Comments both negative and positive are welcome
I wanted to post this below a cut, but then Tumblr decided to be a butt and I gave up. This got away from me and may not be entirely coherent. I’m afraid I’ve drifted away from the point of what’s realistic to expect from Marvel, but I won’t be constrained by my expectations of Marvel. And oh gods I hope my expectations are too low but I’m afraid they’re just about right.
First of all (I’m sorry I’ve written thousands of words of meta on JiM and I have to say something), the why of Loki killing himself has been thoroughly explained in the finale of JiM. I don’t think it’s contrived, it’s actually very much in character and logical from a watsonian perspective. Siege!Loki having an intricate plot behind killing himself is what made me buy his suicide in the end. A selfless sacrifice would have to be written and motivated really, really well for me to believe Loki would do that. Because it’ll probably make me cringe otherwise.
Second, I don’t like the implication that Loki somehow needs to die for the crimes he has committed. That it’s crucial for his redemption process. (I misinterpreted, please tell me.) I’m fundamentally against the death penalty and death-as-recompense narratives. He’s done terrible things, but he doesn’t deserve to die. And what kind of good it that kind of ‘redemptive’ death to him? Or us, as an audience? I would be very, very dissatisfied. I’d rather have him die as a villain than see him ‘redeemed’ like this.
Another one of my problems is the implication that a redemption for Loki would have to go along with a reconciliation with Thor. (Again, if I’m reading this wrong, please tell me!) I agree with you that an actual reconciliation between those two would be cringe-worthy if it happened in the next movie. But why does it have to happen? Can’t Loki redeem himself without mending his relationship with his family? Because if he does that he has to conform to Asgard and give up who he is, on a fundamental level. And that’s why I would find a reconciliation cringe-worthy. Unless Thor is written in such a way that he redeems himself to Loki first, and I’m not very optimistic about that, especially if they try to cram it into one movie. I’m not very optimistic about writers handling these characters right, anyway.
So I just thought about what I would want for Loki in Thor 2. And it’s something I think could happen within the MCU. I don’t think it will happen, sadly, but still. Would be pretty cool.
Loki can be redeemed without choosing to return to his family. Let’s say Asgard is in danger. From the looks of it, it will be. There are strong indications Frigga will be fridged (*incoherent rage*). Both of these could fuel Loki. I mean, he still calls himself Loki of Asgard, and Frigga is still his mother. He could very well choose to help save his old home, because it was his home. For a very, very long time. And he’s possessive and jealous. Someone else destroying Asgard? No, that’s his thing. So the enemies, the Svartalfar, attack his old home, and he won’t have it. He lets himself be convinced to fight with his brother against them. Because he won’t be talked into it that easily, even if he does want to help. (If they do fridge Frigga then he’ll have extra motivation and I’ll be very upset. Especially if, what my projection is, he was at one point buddies with the Svartalfar and inadvertently gave them the info they needed to get into Asgard. So now he’s sad and he feels guilty, and that’s why he join Thor in the fight. Then Thor finds out Loki’s involvement in everything that happened and they clash. No seriously I will rage so much if this happens.)
And now we have Loki fighting to save Asgard. Wouldn’t that redeem him as a character, and as a person to the people who know him? He has proven that he can be different. That he doesn’t have to be ‘evil’. Everything is okay now, right? His family can embrace him again and everybody is happy, hurray! But actually, no. Because Loki is a villain, but he as very legitimate reasons to be upset with his family. And as long as they, well, especially Thor and Odin because Frigga is pretty awesome, don’t redeem themselves to him, he shouldn’t return to them.
What does happen? Loki can save Asgard and then turn his back on it. How awesome of a victory would that be for him? He, as the Jotun, the Monster, the Other, can save Great Golden Asgard, and say, “no, you are not good enough for me to stay.” The first time he left was because of a (perceived, because Odin and Loki can’t communicate) rejection. This time it’s because he rejects them. And so Loki can return to being a neutral force. He can show up on either side of a battle, because the only side he’s on is his own. He’s proven his might in combat, too. It’s not the same kind as Thor’s. He uses trickery and steals and opens the eyes of at least some of Asgard to their merits. It did save them.
And so what if this means Loki isn’t going to be one of the major players anymore? He will always be important because of his relationship with Thor, and if his role is diminished then the writers don’t really get either of them. Loki will always be important to Thor.
Loki could be the guy Thor pesters when he needs help with something. And by showing genuine appreciation for him as a person and for his abilities, Thor could redeem himself to Loki, and then a reconciliation could take place. Loki would be a minor character, but so what? It’s not all about him. He can be a good guy without joining the Good Guys. He’s Loki, he’s neutral. He helps Thor but doesn’t need to return to Asgard. He can have his own schemes running in the background. Terrorising Asgard being among them. He isn’t a Good Guy, after all. He does benefit from being buddies with Thor, though. Could come in very handy when Thanos comes to call. (Because they’d better deal with that plot thread.)
There are other options, is what I’m trying to say. Loki can be redeemed without an immediate reconciliation. Nor does he have to turn into a sidekick villain. And even if he does, there are scenarios where he could kick ass by fooling everyone. He’s not limited to four options, because this is Loki we’re talking about. But will Marvel give us anything besides those four option? I’m afraid not. Still, if Asgard, Thor included, keeps its current attitude towards him, I’d rather see him die a villain than die redeeming himself to people who don’t accept him for who he is on a fundamental level. Or don’t understand why he’s so upset with them. (Looking at you, Thor.)
(PS: You know what could be awesome? Loki turning up as the sidekick to primary villains for a whole phase. Bear with me. All the superheroes have a hard time taking him seriously after a while, because every time they defeat the villains Loki is there and come on dude, you almost took over earth once. You need to get your act together. You’ve gone totally crazy, it’s kind of pathetic. And every time Loki goes like, “Oh no, you’ve foiled me again! Curse you, superhero pets of SHIELD!” Or you get just a minor hint of his involvement because you don’t want it to be too obvious. But then the ensamble movie comes around and guess what? Loki working as the sidekick was him moving towards his Grand Scheme all along! They’ve been working right into his hand! I’m crap with endings and I don’t want to think about this one because it’s a superhero movie so they’ll defeat him anyway. But yeah… This didn’t really go anywhere. Sorry.)
Wow, you bring up some great points. I mean, seriously, I had to go through point by point and rethink my own stance.
Your argument that Loki shouldn’t have to die is an interesting one. Certainly, I wasn’t thinking of it in terms of real-world application. However, I do feel that Loki getting to rejoin “the good guys” or becoming neutral, as you suggest, would be ostensibly for the writers to go “Yeah, forget Coulson’s murder; forget gouging out that German’s eyeball. Forget all those people you killed. You, Loki, get to have everything and it costs you nothing.
Also, for me, death is a clean, non-cheesy way to get his character out of the story. My real concern with Marvel studios making all of these movies is that the quality is eventually going to suffer and I want Loki out of the franchise before that happens … like getting a brother onto a lifeboat of the Titanic.
You argue that Thor needs to redeem himself to Loki, well, I feel like he’s already done that. He apologized to him in “Thor” when he confronted the Destroyer. He didn’t even know what he had done but he still said that he was “truly sorry.” Then, in “The Avengers” he tried several times to reason with him. In the beginning of “Thor,” he was a bit of a prick to Loki but I never saw him do anything all that bad. Furthermore, I don’t think the brothers necessarily have to reconcile. The cheese ball in me wants them too but they don’t have to.
I refrained from mentioning Frigga in the blog post for the sake of avoiding spoilery but I am really hoping that Frigga’s death is what gets Loki to change.