Loki Season 2 Sparkles

Charlie von Peterffy ‘24 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Loki season 1 is one of the strongest outings in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date, bolstering a stone-solid cast and visual flare combined with a layered story that affects the multiverse, franchise continuity, and characters all at once. Despite the show’s success, the MCU has seen better days. After eleven primarily glowing years of boisterous superhero adventures and colorful but daring enemies culminating in the epic two-part conclusion of the MCU’s Infinity Saga––Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame––the MCU now stumbles to find ground. In its search for its old magic, Marvel Studios has been overproducing content since its COVID-19 forced break at the expense of its characters, story, and VFX. Movies like Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and Thor: Love and Thunder, and shows such as She-Hulk and Secret Invasion, have suffered fatal storytelling blows from similar overproduction-related issues (the first show an uneven, visually abysmal courtroom comedy, and the latter the franchise’s dullest installment to date). Their most recent cinematic entry, The Marvels, is another example of their rush to create content as it fails to avoid formula fatigue. If the MCU stays afloat, it needs to slow down and change direction––or at least find the current one’s strengths.

The answer lies in the second season of Loki, starring Tom Hiddleston as the titular character and god of mischief. Following the first season’s grandiose conclusion, Loki discovers in the TVA that he can time slip as he uncontrollably warps between different locations and time points. After meeting the TVA Guidebook author Ouroboros “OB” (Key Huy Quan), who helps him discover this new trick, he reunites with friends Mobius (Owen Wilson), Loki variant Sylvie (Sophie Di Martino), and B-15 (Wummi Mosaku). The group discovers that the timeline is imploding––and with it the billions of lives on the now infinitely multiplying branches of the multiverse. Without control, the multiverse will die; with too much, everyone aside from those on the Sacred Timeline (main MCU timeline) will die. Plus, with the threat of He Who Remains/Kang (Jonathan Majors) still looming, they must find a new way of order in the TVA that structurally and functionally changes the multiverse entirely without destroying it. 

The first season is a tight-knit, well-paced exploration of Loki himself, the multiverse’s functionality, and the hands behind its manipulation. Though often more sludgy than its predecessor, the second builds on the first by taking more giant steps in narrative, characters, stakes, and visual splendor. It is sufficiently more massive in scope and theme, as the characters play around with their entire existence through multiversal manipulation. The more viewers ponder it, the more Loki’s intertwined vulnerability shines through. Loki fears isolation and loneliness in all this potential loss and existential destruction. His dedication to multiversal survival ultimately ensures that his loved ones do not abandon him like all those before––a commitment that ends in a compelling send-off for the fan-favored god.

The story is compelling and curiosity-inducing, though it sometimes lingers. Like many recent TV productions in and out of the MCU, there is an overemphasis on longer pauses and filler to lengthen episodes; Loki suffers this in its most crucial moments. For example, in a sequence where Loki tortures a former TVA soldier, the pauses between threats and both parties’ reactions are exceptionally long. They feel inorganic, as if the actors would wait for the director’s cue between every line. Fortunately, it does not plague the series as heavily as other recent TV shows. Elastic performances, savvy scripts, and a profound understanding of the abstract implications of the multiverse elevate it.

The characters are reasonably layered, and their performers fill them with delicious appeal. Hiddleston gives his most emotional take on Loki to date, accurately portraying his vulnerable state. He lost his entire family, and was lucky enough to form a new one through the TVA in the first season, only with the threat of its ensuing destruction down the line. Loki learns through this pain what it means to find his purpose and the sacrifices necessary to fulfill it. Wilson anchors Loki with comedic undertones and undying loyalty as Mobius. Di Martino as Sylvie elicits a scarred graveness from the previous season’s events, further driving Loki’s guilt and motivation about the mess. Quan is a bubbly, optimistic, balancing side-kick that solidifies the glimmer of hope in all the madness. Mosaku as B-15 is a head-strong, stabilizing force to be reckoned with that unites the TVA under a common cause. They all are organic, distinctively charismatic, and necessary for the ultimate ending of the show, adding emotional prowess to an already well-handled narrative.

Visually, this is also the best the MCU has been in a few years. Space shots, time jumps, costumes, sets, and all powers and other effects don’t just feel real, but they are eye-catching. They incorporate intriguing design work into a beautiful color palette without neglecting shining moments of visual metaphor and symbolism. The score is also stellar, especially in the final episode, where a maestro’s finale swansong perfectly directs the show’s fluid components to a blissfully grand and serene end.

Loki season 2 ultimately proves that the MCU still has magic. It is a compelling second half to this two-season grandeur, develops the central character with intensive emotional swings, and creates an enticing new meaning of the MCU multiverse. When filmmakers or showrunners spend enough time understanding people, feelings, worlds, stories, and how they all come together, scintillating Marvel stories can still arise. Marvel needs to determine the next steps––on Jonathan Majors’ involvement, Kang as a character and the next big bad (presuming the character remains regardless of Majors’ potential recast), the series’ most writable characters and storylines, and overall production quality––but Loki’s central involvement to the MCU’s struggling Multiverse Saga and its captivating, multiplex story demonstrates that there is still life within this aging franchise that needs reinvigorating. For MCU fans, sci-fi/fantasy fans, or general TV fans, Loki season 2 balances anger, angst, wit, and morosity in a beautiful but tense world of multi-versally destructive stakes.

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