As a Loki fan, as a Loki fanficcer, and as someone who has been watching the progression of the Thor franchise with some unease, the more recent clips of Loki have prompted me to think quite a bit as to where Marvel is taking Loki.
In regards to Infinity War, much questioning abounds. Other than the speculation of whether he is going to die (which I will blog about later on), a major cause for concern is whether Loki will ally himself with Thanos.
A few photos of Infinity War have surfaced.
Both seem to plant Loki firmly in Thanos’s camp, but if Marvel is smart (and takes into consideration logical plot and character progression), then there will be more to Loki’s “treason” than meets the eye. There better be…
1. THE LOGIC OF PLOT
Although it looks like Loki is handing off the Tesseract to Thanos and/or one of Thanos’s henchmen, it doesn’t signify willing betrayal. This is logically arrived at when taking into consideration the multiple opportunities Loki has had to ally himself with Thanos. Loki could have totally gone to Thanos promptly after “dying” in Thor: The Dark World, or, even better, given the Aether and the Tesseract to Thanos anytime during his reign as LO/din.
Why did he send the Aether to the Collector? Why was the Tesseract still in the Vault?
Maybe this is due to…
2. THE PAST
Loki is more likely AFRAID of Thanos because of his past failures. The Other (Thanos’s sidekick) threatened Loki pain should Loki fail. Loki, thanks to the Avengers, failed in Avengers Assemble, so it’s not unreasonable to assume that he’s avoiding Thanos and his sidekicks.
So, this moment of betrayal is probably more likely an act of self-preservation, an attempt to stop the deaths of Asgardians, or a move designed to save Thor’s life. Or perhaps a combination of the above, which is totally believable considering…
3. THE MOTIVATIONS OF LOKI
Contrary to popular opinion, Loki does not begin as a bad guy… and his evolution is psychologically complex. Many people have forgotten the first Thor film, but this would be a good time for Loki fans to rewatch it for a refresher.
Loki in the first Thor film (and sorta in the second and third) reveals his motivations on more than a couple occasions.
A) he wants respect
B) he wants equal opportunity
C) he wants to be loved/accepted regardless of who he is
D) he wants to prove his loyalty/love for Asgard to his family, Asgard, and himself
E) (debatable) he wants the throne
I suggest that E is debatable in the sense that he wants the throne but only in order to achieve A through D.
In Thor: The Dark World, he tells Thor he did it for Frigga and Thor – not Odin. And in Thor: Ragnarok, the play (written by Loki), the statue, and Loki’s “your savior is here~” moment all show that Loki still craves acceptance and approval.
None of these motivations would be fulfilled alongside Thanos with Thor and Asgard extinct.
4. THE ACTUALITY OF THE MOMENT
We actually don’t know the full context of this moment, so we don’t really know why Loki is handing over the Tesseract. It may be a move for self-preservation, or it may be a (vain) attempt to save lives. The later pictures shows Loki standing with Thanos’s gang, which once again, points at Loki either being held hostage, or going along with the group in order to survive (and maybe redeem himself yet again later).
5. THE LOKI ARC
I am hoping that Loki hasn’t suddenly decided to, in truth, side with Thanos, only because his arc thus far has been toward one of redemption.
Recall that initially, Loki was supposed to die in Thor: The Dark World, saving his brother and dying a hero of some sort.
That was kiboshed, but that arc appears to have held despite some major plot changes, which can be seen as carrying forward into the third Thor installment, particularly towards the end.
In Thor: Ragnarok, Loki returns to help Thor and Asgard, and he says, “I’m here” and catches what Thor tossed him, thereby bringing an elaborate metaphor about relational illusions, dishonesty, and transparency to a lovely close. Infinity War better not pretend that didn’t happen…
…it’s not the first time a major arc film flattened characters for plot needs…