(L-R): Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Ke Huy Quan as O.B., and Owen Wilson as Mobius in Marvel Studios' LOKI, Season 2, exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Gareth Gatrell. © 2023 MARVEL.

‘Loki’ Season 2 Review: Marvel’s Slump Continues


Time travel is impossible in real life, but it’s also difficult to achieve in fiction, where a clever plot device can easily devolve into a tangled mess of exposition. The first season of “Loki” avoided this problem, making the Disney+ show a bright spot in an era when the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been somewhat stagnant. Following a “mutant” of the Norse trickster god as he infiltrates the TVA, the series combines impeccable production design with simple emotional storytelling – especially when our protagonist Loki (Tom Hiddleston) Don)’s relationship with Sylvie (Sofia Di Martino) after meeting his match in women raises questions of identity, free will and self-determination. Tracing the potential branches of the so-called sacred timeline can make your head spin. Like a Zen koan, “What Makes Loki Loki?” is grounded and easy to grasp.

In the final moments of its first season, Loki revealed that it would become the first Marvel Studios series to get a second season on Disney+. Given its cliffhanger ending, this news comes as a relief. After Loki and Sylvie travel to the end of time, Sylvie kills Remnant (Jolson Majors), the founder of the TVA and the one who prevented the Divine Timeline from becoming a full-fledged multiverse major obstacles. When Loki tries to stop her, returning to TVA alone, he finds that the office has undergone earth-shaking changes, with statues of remnants everywhere, and employees like Agent Mobius (Owen Wilson), who have transformed from prey to The memory of the collaborators no longer exists.

Two years later, “Rocky” is back, and not too soon. While the show kicked off the Marvel Universe’s multiverse saga on a high note, the latest installment in the series has run into trouble both on and off screen. Ant-Man and the Wasp was a critical and commercial disappointment, failing to build on the goodwill generated by Loki despite using some of the same concepts and characters. on. Meanwhile, Majors faces trial on charges of assaulting and aggravating his ex-girlfriend, calling into question Marvel’s plans to make his character the next Thanos villain. (Not that a blockbuster business plan should be anyone’s main focus when it comes to domestic violence charges, but with that much money, A Some people are worried. )

This situation has brought great pressure and scrutiny to the second season of “Rocky”, and there has also been some shuffling of behind-the-scenes personnel. (Eric Martin takes over head writer duties from creator Michael Waldron, while sole director Kate Herron hands the baton to a larger team led by collaborators Justin Benson and Aaron Morehead. ) While Loki is still ahead of the rest of the MCU, second place only goes to WandaVision, whose second season fell into the same trap that the original story so adroitly avoided.

While the first episode of Rocky used its namesake as an audience surrogate, gradually articulating the TVA’s purpose, mores, and bylaws, the second season begins In media res. Rocky is immediately tasked with finding Sylvie, figuring out why he’s hopscotching through time, and navigating the chaos of the TVA crew, who have just discovered that “cutting”—or, more euphemistically, erasing—time All memory-erased variations in the line. It’s a lot for Loki and the audience to process, perhaps too much, especially since the story feels increasingly detached from Loki’s own (literal) journey of self-discovery.

Instead, this season introduced new MacGuffins like the Time Loom and characters like Ouroboros (Guan Hui), a kind of cosmic IT guy tasked with keeping TVA equipment in good condition. There’s crazy action and momentum, but when it comes to complex issues of individual autonomy versus collective good, it’s less clear who wants what and why.In fact, one gets the sense that Loki maintains his breakneck speed with precision, so it doesn’t have Slow down and root the action in your character’s wants and needs. The line commentators certainly went into great detail about the logistics, but they couldn’t create the emotional urgency this season was conspicuously lacking.

At the very least, the performance delivered by one of the larger ensembles of the Marvel Universe remains one of the best. Coming off his Oscar win for “Everything Happens at the Same Time,” Chun brought a comic energy to Ourobouros, or OB, during the long victory lap that matched the wacky hijinks he was asked to facilitate. Rafael Casal is poorly treated as a TVA employee, who is barely introduced before becoming a fugitive we’re told is vital to the plot, though through no fault of his own.On its own, Majors’s portrayal of the Eternal in his various incarnations is a unique and strangely magnetic break from the style of the Marvel franchise – though neither should Considering it separately from his deviating behavior is another issue entirely.

Playful and inventive visuals also continue to give “Rocky” that extra edge, from the crowded gadgets of OB Studios to a quick detour through 1970s London to an entire episode set in 19th-century Chicago . But where everything from TVA’s set design to its intricate cosmology was once thought to be in service of Loki’s growing ability to feel friendship and love, now the hierarchy has been reversed. Although by the way of spoilers, Loki and Morbius do resume their partnership, but while everyone is running around for unknown reasons, there’s no room for their friendship or Loki’s relationship with Sylvie Even less. Loki is still a great time, but despite renewals, it probably wasn’t that long in the making.

The first episode of “Loki” season 2 will premiere on Disney+ on October 5, with the remaining episodes airing every Thursday.

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