With all the buzz over the electrifying prequel in the Marvel series, Captain Marvel, anticipation over the final instalment of Avengers: Endgame is mounting to a peak. Marvel is known for their attractive array of characters who are appealing and relatable in their human vulnerabilities and flaws – heroes and villains alike. One of the best and most formidable villains Marvel has created is undoubtedly Loki, God of Mischief, an enemy of ‘Earth’ who caused widespread destruction over New York, but also a tragic anti-hero, brother, and an ally to the Avengers.
Mention the name of Loki, and there will invariably be those who remember him for his crimes and atrocities in Marvel’s The Avengers, but there will also be those who fondly look back at his heroics in Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Infinity War. So how did this happen? As we look back at Marvel’s critically acclaimed film Avengers: Infinity War, which shocked audiences across the globe with its cavalier attitude towards death, particularly those of our beloved heroes, what turned out to be the biggest surprise of the show was the death of Loki, which unexpectedly gripped the heartstrings of many across the theatre. Indeed, Marvel must have foreseen our reactions to such a circumstance to have planned such an untimely death, but how exactly did Marvel redeem a character so deeply delved in evil, into the Loki which we have all come to know and love?
The opening scene of the movie immediately dives right into the aftermath of a massacre with Loki and Thor surrounded by the bodies of their people, slaughtered by the children of Thanos. The grim setting is further accentuated when Thor is at the mercy of Thanos and Loki finds himself handed an ultimatum – to hand over an infinity stone or his brother’s head. It is during the darkest hour when the true character of an individual comes to light and Loki proved to be worthy. It is during this dire scenario – which is very much real and critical, where Marvel strips away all pretense and illusions of the character to ultimately reveal that Loki cares. The juxtaposition of the serious moment with the lively character of Loki is so great that his sacrifice proved to be all the more grand and noble. Loki’s redemption shows that people can change with the most unexpected results in the face of a situation which demands for it.
The tragedy of Loki is one we all know so well, a particularly evil being decides to be good for once, and sacrifices himself for the good of the world. A simple two-dimensional analysis of Loki’s character will reveal that people are generally open to bad guys changing for the better. Hooray. But that alone is insufficient to explaining why Loki holds a place so dear in our hearts. If we start running through things with a fine-toothed comb, that’s where we see the complexities of Loki’s case. Not only did Loki defect to the good side, but having positioned a character so inherently bad from the onset, and letting him overcome his internal propensities for evil is what ultimately redeemed the character for us.
Loki’s struggles are just that personal, but so are our own. Loki is not a two-dimensional character, and neither are we two-dimensional humans. When living in this expansive cinematic universe we call life, there will always be an added layer of complexity that makes up who we are as people. Our personalities, our hobbies, our interactions with people, and our different backgrounds all contribute to the common store of life. But just as there are rising actions and falling actions in the simple movie plot, so too are there moments of ups and downs in our daily lives. There are times when failures are met with more failures, or we become dejected when certain things do not work out. Such are only part and parcel of life which we will gradually forget in time. What is not forgotten, however, are the moments of liberation that we derive from making an effort to change our circumstances. In our volatile world where change is the only constant, Winston Churchill sends us a timely reminder that to improve is to change; and to be perfect is to change often. The greatest struggles are the ones that we ourselves have to overcome, but surmount that mountain, and we are sure to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We must not forget that an over-emphasis on our desultory state will only cause us to lapse into greater depression and failure. While Loki may be celebrated as a hero, there are still those who cast doubt over his credibility of death, which will only be revealed in the upcoming Avengers sequel.
So as we look back on our past mistakes, we learn from them, commit them to experience and move on. Things are after all not set in stone and there will always be more opportunities for self-restoration and improvements, and people will be there to embrace that positive change in us when the time comes. Who knows? Bad as Thanos may be, there are always those expecting him to become a force for good in Avengers: End Game.
Chen Xiang Le 18S43
Ernest Yong 18S43
Elijah O’Donnell on Unsplash