Marvel just doesn’t hit like it used to. During the heyday of the Infinity Saga, we’d be waiting excitedly in the cinema on opening night, with popcorn in one hand and a replica Mjolnir in the other. But since the dust settled and the portals opened in Endgame, things have wilted somewhat. It’s into that landscape that we’re getting Loki season 2 with a lot of pressure on the shoulders of the God of Mischief.
The reason for this is simple. Of all of the MCU projects we’ve seen come to fruition since Endgame, the first season of Loki was among the most beloved. Fans have patiently watched all of the Marvel movies in order and the Marvel series on Disney Plus, but a lot of this stuff just hasn’t been good enough. We’re looking at you, Secret Invasion. It’s as if the creative folks at Marvel have all been replaced by Skrulls.
Loki, though, was different. It’s one of the best TV series Disney Plus has given us, marrying plenty of time-bending thrills with the inimitable charisma of Tom Hiddleston as the anti-heroic title character. Before we were tired of the multiverse, Loki gave us a glimpse of what it could all mean.
The first season arrived off the back of Marvel’s victory lap – one of the best superhero movies in history – and a pandemic-enforced hiatus, while Loki season 2 comes in the wake of Secret Invasion and Ant-Man 3. We liked Guardians of the Galaxy a lot – read our Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 review for more – but that was very much separate from the ongoing storyline told by the other new movies in the franchise.
Loki’s first season was brilliant, providing a whole new dimension to one of the best Marvel characters. On the one hand, this was a version of Loki plucked from the 2012 portion of the timeline, thanks to the Avengers’ time-travel shenanigans in Endgame. He hadn’t repaired his reputation with his brother and suffered a heroic death at the hands of Thanos.
This was a Machiavellian monster, the God of Mischief, and one of the best Marvel villains. The show wiped the slate clean, then filled that slate with brand-new character depth.
In that sense, Loki is now a prisoner of its own success. At a time when hopes of quality are quite low for most of the upcoming Marvel movies, the expectations for Loki season 2 are sky-high. After what came before, people are expecting greatness.
Fortunately, the signs are very good indeed. Eric Martin has stepped up to replace the very busy Michael Waldron as head writer, with maestros of the bizarre Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead leading the directorial team.
Known for their delightful ambition in making some of the best science fiction movies of recent years like The Endless and Synchronic, Benson and Moorhead impressed Marvel with their work on several episodes of Moon Knight, landing the plum Loki gig as a result. They have called their shot when it comes to Loki, promising to amp up the sci-fi weirdness this time around. If their track record is anything to go by – mad as a box of frogs filled with boxes of frogs – they’re sorted.
There’s also the casting. Wisely, we’re returning to the chemistry between Hiddleston and Owen Wilson as Morbius, with Sophia Di Martino’s Loki variant Sylvie still appearing as mysterious as before. New additions include Everything Everywhere All at Once’s Oscar-winner Ke Huy Quan who, based on the trailers we’ve seen, is a perfect fit for the unique chaos of the TVA.
Narratively, we’re also on solid ground. Based on everything we learned from the Loki season 2 trailer, there’s a mystery to investigate around time-slipping, as well as the fallout from Sylvie’s decision to unleash the multiverse and send the timelines crazy. We’re prepared to have our heads thoroughly scrambled in the way the best of Marvel has always been capable of doing.
All of this suggests that Loki season 2 could be on the path to success. However, there’s no getting away from the fact that the stakes feel very high this time around. Loki is one of the few glimmering lights of hope for the MCU going forward, and it essentially has to turn this big juggernaut around to get everything on track.
That’s a lot to put on the shoulders of a weird, misshapen run of six episodes about timelines and Norse deities. But despite being burned by the MCU on many recent occasions, we have high hopes that Loki can carry the burden it has been given. And ultimately, it just has to be better than Secret Invasion. We can manage that, right? Right?!
As for some of the other biggest characters in the MCU, read why Scarlet Witch’s best story would radically change the MCU and find out about some pathetic Marvel villains. You can also learn about Loki’s first enemy and why they were worse than Thor or the TVA and read our open letter to Kevin Feige.