As I revisited my reflections on the first season of Loki, I couldn’t help but feel an exhilarating anticipation for Phase 4 and the emerging chaos. The series released prior to Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was poised to initiate the onset of the multiverse conflict. The series finale, intriguingly concluded, showcased the new arch-villain we will encounter in the future and stirred excitement for Marvel’s upcoming projects.
While Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness proved to be successful films, they failed to fill the underlying tension established by Loki. Subsequent series and films, steering clear of the anticipated themes, coupled with a decline in craftsmanship, led the audience to gradually distance themselves from Marvel. Until Loki came along. Tom Hiddleston’s portrayal of Loki became the singular series to reignite hope for the audience. However, personally speaking, my excitement had been somewhat misplaced. It wasn’t what I had expected.
Let’s briefly delve into the plot. Loki finds himself in the TVA after the demise of He Who Remains, realizing he is in a different timeline as Mobius fails to recognize him. The TVA, led by He Who Remains, also known as Kang, exists beyond his control, with Loki constantly shifting through different timelines due to temporal anomalies. In an attempt to halt the fracturing of timelines triggered by the death of He Who Remains, Loki seeks a solution, which inevitably involves the exact figure, He Who Remains.
To start with the positives of the series, Loki’s discovery of himself in a TVA dominated by a colossal Kang statue was intriguing enough to spark anticipation for a second season. The series adequately maintains a sense of mystery in establishing the connection between Kang and the TVA. Kang’s involvement in every aspect, his influence on the creation of the universe, and the peaceful progression of time appear impressive on paper. However, we face the same issue once again. The detailed exploration of Kang introduced through Loki, was promised to be seen in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Nevertheless, the film failed to address why Kang is of such paramount importance and why he possesses such formidable power. The second season of Loki similarly falls short in providing answers to this fundamental question. After watching the finale, I better understood why a high-ranking producer, as reported in the news, expressed frustration about the convolution of the Kang storyline.
Disney’s Marvel series primarily serves as solo projects to introduce new characters. However, Loki established the foundation for a multiverse war leading toward Kang, a series focused on the bigger picture. At least, that was the case for the first season. The second season, while introducing characters with greater depth compared to the first season, features Loki at its core. Despite the presence of compelling characters like Mobius (Owen Wilson), Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino), Hunter B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku), OB (Ke Huy Quan), and Victor Timely (Jonathan Majors) in every episode, the fundamental focus of the season is on Loki. Regrettably, the new season has chosen to sideline the eagerly awaited parallel universe war by solely concentrating on Loki.
Tom Hiddleston is an exceptional actor, and the character of Loki that he has crafted stands among Marvel’s most successful characters. However, I find the abruptness of his transformation in the series quite pronounced. At the beginning of the first season, Loki finds himself in the TVA, portrayed as a villain attempting to destroy New York. This is not the Loki who fought alongside his brother against Hela, nor the one who perished at the hands of Thanos for his brother. It is the Loki we know as the malevolent one. The sudden shift of this malevolent Loki into an emotionally affectionate being within the TVA poses a problematic narrative challenge for me. I articulate these concerns based on the line in the finale, “I know what kind of god I want to be.” The journey from attempting world domination to saving the universe is remarkably abrupt.
What makes the season intriguing is its consistent introduction of compelling questions in the episode finales. However, the series, on the whole, fails to maintain the same level of excitement. Trapped within the same narrative loop, the persuasive second season does not open a door to the future. The season is entirely a closed box unto itself. It doesn’t connect to anything, nor does it provide answers to any questions. Loki sacrifices himself to save the universe, and the series concludes in that manner. The connection between the timelines and parallel universes with the Marvel universe remains shrouded in mystery.
In essence, while the second season of Loki is enjoyable in its own right, it falls short of paving the way for the continuation of the universe. Tom Hiddleston’s Loki deserves a final, which, for reasons unknown, is given after 14 years, allowing him to be remembered as a sacrificial figure in the eyes of the audience. Tom Hiddleston emerges as the unequivocal victor of the day, with Marvel being the loser. The Kang storyline is currently adrift in the cosmic void. The show fails to fill the tension created with “they are coming” in the first season. Above all, jeopardizing Kang’s character as Jonathan Majors finds himself embroiled in an assault trial has left me concerned about the future of the Marvel universe. Particularly with the release of The Marvels, which, unfortunately, does not contribute anything to the continuation of the universe in conjunction with the finale of Loki’s second season.
Cast & Crew
creator: Michael Waldron
starring: Tom Hiddleston, Sophia Di Martino, Owen Wilson, Wunmi Mosaku, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Eugene Cordero, Tara Strong, Ke Huy Quan, Jonathan Majors
USA | 2023 | 6 EPISODES |