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It was Indifference Killed the Trickster: Does Anyone Want Another Season of Loki?
Thoughts on the eve of Loki: Season 2
Loki has famously become the character that will not die. I believe he’s been killed on-screen at least 3 times? There’s plot armor and then there’s whatever kompromat actor Tom Hiddleston is holding over Kevin Feige’s head.1 It was a cute trick the first few times. But at this point, I wish they’d put a fork in the god of mischief.
I’ve complained previously about the state of the MCU, so this is not exactly a new take. Marvel’s insistence on doubling-down on spectacle over sensible is second only to their sibling studio Lucasfilm. And I get it: Complaining about the size of the tentpole is irony itself. The MCU is meant to be bigger—it’s in the freaking name (Marvel Cinematic Universe). There was a time we celebrated the MCU almost entirely because of its scale. Avengers beget Civil War beget Infinity War beget Endgame. But as we continue to freshly discover with every subsequent release, bigger is no longer better.
There is a degree of been-there, seen-that, but the main thing lacking from the modern MCU is the writing itself. We only cared about Endgame because we were invested in the characters, and that is thanks entirely to the story Marvel spent 10 years creating. Recent entries have fallen short in that regard almost across the board. We’re coasting on the fumes of nostalgia, and eventually, that deep tank runs dry too.
Which brings us to Loki.
I recently published a season 1 recap at Fanfare. I thought I remembered the first season pretty well. I was wrong. (If you plan on watching season 2, I recommend taking a look at that article.) That first season released in 2021, which doesn’t sound that long ago. However, Marvel has released 9 movies since then. That’s crazy sauce.
The main thing that struck me about season one is just how gonzo it all sounds. We remember the multiverses. That’s hard to forget. Did you recall the robotic overlords? Or the place people go to when they die? Or that everyone working at the Time Authority is themselves a variant?
And as crazy as season 1 was, season 2 promises to be even more so. That’s not a good thing. Marvel’s crazy quotient is like global CO2 levels—already dangerously high and escalating at an alarming rate. The sensible thing would be to just take the damn foot off the accelerator. But sensible is in short supply in 2023.
It seems like the lesson Marvel took from Endgame is that bigger = better, always. The dust had barely settled from Endgame and we were again thrust into world-ending stakes in Spider-Man: No Way Home. Such fare is the soup du jour of the genre and is to be expected on some level. But I’d really love to see Marvel draw from a different well once in a while. How about a movie in which the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man just protects the neighborhood?
It’s not going to happen anytime soon. Marvel’s plans for the next batch of films culminates in a 2-film finale releasing in subsequent years, which has our heroes battle an all-powerful, genocidal warlord. Stop me if you’ve heard that one before.2
As for Loki, I’m just about tapped out on my capacity to care. I won’t be tuning in tomorrow and I’m making no plans to do so in the near future. Increasingly, I have reached the Randy Jackson stage of excitement when it comes to the MCU.
If you are excited for Loki: season 2, I’d love to hear about it. Judgement-free zone. I unironically love movies like The Ice Pirates and The Beastmaster, so I have no room to talk.
Feige is the head of Marvel Studios, for those of you who don’t have this sort of administrivia committed to memory.
Here’s a hint: Infinity War and Endgame released in 2018 and 2019, and featured the Avengers battling Thanos in both films.