Oh man, I really don’t like Loki. I never liked him in the comics and I definitely don’t like him in the movies. Not to say I dislike Tom Hiddleston, because he’s one of the most charming actors on the planet. Hiddleston’s portrayal of Loki is a somewhat oxymoronic feat, as he delivers so much to a stupid character. But that’s like putting whipped cream on a shit sandwich… it’s still shit.
Maybe I’m biased, because Thor’s always been one of my favorite Marvel characters. He’s a giant, beautiful, Norse God who carries a huge hammer. Like a Scandinavianized Teddy Roosevelt with a steroid problem.
So it was only natural that Chris Hemsworth’s iteration of the hero would become my favorite onscreen Avenger. It just sucks that so many people like Loki more. I get it… to some extent. Tom Hiddleston is the type of ‘redeemable evil’ that appeals to so many people. He also happens to be super dapper (I hear that the ladies approve). But Loki is such a WEAK character. His sole purpose is to betray Asgard. After his first attempt in Kenneth Branagh’s THOR, you’d think Odin would’ve figured it out.
‘That adopted son of mine REALLY hates me. I should probably imprison him somewhere really secure… probably not underneath my castle, or anything. He could totally get out of that.’
What other purpose does Loki serve? A redeemable foil for Thor’s noble warrior? Well, Loki’s already indulged in quite a few moments of faux-redemption, and that plot trick is growing old. Unlike other perennial villains, Loki’s mischief is only meant to amuse himself. He doesn’t fight for mutant freedom like Magneto. Loki’s goals aren’t as profound as Ras Al Ghul’s. No. Loki just hates his family.
And make no mistake… ‘hating his family’ is a completely workable pathos for one movie. But that was kinda the plot behind Thor, The Avengers, and Thor: The Dark World (he kicked his dad off the throne, after all!). I’m gettin real tired of it.
Loki’s faults are much more apparent in the comics. Unlike Hiddleston’s portrayal, which is almost always charming to witness on screen, the comic book version of Loki lacks those subtle, endearing moments. He’s more or less a weird, scrawny, creep in a tight green suit. Even recently, with Hiddleston’s popularity propelling interest in Loki, Marvel could only muster a few cool stories. Hell, the most interesting stories of Loki only occur when he acts against character (as young Loki in the post Fear Itself stories). As much shine as Hiddleston puts on his version of the Mischief Master, there’s only so much Loki can achieve in a given narrative.
Unlike Thor, that is. Thor’s an arrogant god who strives to be humble. He’s an immortal who’s in love with a mortal race. He’s led Asgard’s warriors into battle for thousands of years, but he accepts orders from the upstart Captain America. He’s an incredibly rich, complicated character, but he’s not even the most loved hero in his own movies. Everyone digs Loki. That’s just rude. Don’t let me forget The Avengers, either. Thor was criminally underused in those movies. Black Widow received more screen time than the hammer toting deity. Hell, Loki was the main villain in those flicks, and Thor had less screen time than 4 other Avengers. I mean, come on…
Chris Hemsworth’s Thor deserves more. A lot more. Most of the blame falls on previous directors. While Kenneth Branagh absolutely knocked it out of the park in Thor, Joss Whedon (The Avengers) and Alan Taylor (Thor: The Dark World) missed the mark. Whedon utilized the god as a mighty malleted meathead. He only ever appeared to punch Hulk, in a really underwhelming fight scene, and to offer Victorian tongued quips. In Taylor’s film, Hemsworth actually received a bit more meat in his script, but his inner conflict was second to his frenemyship with Loki.
Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Infinity Wars will continue this cycle, unfortunately. I get it. People dig Hiddleston’s Loki. But it’d totally be cool if you could make a new Thor story. How can a villain grow if he fights the same villain?