Tag Archive | Loki

Sherlock and Sentimentality: A Lesson on Character Development

I admit that with the Sherlock Series 3 premiere just a few days away, I’m sort of going on a Sherlock binge, so forgive me for my latest post being an ode to Sherlock fans. ¬†ūüôā

I’ve only become a recent fan after being wowed by Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance in Star Trek: Into Darkness¬†and Martin Freeman’s work in¬†The Hobbit, and since I’m prone to watch BBC television anyways (thank you,¬†Dr. Who¬†and¬†Robin Hood),¬†it was only natural I’d become “Sherlocked” after watching the first episode. ¬†Two days and a boat load of popcorn later after viewing¬†A Study in Pink, I had both series’ finished and have been patiently waiting for Series 3 ever since.

But one of the things I love about the Sherlock show (besides the amazing acting) is the character of Sherlock himself. ¬†Yes, he’s quirky, brilliant, and quick, and that makes him stand out as a character, but what enamored me the most with him is the¬†growth¬†he goes through as the series progresses.

When we first see Sherlock in¬†A Study in Pink, he’s a bit of a loner. ¬†He doesn’t have many friends. ¬†He isn’t on the best of terms with his brother. ¬†His ability to relate to people is questioned by everyone around him. ¬†He’s almost seen as this cold-hearted, un-compassionate genius who loves nothing but solving cases. ¬†The guy left poor Watson in the middle of a street, for crying out loud. ¬†But by the time we see him in¬†Reichenbach Fall, we see a different Sherlock than what we saw in the beginning. ¬†We see him teary and risking everything for the sake of the few friends he has. ¬†As the series progressed between episodes, we saw Sherlock slowly transform from a cold piece of brilliance to someone who really does have a heart buried beneath the intelligence. ¬†Grant it, he’s still not as sentimental as Watson, and probably never will be, but if there’s anything we’ve learned at the end of¬†Reichenbach, we’ve learned Sherlock really does care. ¬†(He just may not know how to show it properly.) ¬†In essence, his character developed over time. ¬†He grew in his interactions with others.

Character growth, or development, is essential to story. ¬†As an audience, we want to see that the hero (or even villain) has grown and learned his/her lesson or has become a better person in the end. ¬†A character who hasn’t experienced growth simply remains the same and may leave the reader or viewer unfulfilled with the story.

I’m still hearing from fans about their reaction to the character of Loki in¬†Thor 2: The Dark World. ¬†Though I enjoyed the film, I can see the point of many fans when they say the last scene involving Loki and Thor (*spoiler* throne room *spoiler*) felt like an incomplete ending to Loki’s character growth. ¬†In¬†Thor, he was seen as the misunderstood brother just wanting to be Thor’s equal. ¬†In¬†The Avengers,¬† he was the maniacal villain. ¬†In¬†Thor 2, he’s at his lowest point, but this time finally finds redemption and reconciliation with his brother.
At least until the last scene-because when you see that, then you start to question everything he’s done in the film.
For some, this was a brilliant move on the writer’s part. ¬†It keeps Loki’s true character in the dark and gives him a sense of mystery, strengthening his position as one of Marvel’s best villains. ¬†But for other fans wanting to see growth, this left Loki’s character incomplete and inconsistent, and that left them somewhat unsatisfied with the film. ¬†Whether it was a good move or not is still up to debate, but the point it makes about character development still sticks. ¬†Character growth matters.
So as Sherlock Series 3 approaches, I’m curious to see how Sherlock’s character will continue to grow. ¬†Will he become more sentimental? ¬†Or will he just finally learn to be nice to Molly? ¬†Only time will tell…

Loki 2, the Dark World: Why Minor Characters Matter

Spoilers ahead for Thor 2: The Dark World.  Ye have been warned.

So last weekend as part of a “get off the computer and actually go do something fun” campaign, the family and I decided to go see a movie which happened to be (you guessed it), Thor 2. ¬†I was going into the film fully-spoiled thanks to Tumblr and friends, so I knew the fates of Frigga, Loki, Thor, and Jane and the questionable ending (?) of Odin. ¬†But what I noticed after the seeing the film, and seeing my family’s reactions as they were completely unaware of the Thor universe prior to the second movie, was how popular the “minor” characters were as compared to the major characters.

And when I say “minor” characters, I mean predominantly Loki.

Yeah, I know. ¬†The guy’s got a lot of fans and haters, but if there’s one thing I’ll admit about him in this film, it was that he nailed it. ¬†He was humorous, tragic, charming, deceptive, and so ambiguous that it left me wondering in the end just who’s side he’s really on. ¬†I may not be a professional when it comes to creating good characters, but whoever wrote him in this light did a darn good job.

Even my Mom, who received a crash course in Marvel Thor lore five minutes before the movie, left the theatre thinking Loki was the best character there. ¬†She’s normally not a fan of superhero films, but this was the first one she’s seen that she said “Wow, I really liked that!” as soon as the credits stopped rolling. ¬†And she’s not the only person I’ve heard who left as a Loki fan.

What makes this so interesting to me as a student of story isn’t the fact that Loki is a popular character. ¬†It’s the fact that he’s a popular character who was in less than half the film. ¬†(I’m guessing 25 or 30% screen time?) ¬†In Thor 2, he was a minor character.

In story, the focus is often on a prime protagonist (in this case, Thor, and I would even argue Jane would be included in this since she has quite a bit of screen time) and an antagonist (Malekith). ¬†The story revolves around a central conflict which pines the hero and the villain against each other and everyone else is caught somewhere in the middle. ¬†Darcy and Selvig are running around England. ¬†Sif and the Warriors Three are are fighting to save the Nine Realms. ¬†Loki is being held in prison for crimes he’s committed in¬†The Avengers. ¬†Frigga’s trying to help everyone. ¬†Algrim is tearing the place up. ¬†And this is all happening as Malekith is trying to get the Aether out of Jane and destroy the Nine Realms, which Thor is adamant to stop.

But take the minor characters out of the story. ¬†Only leave Thor, Jane, and Malekith. ¬†What happens to the plot? ¬†Remove Darcy and Jane never finds the Aether. ¬†Remove Selvig and Malekith doesn’t get defeated. ¬†Remove Sif and the Warriors Three and Thor can’t escape with Loki out of Asgard. ¬†Remove Frigga and Jane isn’t protected. ¬†Remove Algrim and Malekith isn’t as threatening anymore. ¬†Remove Loki and Thor never survives.

Without the minor characters, you simply don’t have a story. ¬†You lose the conflict. ¬†You lose the little moments of heroism and tragedy and warmth that bring about emotion from the audience that makes them connect and remember the story. ¬†Frigga and Loki’s conversation in the prison. ¬†Frigga’s funeral. ¬†Loki dying in Thor’s arms. ¬†Loki revealing himself as Odin and sitting on the throne at the film’s end. ¬†All of these powerful scenes would be gone without minor characters.

As writer’s of story, it’s easy to get caught up in writing the hero and the villain. ¬†And that’s o.k. ¬†It’s not a bad thing to keep your protagonist and antagonist in the role they’re meant to play. ¬†But minor characters, even if they’re barely in the story, have a role to play that is just as important. ¬†They help the main characters stand or fall. ¬†They keep the conflict going or stop it completely. ¬†They bring emotion and depth to a story that one or two characters may not be able to bring all the time. ¬†In other words, they matter. ¬†Because even if they’re only “minor” characters, they still play a major role.

Who are some minor characters that you’ve found you’ve enjoyed? ¬†How did they help build the story they were in?

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! ¬†ūüôā