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‘Loki’ Season 2 Offers an Imperfect Yet Exciting Start

While the rest of the season is sure to have its bumps in the road, “Loki” still promises a fantastically absurd rollercoaster of a show.    
Loki+%28Courtesy+of+Marvel+Studios%29
“Loki” (Courtesy of Marvel Studios)

 

It’s no secret that since the release of “Avengers: Endgame” in 2019, Marvel Studios has been releasing shows and films that don’t meet the standards of the pre-“Endgame” Marvel Cinematic Universe. While there have been a few gems, the once-adored superhero franchise has lost its universal charm. One of the few pieces that seemed to avoid these claims was season 1 of “Loki”, following the mischievous villain turned anti-hero as he discovers the chaos of the multiverse. The show had a unique look and feel while telling a story that felt important to the wider universe. It was the breath of fresh yet familiar air fans needed. Over two years later, “Loki” has returned with a new collection of characters and settings to capture that old MCU magic once again.

Rough Beginnings

Season 2 immediately threatens its quality with a problem far too many sequels run into — becoming too self-aware. The first half of episode 1 is bogged down by exposition describing wacky time-travel concepts and newly established pillars of the Time Variance Authority (TVA) not seen in season 1. It appears the new writers of season 2 saw the positive reaction to the quirky dialogue and ideas of season one and decided to double down on them. While it was refreshing in that first season, now it feels a bit weighty and unauthentic. The worst offender of this was a scene in an unusual war room that felt reminiscent of so many scenes done better in other shows, like “The Umbrella Academy.” While this opening was far from horrible to watch, it felt like somewhat of a slog to watch.

The pace and energy of the show are immediately kicked into high gear with the introduction of O.B. who is a new character played by Oscar-winner Ke Huy Quan. Quan brings his one-of-a-kind charm to the screen and slots perfectly into the haywire world of the TVA. Quan’s infectious positivity suddenly makes the time travel exposition far more digestible, setting off an electric second half to the episode.

A Nail-Biting Finale

While the first episode sets up the rest of the season, it also works as a self-contained piece demonstrated by its tense, high-stakes climax. As our heroes are faced with a deteriorating multiverse and the possibility of being skinned alive by a million diverging timelines, viewers will begin to remember why they fell in love with Loki and Owen Wilson’s delightfully eccentric Agent Mobius. Emotions are high as these two consider how much they will sacrifice for each other. On top of that, the climax is surprisingly VFX-heavy and looks fairly good considering Marvel’s recent less-than-average VFX quality.

The standout element here is the wildly detailed production design which is brought to an even greater degree from the standard the first season established. It’s comforting to return to the ’60s retro-futuristic spaces of the TVA and explore a place that feels so familiar yet so foreign. O.B.’s repairs and advancements office is particularly fun, given its round shape, pastel colors and cluttered walls and desks with each of the props carrying its own story.

Although having a rocky start, “Loki” season two will have audiences hooked by its first episode’s final minutes, not because of the plot but because of the easily endearing cast. While the rest of the season is sure to have its bumps in the road, “Loki” still promises a fantastically absurd rollercoaster of a show.    

 

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About the Contributor
Graham Jones, Arts Writer, News For U Producer
Graham Jones was born and raised in Portland, Oregon and moved to Utah to study film. Despite his passion for cinema, Graham joined the Chronicle to engage with the University of Utah community and pursue his love for journalism. Outside of the student media office, Graham can be found buried deep into the pages of a graphic novel or lip-syncing to the greatest hits of the 60s, 70s and 80s.

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