On October 6, the second season of the series “Loki” premiered. This is one of the first projects of the fifth phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe - the films “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantomania”, “Guardians of the Galaxy 3”, as well as the series “Secret Invasion” were previously released.
The first season of Loki premiered in 2021 and has earned excellent reviews from both the press and Marvel fans. The result is a bright, dynamic and beautiful series with an interesting plot. The second season builds on the success of the first, trying not to break anything.
The series' authors have changed. The showrunner of the first season, Michael Waldron, left the project, and was replaced by Eric Martin, who previously worked on Loki as a scriptwriter. Most of the new episodes are directed by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead (“Z/L/O: The New Virus,” “Spring”).
Starring Tom Hiddleston, Owen Wilson, Ke Huy Quan, and Jonathan Majors.
After the finale of the first season, Loki tries to save the universe again. His mistakes (as well as the risky actions of another, female version of Loki) threaten the existence of the Temporal Change Authority. And the hero is forced to fight not only against omnipotent villains, but also against the bureaucracy of the organization he is saving.
Fear of breakdown
The first season of Loki is arguably Marvel's best series yet. The change of project leaders made us wary in anticipation of failure. However, both the new showrunner and the 100% renewed team of directors decided to carefully continue the work already begun.
The first episode of the second season looks exactly as you imagine it after watching the first season. The dialogues and jokes are simple, new characters are introduced without preludes, and the authors sometimes remind inattentive viewers of events that happened earlier. Well, the visual style, 99% provided by light (sometimes it seems that “Loki” was directly overexposed), pleases from the very first seconds.
On the one hand, new authors manage to maintain both the spirit of the project and high quality. On the other hand, excessive accuracy can turn Loki into a predictable and boring project. Judging by the first episode, this could very well happen. But the overall level is so high that it is possible to extend the season (only six episodes) using old developments.
Despite the desire to preserve elements that already work, screenwriters are obliged to add at least something new. The main find is the character Ouroboros performed by Ke Hui Quan. He's another quirky hero who would be too weird in a serious Marvel segment (like Secret Invasion) but fits brilliantly into the crazy world of Loki.
Another tangible innovation is that the viewer is no longer explained how the fictional universe works. In the first season, too often the writers talked about the rules through the lines of secondary characters, which was annoying - in general, this is a typical problem with Marvel projects. “Loki” relieves himself of the responsibility of explaining what is good.
|Still from the series "Loki"|
Visually, the second season is just as beautiful as the first, but the cinematography becomes more varied. The unexpected use of a handheld camera looks comical - like watching a documentary about the inner workings of a cartoon. Endless lights in locations reminiscent of Doctor Who , shown with a shaky camera, are an unusual and interesting sight.
But all these are trifles against the background of the overall stability of the project. Again, the motto of new authors is “Don't break it.”
Dependence on actors
The artificiality of the visuals, due to the scenery, is diluted by the liveliness of the characters. As in the first season, the actors have a rather difficult task - to be human in a world where there is very little humanity. This is not about deep emotional experiences but about imperfection, doubts, and simple jokes. It is important to consider that the dialogue in Loki is rather dry, so the development of the characters depends entirely on the actors. The second season continues to rely on the performers rather than the script.
This could be a problem, but if you have Tom Hiddleston and especially Owen Wilson, you can trust them. They are again beautiful, albeit predictable. And the appearance of Ke Hui Quan adds color to the series. Literally every interaction within this trio looks like a great scene from a quality sitcom. They are fun and give “Loki” emotions.
2023 is one of the worst years for Marvel in a long time. Ant-Man 3 barely broke even, garnering negative reviews, Guardians of the Galaxy ended, and the Secret Invasion series came out with little fanfare. At the end of the year, “What If?..” is another animated series in which the writers are ready to charm the viewer with the number of characters, and not with new plots.
While Marvel is going through an obvious crisis of ideas, Sony continues to release the super-successful Spider-Man, whose success is largely built on ridiculing the canons of the genre.
Against this background, Loki looks like a rare project that continues to delight while being a standard superhero film. It draws on the experience of “ The Avengers ” and other classic Marvel hits. There is no deconstruction of the genre; on the contrary, adherence to the canons.
With a distinct (and recognizable) visual style, a brilliant cast, and strong plot developments, Loki remains an enjoyable watch. However, there is such a strong feeling of emptiness and lack of search for something new in him that it even becomes sad. It's like watching a series that is about to be canceled due to low ratings.
|Still from the series "Loki"|
"Loki" is a gift for those who love the usual super hero's. Funny characters, scary threats, beautiful pictures - all the standard elements are in place. But if you suddenly get tired of this, then “Loki” will get tired quite quickly: it is not able to offer fundamentally new ideas.