Arcane Act Two Review Deepens The Plot, The Threats And The Tragedy
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Review: Arcane Act Two Deepens The Plot, The Threats And The Tragedy Of Its Heroes

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BY November 17, 2021

Arcane is quite possibly the biggest surprise of this year. A video game adaptation that came out of nowhere and is blowing minds, expectations and changing the game. Literally. Because, even without the industry upheaving animation style that took years to complete, Arcane’s story is nothing short of brilliant. The creators take an approach to this show that was serious in every possible way. And their love for the subject material is evident in the show. With act one already released on Netflix, read on for my Arcane act two review, which compromises episodes four to six of the series.

Please note: there will be some act one spoilers coming up in this Arcane act two review. Please read my non-spoiler review of act one, before diving into this.

Arcane Act One Recap

Arcane act two review council. Image via Netflix.

Arcane is all about the socio-economic difference between the city of Piltover and the undercut Zaun. Piltover houses the rich and elite, while Zaun is home to the downtrodden of this dual society. In act one, we met Vi and Powder, two orphans trying to survive. But when they come across a magical gem, it kickstarts a chain of events that leads to a drastic shift in the dynamic of this society. A scientist named Jayce harnesses the power of the gems to create a new source of technological magic, promising to bring even more prosperity to Piltover. While Silco, an industrialist in Zaun plots to take over Zaun and overthrow those in power up above.

Caught in the middle are the two sisters, who end up involved in the fight. In an attempt to save her found foster family, the bumbling young sister Powder attempts to harness the power of the gems. The resulting accident kills almost all their foster siblings and the man who took them in all those years ago. Unable to contain herself Vi loses it on Powder, calling her a jinx for always ruining everything. This, after years of defending, sticking up for and protecting her from the wrath of others. Vi is arrested, while Powder seeks refuge from her sister’s betrayal in the arms of Silco, the villain of Arcane’s story.

Act Two Of Arcane Begins With A Time Jump

Arcane act two review Jinx. Image via Netflix.

League Of Legends’ Arcane act two starts off with a fast forward by a few years into the future from where we left off in act one. The shift in the status quo after the previous act’s events is fully realized. Piltover has become an even more powerful city, given their use of Jayce’s Hextech to become a hub of progress for the world. While Silco has solidified his dominance into Zaun, with the help of his monster-turning Shimmer drug, and a surprising new ally.

The politics of the world takes a more prominent significance in this episode as the world is fleshed out more. We spend a lot of time in the science academy as Jayce becomes wrapped up in the manipulative nature of government. With larger plans for Hextech, Jayce has trouble reconciling his ideals with what the world needs, now that he’s introduced such a dangerous invention to the world. It’s complex, layered and difficult to navigate. Along with other things.

Arcane Act Two Review Focuses On A New Character

Arcane act two review gun Image via Netflix.

One of the more surprising aspects of Arcane Act Two is how a minor character from act one rises to prominence. Caitlyn (Katie Leung) initially just a friend of Jayce’s becomes an Enforcer, basically a cop in this world, and becomes the driving force of this act. Coming from a rich family, Caitlyn’s background while doing a more blue-collar job, makes her the subject of a lot of derision. But she attempts to rise above it all by being professional and loving her job. When Jayce’s (Kevin Alejandro) new tech gets stolen in an act of terrorism, Caitlyn is on the case. While her boss, Marcus (Remy Hill) another low-level character from act one who is now sheriff, tries to cover it up.

While the larger machinations of act two deal with the criminal underbelly Zaun, the political deception of Piltover and how fragile the situation is getting, Caitlyn is unknowingly picking away at those scabs. Her investigation takes her to an unlikely source who can help her navigate the undercity, while she has to learn to shed her proper upbringing and get her hands dirty to uncover the truth.

What An Impressive New Series

Arcane act two review Caitlyn. Image via Netflix.

I’m constantly blown away by how impressive Arcane is. While the character story of Vi and Powder was on full display in act one, act two develops the world more. Which, I suspected would happen. The time jump shows us where Powder (Ella Purnell) is now, and just how the events of act one traumatized her to the point where she is now. Tortured, stressed out and very much carried the burden of those events with her at all times.

Whereas Vi (Hailee Steinfeld) has her own demons she’s wrestling with. Her journey has made her tougher, and more of a badass from act one. Steinfeld is so impressive here and I think I will associate her with this role going forward. This brings us to the awesome action of Act Two

Act Two’s Action Sequences One-Up The Previous Act

Vi. Image via Netflix.

Doing a review of Arcane act two is difficult, given having to walk around the spoiler reveals and journeys of the characters. But I can go on about the action for days. The brutality and choreography are larger in scope than act one. There are a lot more one-on-one fights, amazing chaos in the form of a raid in the opening episode. And a lot of guns and explosions in this act as well. It’s all done so incredibly well that you can just watch them over and over on a loop, to experience its greatness continuously.

Arcane keeps impressing with its amazing details to the visuals, its layered world and story. Not to mention the characters and their relationships which just continues to be some of the best writing I’ve seen in a long time. A must watch for cinephiles and loves of good storytelling everywhere.

Arcane act two is now on Netflix. Act three premieres on November 20.

What did you think of the second part of this new animated series? Let me know in the comments below.

Featured image via Netflix.

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Shah Shahid is an entertainment writer, movie critic (so he thinks), host of the Split Screen Podcast (on Apple Podcasts & everywhere else) and filmy father on a mission to educate his girls on decades of film history. Armed with uncontrollable sarcasm and cautious optimism, Shah loves discussing film, television and comic book content until his wife’s eyes glaze over. So save her by engaging him on his own blog at BlankPageBeatdown.com or on Twitter @theshahshahid.

ArcaneElla Purnellhailee steinfeldKevin AlejandroLeague Of LegendsNetflix

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