really works though is that this is a movie about supervillains, through and through. Even when the team gets heroic, those heroics are only a means to an end. The 2016 film had the supervillains turn into superheroes rather quickly. Their loyalty is to each other, a group of misfits who become a family because they don't have anything else. They aren't working for the world's sake, even when it seems like they are. While, Gunn does lace his film with humor, it's never overpowering. This is a story that merely takes place in a world with superpowered people and aliens and weird monsters and things of that nature. It treats those things as real, and sometimes the humor comes from taking something fanatical and making it mundane. The film is very clever and it puts character first in a spectacular way.

If you felt jaded by the 2016 film. James Gunn just made it up to us in a big way. This is the "Suicide Squad" movie we deserved in the first place, and people are going to love this one. As much as I'd miss Gunn's influence at Marvel, please allow him to make more DC stuff, he gets it. We need it.

Monday, August 2, 2021

"The Green Knight" is an early contender for Best Film of 2021

                                          

"The Green Knight" is easily my favorite film of the year so far. Possibly could end up being best, depending on how the rest of the year goes. It's imaginative, hypnotic, epic, and richly realized all in equal measure. It's an epic fantasy film told through the arthouse lens. It's "Lord of the Rings" or "Game of Thrones" in a box. It's weird, strange and disturbing. It's fanatical and radical and will surely keep your eyes glued to the screen.

Okay, hopefully that's enough adjectives for now. I just need to set the mood for this review. There was a time when fantasy on film was very silly. It depended on weird names, and lots of action and lots of zany silliness to make sure the audience knew they were watching fantasy. Even the best efforts of this genre, like "Lord of the Rings," also suffers from just a hint of silliness. Make all that silliness matter is why "Lord of the Rings" sticks out so well, but it's been a problem with the genre for awhile. If you thought "Game of Thrones" took fantasy serious, just wait until to you see "The Green Knight." This is a movie lathered in Arthurian Legend, with mix of modern epic fantasy with a wee bit of "The Seventh Seal" thrown in for good measure. Not to say that "The Green Knight" is pieces of other movies, Heavens, no. I just want to set the stage for what you are going to see. This will make you think and you will have to interpret the film in your own way. Which sometimes frustrates viewers. It's certainly not a trope that existed in fantasy films before.

Dev Patel plays Gawain, he is the nephew of King Arthur. He's a knight on his way to becoming as respected as his uncle. Except maybe not. He spends Christmas in a brothel, so maybe he isn't the honorable man he's supposed to be. He is enjoying a meal with his uncle, played by Sean Harris, and the other knights of the round table, when their meal is interrupted by a mysterious Green Knight, which looks like a being conjured from someone's nightmare. The Green Knight wants to challenge one of the knights to a "game." If one of the knights can lay a blow on the Green Knight, then he will give away his prized axe. However, next Christmas they must meet The Green Knight for a wound of equal measure. Gawain, who feels inferior and a bit boring compared to the other knights, accepts the challenge. The Green Knight simply puts his weapon down and allows Gawain to behead him. End of the Green Knight already? Except no. The Green Knight simply picks up his head and leaves. Gawain must wallow in the anxiety of getting his head cut off by the Green Knight next year.

As the next Christmas approaches, King Arthur insists to the reluctant Gawain to uphold the oath, even if the Green Knight is just playing a game. Gawain embarks on a quest to face The Green Knight. A journey that leads him to some shady scavengers, a talking fox, a lord whose wife looks exactly like his brothel lover Essel (Alicia Vikander), a ghost, and some giants. The film keeps a consistent mood of feeling kind of realistic, never feeling like our favorite high fantasy movies from the past. Like I said above, this is an arthouse version of an epic fantasy. It's strange but it is epic in equal measure.

How Dev Patel hasn't won an Oscar yet seems odd, but I am sure his career is going to upgrade after his incredible work in this film. Absolutely perfect from beginning to end. Ralph Ineson plays the Green Knight. He's a name you may not recognize at first. He's best known for his work on the British version of "The Office" but has appeared in supporting and background roles in such films as diverse as "Harry Potter," "Kingsman: The Secret Service," "Ready Player One," "Guardians of the Galaxy" and "Gunpowder Milkshake." His big starring role came in 2015 in "The Witch." He's poised to be star. He's got a tall, intense presence in films and he's got a rumbling, iconic voice that I can't believe he isn't more famous then he is. It's an incredible performance by Ineson and one in which I hope elevates his career. The film is full of great actors doing great work, including Alicia Vikander, Sean Harris, Erin Kellyman, Joel Edgerton and Barry Keoghan. It's well acted from a powerful ensemble.

Much will be debated about the film's ending and I don't want to indulge in spoilers in this review. If you are interested in a different kind of fantasy film, look no further. "The Green Knight" has left me dying to see it again. A shining star within a rather slow summer. And an early contender for the top of the 2021 releases.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

M. Night Shyamalan's "Old" isn't as bad as "The Happening" but doesn't compare to his early work either.

                                             

When "The Sixth Sense," "Unbreakable" and "Signs" came out, I was still pretty young, but I was a budding movie fan. I hadn't seen a ton yet, but I definitely could see greatness in certain directors at the time. I thought by this time now, 2021, that we'd be calling M. Night Shyamalan as a 21st Century horror auteur. Sadly, he never quite got there. I hated "The Village" the first time I saw it, and as I've seen a couple times since, well, its not a great or good movie, but it isn't a total failure. I thought "The Lady In The Water" was a total failure though, and "The Happening" is Shyamalan's worst according to me. His adaptation of "The Last Airbender" was laughably bad to me too.

Then later in 2010, something special happened. M. Night Shyamalan had an idea to introduce his Night Chronicles brand. He created the Night Chronicles studio and planned to write and produce some ideas, with someone else stepping in as director. Many film critics of the time thought what Shyamalan really needed was some collaborators, and I agreed. "Devil" was the first movie to come from Night Chronicles and while it didn't set the box office on fire, it was a special film, a word-of-mouth hit. Maybe that wasn't enough. I don't have the inside story to why Shyamalan's other Night Chronicles films didn't get made. But I thought it was a shame.

Shyamalan made a few more stupid films before he made his first great movie in over a decade. That film was "Split." I still stand by my review I wrote back in 2017. It's such a well put together film. Richly imagined. Beautifully acted. Wonderfully shot. It also had a fun twist that worked, the first one in a long time. It seemed like Shyamalan was back on his feet again and was having fun with some characters he had made awhile ago, and he had a fun idea to bring those things together. Unfortunately, I didn't think "Glass," the follow-up to "Split" was a bit disappointing. The thing is, Shyamalan's series on AppleTV+ called "Servant," starring Rupert Grint and Toby Kebbell is awesome. So he's still a very up and down artist.

Sadly, "Old" isn't a complete return to form. There are some good actors in this movie, including Gael Garcia Bernal, Thomasin McKenzie, Alex Wolff, Rufus Sewell, and Vicky Krieps to name a few. It features beautiful cinematography. It's got a potentially interesting premise that could be something very strange and frightening. A group of people get taken to an island where every half hour is a year off their life. The longer they are on the island, the more and more they age. Like I said, this had some potential to be interesting, but I can't really say that M. Night Shyamalan hits any grace notes with what he does here.

This being a Shyamalan film, there's a big twist. Yep, this is essentially a big budget "Twilight Zone" episode. Shyamalan in the late 90's and early 2000's was an expert at the twist ending. Suddenly, he's now hit or miss. I don't want this review to be littered with spoilers, but the twist here stinks. It raises more questions than it has time to answer, because the twist comes at the end. The type of twist they introduce here could have been better served it was similar to what we see in "Cabin In The Woods." It's simply too big to just throw in at the end of the movie.

Shyamalan also has a tendency to give his characters really weird tics instead of genuine personality. The guy from "The Happening" who loved plants and couldn't stop talking about hot dogs...well...it never gets that weird in old, but Shyamalan still sacrifices personality and development for goofiness. I mean there's a rap star named Mid-Sized Sedan in this movie and I can't help but laugh about that. Even when he's in moments in this film meant to be serious.

"Old" isn't as bad as Shyamalan's early blunders but I can't help but admit that I feeling of something to be desired when the credits began to roll.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Karen Gillen shines in the butt-kicking, Girl Power-fueled "Gunpowder Milkshake"

                                        

2021 has been a great year for action.

"Nobody" is still my very favorite, breaking the rules of the typical action film while also playing very blissfully with the rules. I also got a kick out of "Boss Level," a kind of "Groundhog Day" action movie. "Black Widow" and to a certain degree, "Zack Snyder's Justice League" proved that superhero action is doing just fine (though TV has been blowing it out of the water so far) and there is plenty of fun to be had with movies like "F9." Even if that fun is a little ridiculous.

Now, its time to enter the world of Girl Power action with a little Netflix film called "Gunpowder Milkshake." Featuring an all-star cast of lovely ladies that includes Karen Gillen, Lena Headley, Michelle Yeoh, Angela Bassett and Carla Gugino. These women are badasses. They've been in something awesome if you don't immediately recognize their names. This is a perfect cast for a movie like this and believe me, these women set off fireworks with their work in this film.

Karen Gillen in particular shines as the lead in this film. I've liked Karen Gillen a lot in what I've seen so far. Like Nebula in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films and the recent "Jumanji" movies. She's been great in lots of stuff so far. But much like Sigourney Weaver becoming Ellen Ripley or Linda Hamilton becoming Sarah Connor or Uma Thurman becoming The Bride, Gillen becomes Eva in a very special way that I think audiences will be blown away by.

The plot of "Gunpowder Milkshake" is pretty simple, and it may even be familiar. Eva is an assassin who got into this work because her mother (Headley) was also an assassin. Eva's mother abandoned her without an explanation, Eva feels abandoned whereas her mother really left her due to a job gone wrong. A grown Eva also kills the wrong guy's son on a job, which leads to entire criminal empire trying to kill her. She eventually saves a little girl named Emily (Chloe Coleman) who gets wrapped up in the plot because Eva killed her shady father. Eva must protect Emily and protect herself. She eventually rekindles her relationship with her mother, as well as her mother's friends who have helped in the assassination business. 

So yeah, it's not an original plot by any means, but I'll tell you why that doesn't matter. The action scenes are so top-notch, in-your-face and feature moments that will make you cringe with delight. It's such an incredibly fun movie to sit and watch. It's got plenty of quick laughs, big action and even a few sentimental moments that don't fall short because the cast is on their game here.

When you've got Paul Giamatti playing Eva's shady boss, and Ralph Ineson being a crummy crime lord, you are in for a treat.

It's still summer time and that means watching fun movies. This is such a great entry into the action genre that if you care at all, you check it out now!

Friday, July 16, 2021

"Space Jam: A New Legacy" might shine for kids, but its a game worth missing

                                         

When "Space Jam" came out in 1996, I missed it in theaters. But I got it for my birthday the following year on VHS. I thought it was the greatest thing in the world and every Friday when I got home from school, I watched it.

Remember, this was 1997 and I was in first grade.

I have watched the movie since, and I honestly don't think the movie has aged particularly well. When you don't have the 90's blinders on, "Space Jam" is a really weird movie where nothing makes much sense at all. Michael Jordan wasn't much of an actor, even though he was playing himself and it was pretty much harmless fluff, but I don't feel the same fun that I did when I was a kid.

Warner Brothers tried many years after 1996 to try and get a sequel made. Michael Jordan didn't want to return. So the studio tried to take things in a different direction. There was going to be a "Race Jam" with Jeff Gordon. They had an idea for "Skate Jam" with Tony Hawk. A golf version with Tiger Woods. And some kind of sequel starring Jackie Chan...yeah, I don't get that one. All of those ideas got dropped for one reason or another and it seemed that "Space Jam" would become an old relic of 90's pop culture and that's where it would stay.

But in the 2020's, pop culture has decided we are going to be living in a time constant nostalgia, and "Space Jam: A New Legacy'' takes that idea to the extreme with reckless abandon. Instead of Michael Jordan, we have LeBron James as the NBA superstar who has to play a game of basketball with the Looney Tunes. This time, they aren't playing aliens and they aren't going to space. But rather, LeBron and his son Dominic (Cedric Joe) get sucked into a Warner Brothers computer server, known as the Server Verse by a malevolent computer Program AI-G (Don Cheadle). So instead outer space its cyberspace!

Like many crappy sequels, "A New Legacy" is built on the same spine as the first film. We see a young LeBron in the 90s. He is playing a Game Boy before a game, he's so enthralled that his coach (Wood Harris) has to get his attention. Young LeBron has the chance to shoot the shot that will win them the game, and he misses. So he basically vows to get all distractions out of his life so he can focus primarily on basketball. Which helps him turn into the superstar he is today. His two boys are showing promise in basketball, his oldest is really into it. While his youngest son is very much a tech-savvy kid who can create his own video games. LeBron wants his youngest son Dominic to focus on basketball, while Dominic wants to chase his dream of making video games. They but heads here. 

This argument flairs up until they are sucked into the Server Verse. AI-G takes Dominic away and allows him to work on a version of basketball that gives the player style points and power ups and other video game advantages and challenges LeBron to basketball game that Dominic creates. Inside the Server Verse is every fictional world WB has ever created and LeBron lands in Looney Tune world. When I initially talked about the trailer earlier this year, I made a joke about this being like "Ready Player One" as the Server Verse looks exactly how Ernest Cline describes The OASIS in his book. This leads to a bunch of Intellectual Property jokes, most of which aren't that clever. Honestly, Warner Brothers decides to make a movie showing off their IP every few years (just look at their LEGO movies).

With so many characters at LeBron's disposal, I am not sure why he is required to limit recruiting only Looney Tunes, other than the function of the film. They reference the first film, even though in the first film the alien planet was real within the universe and the Looney Tunes lived underground, making no sense whatsoever. The aliens from the first film even cameo in this. Kids will probably like this movie a lot, especially LeBron fans. There are plenty of characters kids will scream for. The several pop culture jokes sadly aren't that clever, but pretty easy. Kids will probably enjoy the wild energy of the film too.

For adults, the jokes sadly don't land. The story is the exact same as the first pretty much. As someone who grew up with the first film, this is a pretending copy. LeBron James is pretty wooden playing a version of himself and even though Jordan wasn't an actor, he brought a certain charisma that James does not. There is a nice message that family is everything. But the movie leans into the weird and wild moreso. I've seen people comparing this "crossover" to something like "Avengers: Endgame" but the characters in Avengers were built up carefully and each had part to play. If characters from different franchises simply waving in the background is enough to compare to "Avengers: Endgame" then I guess the future of filmmaking, even franchise filmmaking, is doomed.

Despite the flashy lights and the distractions. "Space Jam: A New Legacy" is basically another sequel, one I'm not sure anyone asked for. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Loki is my favorite of the MCU Disney+ shows. Here's why...

                                          

THIS REVIEW OF LOKI IS GOING TO CONTAIN SPOILERS!!! IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE ENTIRE SERIES YET. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!

All hail the God of Mischief baby!

The Disney+ MCU shows have been good up to "Loki." I wouldn't call "WandaVision" or "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" great. I liked that "WandaVision" was good, but I think it could have been great if Marvel dared to just make Wanda's grief the villain, much of the last half of "WandaVision" seemed like a forced narrative to include some superhero antics, while it was entertaining, I feel like there was a cooler, more compelling alternative. "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" was good, but for six hours, they simply tried to pack too much into the mini-series. I give Marvel the benefit of the doubt right now, because they are still playing with the six hour storytelling format. I have all the faith in the world that they will master it. It shows with "Loki," the show that I think is their first great Disney+ offering.

One thing I've liked about he MCU shows across the board is that they are built around mysteries. Many complain about the Marvel movies because they built from the same kit. The heroes are chasing a villain who wants a McGuffin and they have to get to the McGuffin first or stop the villain from getting to it. Certainly not all the movies follow that format but many do. The MCU shows on Disney+ have been built around mysteries. "Loki" has been full of intriguing mysteries. This show doesn't follow the Loki who got killed by Thanos in "Infinity War." This isn't some prequel. This show follows the Loki who stole the Tesseract in the middle of the Time Heist in "Avengers: Endgame." Loki wasn't supposed to take the Tesseract, so he gets arrested by the Time Variance Authority, a police force that exists deep within the multiverse to keep interdimensional travelers from messing with the timelines.

Getting confused yet? Buckle up, because the Marvel movies are going to get WHOOOLLLLEEE lot weirder than some intergalactic tyrant trying to obtain a magic space glove. For so many years, superhero movies had to act "realistic" in order not to scare away regular audiences, and I am happy that we have crossed a threshold that allows studios to really make any kind of comic book movie they want. The multiverse is a concept you find in both Marvel and DC comic stories. The idea that there are multiple Earths and multiple versions of us has the potential to be fun. "Loki" was definitely tons of fun. Especially when Loki is able to weasel into the TVA, become friends with agent Mobius M. Mobius (Owen Wilson) and help them capture "variants;" those people who are trying to mess with the continuity of the timelines.

First, Owen Wilson and Tom Hiddleston throwing down together delighted me completely. Such a fun duo and whoever thought to pair them together deserves a raise at Marvel. I loved every second they were onscreen together and I hope we see more of that in the future, as the "Loki" finale promised a second season. Second, this is where the mystery really begins to come into play. There are different variants...different versions of Loki. Specifically a female version of Loki named Sylvie. I never knew who Sophia Di Martino was before "Loki," but her work as Sylvie is top notch. She's going to be a star after this, because her work is really incredible. While Sylvie and Loki start out as enemies, she's trying to find out secrets behind the TVA, which of course draws the two together. Of course, nothing is what it seems at the TVA. Of course, it isn't run by those we think it is. When learning that the whole organization is made up of variants who are working for the organization against their free will, well, things get exciting and more delightfully weird moving forward.

How delightfully weird? How about meeting even more versions of Loki? I have been trying to guess who veteran actor Richard E. Grant was going to play in this show, and I have to say that his "Classic Loki" is much fun. I love the retro costume and his proper way of speaking when giving his backstory. Yes, I got a kick out of alligator Loki and Kid Loki. I cackled when I saw Throg trying to get his hammer or when we got a glimpse of Thanos' yellow helicopter. See, Loki eventually finds himself at the end of time, ready to get eaten by a giant void monster, a place where variants are taken when they are really in trouble. But of course Loki and Sylvia escape together and they finally meet who is really behind the TVA.

This is where things get interesting.

They meet He Who Remains, played by Jonathon Majors. You probably saw him in "Lovecraft Country," a show that should have got a second season. You probably saw him in "The Last Black Man In San Francisco" too. If you read movie news, you definitely read he was going to play Kang The Conqueror in "Ant-Man 3." Kang is an interesting character in the comics. He's a time traveling supervillain who has gone by many names over the years, which makes his identity kind of a pain to keep up with. But he's been a formidable foe against the Avengers for many years. He Who Remains explains to Sylvie and Loki that eons ago, there was a multiverse war between the many different variants of He Who Remains, had their war continued, it would have destroyed all of existence. The creation of the TVA was the only way to stop the war. He Who Remains gives the duo an offer; kill him and end the singular timeline, which will cause branch realities and much chaos The Ancient One talked about to Hulk in "Avengers: Endgame" or take over control of the TVA. Sylvia feels like her life has been a lie and doesn't believe He Who Remains, so she tries to kill him; Loki tries to stop her because he knows the chaos that ensues with timelines crossing and branch realities isn't good. 

Sylvia is victorious though, He Who Remains is killed. The realities begin to create branches. 

Kevin Feige wasn't kidding when he said "Loki" was really going to set the stage for the future. The MCU movies have been notorious for being commercials for the future, but the finale of "Loki" is clever in how they are setting up future stories without it feeling like a commercial, but something that has real stakes. The rumors we have been hearing regarding "Spider-Man: No Way Home" makes much more sense now. As does why Dr. Strange's sequel is about a multiverse of madness. Things are about to get really crazy. And I hope Marvel does a good job in continuing to introduce the general audience to the multiverse.

Aside from setting up some really cool stuff for future projects, the special effects in each episode is as good as you'd expect. The many great performances by Hiddleston, Wilson, Di Martino, Grant and others like Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Wunmi Mosaku are all great across the board. Jonathon Majors is electrifying in the series finale and what's fun is that he's going to probably have a completely different personality the next time we see him. Once again, Marvel has created lots of memorable characters, like alligator Loki and the animated Miss Minutes that people will talk about for many years to come. 

But "Loki" wins me over because it was a tight mystery that kept me guessing all six weeks long. It remained constant, told one story through the finish line and now all bets are off. The best of the Disney+ shows so far.