At the end of Loki Season 1, there were plenty of questions to ponder about a return. What would Loki Prime (Tom Hiddleston) do about He Who Remains (Jonathan Majors)? Would the TVA, Mobius (Owen Wilson), and B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku) believe Loki? Where did Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino), Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), and Miss Minutes (Tara Strong) disappear to? The MCU latest tackles all these issues and more, with new cast members Ke Huy Quan and Rafael Casal joining the ensemble. Loki once again hits the ground running, with plenty of emotion and spectacle packed into its brilliant return.
As Loki rushes through the TVA, he sees images of He Who Remains everywhere. However, his former friends Mobius and B-15 have no clue who Loki is. Instead, Loki begins time-jumping between the past, present, and future. In the process, he meets new allies, connects with old ones, and comes face to face with the one he fears most.
Where season 1 of Loki allowed the directors to play with unique visuals, season 2 really lets the craft teams fly. Whenever the opportunity presents itself, we enter beautifully constructed worlds of the past. A gorgeous recreation of Chicago will draw the most praise. The time-hopping and universe jumps feel more at home in Loki than in any other MCU title. Then again, these directors bring an incredible visual flare to sell those stories.
Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead once again prove their rising star status. The directors precious handled a pair of Moon Knight episodes. While that may have helped with the action, their vision in indie hits like There’s Something in the Dirt showcases their brilliance. In Loki, they combine both sides of their talent, marrying the action with the absurdist view of the world. It elevates the series and helps pull in other members of the craft team to the directing chair. It makes sense when visual effects artist Dan DeLeeuw and production designer Kasra Farahani – both of whom helped build the visual palette of the series – get an opportunity to add to its zaniness.
Loki continues to place relationships between characters first. As it fleshes out an AI clock and the TVA hunters, you wonder why other MCU projects are so bad at this aspect. There’s more emotional weight to every character on this journey, even when they’re characters we should root against. While the actors show up across the board, this writing is so crisp it makes the rest of the MCU look bad.
Hiddleston and Wilson are spectacular once again. It’s been amazing to watch Wilson add depth to his character over the past two seasons, but it’s Hiddleston who continues to find nuance in a character he’s played for over a decade. He brings wit and charm to every interaction. Di Martino steals the show once again, especially when paired up with either of the two headlining men. She gets the most outwardly emotional scenes and excels at landing that pathos.
The Majors allegations loom over his portion of the series. It’s an undeniably nuanced, internalized, and emotional performance. Then again, the questions around Majors have never been about his talent. The allegations of abuse – both of his partner earlier this year and of partners in college – rocked the industry. Given his prominence in the series and pop culture, expect conversations about art versus the artist to re-emerge in the coming weeks.
Quan proves the Everything Everything All At Once turn was not a blip. He’s funny as hell, extremely geeky, and kind beyond all reason. Additionally, he brings gravitas to the action sequences, ensuring the audience understands the danger involved. This is especially impressive as the dialogue grows to get incredibly dense. Through sheer force of will, Quan ensures the audience feels the anxiety and pressure of the moment.
The early returns on the first four episodes of Loki are far superior to the rest of the MCU shows. The character stakes are higher. The relations follow the awkward paths that friendships yield. The emotion seeps through and forces the actors to reckon with the moment. There’s too much talent on screen to be ignored, yet everyone gets their showcase sequences. It’s spectacular to be excited for the next minute, scenes, and choice of a superhero show. In so many ways, Loki is the peak of the genre.