‘Loki’ Season 2 Is Charming, Visually Spectacular, and Overwrought6 min read

Loki season 2 is narratively messy and spreads its ensemble skinny, however its quirky comedic tone and incredible visuals go a good distance.

Loki Season Review

Marvel Studios

By  · Printed on October fifth, 2023

Welcome to Beforehand On, a column that’s maintaining a tally of the newest returning TV reveals. On this version, Valerie Ettenhofer opinions the second season of the Disney+ Marvel collection Loki.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is almost 3 years into its tenure on Disney+, and it has did not coalesce into something that feels as exhilarating or fascinating because the franchise’s first decade within the zeitgeist. Certain, there have been some out-and-out successes (WandaVision, What If…) and a few imperfect however vibrant cinematic experiments (Moon Knight, Ms. Marvel), however the massively common studio has floundered a bit in its try to execute its post-Endgame part largely on tv. The primary season of Loki got here alongside when the MCU Disney+ period nonetheless felt shiny and new, and as such, it was simply shiny and new sufficient to work. The second season is dropping into a way more cynical TV panorama, and whereas it’s a enjoyable, eye-catching watch, it doesn’t fairly have the juice to show the franchise round.

Loki season 2 is an ingratiating combined bag – one that appears so good and is stuffed with so many handsome people who it’s too simple to disregard the truth that its sense of narrative coherence is nowhere to be discovered. The season picks up proper the place the primary left off, with the trickster god turned roguish antihero Loki (Tom Hiddleston) dealing with a model of the Time Variance Authority that doesn’t acknowledge him. He’s additionally experiencing one thing known as “time slipping,” a painful, jolting motion by way of time and area that appears like a horrific visible glitch. Time and area are out of whack, and the season focuses largely on setting the world proper – and determining what the correct world would seem like.

You’d assume a collection that tackles huge matters associated to predestination, free will, and a complete host of moral dilemmas associated to the existence of variants would try to domesticate some depth, however Loki’s sophomore season is extra targeted on hopping from one disaster to the following than it’s on making its characters’ world-shaping selections resonate. A surplus of display time is dedicated to explaining plans which are rapidly undermined or speaking about sophisticated doohickies that are supposed to save everybody’s lives however are forgotten a couple of scenes later. It might get exhausting, however new supporting castmate Ke Huy Quan single-handedly saves many of those scenes by taking part in his jack-of-all-trades character OB with a wry humorousness. OB is without delay cognizant that every part unfolding round him is nonsense and satisfied that it makes good sense throughout the present’s personal labyrinthine sense of logic. At its finest, Loki has a Douglas Adams-like sensibility, presenting the ever-shifting finish of the world as each critical and undeniably foolish.

One other good solid addition, Blindspotting star Rafael Casal, helps facilitate this tough tone, however not each member of the ensemble is as well-utilized. Wunmi Mosaku’s Hunter B-15 falls largely by the wayside, and Sophia Di Martino’s Sylvie is partly sidelined too – although when she does seem, she feels extra just like the emotional coronary heart of the present than ever. Jonathan Majors, who Selection has confirmed is returning as a variant known as Victor Well timed regardless of accusations made towards him earlier this 12 months, feels essentially the most ill-fitted to the collection. The brand new character slows down every scene he’s in, and Majors’ efficiency feels distractingly self-indulgent. The overcrowded solid record makes Loki season 2 a barely bumpier experience than it in any other case would have been, however excessive factors like Quan, Casal, and the charming one-two punch of Hiddleston and Owen Wilson’s Mobius preserve the present transferring. The latter pair’s low-key chemistry is on full show this season, and anytime the present focuses on their whimsical partnership, it’s higher for it.

Total, Loki season 2 succeeds most when it permits for comedic stress breaks, that are cleverly executed however a bit too few and much between. With the way forward for the world hanging within the steadiness, the primary 4 episodes of the season possess the hurried tempo of a narrative that’s all climax, and it’s inconceivable for any present to maintain its excessive stakes feeling excessive for therefore lengthy. Anytime Mobius cracks a joke or he and Loki take day trip to eat a slice of pie, glimpses of one other, extra wholly pleasurable present shine by way of. As a substitute, the present builds spectacular set items and visits intriguing time intervals, solely to hurry previous them as if in a rush to make it to the following jargon-filled dialogue concerning the mechanics of time and the TVA’s grasp plan. Character motivations are consistently re-explained but nonetheless stay muddy, and too typically the present feels prefer it’s transferring its chess items round to no actual finish.

Regardless of its shortcomings, Loki season 2 seems to be superb. New style favorites Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, who focus on trippy sci-fi tales with a disturbing edge, direct a number of episodes of the present with a eager eye for each the wonder and the strangeness of its world. Loads of complaints have been made concerning the artless Marvel “home fashion” that may make the work of auteurs really feel unrecognizable, however that’s not an issue right here. As a substitute, the present performs with visible textures, shot compositions, and enhancing decisions that completely complement its retro-futuristic TVA setting and accompanying cosmic undertones.

Narratively, Loki season 2 is as messy as anything within the current MCU repertoire, nevertheless it advantages from a powerful solid and a cool cinematic fashion that seems like an oasis within the desert of homogenous-looking blockbusters. With 2 episodes unavailable to display, it’s unclear whether or not the season sticks its touchdown or continues overindulging in its much less coherent components. If the present may simply observe Mobius’ lead and gradual its overwrought plot down lengthy sufficient to take pleasure in a bit of pie, it would but stay as much as its full potential.

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Valerie Ettenhofer is a Los Angeles-based freelance author, TV-lover, and mac and cheese fanatic. As a Senior Contributor at Movie Faculty Rejects, she covers tv by way of common opinions and her recurring column, Episodes. She can also be a voting member of the Critics Selection Affiliation’s tv and documentary branches. Twitter: @aandeandval (She/her)

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