Loki: All Smoke and Mirrors with Tik-Tok-Trick or Treats…

The second series of 'Loki' has lots of characters running around, but they're really not accomplishing much so far...

Loki and Mobius are on the trail of both rogue TVA judge Ravonna Renslayer and the manipulative timepiece Miss Minutes, but while Chicago seems to have been their destination, it’s been hard to nail down the time-period. It seems that the fugitives are playing hard-and-fast with the timeline, creating a new branch where they can guide one of the Kang variants, Victor Timely, to a better destiny, but no-one  – including Timely himself – seems to know the greater plan and time is literally ticking away…



As noted with previous reviews, looking at Loki‘s second season episodes becomes a lesson in discerning whether you like or whether you fully understand everything. The second run of the series certainly has its bucketloads of whimsy and humour and the fx remain solid, but it continues to be frustrating. Yes, the sequences are all fun enough, but they all feel disconnected, like the first rough cut of a grand idea and where the bigger picture – by accident or by deliberate intent – annoyingly remains out of reach. Some mysteries thrive on not revealing the full deck until the game is near its climax, but here there’s just enough to understand some motivations yet still feel that rather than the grand design (that’s also part of the narrative), there’s a making-this-up-as-we-go-along approach. If, by the end of the run, the dots don’t connect perfectly, then the result may prove like watching a cosmic version of LOST while under the influence and just as f mind-numbing.

The debut of Victor Timely has been teased for a while. A sequence with Loki and Mobius was dropped after the credits of Quantumania, maintaining the connection with the Kang villain of that adventure, the He Who Remains character killed by Sylvie in Loki‘s first season finale and the ‘variant’ who looks a lot like the Victorian huckster featured here (all played by Jonathan Majors). It’s supposedly all plan of Marvel‘s latest plan to create a Thanos-level (or higher) villain whose persona literally spans the multiverse and is destined to play out over various projects (including more Avengers movies) over the next few years. So, if you think this series will deal with him and the wider concepts in just a few weeks, that’s unlikely and destined for disappointment. Also, I have a universe for sale…. bought as is.

Hiddleston, always watchable and certainly enjoying himself, really isn’t being required to do enough. Loki strides on to the scenes with glorious purpose and then does little more than a few magic tricks, snark a few one liners and looks confused and it’s even starting to look phoned-in. The character was playing catch-up throughout most of the first run, but at least he looked, acted and felt like he pissed off enough to go back to full villain, scruple-free mode at any moment… here, he’s neither hero nor villain, but continues to be a walking, talking narrative device, consistently one step (or more) behind everything and purely reactive. Ask yourself what he’s actually accomplished this season and essentially it’s mostly been chase scenes. He’s just no longer that fun or that interesting in a scenario that hints at big things but sticks with the FX eye-candy and undynamic quantums. TVA judge Ravonna Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) is back this week, as if someone suddenly remembered they had a major player from the first season who had yet to appear and it feels like some major revelation is in the works (is she a Kang variant?)  but she’s mainly running interference. Miss Minutes (voiced by the recently-controversial Tara Strong) is a good supporting player with some genuinely fun scenes, but, however animated, it’s disconcerting to have a literally cartoon villain darting in and out of frame.

Again, I really don’t hate Loki, far from it, but it’s treading water in visually-pleasant ways and ever-decreasing circles with only abstract talk of the big impact and more things apparently happening off-screen than on. That’s going to have to change or someone’s going to do themselves a mischief, God or otherwise…

'Loki  S02 EP03  - 1893'  (Disney+ review)
'Loki S02 EP03 - 1893' (Disney+ review)
  • Story
  • Acting
  • Direction
  • Production Design / VFX