Why Loki Won In Marvels "The Avengers"

Was Loki really just an arrogant Villain with a big head, or was he genius?

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By Preacherfanatic7 - 5/31/2012
I found this article online and thought i would share it. Not sure if it has been uploaded here already but it was very interesting. Makes sense too.




Spoiler Alert! Avoid reading this post if you haven’t seen The Avengers.

No really, look away!

O.k., let’s talk about The Avengers, the highest grossing movie so far this year, and the movie on track to potentially unseat James Cameron’s Avatar as highest grossing movie of all time. Specifically, I want to talk about the writing and Loki, the film’s key villain. More specifically, I want to explain how Joss Whedon managed to write the perfect Xanatos Gambit.

For those who don’t know or didn’t click the link above, a Xanatos Gambit (named for the villain Xanatos from Disney’s Gargoyles cartoon) is a plan that literally cannot fail because win or lose, the villain wins. This is one of those “I wanted you to beat me all along” scenarios, where defeating the villain somehow means the hero still loses. This isn’t changing your plans to compensate or getting lucky, this is planning all along for every possible outcome to lead to what you want. And Loki in the Avengers does so perfectly.

First, let’s get some background on Loki, God of Mischief and Lies. Check out that title – he’s the god of lies. Now in both the Marvel cinematic and comic book universes, being a “god” doesn’t really make you the embodiment of whatever you’re the god of; the comic book universe DOES have those things (Death, Eternity, Aeon, etc.) and the cinematic universe may gain those things (based on the Thanos cameo), but generally Thor is not the embodiment of thunder, and Hercules isn’t the embodiment of strength, etc. It’s just what they’re really good at, because they are actually alien beings from another dimension. Loki, then, is not the embodiment of lies and mischief, but he’s really good at it.

Loki really has only one goal in life – take over Asgard. He wants to rule. He feels Thor, his half brother, is not fit to take over for Odin and he wants that power for himself. Loki does not care one wit about Midgard (aka Earth). He’ll put it in peril to distract Thor, but Loki is all about controlling Asgard. Re-read those last two sentences – Loki doesn’t care about Earth! So why, in The Avengers, is he trying to take over? That very question is asked by Tony Stark during the penthouse scene. Tony comes very close to puzzling it out, but Loki distracts him with his villainy goodness (badness?). Why does Loki was to rule Earth? And what Earth would be left to rule with the Chitauri tearing it all up? What throne is he looking for?

The answer, of course, is that Loki doesn’t want to rule Earth. He doesn’t care about it. He never did. He allowed himself to be captured, he allowed himself to be defeated (and yeah, Hulk smashed him good, but he didn’t have to stick around for the big fight). It was all part of his plan.

Let’s examine that plan: first, Loki appears and steals the tesseract. Why? Well, to set things in motion. He knew stealing the cube would cause Nick Fury to call in the Avengers. Remember the ending of Thor – he’s been spying on the whole operation for some time now. Then, Loki gets captured. He clearly could have escaped, but instead he let himself be taken. Cap and Tony mention this on the Quinjet just before Thor shows up, and Black Widow eventually gets from Loki what his plan is – to set off the Hulk on the helicarrier. Only Loki is the god of lies…you think he really got played by the Black Widow? Nope, he WANTED them to know what the plan was. Then when it happens, and the Hulk goes berserk, they blame it on Loki and it really brings the team together.

And that’s what Loki wanted.

See, Loki wanted them to defeat the Chitauri. He wanted to lose the battle in New York. Why? So he could be taken back to Asgard. That was his plan all along. He never cared about conquering Earth. He never cared about defeating the Avengers. He just wanted a ride back to his home, the place he DOES want to conquer. And he got it, first class accommodations right back to Asgard. You can even see the smirk at the end when he’s got the gag on. It’s in his eyes. He won, and the heroes all thought they did. What better than to beat your enemies and make them think they won?

Now you may ask why Loki would betray Thanos in such a way. I mean, Big Purple is no one to mess around with. But I think Thanos was the co-architect of this plan. Why? Because he wants Loki back in Asgard too. Just sending him back wouldn’t work – Loki has to be brought back by Thor so that Odin does not suspect he’s still working with Thanos. See, with Loki back in Asgard, and knowing that Odin feels incredibly guilty about Loki in general and usually lets him off with little more than a slap to the wrist, Thanos has the perfect operative within striking distance of the one thing in the whole universe he REALLY wants (well, more than Death).

What is it Thanos wants? Did you miss it when you saw Thor? It’s easy to miss, but…



That’s right…in Odin’t vault is none other than the Infinity Gauntlet. And now Loki is right there, and he broke into it before without much trouble. Loki losing to the Avengers was the best possible outcome for both Loki, who can now try to take over Asgard again, and Thanos, who now has potential access to the Infinity Gauntlet.

The bad guys won this round, and meanwhile the heroes are off eating Shwarma and thinking they won.

And all of this points to one thing – Joss Whedon is a fucking genius. This is Machiavellian planning at its best, and the payoff clearly won’t come until at least Thor 2 or Avengers 2. It’s a perfect set up, and with luck we’ll eventually see that the “win” in the Avengers was actually a loss. Of course, that’s not to say the heroes didn’t really win anything. They did…because while the battle was nothing more than an elaborate smoke and mirrors to get Loki back to Asgard, the formation of the Avengers is actually the biggest win for the side of good you could hope for.

It’s all about the long game, and writers who understand and can use it.
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23 Comments
jbak368 - 5/31/2012, 7:55 PM
That's a very interesting theory you've got there. I don't know for sure that is what's really going on, but I definitely wouldn't rule it out.
Ghostt - 5/31/2012, 8:24 PM
Loki came off as a bit of a pushover in the Avengers. I was quiet surprised. This actually makes a lot of sense.
BANE5000 - 5/31/2012, 8:50 PM
@SuperBat77

Also, if i may add a theory of how Thanos could gain The Infinity Gauntlet:

Not only is Loki back in Asgard to try to take over the rule of the realm...but now so is The Tesseract, now back to being the " Jewel of Odins Treasure Room " as Red Skull mentioned in TFA

As seen in The Avengers, The Tesseract can be used a doorway for someone to come from another point in space through wherever the Tesseract may be, and is obvious Thanos can open this doorway...So now that its back in Odin's vault, Thanos can now just walk into it, grab The Infinity Gauntlet, make a quick escape through the cube and unleash his powers to the whole of the MCU...
95 - 5/31/2012, 11:19 PM
Never thought out it. You're probably right. Loki always seemed to have much bigger plan planned ahead. In fact I never really understood his deal with Thanos. Anyway, I credit Feige (not Whedon). And I think Ultron is the villain of 'The Avengers 2'. Thanos is the MCU's Galactus -- who will most likely face off with the Guardians of the Galaxy (the cosmic Avengers?).
marvelstudios - 5/31/2012, 11:43 PM
that sounds plausible and would make Loki a better character than he already is
sikwon - 6/1/2012, 12:11 AM
Thats kind of awesome. If its that well thought out (and it just might be, remember these are long interconected story tellers) then this is even better then originaly thought. .... a thought i had that made me just a bit sad, one of my favorite parts of the avengers was watching them fight each other, it was awesome. Thats something that shoul, for the most part, be lacking in the next avengers movie. Unless the get to a civil war fairly quickly. Im going to miss that, it was awesome watching thor fight all the avengers.
DukeAcureds - 6/1/2012, 4:18 AM
Crafty.
Hellsing - 6/1/2012, 4:51 AM
Well if this is true then loki becomes even more badass and joss wheadon becomes a god lije being. In all seriousness good theory so hopefully its turns out to be true. One of the better theories on this site certainly beats the theory that bane has a pet falcon tdkr.
BIGBMH - 6/1/2012, 6:54 AM
hmmm. interesting theory. however, loki knows he has no chance of ruling in asgard so it would make sense for him to want earth.
AC1 - 6/1/2012, 7:40 AM
After reading this theory I'll never be able to watch the Avengers in the same way again. This is genius! This theory has actually added a layer of complexity within the film that I didn't know existed, and I think I'll be able to enjoy the film even more than I previously did! Thanks!
Gerrit - 6/1/2012, 8:18 AM
Well, this wasn't the plan, according to Joss and Tom. In their interviews they clearly say that Loki "let go" of Asgard at the end of Thor when he goes into the wormhole. If this your theory is true than it was Feige and the guys from Marvel Studios that came up with this and Whedon's job was to make the story within the movie work with that ending where the two gods go back to Asgard.
Anyway, I don't like this idea, I like the premise that Thanos and Loki's plans aren't over but you make it sound too easy for the villains. I want to see a chess game between Thanos and Odin, with Thanos trying to get the Tesseract and the Gauntlet and Odin coming up with spells or some shit to prevent Thanos from doing so, ending in a war between Asgard and Thanos and his armies. Can you imagine a fight between Thanos and the Allfather?
Kingdork - 6/1/2012, 8:35 AM
I like this. But why would Loki give the Gauntlet to Thanos instead of using it for himself? Thanos is far away while Loki's within reach. Just sayin'... Or maybe... With the Tessaract being a doorway to the other end of space... and doors opening from both sides... Thanos could invade Asgard while Loki's in "custody".
ddrussianinja - 6/1/2012, 10:56 AM
A problem with this theory:

At a certain point, Thor straight up asks Loki to abandon his quest and just come back home with him, but Loki doesn't go with. If his entire plan was just to get back home, then the bulk of his actions make no sense.

But I'm not saying that you're entirely wrong here. I'm just saying that Loki has to have a reason for unleashing the Chitauri, even if he never truly intended to rule Earth.

I think his ultimate plan was just to open the gate, since it clearly was meant to do more than just unleash the Chitauri. I think it also unlocked parts of the universe as-of-yet unreachable. Perhaps activating the Tesseract had consequences that linger even after the gate had been closed.

So here's a possible explanation.

Loki needed to activate the Tesseract for some unclear goal, but he didn't really want Thanos to succeed and he didn't really want to rule Earth, so he wanted to make sure the gate would be turned off shortly after being activated, so he got what he wanted and could then use the Tesseract to get back to Asgard. But to avoid arousing suspicion from Thanos, he planted the idea in Selvig (who he had previously enthralled before he even arrived through the initial gate created by the Tesseract) so that he would sabotage the gate, leaving Loki free of implication. Of course, this isn't a foolproof plan, so Loki wasn't entirely counting on it. If Selvig didn't figure it out, then oh well, Earth is destroyed, but there were a lot of ways he could have made that outcome work in his favor. He could even have planned to stop the invasion himself and make himself look like a hero to his fellow Asgardians upon his return.

Ultimately, though, the way things played out could possibly be even better than what he had hoped for. I personally think that Odin was forced to use the Infinity Gauntlet in order to bring Thor to Earth (I presume Odin using the Infinity Gauntlet would be akin to Gandalf wielding the One Ring), but I doubt Loki would have expected that. If his ultimate goal is the Infinity Gauntlet, then the fact that Odin used it can only work in his favor. On top of that, now Thanos will potentially be distracted by Earth and write off Loki as a failure (even though he promises vengeance or whatever).

But yeah, I do think Loki probably wanted to get back home to Asgard, but he probably could have done that as soon as he got the Tesseract, since that's all they use at the end of the movie to return to Asgard. So he just also needs a reason to open the gate, but not necessarily let it stay open.

I certainly hope there are deeper plots afoot than we may yet realize, but honestly I wouldn't hold my breath.
KAPZ - 6/1/2012, 11:11 AM
damn this does seem very likely and i think it would explain thigs like why the chitauri ad why they werent souch a great threat... i mean seriously u can misile those big snakes w jets and our infantry is literally beter than theyres... plus we got humvees and snipers and a whole lot of crap that they didnt so the chitauri seemed to b doomed to fail not only that but it does tie in the universe together the reason for the infinity gauntlet to b on asgard and the cube making its way back... i love the idea
THORGodOfThunder - 6/1/2012, 11:43 AM
Cool write up, stoked to see how this all turns out!
KAPZ - 6/1/2012, 11:45 AM
hmn... but what about the threat of the other... i mean it seemed like they really wanted loki to concour... well actually no they jus wanted the cube... this can b confusing...
TheMyth - 6/1/2012, 6:10 PM
Awesome write up! Very sound theory. I just don't think losing was the main plan, but it was planned for. With the Cube, Thanos could likely have manipulated it for the same purpose you're getting at. If they won, Great! If not, they lost an expendable army and can still follow through with the big plan.

3D, I agree that Ultron will be Avengers 2 and after seeing Avengers 3 times now, I think Pym and Ultron are part of Phase 2 that Fury refers to several times. And sorry for those that don't like it, but it is strongly, STRONGLY alluded that Coulson will become Vision. At this point, if it doesn't happen, I'll change my screen name to EATSBATPOOP for a month. I double agree that Thanos is the MCU Galactus, but I don't think Thanos will be dealt with exclusively in GotG (which I'm pretty sure we'll get). I think he will certainly be further explored and I hope they use Gamora for this maybe along with Adam Warlock, the Kree, Nova for the earthly human perspective, and introduce Mar-Vell. Anyway, I'm sure Thanos will be dealt with in Avengers with help from some GotG folks.

KAPZ, lol the military comment is hilarious. I hope you're joking. Stark had the most sophisticated weaponry on the planet and couldn't pierce the armor of the leviathans. Hulk was the only one who showed that he could and that was by ripping another armor panel off and using it lol plus these things were just flying through buildings like they were made of paper. The Chitauri were like 7ft tall, also armored with with who knows what but conventional weapons could pierce it's soft spots. In a melee, which they had the mobility to engage in effectively, they'd have crushed normal men. Now before you say anything, Widow and Hawkeye are not about as normal as Bruce Lee or Chuck Norris. AND they had energy weapons. They even show brief clips of the military and peace officers engaging the aliens. Hell, Cap takes out 2 in front of some cops and they shit themselves, not to mention the sheer numbers. That's called attrition. It was bad enough that the WSC said [frick] it and tried to nuke Manhattan. In reality, we wouldn't stand a chance against an alien race that has mastered super-heated plasma in the way we've mastered gunpowder and lead.
TheMyth - 6/1/2012, 6:46 PM
TheBeard, you're assuming Loki hit the nail on the head when he said that to Thor, who never confirmed or denied it but dodged it completely. And if the gems were fake then how could he use it to transport Thor to Earth? A hole in the logic there bud lol.

I really like the idea of Thanos using the Cube as a beacon to step into Odin's Vault to steal the Gauntlet.
golden123 - 6/1/2012, 7:53 PM
Ummm...there ould have been way easier ways to get to Asgard. Ways that wouldn't of ended with Loki in captivity. I think Loki could of just used the Tesseract or he could of just went home with Thor when he had the chance. Besides, how would Loki be certain that he was going to be imprisoned back on Asgard? How did he know he wouldn't of been kept captive on Earth or sent to some hell like place/planet/realm? Not to mention, Loki isn't exactly the strongest guy in Asgard. There are several that would and could overtake him. The truth is Loki wanted to be a king, but he couldn't rule Asgard. A good solution in his head was to reign over those that are weaker. People do this in real life. I don't see why Loki wouldn't. It's better than being overthrown by those you can't control.
The reason he used the "chitauri" was because he wasn't able to take over the world by himself. He needed an army to secure his position as dictator, for he was challenged by more than he could handle. It's only natural that warriors call in reinforcements when they are incapable of succeeding by themselves. In real life, time and time again countries and empires have shown they are willing to take over a new place even when the place is in ruins due to war.
MrFixit - 6/5/2012, 8:54 AM
There are some flaws in this theory:
1. Like others have already mentioned, if Loki just needed a way to get back to Asgard, he could have done that the moment he stole the Tesseract. (with the help of a hypnotized Eric Selvig)

2. I'm pretty sure when the Infinity Gauntlet was placed in Odin's treasure vault, it was just a fun easter egg for comic geeks, and not to be considered part of the story. They would have made it much more prominent on screen if they had already laid out plans for it in future Marvel films.

3. Similarly, Joss Whedon had no influence on the movie "Thor". Kevin Feige stated that is was Joss's idea to add Thanos in the end-credits scene. If it was Kevin's idea to add the Gauntlet easter egg in "Thor" AND wanted Thanos to be the villiain revealed at the end of "Avengers" then maybe there could have been some connection, but both seem to be completley unrelated based on what Kevin/Joss have said in interviews. Joss said that when he wrote the end-Thanos scene, he based it solely on who he thought was the most bad-ass villian in the Marvel universe. He then had to convince Kevin and Marvel Studios to add this character.

4. In the comics, the Infinity gems were never seen together. They were protected by various cosmic beings. It was Thanos who collected these gems and created the glove to place them on. If it's already in glove form in Odin's vault, then the whole Infinity Gauntlet story has already taken place (MAYBE this could be played out if "Guardians of The Galaxy" was a prequel story to "Thor" and "Avengers") The alternative is that someone other than Thanos created the Infinity glove. I think what bugs me about the easter-egg in "Thor" was that it ONLY was in glove form when Thanos was in control of it. Prior and after the "Infinity Gaunlet" story, the gems were ALWAYS separate and protected. (since having them all in one place was dangerous if ever stolen)

5. Everyone assumes that introducing Thanos in the credits means that the Infinity Gauntlet storyline will be played out in a sequel, but the Infinity Gauntlet is only one event where Thanos tried to take over the world. He has been in the Marvel comics universe since the 70s and has always tried to "take over the universe". I'm betting that one of these other Thanos stories will be more of an influence or guideline for a story as opposed to the Infinity Gauntlet. (mainly because legally, it would be very hard to portray that story in a movie since a lot of big characters (Silver Surfer, Dr. Doom, Galactus, X-Men, Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Daredevil are all owned by other movie studios)
Ninja123 - 6/19/2012, 7:01 PM
My mind = blown
DrDoom - 6/23/2012, 10:37 PM
Loki always was a crafty bastard.
cochinogato - 9/15/2012, 9:05 PM
my take on this- everyone keeps saying how if loki wanted to get back to Asgard he would've just given up to Thor and said ok lets go, see that in itself would've given suspicion as to why, hell CaptA even said it when Loki gave himself up in Germany, "why did he just give himself up" or something along the lines of that, go back and watch the movie- Loki wanted to get back to Asgard first and foremost so he used Thor and the cube for that trip, the cube itself was on earth so there was no way he could've used the cube to get to Asgard- Thanos needed an ally and a way to get into Asgard which he does now- go back to Thor , Loki konws ways of sneaking people into Asgard when he told Heimdall of this-
and speaking of Thanos, if you and just entrusted an army to someone who failed as Loki did, wouldn't you have been pissed? not Thanos, he just got up, gave a smerk as if everything has proceeded as planned and NO not because of the court death line either....

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