The continuation of a story that isn’t bogged down by the MCU’s larger narrative arc, the first 4 episodes of Loki season 2 can be a thrilling watch.
- Loki season 2 is a thrilling and exciting watch, with a compelling story and larger roles for season 1’s smaller players.
- The presence of Jonathan Majors as Kang can be distracting and discomforting due to his ongoing legal battle, but it doesn’t overshadow the solid run of episodes.
- The season deals with philosophical themes and questions about free will and the meaning of existence, adding depth to the show’s narrative.
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Throughout his time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Loki has often found himself at a crossroads — hero or villain, brother or rival, son or successor. Now, Loki season 2 returns at a time when Marvel Studios and the industry it has dominated for the last decade or so is also at a crossroads. Writers have just scored a fair deal after a historic labor movement, actors will return to the table with the AMPTP soon, and Marvel VFX workers have just voted to unionize after reports of horrible working conditions. The future of the MCU itself is also in question and in some ways, it’s a miracle that Loki season 2 even exists. Much of Phases 4 and 5 have been filled with promises that may go unfulfilled — will we see Charlize Theron’s Clea or Harry Styles’ Eros again in this decade, if ever?
Against the odds, though, Loki season 2 has made it, and it’s the most exciting MCU entry since, well, Loki season 1. With larger roles for season 1’s smaller players, exciting new cast additions, and the continuation of a compelling story that isn’t bogged down by the MCU’s larger narrative arc (whatever that may be at this present moment), the first four episodes of the new season can be a thrilling watch. The episodes can also be frustrating, largely due to the presence of Jonathan Majors, whose public legal battle has occupied headlines for much of the past year. It doesn’t help that Victor Timely, this show’s version of Majors’ Kang, can be quite grating. The actor’s future in the MCU remains a lingering question and though Loki season 2 was in the can long before the allegations against the actor came to light, it’s a question that hangs over what is otherwise a solid run of episodes.
Tom Hiddleston, Ke Huy Quan, and Owen Wilson in Loki season 2.
Loki season 2 begins immediately where season 1 left off. Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) has killed He Who Remains and sent Loki back to the TVA where pals Mobius (Owen Wilson) and B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku) don’t recognize him. A visage of Kang looms over the facilities, terrifying Loki, who, upon his return, discovers he’s slipping back and forth through time while the TVA crumbles around him. To fix these problems, Mobius and Loki seek out OB (a delightful Ke Huy Quan) and from there, chaos ensues.
One of the most surprising things about Loki season 2 is its pacing. MCU shows have often felt like movies stretched out to fit an episodic quota with nothing to indicate the intentionality behind serialized television (WandaVision being one of the few outliers along with Loki season 1). Here, each episode includes developments that propel the narrative forward, a minimum requirement for most television shows but a feat of storytelling for an MCU series. It also deals with themes that feel, on some level, much more philosophical than a lot of the questions being asked by the heroes occupying this ever-expanding world. Loki season 2 is, in part, about the futility of fighting for change from the inside of a rotten institution. Questions of free will, fate, work-life balance, and the meaning of our existence also linger. Whether these questions will be answered satisfyingly remains to be seen.
Wunmi Mosaku in Loki season 2.
Wunmi Mosaku, a captivating presence in season 1, gets a meatier role in Loki season 2 and the series is better for it. As serious as her character B-15 is, Mosaku gets the chance to bounce off Hiddleston, Wilson, and Quan’s comic chemistry. Kate Dickie also has a delicious arc as an authority figure at the TVA and Di Martino’s return is as exciting as one would expect. All of this is contained neatly in the first two episodes before the return of Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s Ravonna Renslayer and the inevitable introduction of Majors’ Victor Timely. Unfortunately, Majors’ presence just serves as a reminder of some of the problems plaguing the MCU.
The actor is set to go to trial for domestic violence on October 25, but the allegations against him go beyond that as indicated by a report from Rolling Stone earlier this year that alleges a long history of abuse and toxicity both in his professional and personal life. Regardless of how his trial goes, there seems to be a lot that Majors needs to address and PR moves like breaking up a filmed fight between two high schoolers won’t cut it. Ultimately, I found Majors’ presence distracting and discomforting more than anything, but for many, he won’t shape their perception of the show or the MCU in any shape or form and, if the franchise knew what to do with the villain, it’s something that even the higher-ups may not have to answer for.
Sophia Di Martino in Loki season 2.
As it stands, though, Kang, the next Thanos-level threat of the MCU, isn’t all that much of a threat. He was defeated by the MCU’s tiniest hero in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and in Loki, he’s a meek 19th-century inventor whose choices are made for him by those with much stronger convictions. Victor hardly makes a decision on his own in Loki season 2’s first four episodes, instead relying on Loki and Mobius or Ravonna and Ms. Minutes to do all the scheming for him. Compared to Josh Brolin’s Thanos, who lingered in the background in the lead-up to his eventual dominance, it’s hurting Kang that we get to see all these variants of him. The smartest move here, it would seem, would be to sideline the character, recast him, and dole out menacing doses of the villain in the lead-up to The Kang Dynasty.
Like most of the projects of this second MCU saga so far, though, Loki season 2 feels oddly insulated from the larger story at play, even with a Kang variant present. As a promise fulfilled, Loki season 2 is a welcome return to form for the MCU with an intentionality behind it that makes it feel as if something grander is at play. It’s hardly a surprise that Marvel’s best Disney+ show returns with the momentum that its wonderful season 1 finale left it with. Problems still linger over the proceedings — the Majors question, how the events will shape the Multiverse Saga, if and when Loki himself will be integrated into the larger machinations of the franchise — but Loki season 2 still has a fully realized vision that is lacking in much of the MCU’s other projects. From the stellar design of the TVA to the characters at the heart of the show, there is plenty that is working here. Loki may be another cog in the Marvel machine, but it’s a mostly well-oiled one.
Loki season 2 premieres on October 5. The eight-episode season will be released weekly until its finale on November 9.
Key Release Dates
- The Marvels Release Date: 2023-11-10
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- Captain America: Brave New World Release Date: 2024-05-03
- Marvel’s Thunderbolts Release Date: 2024-12-20
- Blade (2025) Release Date: 2025-02-14
- Marvel’s Fantastic Four Release Date: 2025-05-02
- Avengers: The Kang Dynasty Release Date: 2026-05-01
- Avengers: Secret Wars Release Date: 2027-05-01