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Loki Season 2 (Disney+) review: Still the best MCU series, but missing a bit of sparkle

Loki Season 2 (Disney+) review: Still the best MCU series, but missing a bit of sparkle

Image Source: Marvel

Loki's a new man

Everyone's favorite trickster god is back for a second season of multiversal mischief. The series picks up immediately where we left off in Season 1, with Loki (Tom Hiddleston) thrust back into a Time Variance Authority (TVA) that does not know who he is.

What is probably the Marvel Cinematic Universe's most daring and inventive series continues to expand on its promise, unpacking new narrative threads no longer bound to the Sacred Timeline. Season 1 was a joy ride, seeing Loki butt heads with different versions of himself, and even fall in love with one of them. Its defiant streak— the quest to unmask the man behind the curtain at the TVA— provided for some excellent material, allowing the God of Mischief to shine.

But with the first four out of six episodes available for review, I've found Season 2 to have a slightly different edge to it. It deftly experiments with the logic of the timeline to pull off some truly fun scenarios, such as when Loki's time-slipping allows him to change the present in real-time, as he interacts with characters in the past.

Image Source: Marvel

Ke Huy Quan's Ouroboros plays a big role in the new complexity of the timeline. He spends a lot of time tinkering and prodding all sorts of gadgets, and is a welcome addition to the cast. The embattled Jonathan Majors, who plays all the versions of He Who Remains, also looms large in the background. There are still machinations on the sidelines to restore him to his place, and his appearance as the seemingly well-meaning Victor Timely feels at once innocuous and sinister.

The dialog is interspersed with rough gems of wit, invaluable nuggets that help keep the show light and on brand for the MCU. I particularly enjoyed Loki and Mobius's excursion to a McDonald's to find Sylvie— but not before Mobius stops for an apple pie.After all, when entire existences are being nuked into oblivion by a rogue faction of the TVA determined to preserve the Sacred Timeline, things can get dark quick.

Image Source: Marvel

In some ways, Loki feels like a redemption arc for the errant God of Mischief. Following his premature demise in Avengers: Infinity War at the hands of Thanos, an alternate variant of Loki gets to complete his journey from villain to anti-hero. He continues to reckon with the atrocities he has committed, with glib references to the Battle of New York, where he lightly dismisses the entire debacle as him acting out because he was upset with Thor and Odin.

However, he risks losing what makes him such a beloved character in the first place— and this is where the show falters slightly. Loki is the God of Mischief, yet he has so far gotten up to painfully little of that in season 2. Granted, the stakes are incredibly high, so there isn't a lot of room for dastardly shenanigans, but it felt like the show could have let Loki be more Loki at times. There are occasional bright spots, such as when he pursues Hunter X-5 and corners him with multiple illusions and horned shadows of himself. Or when he manipulates the hapless X-5 to spill what he really knows about where Sylvie is hiding.

Image Source: Marvel

All things considered, Season 2 feels ever so slightly slower and duller, and it may be because for one of the first times ever, Loki is looking out for people other than himself. That's not necessarily a bad thing, and it shows character growth, but fans will likely miss the villain who proved to be a perennial thorn in Thor's side.

Nevertheless, despite the uneven pacing, Loki is still the MCU series with the most potential. It appears to be setting us up for new adventures. The TVA, as reimagined by our heroes, protecting not just the Sacred Timeline, but everyone living in its branches. It remains one of the best MCU shows streaming now, and the one that has the most exciting possibilities for even more seasons in the future. The God of Mischief may have mellowed, but that sly twinkle of an eye never quite goes away.

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