Parents' Guide to

Vikings: Valhalla

By Matt Cabral, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Violent, mature historical drama picks up after slow start.

TV Netflix Action 2022
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This sequel to the acclaimed Vikings series gets off to a slower than expected start before gaining momentum a few episodes in. While Vikings: Valhalla immediately checks all the requisite boxes, from brutal melees and mead-swilling celebrations to more majestic beards than you can swing a battle axe at, it takes some time to become invested in its storytelling and characters. The inherent nature of kicking off a new series is largely to blame for this, as settings, timelines, and characters must be introduced and motivations established. But Valhalla sometimes stumbles over this intrinsic hurdle more than it should, presenting a number of similar-looking and -acting characters from the get-go. While keeping track of all the brooding bros with long locks and epic facial hair can be a chore, Freydis quickly stands out as someone you'll want to root for...and have in your corner during a fight. Anchored by Frida Gustavsson's strong, emotional performance, her arch is easily the most compelling early on.

Thankfully, the other characters -- and their narrative paths -- start to catch up a few episodes in. The primary players begin to emerge from their generic facades, new, interesting villains and conflicts are introduced, and the story's plotting and pacing becomes less bogged down in exposition, backstory, and set-up. Vikings: Valhalla might not grab you right out of the gate, but weather its growing pains and the gods just might reward you with a worthy successor to its popular predecessor.

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