Let’s talk about our favorite Marvel villain, shall we? That’s right, we’re going to do a deep dive into our favorite God of mischief, brother of Hela and Thor, the fabulous Frost Giant extraordinaire: Loki!
Now, if you look throughout The Marvel Cinematic Universe, Loki isn’t exactly. . . well, a good guy. He let the Frost Giants attack his home Asgard (in “Thor”), attempts to take the Tesseract (fails in The Avengers, succeeds in Endgame), murders countless numbers of innocent people, destroys New York, sells Thor out to save his skin like three times in Ragnarok, and tries to kill his brother (so many times). After looking at everything he has done, how can he possibly not be evil? Well, I’m here to tell you that he’s not.
Let’s back up to thousands of years ago when Thor and Loki were little kids and they still got along. The dad-of-the-year Odin told his two sweet sons that only one of them would get to be king even though both of them were worthy of ruling. Who would say that? Like seriously, who would tell his sons that only one of them would get to be king? Talk about sibling rivalry, am I right? Especially since Thor was always going to be king, it must have been especially hard for Loki. Through his developmental years, he must have seen how his brother was being groomed to be king, and he was always in his brother’s shadow. How would that not make someone spiteful? He was told that he was as worthy to rule as his brother, but he was never given the chance to try because his brother was always treated as the better son. Especially when Loki found out that he is adopted (he’s really a frost giant), wasn’t he allowed to be upset? His whole was life turned upside down. His parents never told him that he was adopted, and more than that, he realized that he never had the chance to be king, even when he was told that he had a shot. Loki thought he had a chance of being king, and his father would choose the next king based on worthiness, but Loki found out that Thor was always going to be king. His entire life was based around being the next ruler, and suddenly he found out that he didn’t even have a chance. That would make anyone furious.
With Loki’s past in mind, let’s fast forward to “The Avengers.” Loki comes to earth and steals the Tesseract with the help of the Mind Stone, which is in his scepter. He unleashes the Chitari (aliens) on New York and is eventually taken down by the Avengers because, c’mon, this is a superhero movie after all. Our question of the day, however, is why would Loki do this?
“Mairead,” I’m sure you’re thinking, “he’s evil. He’s a supervillain. That’s what he does.” But if you look at the MCU, you’ll see that they don’t just have supervillains. They have Killmonger, Mysterio and even Thanos. Villains with a backstory, a purpose and maybe sometimes a point. (Now, I’m not condoning murdering half the population, but does Thanos maybe have a slight point?) Marvel already played out the “Loki wants power” storyline and the writers are too clever to rely on a story as bland as that for two movies, so how can power be Loki’s only motive? Let’s break down Loki’s plan.
Attack New York. We know that Loki wants power. He wants control. He wants to be a ruler because he grew up half-thinking that he would rule Asgard. He wants to fulfill his childhood dream of being a ruler, so why would he want to destroy New York? For one thing, he doesn’t want to rule New York or the United States; he’s a God after all. He wants to rule the world. New York is too small to really matter, especially given how it’s insignificant enough that the government almost nukes it at the end of the movie. It doesn’t make sense for Loki to attack it. It won’t really help him with world domination and killing humans won’t help him either because he wants to rule them, not destroy them.
Loki is clever. We’ve seen time and time again, fake death (x2) to plenty of successful attempts to steal the Tesseract. He’s thoughtful and scheming. He’s evil, but he’s smart. Thor was always the strong, brute strength kid, so Loki had to use his brain and tricks to win. He wouldn’t release the Chitari because he can’t control them. He has no power over what they do and they are a wildcard, a fact that could ruin his plan. He would never put his mission in jeopardy like that.
Looking at all these points, and knowing that Loki is more of a thinker of a doer, why would he act so rashly? It goes against his character and should be a sure hint that something is wrong with him.
Now let’s look at Loki’s scepter. It’s controlled by the Mind Stone (given to Loki by Thanos, but we don’t know that at this point). When S.H.I.E.L.D. confiscates it, the audience is able to see how it feeds on the anger, dissatisfaction and anxiety of the Avengers. In a really tense scene, we are able to see the effect it has on some of the strongest beings in the universe - so we know that it’s powerful. Shouldn’t it have the same effect on Loki? We know that it’s powerful enough to control some of the strongest people on Earth, and the Infinity Stones are the most powerful items ever, so why wouldn’t they be able to control Loki? Especially if Thanos controlled the stones to mess with Loki’s emotions, making his anger, pain and loneliness overwhelming, can it really be held against Loki for doing what he does when he wasn’t in control of his mind?
Loki’s relationship with Thor is another thing that we should look at when it comes to Loki’s behavior. He and Thor are brothers. Sure, they argue. Sure, there are a few assassination attempts here and there. Sure, Loki causes Thor to get banished from Asgard, but they’re brothers. Loki died (for real) to save Thor. Thor always tried to believe Loki is being sincere. They argue because of the unnecessary competition that their father forced on them, but they never stop caring about each other. It doesn’t fit in Loki’s character to try so hard to destroy Thor. He and Thor do fight, but at the end of the day, they always care about each other. It doesn’t make sense for Loki to try to really destroy Thor if he’s acting with his free will.
And, if all of that didn’t convince you, then you should know that Marvel has come out and said that Loki was mind-controlled. So, there you have it. Loki isn’t evil; he was raised in a biased household and had his emotions manipulated. He isn’t the villain everyone makes him out to be, someone raised in a cruel and environment who had his emotions extorted and used against him. He might not be a perfect hero, but no hero is perfect and Loki shouldn’t be held accountable for what wasn’t his fault.