Review: Our favorite trickster god is charismatic as ever in Loki premiere

Tom Hiddleston stars in the latest MCU series, <em>Loki</em>, which premiered last night on Disney+.

Enlarge / Tom Hiddleston stars in the latest MCU series, Loki, which premiered last night on Disney+. (credit: Marvel Studios)

It’s hard to write a killer TV pilot that compels viewers to come back for more. You have to establish a fictional world, introduce the main characters and core premise, and set up a compelling trigger for the subsequent chain of events—all without making things seem frenetic or incoherent and without employing labored explanatory riffs. That’s true even in the case of a well-established fictional universe like the MCU. Fortunately, the first episode of Loki, Marvel’s new series reviving Tom Hiddleston’s beloved Asgardian trickster god, mostly gets it right—even if it does occasionally lapse into lecturing narrator mode (“talky, talky”).

(Only mild spoilers below, with a bit of spoiler-y speculation below the gallery.)

We all remember that scene in Avengers: Endgame when a 2012 version of Loki snags the tesseract containing the Space Stone and vanishes through a portal. That’s where the series opens, with our trickster materializing in the middle of Mongolia’s Gobi Desert, much to the bemusement of a gaggle of locals. It’s not long before another portal opens to bring forth a team of armed guards who “arrest” Loki on behalf of an entity known as the Time Variance Authority (TVA). TVA agents are the so-called “custodians of chronology” in the MCU, monitoring violations to the timeline. Catch their attention by trying to change history, and you just might meet the wrong end of the Retroactive Cannon (Ret Con) and have your entire history deleted from the historical timeline.

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#disney-plus, #gaming-culture, #loki, #marvel-studios, #mcu, #mcu-phase-four, #streaming-television

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Our favorite trickster god teams up with time cops in official Loki trailer

Tom Hiddleston returns as everyone’s favorite Norse god of mischief in the forthcoming limited spinoff series Loki.

We just finished enthusing over WandaVision and are still awaiting the final episodes of The Falcon and the Winter Solider, but Marvel has a lot more in store for us. The studio just dropped the official trailer for Loki, its spinoff limited series starring Tom Hiddleston as the charismatic trickster demigod and (adoptive) brother to Thor. According to the official premise, after absconding with the Tesseract in Avengers: Endgame, Loki “is a fish-out-of-water when he lands in a world of trouble with the bureaucratic TVA (Time Variance Authority).” One Ars staffer described the overall tone as “Men in Black meets Doctor Who,” which sounds like a winning combination to me.

As we’ve reported previously, Marvel Studios announced the development of its various limited series for Disney+ in 2018, all featuring supporting characters from the films who were not given their own standalone movies within the Marvel cinematic universe (MCU). Details have largely been kept under wraps, but we do know that, like WandaVisionLoki will tie into the forthcoming MCU film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. And like Falcon and the Winter Soldier, it will consist of six episodes.

A brief shot from Loki that aired during the Super Bowl last year showed the titular character wearing a jumpsuit with the initials “TVA” stamped on it. TVA agents are the so-called “custodians of chronology” who monitor violations to the timeline in the MCU. Catch their attention by trying to change history, and you just might meet the wrong end of the Retroactive Cannon (Ret-Can) and have your entire history deleted from the historical timeline.

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#disney-plus, #entertainment, #gaming-culture, #loki, #marvel-studios, #tom-hiddleston, #trailers

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Loki and Star Wars: The Bad Batch get Disney+ premiere dates

Today is a red-letter day for Disney property announcements: release dates have been set for the Disney+ series Loki and Star Wars: The Bad Batch, and the new Spider-Man film has a new name.

We’ll start with Spider-Man. Following a marketing stunt in which three different stars of the movie shared three fake movie names alongside initial images from the film on Instagram, the actual title for the new Spider-Man movie has been revealed in a cheeky Twitter video and blog postSpider Man: No Way Home.

The fake names that had circulated previously included Spider-Man: Phone HomeSpider-Man: Home-Wrecker, and Spider-Man: Home Slice.

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#bad-batch, #disney, #gaming-culture, #loki, #marvel, #mcu, #no-way-home, #spider-man, #star-wars

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Grafana Labs launches observability stack for enterprise customers

Grafana Labs has created an open source observability trifecta that includes Prometheus for monitoring, Loki for logging and Tempo for tracing. Today, the company announced it was releasing enterprise versions of these open source projects in a unified stack designed specifically for the needs of large companies.

Company CEO Raj Dutt says that this product is really aimed at the largest companies in the world, who crave  control over their software. “We’re really going after at scale users who want a cutting edge observability platform based on these leading open source projects. And we are adding a lot of feature differentiation in the enterprise version along with 24/7 support from the experts, from the people who have actually created software,” he said.

Among those features is a set of plug-ins that lets these large customers pull data into the platform from leading enterprise software companies including Splunk, New Relic, MongoDB and Snowflake. The Enterprise Stack also provides enhanced authentication and security.

Dutt calls this product self-managed to contrast it with the managed cloud versions of the product the company already has been offering for some time. “We have two main products, Grafana Cloud and now Grafana Enterprise Stack. Grafana Cloud is our hosted deployment model, and the Grafana Enterprise Stack is essentially licensed software that customers are free to run however they want, whether that’s on prem, in a colocation company like Equinix or on the cloud vendor of their choice,” Dutt explained.

They can also mix and match their deployments across the cloud or on-prem in a hybrid style, and the large enterprise customers that the company is going after with this product should like that flexibility. “It also allows them to hybridize their deployments, so they may decide to use the cloud for metrics, but their logs contain a lot of sensitive information [and they want to deploy that on prem]. And since it’s a composable stack, they may have a hybrid deployment that’s partly in the cloud cloud and partly on prem,” he said.

When you combine this new enterprise version with the managed cloud version that already exists, it gives Grafana another potentially large revenue source. The open source products act as a driver, giving Grafana a way into these companies, and Dutt says they know of over 700,000 instances of the open source products in use across the world.

While the open source business model usually only turns a fraction of these users into paying customers, having numbers like this gives the company a huge head start and it’s gotten the attention of investors. The company has already raised over $75 million including a $24 million Series A 2019 and a $50 million Series B in 2020.

#enterprise, #grafana-labs, #loki, #open-source, #prometheus, #tc, #tempo

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We’ve got our first real look at Loki as Disney drops lengthy teaser trailer

Marvel’s Loki trailer.

Among the many (many!) tidbits unveiled during Disney’s Investor Day was a lengthy teaser trailer for Loki, the Marvel spinoff limited series featuring Tom Hiddleston’s charismatic trickster demigod and (adoptive) brother to Thor, last seen in Avengers: Endgame. Marvel Studios had vowed to provide “hefty” budgets for its various limited series, like WandaVision (which also has a new trailer), and this Loki teaser definitely has the high cinematic production values to show for it.

(Some spoilers below for Avengers: Endgame in particular.)

Marvel Studios announced the development of its various limited series for Disney+ in 2018, all featuring supporting characters from the films who were not given their own standalone films within the MCEU. Details have largely been kept tightly under wraps, but we do know that both Loki and WandaVision will tie into the forthcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Fan favorite Loki has always been one of the most multi-layered, psychologically complex characters, so we’re keen to see what the limited series has in store for him.

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#disney-plus, #entertainment, #gaming-culture, #loki, #marvel-studios, #streaming-television

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