The Marvel cinematic universe is pretty much the only thing guaranteed to get me to a movie theater on an opening night. But even though the movies are amazing, there is popular criticism that their villains are kind of weak. Yet there’s one villain that everybody seems to adore and root for – Loki, the stepbrother of Thor.
While most villains get killed off or captured after just one film, Loki has now played a major role in four films. There have been even petitions by fans to make an entire movie on him!
There are four major reasons why Loki has literally gotten away with murder and become one of the biggest fan favorites in the Marvel universe. And understanding these four things will help, so you too can get away with making mistakes or screwing up without it being something people hold against. We’re going to start with the obvious one.
Good looks with a carefree attitude
Loki is charming. He’s clever and always enjoying himself. He looks like he’s always making a joke that you don’t know yet. We envy that carefree attitude and confidence that he has.
And you know what? We all should honestly have a bit of that in us. Most of us overestimate the severity of our situations. Yet unless you’re struggling against starvation or facing a life-threatening situation, things are fine. Life is only as stressful and serious as we make it. If you have a roof over your head and food every day, and you go from sunrise to sunset without facing death, you’re doing better than 95% of humans throughout history by having fun while not doing anything to jeopardize things.
We see our low-key dejected self in Loki
A good portion of his tough exterior is fake. If something affects you and you repress it, it affects you differently. The charming charismatic people get the attention and affection of others and the majority of people go unseen or unremembered. When you know Loki’s back story, it’s hard not to feel for him. Loki is clever, but only a little brother to Thor. And it’s clear that he’s not the favorite in his friend circle or to his father.
We can identify with him. He feels underappreciated for his gift, overshadowed by the achievements of someone he doesn’t think is any better than him. He’s a hurt son taking misguided actions to try to prove that he’s good enough and that he deserves to be loved.
Why does seeing ourselves in someone matter? That’s because most of us don’t hate ourselves completely, even when there are things we don’t like about ourselves, or when we do something we aren’t proud of. We let it be because of something in our past or our circumstances. So when a low-key person makes terrible decisions or does bad things from a situation that we can understand, we don’t hate him for it. We might hate his actions, but a small part of us feels for him, hurts with him, even roots for him to find his way back to the good side.
The third reason why we love Loki is that he is a tortured soul. You sometimes get the sense that low-key doesn’t want to cause destruction. There are moments where he isn’t enjoying himself and regrets the damage he’s done. And rather than undercutting his likeability, they amplify it.
You root for him to do the right thing, he constantly disappoints you, and then he gives you hope. This happens in real life all the time. Also, he isn’t just a cocky unfeasible a-hole. He’s in pain and he shows hints that he could maybe even be redeemed if only the right person came along and helped him.
Loki is fascinating to us because he creates a wide range of emotions in us – laughter, frustration, sympathy, admiration. You never know exactly what he’ll do, which keeps you riveted to him and makes you think about him. The fact that Loki is a demigod with insane power for creation or destruction takes this and puts it on steroids.
We secretly like the flaws in him
The last trait that makes us love Loki is that you can’t keep him down. We all make mistakes, face losses, and have bad days. So if someone is perfect, we don’t necessarily like them. And when you combine that ability with his cocky charm, his deep-seated desire, just to be loved, and his tortured unpredictable nature, you end up loving the best Marvel villain of all.