REVIEW: ‘MARVEL’S RUNAWAYS’ Zigzags Through Season Two

FIRST IMPRESSION

The new season of Runaways finds interesting ways to explore its new, more chaotic world.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

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THIS IS A SPOILER-FREE REVIEW OF MARVEL’S RUNAWAYS, SEASON TWO. YOU CAN WATCH THE FULL SEASON WHEN IT AIRS IN ITS ENTIRETY ON FRIDAY, DECEMBER 21ST.

Marvel’s Runaways returns to Hulu with its second season. The new season puts the fledgeling team on the ropes, as they take on The Pride. Runaways ups the ante in a big way, really getting into the meat of teenagers fighting their parents. The series takes some cool liberties with the source material, though not every twist works. The new season of Runaways finds interesting ways to explore its new, more chaotic world.

Season two has the titular Runaways actually on the run. The kids struggle to figure out how to survive on their own, and how to survive each other. The Runaways are still dedicated to taking on their evil parents and Jonah, their overlord. But along with all the evil adults in their lives, the team might also have a mole, which only pulls them further apart. The second season is an engaging story that ups the stakes for the runaway “heroes.”

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Ryan Sands as Geoffrey Wilder, MARVEL’S RUNAWAYS (Photo by: Paul Sarkis / Hulu)

Marvel’s Runaways continues to find interesting ways to reinvent its subject matter. Fans of the comics will undoubtedly recognize a few new people and places from the new season. However, Runaways finds a nice way to put new spins on the familiar. The series has a distinct tone, setting it apart from the other big Marvel shows. Runaways’ biggest strength is how unique it is from anything else in the extended Marvel canon.

While the tone is strong, the pacing of the series leaves much to be desired. The focus of Runaways isn’t always clear. The show tends to jump between plot points and storylines, diluting the conflict. Several episodes also end on seemingly random points in the story – they’re not even cliffhangers, they’re dropped beats. As interesting as Runaways’ narrative is, the momentum doesn’t carry it through to its full potential.

That said, when Runaways hits a good beat, it absolutely nails it. The series finds great ways to keep the teenagers in turmoil. The relationship between Nico and Karolina is especially strong, hitting multiple themes at once. Exploring the human side of The Pride also works better than last season, as the parents are dealing with their kids and Jonah. Through the zigzagging between plot points, Runaways strikes gold more often than not.

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Lyrica Okano as Nico Minoru, MARVEL’S RUNAWAYS (Photo by: Michael Desmond / Hulu)

The performances also aid the season. The emotional weight the cast puts behind the material sells the sometimes weak writing. Rhenzy Feliz shines as Alex Wilder, who gets far more interpersonal action than his comics counterpart. Ariela Barer brings new depth and dimension to Gert Yorkes. There are also several strong performances by the fraught Pride members, struggling to realign their moral compasses. The on-screen talent in Runaways pushes the season higher.

This new season of Runaways successfully builds on the ground laid in the first. The season sometimes struggles with balancing all of its moving parts. That said, Runaways preserves its tone and chemistry between the two sides. The higher stakes of the new season elevate the sometimes shaky story. As long as the series keeps running with its unique tone and team dynamics, Runaways could really excel.

STAND-OUT PERFORMANCES: Lyrica Okano, Rhenzy Feliz, Ariela Barer, Kevin Weisman

STAND-OUT EPISODES: “Gimme Shelter,” “Radio On,” “Rock Bottom”

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Jon Barr
Jon Barr is a writer, actor, and TV phanatic. Yeah, like the Philly Phanatic. Because Jon's from Philadelphia. Well, he lives in L.A. now, but, he WAS- you get it.

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