Shows

Loki’s Back For His Own Series

Spoiler-Free Show Review:

Loki Season 1

Rating: 10 out of 10 stars

Intro

When I heard about this series, I was concerned about whether it would be any good because I was worried it would take away from the character development we saw in other movies. Instead, it provided the means for more character development and showed a different side of Loki.

Warning: This review does not contain any significant spoilers for Season 1 of Loki, but it does include some plot details from Episode 1.

Background

Loki Season 1 was created by Michael Waldron and released in 2021. It can be streamed on Disney+.

Summary

Loki escapes the Avengers only to be captured by the Time Variance Authority (TVA) and labeled a variant to the sacred timeline. To survive, he will have to use his wits and his own self-knowledge to capture an enemy of the TVA.

Pros

  • Enjoyable characters
  • Strong character development
  • Phenomenal acting
  • Immersive setting
  • The show is unpredictable and strange, which is fitting for a series centering around the god of mischief
  • Well-chosen music

Cons

  • There are no specific cons I would like to point out. This series does stretch believability, but considering the god of mischief is the main character, I don’t see that as a bad thing.

Observations

  • Inspired in a lot of ways by the comics

Review

Characters

Loki wins the prize for most character development out of everyone from this series. Watching his character unfold was like watching a narcissistic caterpillar turn into an equally narcissistic butterfly. Yeah, he does remain a narcissist, but he’s forced to re-evaluate his entire worldview and come to terms with who he truly is.

Mobius is kind of patronizing at first, but once you figure out what makes him tick, he’s easier to understand and appreciate. He kind of fulfills a mentor role to Loki in that Loki does learn some things from him, but he’s not the stereotypical old dude fulfilling his duty to pass on unwanted wisdom.

Miss Minutes is the holographic mascot for the TVA, explaining its mission to maintain the sacred timeline to Loki when he first is captured. She handles looking up information in the TVA’s databases, but is more than just a tool. Often, she acts like a sentient being with her own feelings and concerns.

Acting

The acting was impeccable, especially by Tom Hiddleston, Owen Wilson, and Sophia Di Martino. Hiddleston using a range of complex expressions to get across Loki’s reactions to pivotal events was especially effective.

Setting

The TVA as a setting was perfect. It combined a bunch of old-fashioned propaganda posters, dated cartoons, and futuristic devices to make a unique atmosphere. It was a perfect blend of old and new to make the setting seem timeless and immersive.

Plot

The plot throws you for a lot of loops. (And not just time loops.) Every time everything seems chill and like things are going to go one way, things escalate and the stakes become even higher.

Music

The quirky and thematic music of this season added to the atmosphere. There is currently a soundtrack out for Episodes 1-3 called “Loki Volume 1” and it can be found on Spotify.

Inspiration

The whole concept of the TVA and the Timekeepers, as wells as many of the characters were inspired by the comics. I love that Disney is taking into account previous works in the Marvel Universe rather than taking an entirely new path.

Conclusion

If you like Marvel, then you will appreciate this show focused on one of Marvel’s most enduring characters.

Rating System

If you’re interested in how I rate shows, check out my rating system.

Links

Shows

LoK Season 2’s Horrible Spirit Wonderland

Spoiler-Free Show Review:

The Legend of Korra Season 2

Rating: 4 out of 10 stars

Intro

Don’t get me wrong. I love the Avatar universe and The Legend of Korra (LoK). But Season 2 takes all the worst parts of Avatar lore, runs like a bad fanfiction, and introduces lasting consequences that should never have been a problem in the first place. This is my second time watching it, and I hated it even more the second time.

If you decide to skip Season 2, I recommend reading my spoiler review of it instead of this one, because it will sum up the main takeaways from Season 2 and prepare you to understand the beginning of Season 3.

Background

The Legend of Korra Season 2, called Spirits, was released in 2013. It was animated partially by Studio Mir and partially by Pierrot. The creators are Michael Dante DiMartino and Brian Konietzko

Season 2 might have been better if it weren’t for strained relations with Nickelodeon and if the series had been planned out better in the first place. Initially, the creators of The Legend of Korra were only contracted for Season 1, so getting a Season 2 had been up in the air.

Summary

Season 2 begins six months after the first season. Korra has to find a way to deal with increasing unrest between the spirit world and the natural world and stop the embodiment of evil and chaos from being released on the world.

Pros

  • Introduction of numerous new characters
  • Get to see a beloved old character
  • The story of the first avatar was creative
  • Pretty animation at times
  • Good music

Cons

  • Abusive relationship between Bolin and a Water Tribe girl played for laughs
  • Relationship between Varrick and Zhu Li uncomfortable as well
  • Korra acting obnoxious in her relationship with Mako
  • More drama with the love triangle that is just too much
  • Bolin kisses a woman without consent
  • Bolin being a little too dumb
  • Has the worst villain of all the seasons
  • Too much spirit mumbo-jumbo
  • Serious permanent consequences that I really hate because why, oh why…
  • Really awful ending

Review

Characters

Eska and Desna are Korra’s twin cousins They are typically emotionless, passive, and disinterested in life around them. However, they can be stirred to anger under the right circumstances.

They come from the Northern Water Tribe and are visiting the Southern Water Tribe for the Glacier Spirits Festival. They are skilled waterbenders.

Bumi and Kya are Tenzin’s siblings.

Bumi, the one on the left in the picture, is a nonbender who is brash, stubborn, and fond of telling long and often pointless stories about his military career.

Kya, shown on the right in the picture, is a waterbender whose skill rivals her mother Katara’s.

Varrick is eccentric businessman and inventor that Asami seeks to make a deal with. He is a flamboyant, intelligent, bossy genius. He’s definitely a fan-favorite, but in my opinion he is at his worst in this season.

He has an assistant named Zhu Li who is willing to do almost anything for him.

Origin Story

Avatar Wan

Season 2 introduces the story of Avatar Wan, the first Avatar, and his relationship with the spirits Raava and Vaatu. This is the best part of Season 2, by far. It adds so much lore to the Avatar universe.

Raava and Vaatu

Relationships

There is one clearly abusive relationship in this season between Bolin and a Water Tribe girl. She treats him like a slave and exerts greater and greater control over him. When Bolin asks his friends for help, they shrug it off and give him less than helpful advice.

The love triangle of Asami, Mako, and Korra needs to stop. At this point it becomes painful and dramatic and it is easy to grow sick of the whole thing.

Varrick treats Zhu Li like some sort of slave and it becomes increasingly apparent that he is unable to appreciate her worth. Their interactions are uncomfortable at best, and cause one to wonder why a woman would degrade herself in this way for such a self-centered man.

The Bolin Problem

Bolin is not at his best in this season. When he is not a submissive, uncomfortable part of a toxic relationship, he is doing stupid and inappropriate things such as kissing a woman without her consent.

The Spirit World Problem

The Spirit World is like Wonderland, and I hate Wonderland. Nothing makes sense. Things change without warning. And with dark forces involved, spirits quickly turn from good to evil and back again. This whole season is about Korra finding herself spiritually, and in the spirit world she is figuratively and literally lost.

The spirit world in Avatar: The Last Airbender was so much better, because it stayed mysterious and kind of creepy. In Season 2 of The Legend of Korra it lost its cryptic quality.

Ending

The ending sucks. It’s like you are watching a completely different show than Season 1. It introduces lasting consequences that Avatar fans will be disappointed with for seasons to come.

Animation

The animation is a little bit nicer in this season than in the previous season. When telling Avatar Wan’s story, the animators changed the style. I like that choice as it feels liked it amped up the feeling of storytelling. The style was elsewhere surprisingly consistent considering two different studios were working on it.

Music

The music had a somber quality appropriate for the more spiritual themes of this season.

Conclusion

If you read this and then decided Season 2 wasn’t worth your time, check out my spoiler version of this review. I don’t recommend watching it, but if you can’t bring yourself to skip it, there are some redeemable qualities mentioned above, so it’s not a complete waste of time.

Honestly, I think this season was appropriate for most people ages 10 and up.

Rating System

If you are interested in how I rate show, check out my rating system.

Links

Related Articles

Shows

LoK Season 2’s Horrible Spirit Wonderland (SPOILERS)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is legend-of-korra-season-2-1.jpg

Show Review:

The Legend of Korra Season 2

Rating: 4 out of 10 stars

Intro

Don’t get me wrong. I love the Avatar universe and The Legend of Korra (LoK). But Season 2 takes all the worst parts of Avatar lore, runs like a bad fanfiction, and introduces lasting consequences that should never have been a problem in the first place. This is my second time watching it, and I hated it even more the second time.

This review is filled with spoilers. It may not be worthwhile to you to watch Season 2, and if you read this blog post it will summarize everything of importance from that season, allowing you to skip Season 2 if you desire without being lost during Season 3.

Background

The Legend of Korra Season 2, called Spirits, was released in 2013. It was animated partially by Studio Mir and partially by Pierrot. The creators are Michael Dante DiMartino and Brian Konietzko

Season 2 might have been better if it weren’t for strained relations with Nickelodeon and if the series had been planned out better in the first place. Initially, the creators of The Legend of Korra were only contracted for Season 1, so getting a Season 2 had been up in the air.

Summary

Season 2 begins six months after the first season. Korra has to find a way to deal with increasing unrest between the spirit world and the natural world. When her uncle Unalaq convinces her to open the Southern Spirit portal, chaos ensues. To make matters worse, the Northern Water Tribe invades and seizes control of the Southern Water Tribe. Additionally, we learn about the first avatar and the continual fight between Raava and Vaatu–the embodiment of good and the embodiment of evil, respectively.

Pros

  • Introduction of numerous new characters
  • Get to see old characters–Iroh and Admiral Zhao
  • The story of the first avatar was creative
  • Pretty animation at times
  • Good music

Cons

  • Abusive relationship between Bolin and Eska played for laughs
  • Relationship between Varrick and Zhu Li uncomfortable as well
  • Korra acting obnoxious in her relationship with Mako
  • More drama with the love triangle that is just too much
  • Bolin kisses a woman without consent
  • Bolin being a little too dumb
  • Has the worst villain of all the seasons
  • Too much spirit mumbo-jumbo
  • Serious permanent consequences that I really hate because why, oh why…
  • Really awful ending

Review

Characters

Eska and Desna are Korra’s twin cousins and the children of Unalaq. They are typically emotionless, passive, and disinterested in life around them. However, they can be stirred to anger under the right circumstances.

They come from the Northern Water Tribe and are visiting the Southern Water Tribe for the Glacier Spirits Festival. They are skilled waterbenders.

Bumi and Kya are Tenzin’s siblings.

Bumi, the one on the left in the picture, is a nonbender who is brash, stubborn, and fond of telling long and often pointless stories about his military career.

Kya, shown on the right in the picture, is a waterbender whose skill rivals her mother Katara’s.

Varrick is eccentric businessman that Asami seeks to make a deal with. He is a flamboyant, intelligent, bossy, occasionally obnoxious genius. He’s definitely a fan-favorite, but in my opinion he is at his worst in this season.

He has an assistant named Zhu Li who is willing to do almost anything for him.

Origin Story

Avatar Wan

Season 2 introduces the story of Avatar Wan, the first Avatar, and his relationship with the spirits Raava and Vaatu. This is the best part of Season 2, by far. It adds so much lore to the Avatar universe.

Wan’s story starts in a world where lion turtles guard the secrets of the elements and allow various people of the tribes that live on their backs to borrow elemental powers from them. In other words, the lion turtles give people the gift of bending a particular element–fire, air, water, or earth.

Wan borrows the power of firebending from the lion turtle to join a hunting party, but does not give it back when he is supposed to. He then tries to help the poor in his town by robbing the rich with firebending–like a kind of Robin Hood figure. As a result, he is banished to the Spirit Wilds.

When seeking sanctuary among the inhabitants of the Spirit Wilds, Wan is initially rejected by them. After he rescues a trapped cat deer, risking his life in the process, the spirits accept him.

Two years after being banished, Wan decided to find other lion turtle cities. He left with the cat deer, Mula, and during his travels stumbled upon Raava and Vaatu locked in a desperate battle. When Vaatu begged for help, saying he had been tormented by Raava for ten thousand years, Wan used his bending to separate them.

This turned out to be a mistake, as Vaatu was the spirit of darkness and evil. Raava explained the error Wan had made and rejected his offer to help capture Vaatu again. Wan continued on his journey and found an airbending village where Vaatu turned benign spirits malevolent. Wan managed to protect the airbending village until Raava arrived.

Vaatu bragged about how he would destroy Raava when Harmonic Convergence arrived. Raava was growing weaker, so she agreed to join Wan. Wan asked for the power of airbending from the lion turtle whose village he had saved, and was granted it, though Raava was required to hold most of this power until Wan was able to master it.

Wan and Raava traveled together to other lion turtle cities as Avatar Wan mastered the four elements. Coming across a conflict between humans and spirits that escalated when Vaatu turned the spirits dark, Wan temporarily merged with Raava. This allowed him to control all four elements at once. The strain was too much and Wan passed out. After he woke up, he learned that the humans had all been killed.

Raava was so small that he put her in a teapot and carried her with him to the Southern spirit portal, determined to face Vaatu. Wan fights Vaatu and merges again with Raava to get an edge in battle. This time, the merging is permanent, and Wan becomes the first Avatar through this fusion.

Wan defeated Vaatu and trapped him in the Tree of Time. He then spent the entire rest of his life attempting to bring peace to the world. Although he was not successful, he was reincarnated in what was the beginning of the Avatar cycle.

Raava and Vaatu

Relationships

The relationships in this season are so messed up.

First off, there’s Bolin and Eska to contend with. Their relationship is meant to be funny, but it is obviously abusive. That this is a relationship without consent on one side becomes increasingly apparent, even though Bolin repeatedly and reluctantly submits in the toxic relationship.

Their first conversation offers hints and red flags.

Eska: You amuse me. I will make you mine.

Bolin: You mean like a boyfriend? Or…like a slave?

Eska: Yes. Win me prizes.

It gets to the point where Eska dictates how Bolin (and Pabu) dress. She also tries to control Bolin’s future and force him into a marriage with her.

When Bolin goes to his friends for help, they do not take him seriously. And when Bolin tries to break up with Eska, he is threatened. The entire relationship is unhealthy and destructive.

The Bolin Problem

Bolin is not at his best in this season. When he is not a submissive, uncomfortable part of a toxic relationship, he is doing stupid and inappropriate things such as kissing a woman without her consent.

When Bolin becomes a mover (movie) star, it is clear that he does not understand the concept of acting. When Ginger pretends to be into him during a scene, he kisses her even though it is not in the script. When she is understandably angry, he doesn’t get it.

While this is meant to be funny, making Bolin dumb enough to do inappropriate and irrational things makes him a far-cry from the lovable Bolin of Season 1.

The Spirit World Problem

The Spirit World is like Wonderland, and I hate Wonderland. Nothing makes sense. Things change without warning. And with Vaatu involved, spirits quickly turn from good to evil and back again. This whole season is about Korra finding herself spiritually, and in the spirit world she is figuratively and literally lost.

Korra turns into a child in the spirit world temporarily, helps a damaged spirit, and meets good ol’ Uncle Iroh from Avatar: The Last Airbender. This brings up more questions than answers. For instance, what is the afterlife for people of this universe? Just passing on to the spirit world? Why aren’t there more dead people around?

Also, Korra and Iroh and some spirits basically have a tea party, which makes it all too much like the tea party with the Mad Hatter in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. And Korra shrinks and grows like Alice… Did I mention I hate Wonderland?

Even if you like Wonderland, you’re unlikely to like this Wonderland knock-off.

The spirit world in Avatar: The Last Airbender was so much better, because it stayed mysterious and kind of creepy. In Season 2 of The Legend of Korra it lost its cryptic quality.

Ending

The ending sucks.

It introduces the concept of a dark avatar to the canon, which is honestly a mistake. The Vaatu and Unalaq combo is laughable even if it is destructive. It’s like the series jumped genres and became an animated Godzilla vs. Kong. It ends just about how you would expect – with Korra the victor and Unalaq vanquished in a bloodless way.

The real tragedy is that Korra permanently loses contact with her previous Avatar lives. It’s basically like someone hit the reset button on the Avatar cycles. It’s a horrible consequence that fans will be lamenting for seasons to come.

A cooler consequence is that Korra leaves the spirit portals open and spirits integrate with Republic City and the rest of the world.

Animation

The animation is a little bit nicer in this season than in the previous season. When telling Avatar Wan’s story, the animators changed the style. I like that choice as it feels liked it amped up the feeling of storytelling. The style was elsewhere surprisingly consistent considering two different studios were working on it.

Music

The music had a somber quality appropriate for the more spiritual themes of this season.

Conclusion

I wouldn’t recommend watching Season 2. This review says enough about the season to be able to move on to Season 3 with no problem. If you’ve already watched it…then sorry, I guess. Unless you liked it. Some people do.

Honestly, I think this season was appropriate for most people ages 10 and up.

Rating System

If you are interested in how I rate show, check out my rating system.

Links

Related Articles

Shows

A Supernatural Summer Adventure

Spoiler-Free Show Review:

Gravity Falls Season 1

Rating: 9.5 out of 10 stars

Intro

When my sister wanted me to watch Gravity Falls, I was skeptical about whether I would like it. It looked like an uninteresting kids show or like it would have a style of humor I wouldn’t be a fan of. However, it has become one of my favorite shows.

Background

Gravity Falls Season 1 was released in 2012-2013. It stars the voice talent of Jason Ritter, Alex Hirsch, Kristen Schaal, and Linda Cardellini.

It can currently be watched on Disney Plus.

Summary

Twins Dipper and Mabel Pines travel to Gravity Falls, Oregon to stay with their great uncle Stan for the summer. While there, they are involved in all sorts of paranormal adventures.

Pros

  • Loveable characters
  • Unique villains
  • Interesting supernatural beings
  • Touching character dynamics between the twins
  • Entertaining setting
  • Clever and amusing dialogue
  • Fun animation
  • References to other shows and pop culture
  • Continuity between episodes unlike in some cartoons
  • Enjoyable for adults and children alike
  • Original catchy music

Cons

  • Doesn’t start out as good as it eventually gets later in the season

Observations

  • The whispers at the end of the intro song of each episode are hints to solve the cryptogram at the end of each episode
  • Alex Hirsch is the voice actor for Gruncle Stan, Soos, Old Man McGucket, and Bill Cipher.
  • Dipper’s hat was originally supposed to be red, but the creators feared that he would look too much like Ash Ketchum

Review

Characters

My Favorite Pic of the Whole Gang

Mabel Pines, the girl in the pink sweater and braces, is a quirky and boy-crazy girl. She wears a different sweater almost every episode and is very spontaneous.

Dipper Pines, the boy in the blue hat, is adventurous, practical, and cautious. He is eager to find out what supernatural forces are at work in Gravity Falls.

Wendy Corduroy is the redheaded teenager. She is tomboyish, strong, assertive, clever, and funny. Wendy is my favorite character.

Gruncle Stan, the old man, is the main characters’ Great Uncle. Get it? Gruncle? He is miserly, bossy, and occasionally engages in criminal activities. Nonetheless, he is one of the most loveable characters.

Soos is the handyman in the green shirt. He is laidback, has a big heart, and is very close to the Pines family. He acts kind of like a big brother to Dipper and Mabel.

I can’t imagine the show without any one of these characters. They are all essential and add so much to the story.

Lil Gideon is perhaps the most annoying character in the show, but that is what makes him so effective. He claims to be psychic and is a rich kid.

Bill Cipher is the iconic villain of Gravity Falls. He’s just so weird….some of his scenes involve deer teeth and possession. It’s all quite odd, and that’s what makes him so unique. He is kind of sadistic and thoughtless and enjoys making deals.

Relationships

The relationship between the twins is so sweet and authentic. It is clear that they genuinely do care for each other and enjoy each other’s company. Gravity Falls avoids common tropes used in shows for twins–such as twins that are identical or very similar in personality, or the twin that is always right vs. the one that is always wrong, single-minded twins, etc.

Setting

The show is set in Gravity Falls, Oregon. A lot of time is spent at the Mystery Shack in particular, which is a tourist trap filled with gimmicks and odd artifacts.

Dialogue

There is so much fun dialogue in this show. Mabel probably has the best jokes and lines, but all of the characters are hilarious.

For instance, when Dipper freaks out because one of Mabel’s latest crushes does not seem to blink, she suggests:

Maybe he’s blinking when you’re blinking.”

And there is a line by Dipper that has become an often used GIF. Dipper is listening and writing down in a notebook these words:

I am pretending to write something down.”

Mabel has another great line shown below:

Boys, why can’t you learn to hate each other in secret. Like girls do.”

Animation

The goofy and sometimes postcard-worthy animation of Gravity Falls is attractive and fits the theme of the show.

References

There are so many references in this show to older shows, movies, and pop culture. I’ll name a few below, but be on the lookout for more if you watch Gravity Falls.

  • Stan wears a Gill-man mask once, which is a reference to the creature from Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)
  • Mabel takes an object out of the box and spins like Link from Legend of Zelda
  • When Soos is pretending to be Bigfoot, he uses a pose from the famous alleged film of Bigfoot
  • Monsters Inc reference, but “It’s a 2316” instead of 2319
  • Smile Dip alludes to the brand Fun Dip
  • Mabel sings “Don’t Start Un-believing,” a reference to the song “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey
  • Dipper’s statement “Yes, yes I am” is a reference to Phineas and Ferb

Continuity

Continuity is established through references events in early episodes, such as the gifts the twins choose from the shop, and the damage to the sign on the Mystery Shack.

Audience

The audience for this show is varied. When I was looking at who had left ratings on IMDb, there was a large age range from teens to people in their mid-20s or mid-30s–even people older than that such as in their 50s. In addition, it was made for children, so it fits all of these audiences well. There are a lot of jokes that adults will appreciate that kids may barely notice. The darker themes at times in the show makes it appealing to adults as well.

Music

The theme song is so catchy my sister and dad both made it their ringtone. I love it. It’s one of those iconic songs that will always bring back good memories for me.

Conclusion

I recommend this show for all ages except for very young children due to dark elements.

Rating System

If you are interested in how I rate shows, check out my rating system.

Links