Loki Redeemed: Changing Perspective on Villains

I’m really looking forward to Thor 2.

Grant it, there’s still a few weeks to go until it arrives in theatres, but like many other fans I’m watching IGN and Tumblr on a daily basis just so I can find the answer to one question:

Will Loki find redemption?

It’s a common theme floating around the forums and conversations of Marvel fans.  What will happen to one of the greatest villains of comic history?  Some want Loki to remain a villain, the thorn in Asgard’s side and the bane to his brother Thor to whom he works so hard to defeat.  Others want him to change roles and become the hero like his brother, one who overcame his past to build a bright future.

Regardless, Loki’s backstory in the films is tragic.  Abandoned by his birth parents to die in a cold, snowy building as a baby.  Raised by an adoptive family under a lie.  Overshadowed by an arrogant, hot-headed brother who was more respected because he was a strong fighter.  Doing practically anything just so he could feel like his family loved him.  You can’t help but feel sorry for the guy and feel sad that he became a villain.  His backstory is more like that of the underdog hero, not the evil mastermind who wants to take over the world.

But in the story, he became a villain.  A conniving, deceptive one at that.

In story, villains are often times depicted in a stereotypical style.  You have the evil-for-the-fun-of-it villains, the villains who try to take over the world, the villains out for vengeance, the villains who want nothing but power…the list goes on.  But typically a villain remains a villain.  There is no redemption.  There is no second chance.  They were practically born to be bad.

But lately stories have been adding emotional depth and diversity to the role.  No longer do we have just the evil villain.  Now we have the villains who may actually do a bit of good or who may have a good side to them, like Magneto in the X-Men.  We also have the grey villains-we aren’t sure whose side they’re on or what their  role is as they play both roles depending on their interests.  A prime example of this would be Raymond Reddington from The Blacklist.  And then we have the villains who started as villains but ended up as heroes, like Revan from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic or Gru from Despicable Me.

With these changes, villains are no longer one-dimensional characters.  Like heroes, they’re becoming more complex, more complicated, more interesting.  We now have trouble predicting just exactly what their fate will be.  Will they remain bad?  Will justice be served?  Will they get away with what they did?  Will they turn good in the end?

Those are the questions I’m asking about Loki in Thor 2.  With his character being painted in such a tragic light in the first film, he’s become quite the complex villain.  But will he remain that way?

I read once that people were wondering why so many fans suddenly started taking a liking to Loki.  Maybe it was because he has a sad story himself.  Maybe it’s because there’s an unpredictability in his nature.  Maybe it’s because Tom Hiddleston is such a great actor.  Regardless, more fans are arriving.  Even the upcoming Loki comic series has him in a more “hero-type” role.  For me, though, I want Loki to become a hero in the end because the story of redemption-of salvation-is a story that doesn’t happen too often in real life.  Too many times we don’t see the bad guys say they’re sorry and try to make amends.  Too often we see bad things continue to happen when we know it could be better.  For once, I want to see a villain turn his life around and become good.  For once, I want good to triumph over evil not only in the plot, but in the hearts of the characters as well.

And so when Thor 2 comes out in theatres, I’ll be sitting with my bucket of popcorn in anticipation, hoping by the film’s end, it won’t be just Thor walking in triumph over evil, but Loki as well.

ALSO, if you’re looking for another awesome blog to read (from a fellow Marvel fan), please check out my friend’s blog at megscornershelf.blogspot.com!  There’s lots of cool posts regarding a variety of topics like Marvel, Dr. Who, crafts, and church life.  Check it out!  🙂

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