From the jump, the Marvel movies have had a villain problem with one very notable exception: Loki. Under the direction of Kenneth Branagh, the trickster god’s introduction to the MCU was Shakespearean and goddamn riveting thanks to Tom Hiddleston playing against a not quite fully-developed Thor. Let’s be honest, Chris Hemsworth really didn’t have a whole lot to work with until Taika Waititi let him chew, hammer, and electrocute the f**k out of some scenery in Thor: Ragnarok. Which I will argue until I’m blue in the face is the second best Marvel movie after Captain America: The Winter Solider.
Anyway, as much as I enjoy watching Marvel characters get a chance to come into their own, Loki strutted out of the freaking womb with more nuance and depth than anything these films have seen before. He’s a classic example of it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. So of course, Marvel fixed him, and it didn’t take long for eagle-eyed fans to notice. According to a fan theory Reddit, Loki’s biography on the official Marvel website has been edited in a way that significantly retcons his actions in the first Avengers movie.
Arriving at the Sanctuary through a wormhole caused by the Bifrost, Loki met the Other, ruler of the ancient race of extraterrestrials the Chitauri, and Thanos. Offering the God of Mischief dominion over his brother’s favorite realm Earth, Thanos requested the Tesseract in return. Gifted with a Scepter that acted as a mind control device, Loki would be able to influence others. Unbeknownst to him, the Scepter was also influencing him, fueling his hatred over his brother Thor and the inhabitants of Earth.
In short, Loki’s brief foray into intergalactic colonialism doesn’t count because he was being mind controlled, which is some milquetoast horseshit. What makes Loki’s character so compelling is you never know what the hell he’s going to pull, but his random actions are never out of left field. The Thor movies, particularly Ragnarok, made it very clear that the Asgardians love them some conquering, so it fully tracks that Loki would be schooled in the art of crushing civilizations into a fine paste. And as weak as The Dark World was, it offered up a clear, concise reason for Loki’s attempted enslavement of Earth: He wanted to impress Odin and prove his rightful place as a ruler. The occasional domination of an alien world is just something a space god is going to do.
Granted, since Dark World, Loki has walked the line of being an anti-hero. And as much as I enjoyed Ragnarok, that fine line became way too blurred as Loki was shoved further and further towards the hero side before taking a full swan dive into it during the opening minutes of Infinity War. But even with those actions, there was the lingering fact that he once tried to crush everyone on Earth like ants. At the end of the day, Loki was still a wild card. And now that’s gone.
Presumably, the reason for the retcon is the upcoming Loki series for Disney+, which God forbid focuses on a villain instead of the predictably safe hero-fare that’s everywhere these days. And that’s my biggest problem with the MCU, as it continues to crush everything in its path: It’s all too safe. I’d love to be proven wrong when the credits roll on Avengers: Endgame, but does anyone actually think there’s going to be any dramatic changes to the status quo? Hell, the movie’s still months away and already the directors are seemingly prepping fans to not expect any of the major deaths that have been kicked around since the first image of Steve Rogers holding back Thanos’ fist in Infinity War.
All of that said, I get it. I do. These movies are basically moving comic books, right down to all of the trappings that come with that medium from fake deaths to meaningless stakes. But is it wrong to want the MCU to be something more? I’ve read comics my whole life, and I want to see something different. Then again, I get that the average movie-goer has never seen any of this shit before, and the box-office numbers show that they’re loving it.
So am I being naive in expecting more from the Marvel films or is it okay to want these stories to transcend the medium that they came from? I’ll let you folks fight it out.
Header Image Source: Marvel