Hannah Scribbles

Loki Should Have Died

In Career, Fun on January 23, 2014 at 8:05 pm

Disclaimer: I love Loki.  

When “Thor” came out in 2011, I celebrated the introduction of such a compelling villain into the Avengers Universe with as much intensity as someone without a Tumblr account can have (I saw it several times in theaters). Loki was not a dastardly villain who wanted to kill the hero for money or world domination – at least not initially. He wasn’t a Macho Guy who strayed from an ’80s action film.  He was a bitter sibling whose jealousy operated on a godlike level.

Thor and Loki, The Dark World, Thor 2, Loki LaufeysonLoki won hearts by being sympathetic. In the first movie, seeks to prove himself Thor’s equal in order to win their father’s approval. His actions are morally inexcusable, but Tom Hiddleston played the character so beautifully that Loki’s crimes seem like understandable petulance. When Hiddleston returned in The Avengers (that probably had a lot to do with fans like me), Loki wrought destruction on a grander scale, but his focus remained on his older brother.

Thor’s story in the Avengers Universe is a family drama about sibling rivalry, parental love and forgiveness. It’s your basic Prodigal Son story with a bit of Norse mythology and sci-fi badassery (a real word, I promise) mixed in.  That’s why Loki is only as good as Thor and Frigga’s love for him. He cannot redeem himself of the pain and death he caused; only the family’s reconciliation can do it.

The ending to The Dark World disappointed because it destroyed a perfect story arc. Loki was originally written to die saving Thor’s life to avenge their mother’s death.  His last words, “I didn’t do it for [father],” were to be the first sincere words he said in three movies. He was supposed to die, his sacrifice resolving the family arc and bringing Thor to his knees.

“I am a fool.” – Loki Laufeyson

It was also supposed to move the larger story line forward, but instead Loki became too popular a character (I feel bad about this in hindsight). He took on a life of his own, which eclipsed the original Angsty Brotherly Bonding story of the Thor trilogy.  Movie execs brought him back, added scenes and changed the atmosphere of his story arc.  It’s a disservice to both Loki and Thor.

Instead of giving Chris Hemsworth more character depth to explore in the third leg of the trilogy, Thor will now be reduced to the fool who fell for his brother’s trickery – again.  With “The Dark World” behind us, there is nothing remaining to redeem Loki of his cruelty.

  1. You bring up an excellent point, Loki’s death being fake essentially undoes his seeming character arc of redemption. Is the trickster god no different than he was at the beginning of Thor?

    It reminds me of the discussions I had with my friends before the seventh Harry Potter book came out. I wanted Snape to be evil, not because I hated Snape, but because I did not want Dumbledore to be the perfect, all knowing hero to the very end.

    Of course, when the seventh book came out, I discovered that Dumbledore was a Nazi in his youth, so it was all good.

    • Thanks for your amazing comment! I would even argue that Loki’s fake death makes his character worse than the beginning of the trilogy. Whereas before he was jealous, now he is malicious.

      I’m a bit hazy on the details of the Snape-Dumbledore plot, though. I need to reread that series to see whether I’m in agreement on that.

      • I do wonder, sometimes, was Loki REALLY on the path to redemption, or do we WANT him to be redeemed so badly that we see what isn’t there?

        Definitely check out the information about Dumbledore in Book 7. Fascinating.

  2. […] this with Loki who, after his redemption arc was destroyed in The Dark World, became yet another version of the Lovable Sociopath theme.  Audiences largely forgave Loki from […]

  3. I somewhat agree with you. The events of Loki’s survival are still unknown, whether he faked his death or was brought back is still unclear. I agree that at first it seems that it undoes his Redemption arc, but him dying for redemption isn’t necessarily what he intended. Depending on how Thor 3 turns out, we don’t know what his plans are now that he is king. I think it would be a much more interesting Redemption story for Loki to actively seek out redemption. His death would have been accidental, not intentional, redemption. He still needs to prove an equal to Thor, both as a brother and as a king. This sets up a story to tell ina future movie. Loki dying would have been entirely cliché (villain dying for hero thing). My point is that Loki surviving, or even faking, his death doesn’t undo the charcter growth since its obvious that he loves Frigga and Thor, and is willing to put himself in harms way to avenge and save them. He just realizes that he can still ammount to everything he’s wanted to be and has grown up believing he could be. He still has a lot to prove, and if that means he has to trick Thor, then so be it. Because the only REAL redemption would be if he personally sought it out, since he went on this mission for vengeance not redemption. Your point will be incredibly valid IF Marvel decides to make Loki the ultimate villain or if he has killed Odin, then it would have been better to kill him in this redemption arc. But if in a future installment, Loki is a good king and is actively seeking to be better without losing his edge as the god of mischief, then that is what fans are looking for and is the ultimate redemption for his charcter to be acknowledge as an equal to Thor as a son of Odin and as a true born king.

    • Thanks for reading my post and for the great/respectful rebuttal! One of the great things about the MCU is that they twist traditional storytelling for a longer arc and more complex plot. You brought up a great point that I hadn’t thought about too deeply, but now I really hope Loki’s character development isn’t finished with the latest movie; for his continuation to work both he AND Thor need to show personal development – not necessarily positive development, either. Regardless, you’ve gotten me thinking and I look forward to responding to your comment better in a future post. =)

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