Characters / MCU: Loki
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Loki Odinson / Laufeyson
"Satisfaction is not in my nature."
Species: Frost Giant
Portrayed By: Tom Hiddleston; Ted Allpress (young)
Voiced By: José Gilberto Vilchis (Latin-American Spanish dub), David Brau (European Spanish dub), Daisuke Hirakawa (Japanese dub), Frédéric Millaire-Zouvi (Canadian French dub)
"I know I've betrayed you many times before, but this time it's truly nothing personal."
The Norse God of Mischief and Lies, and Thor
's younger brother. After a bid to discredit his brother and destroy their enemies in Jötunheim backfires, he plunges into an abyss where he gets transported to another realm. He is given an army and the promise of absolute rule over the people of Earth if he can subdue them and turn over the Tesseract, an Asgardian relic residing on Earth, to his employer.
- 0% Approval Rating: By the time of The Dark World, Frigga seems to be the only one in Asgard who still loves Loki. However, Thor's later behavior, especially after Loki's 'death', show that deep down he still loves his brother. And he also manages to get back in just about everyone's good graces by pulling a Big Damn Heroes to save the people of Asgard in Ragnarok.
Your savior is here! Heimdall:
Welcome home. I saw you coming
...Of course you did.
- Ace Pilot: He claims he is this and proves to be pretty good on a Chitauri skiff he commandeers during the Battle of New York. Thor disagrees.
Look, why don't you let me take over? I'm clearly the better pilot. Thor:
Is that right? Out of the two of us, which one can actually fly
- Adaptational Attractiveness: Loki in the movies is far more attractive than his comic book counterpart who was, at least during the early days, often depicted as being hideous. By the eighties, he was usually depicted as good-looking to one extent or another. However, in the original mythology he was described as being a pretty-boy — compared to the buff and bearded Thor — so Loki's appearance in the films is more accurate to the original myths.
- Adaptational Heroism: In the comics, Loki was a straight villain for a long time, until he died during the Siege storyline, and was resurrected later as a young teenager. He then grew into a more ambiguous character, which is still the current portrayal. In Thor, he is an Anti-Villain and in The Dark World and Ragnarok an Anti-Hero.
- Affably Evil: In the Thor films, Loki is fairly pleasant, and holds himself to regal standards of conduct even as he unfurls his various Evil Plans. In Dark World, he even goes out of his way to tell a comforting lie to his brother Thor about how proud their father is of him, even though it gains Loki nothing. In a deleted scene of Thor, he was also seen genuinely spending time with Thor. His rule of Asgard in Ragnarok also seems to be quite pleasant, if largely inept, and certainly a far cry from Hela, who runs around murdering the people when she gains control later in that film.
- All the Other Reindeer: Is subjected to this before his Face–Heel Turn, though how much of the attitude Thor's friends have towards him is because he doesn't fit into the Asgardian idea of what's normal, due to the fact that he's an entirely different species, and how much of their attitude is because they had been burned by him before, is never touched upon. Tony Stark even nicknames him 'Reindeer Games' during The Avengers, though that may just be a reference to his horned helmet.
- Amazing Technicolor Population: He's a Frost Giant, meaning his true skin tone is blue, but this only appears when he's exposed to their power.
- Annoying Younger Sibling: In The Dark World, he knows how to get under Thor's skin, irritating the heck out of his brother with his shapeshifting pranks and being a snarky backseat driver to Thor while they're escaping Asgard on a stolen Dark Elf ship. In Ragnarok, Thor recalls several pranks that Loki played on him as a child, including shape-shifting into a snake to surprise and then stab his big brother. Fun fact is that both Thor and Loki seem to remember them with fondness, which puts a different light on Loki's often betrayals of Thor — causing annoyance is how he is used to expressing affection. After Thor delivers to him a combo of Be Careful What You Wish For and Kirk Summation in Ragnarok, Loki apparently recognizes that no one wants that kind of attention anymore and apparently drops the annoying part (we shall have to see if it sticks).
- Anti-Hero: Even after his Face–Heel Turn, Loki is not without heroic qualities. Best shown in Thor: The Dark World, where he teamed up with Thor and Jane for his own cause, but still selflessly risked his life to save them both.
- Anti-Villain: Loki is driven by the lack of love given by his family, and having lived his whole life with Odin never giving him the same love and affection that he gave Thor. Then he found out that he was adopted. His long term goal of winning approval from his adoptive father eventually drove him into insanity.
- Arch-Enemy: To Thor. It's the "We're brothers!" angle that makes the conflict so personal and epic.
- Ax-Crazy: In The Avengers, Loki is much more violent and psychologically unstable. It's likely due to falling through the rift in space, causing him to "see things".
- Backseat Driver: He plays up the "annoying kid brother" angle for all it's worth while he and Thor escape Asgard.
- Badass Bookworm:
- Well-versed in magic and able to massacre trained (human) soldiers in seconds.
- Reading also appears to be his pastime of choice while imprisoned in The Dark World — not that he has lots of options in a (fairly cushy) dungeon, but he appreciates the books given to him by Frigga, and one can't really imagine most of the other Asgardians calmly reading while there's a battle erupting around them.
- Though he's outmatched in physical combat by a number of those he picks fights with (namely, the Hulk and his brother), he's still a master of magic, a competent hand-to-hand fighter, and is able to kick his fair share of ass in his own right. Every time he fights Thor, Loki can keep up with him fairly well (though Thor tends to shrug off dagger wounds and ultimately kicks the crap out of him), and gives (an out-of-practice) Captain America a straight fight.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: Dresses impeccably when hiding amongst humans.
- Badass Longcoat: Always when he is not wearing his royal outfit.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Oh so averted in The Dark World, although it doesn't appear that way at first. Loki in his prison cell is groomed, relatively well-dressed, and has nice furnishings. When Thor comes to bargain with him after Frigga's death, he breaks the illusion to reveal that he's pale, disheveled, and his feet are bleeding from the smashed furniture.
- Beware the Quiet Ones: In Thor — in sharp contrast to the other citizens of Asgard, who are loud and boisterous, Loki is initially soft-spoken and quiet.
- Big Bad: In Thor, he's an Anti-Villain example. In The Avengers, he steals the Tesseract to take over Earth, but even then, he's simply delivering the Tesseract to Thanos in exchange for Earth.
- Big Bad Friend: As his brother Thor finds out, his little brother is the cause of his trouble.
- Big Bad Slippage: In Thor, he may have let the Frost Giants into Asgard in the first place, but that was more out of jealousy than actual evilness. He doesn't become an antagonist until he reveals this information to King Laufey and lets him into Asgard.
- Big Brother Bully: Younger brother; in Ragnarok Thor mentions that Loki once turned himself into a snake to draw him over, then turned back into himself and stabbed Thor. It was entirely Played for Laughs, though.
- Big Brother Instinct: Little brother in this case, when he saves Thor from Kurse in The Dark World. And then again in Ragnarok, when he comes to save Thor from their own older sister, Hela.
- Big Brother Worship: It seems like he adores his older brother for the first part of Thor. Also in Ragnarok, the possibility that Thor might be indifferent towards him visibly distresses Loki.
- Big Damn Heroes: Helps evacuate Asgard with the help of the rebels from Sakaar during the finalé of Ragnarok.
- Blade on a Stick: While Odin is in the Odinsleep, he uses Gungnir as both a scepter and a weapon. He seems to take a liking to it, as he later transforms his Chitauri scepter into a longer, bladed staff.
- Blatant Lies: When Frigga asks, "Am I not your mother?", Loki hesitates for a full five seconds before he unconvincingly replies "You're not." The sad expression on his face and his reaching out for her hand afterwards prove that he doesn't mean it.
- Bling of War: His green-and-gold armor is magnificent to behold. It's more stylish than Thor's or Odin's, which is not surprising considering that Loki is a master of deception, so appearances are important to him.
- Blue Blood: No matter how you look at his family ties, he's a prince of something, whether it be Asgard or Jotunheim.
- Boomerang Bigot: Growing up in Asgard, he was raised to fear and hate Frost Giants, so when he accidentally discovers that he is one, he is consumed by so much self-loathing that he attempts to wipe out every Jötunn in existence.
- Boom Stick: His scepter in The Avengers fires blasts of blue energy, said to be using a similar type of blast as HYDRA's weapons in Captain America. Age of Ultron reveals that the gem in it was an Infinity Stone (The Mind Stone specifically), which means that potentially the weapon on its own is as powerful as the Tesseract.
- Break the Haughty: This, combined with Bullying a Dragon, gets him slammed into the ground by the Hulk.
- Break Them by Talking: Averted in Thor when he wasn't trying to break anyone, but he really gets into it during The Avengers. Nick Fury, a crowd of Germans, Black Widow and the Hulk all get one.
- Breakout Villain: He's the only villain to get a continuing role beyond his original film, and is so popular that the film crew of Thor: The Dark World shot extra scenes of his character and even reduced the screentime of the film's actual Big Bad just so Loki could appear more. Given that he was the Big Bad of The Avengers, arguably one of the most anticipated films of all time, he is unquestionably the franchise's most famous villain by this point.
- Broken Bird: Learning about his true heritage messed him up, and then falling into the abyss made it worse.
- Butt-Monkey: Despite being the Big Bad of The Avengers, Loki seems to have a few spells of being one of these during the movie, especially towards the end of the film. Every Avenger gets his goat once. Even Phil Coulson gets in a good shot.
- Even more so in Thor: Ragnarok, where a significant portion of the film's humour comes from Loki being physically abused or humiliated.
- Byronic Hero: Particularly in regards to his motivations, actions, and demeanor in Thor and The Dark World.
- Cain and Abel: The Cain to Thor's Abel complete with envy and (attempted) murder. Then reversed in Ragnarok when Big Bad Hela is revealed to be their older but estranged sister.
- The Caligula: Loki briefly held power on Asgard posing as Odin between the end of Dark World until early in Ragnarok, and he didn't do much beyond kick back and self-aggrandize, while Asgard's protectorates were starting to get pressured. While much was made about his temperament being better suited to a ruler than Thor's was, Loki's philosophy as a leader seemed to be that if it didn't affect him personally, it wasn't important.
- The Chessmaster: He orchestrates all the events of Thor from behind the scenes, and initially toys with the Avengers to prevent them from uniting in their namesake movie.
- Child of Two Worlds: Namely Asgard and Jotunheim. The fact that they hate each other messes him up royally.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder:
- He has a compulsive need to betray people to fulfill his own goals or get out of trouble.
- In Thor: Ragnarok, Thor gives a brilliant Kirk Summation after Loki tries and fails to betray him during the escape from Sakaar, musing that Loki's treacherous and scheming nature has paradoxically made him predictable to a fault.
- Color-Coded Characters: His royal outfit is green, gold, and black, and his hair is also black. Thor, on the other hand, wears blue, red, and silver and is blonde.
- Complexity Addiction: He can't help lying to/betraying people even if it wouldn't help him, or if it wouldn't be pragmatic to betray them yet. It's likely related to his Inferiority Superiority Complex — he has to prove how much smarter he is than everyone by deliberately manipulating them as much as he can and gloating about how he did it.
- Consummate Liar: Comes with the territory of being the God of Lies and Mischief. Lampshaded when Thor notes he's always been a talented liar. This is right before Loki said he was glad to see Thor.
- Cool Helmet: It's gold and has long horns, and he's fond enough of it that the statue of himself erected on Asgard was specifically designed to feature it, if a line from Loki's play is anything to go on.
- Country Matters: "This is my bargain, you mewling quim!"
- Crazy Jealous Guy: A non-romantic example for his brother. He tries to rationalize why Thor is acting differently and he believes that it's all because of Jane. He planned to go after her once he was finished destroying the Ice Giants.
- Dark Messiah: Wants to save humanity from war in The Avengers... by conquering humanity.
- Deadpan Snarker: Has a very dry wit. For example, after Thor falls for one of his illusions for the millionth time:
Loki: Are you ever not going to fall for that?
- Deal with the Devil: His arrangement with Thanos to have the Chituari army in exchange for the Tesseract. It's ambiguous how willingly he agreed to deal or who sought out who.
- Death Glare: In the first movie, Loki gives a menacing one to Sif in the throne room while he leans slightly forward in her direction. His eyes and body language seem to say, "I dare you to talk back to your king."
- Death Seeker: After The Avengers, he doesn't seem particularly concerned if he lives or dies anymore. Sif, Volstagg, and Thor make it perfectly clear they have no problem killing him if he betrays them again. He just laughs it off.
- Desperately Craves Affection: On the one hand, he's a conniving, power-hungry liar. On the other hand, he's a deeply damaged young man who's convinced he's The Unfavorite, especially after finding out he was not only adopted, but from an enemy race, and is desperate for his father's approval and affection. It's made even sadder because he already had his father's acceptance and fondness, but convinced himself otherwise.
- Deuteragonist: After Thor himself, the villainous Loki is the most important character in the Thor films.
- Didn't Think This Through: He never considers the difficulties involved in conquering, pacifying, and occupying Earth. He thinks if he just brings in an army, the humans will fall in line and submit to him, ignorant of Earth's military forces, the members of the Avengers, and who-knows-what-else including the other Asgardians, that will want to have words with him once the Chitauri leave. Even if his invasion succeeded, it never would have lasted. Lampshaded by Tony.
Tony Stark: You're missing the point! There's no throne. There is no version of this where you come out on top. Maybe your army comes and maybe it's too much for us, but it's all on you. Because if we can't protect the Earth, you can be damn well sure we'll avenge it.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: In Thor's arms in The Dark World. However, it turns out that he was faking it.
- Disney Villain Death: Falling from the Rainbow Bridge was how he ended Thor. Subverted, as he survives to be the Big Bad of The Avengers.
- Disproportionate Retribution: His plot to take control of Earth in The Avengers is largely driven by jealousy and resentment towards his adoptive brother Thor, as well as rage at being deceived about his true ancestry. He wants to subjugate the entire population of Earth — a planet which Thor treasures and protects — thereby wiping out many of the people that Thor cares about. In addition, Loki feels that he was cheated out of his rightful place as the ruler of Asgard.
Thor: So you take the world I love as recompense for your imagined slights?
- Dissonant Laughter: He's seen giggling, if not outright laughing, in clear contrast to his tumultuous emotional state, but in different ways:
- In the climax of Thor, it's used as a unnerving instance of Laughing Mad — it represents him being so lost that his emotions are all over the place, and in conjunction with his increasing mood swings, shows that he's losing his mind.
- In contrast, The Avengers uses it as one of the only real signs of his softer traits. Loki attempts to cover up situations and feelings that he would rather not acknowledge (like Thor's repeated attempts to reach out to him) with quips and nervous, often dissonant Mirthless Laughter. He also uses it as a show of bravado in the face of being surprised or intimidated.
- Dissonant Serenity:
- Practices this from time to time. In The Dark World, he watches calmly as Kurse frees the other prisoners while waiting for him to make his way to his own cell. When Kurse leaves him locked up, Loki is later seen quietly reading while sitting against the wall, even as there's a massive brawl a foot away on the other side of the force field.
- Also, in The Avengers, when he catches and arrow and realises that there's a bomb on it, Loki just calmly looks at it even as he knew it would blow up in his face. Then again, he's not that easy to kill.
- Dragon with an Agenda: In Ragnarok, he poses as The Dragon to the Grandmaster of Sakaar. Of course, Loki being Loki, he only manipulated his way up there to be spared of the Grandmaster's slave games, and so he could have a position of power and then overthrow the Grandmaster once it's convenient.
- Driven to Suicide: He lets go of the Bifröst by the end of Thor, but as explained just above, he survives.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Before his fall from grace he would often be (gently) mocked by Thor and his friends, or have his advice ignored with a curt "know your place". It doesn't help his already fragile self-esteem. And when he does actually become king, Heimdall, Lady Sif, and the Warriors Three disobey his commands (granted they had good reason to).
- The Dutiful Son: In the first Thor film as opposed to the reckless Thor.
- Easily Forgiven: Averted in Dark World, where Jane is still pissed at him for his attack on her planet, Odin only refrains from executing him due to Frigga's wish, and Thor is very suspicious of him. Played straight in Ragnarok, where the Asgardians aren't that pissed off at him after he duped them as "Odin" for years, no one from New York City except Doctor Strange calls him out over his actions there years ago (particularly egregious when two citizens waste no time getting selfies with Thor, and say nothing about the destroyer of their city standing next to him), and Thor basically treats his Chronic Backstabbing Disorder as "nah, used to your shit by now."
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Especially in The Avengers, where his "exile" has left him a pallid, twitchy mess ready and eager to subjugate an entire planet.
- Energy Ball: His ranged attacks are either discs or this.
- Enemy Mine: Thor comes to him for help to stop Malekith in The Dark World, much to Loki's amusement. They're forced to work together again in Ragnarok after Hela invades Asgard.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas:
- His Evil Plan in Thor was all about proving himself to his father Odin. However, he couldn't care less about his biological father Laufey, as he killed the man (without even telling him they were related) and then tried to blow up his planet.
- Even after his descent into madness, he continues to love his mother Frigga. Aside from rage, this is the only genuine emotion he has left by the time of The Dark World. Her death at the hands of the Dark Elves helps to motivate him. In his first scene, Loki puts on a contemptuous facade, but his mask slips when Odin informs him that he will never see Frigga again; he then stumbles as he's being led away by the guards.
- Also, what proves that he still loves his mother, is that in The Dark World, he has no problem with yelling out that Odin is not his father. However, when she asks if she's not his mother then, Loki, though he does answer that she isn't, hesitates so much at first that he actually cries.
- Even Evil Can Be Loved: His family and friends are devastated when they believe he is dead at the end of Thor. And in Dark World, he gets regular visits from his mother and Thor's reaction when he believes Loki dead again proves that he never stopped loving his brother.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: It's proved in The Dark World that he still loves his brother Thor when he saves his life from Kurse.
- Even Evil Has Standards: In a strange sense in that it overlaps with Kick the Dog — when Thor tells Loki killing the humans will bring him nothing and offers his life if he spares them, Loki kills him, but the Destroyer turns and start to leave, so Loki was keeping true to his side of Thor's deal.
- Evil Brit: In The Avengers. In the Thor films, he's just one of many RP-speaking Asgardians.
- Evil Former Friend: Becomes this for his brother Thor and his former comrades Sif and The Warriors Three by the time of The Avengers.
- Evil Plan:
- In Thor, his plan was to keep his then-Jerkass brother off the throne and earn Odin's respect.
- In The Avengers, it was to conquer Earth to prove himself a king even greater than his father.
- The Evils of Free Will: "Freedom is life's great lie." In The Avengers, he declares his intent to make Earth's population "free from freedom". This is a very different characterization than in either Thor or The Dark World, where he vastly prefers to manipulate rather than dominate: it could be a result of his Fantastic Racism toward humanity, but it's more likely a result of his merely being a catspaw of anther villain who does have this philosophy.
- Evil Sorcerer: His abilities are referred to as "magic". Even among powerful Asgardians (such as the all-seeing Heimdall), the extent of Loki's abilities is not fully understood.
- The Face: Before his Face–Heel Turn, he was the diplomatic one in Thor's group of warriors.
- Fake Defector:
- In The Dark World, he magicks up an illusion that he cut off Thor's hand and roughly hands Jane over to Malekith, but this was all a ploy to lower Malekith's guard and get the Aether in the air so Thor could destroy it.
- Pulls this again on Thor in Ragnarok as they escape the Grandmaster... only for Thor to see through it early enough to thwart his attempt.
- Faking the Dead: He successfully fakes his own death near the end of The Dark World, and manages to rule Asgard for years while disguised as Odin. By Ragnarok, however, Thor's caught on to him. That statue of himself was probably a bit too much.
- Fallen Hero: It goes without saying that Loki more than likely fought alongside Thor, Sif, and the Warriors Three in countless battles and adventures, performing innumerable deeds of great valor and sharing the glory, wine, and laughter of victory with his now-former friends. Even after the events of Thor, they still mourn his "death". It isn't until the events of The Avengers that cause his entire fall from grace.
- Fashionable Asymmetry: All his outfits are asymmetrical to some degree, except when he is wearing a suit. Notably, his later outfits in Ragnarok are the ones with the least asymmetrical elements.
- For the Evulz: Nick Fury notes that he "kills 'cause it's fun".
- The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: Learned the hard way in Hall H of Comic Con. Much to their excitement.
- Genocide from the Inside: After Loki finds out that he is actually an abandoned Frost Giant prince adopted by Odin, he murders his biological father and tries to exterminate his own race to prove himself a worthy prince of Asgard. Odin is absolutely horrified.
- Glamour Failure: Whenever he comes into contact with the Frost Giant's power, his true heritage shows.
- A God Am I: Styles himself as the God-King of Earth in The Avengers. While he has some basis to claim this, he is the only Asgardian that puts on airs.
- Go Mad from the Revelation: Learning of his true parentage causes any jealousy and insignificance he feels towards Thor to explode into full-blown madness driven by his desire for acknowledgment from Odin.
- Graceful Loser: When he's finally defeated by the Avengers, he accepts his defeat and asks for the drink Tony had offered him earlier.
- Green-Eyed Monster: While it's not his motivation, Loki is consumed by his envy of Thor and has a heck of a time hiding it in the first act of Thor.
- Hair-Contrast Duo: The brunet to Thor's blond.
- Happily Adopted: The fact that he's not their "real" child has no effect on Odin, Frigga, or Thor's love for him, nor on his for them.* The only thing that changes when he learns the truth is his perception of their love for him, with tragic results. And no matter what, he still calls himself Loki of Asgard.
- Hannibal Lecture: During The Avengers, he tears into Black Widow while imprisoned on the Helicarrier. It must run in the family.
- The Heavy: In The Avengers, he's an errand boy retrieving the Tesseract for Thanos and ordered around by The Other.
- Heel–Face Turn: At the end of Ragnarok, it seems like he's finally gotten his act together and is on better terms with Thor. But since this is Loki, whether or not it'll actually stick is another matter entirely...
- Heel–Face Revolving Door: Dear gods, Loki is literally like one of those kids who keep spinning the door for fun. In retrospect, it speaks to how broken he was during The Avengers (2012) that he managed to stay so firmly on the 'heel' side of the fence for the whole movie. Throughout the Thor trilogy, it's really only a matter of when. It's to the point where Thor factors Loki's reputation and tendency for switching sides at the drop of a hat into his plans. Also lampshaded in Ragnarok.
- Heel Realization: Seems to have had one near the end of Thor: Ragnarok when Thor berates him for being such a constant traitor to the point of said betrayals being inevitable and easy to see. Thor telling him that while he'll always be the God of Mischief, he could be more seems to have gotten through to him that he can either change or stagnate and get left behind as his brother has grown beyond maintaining their feud for the sake of it.
- Heroic Sacrifice: He is nearly sucked into a mini black hole after he pushes Jane away from the grenade's path in The Dark World; Thor saves him in the nick of time. Loki then appears to have died defending his brother from Kurse's brutal beating, but it turns out that the stab wound he received wasn't fatal.
- I Am a Monster: He believes so after discovering his origins.
Loki: What, because I... I... I am the monster parents tell their children about at night?
- I Am Who?: He's actually a Frost Giant and Laufey's son, rescued from Jötunheim when Odin last defeated the Frost Giants. He doesn't take The Reveal well.
- Ice King: Almost literally. When he's not being snarky or having a breakdown, he behaves in a rather aloof, proud and cool manner.
- An Ice Person: Starts using the Ice Casket of the Frost Giants in Thor after he discovers that he is a Frost Giant.
- I Did What I Had to Do: Uses this when explaining to Odin why he attacked Earth in the Thor: The Dark World Prelude.
- I Just Want to Be Loved: Loki's underlying motivation is just to be loved as much by the people and his own parents as his often idiotic brother Thor is. For instance, he outright states it in the first film:
Loki: I never wanted the throne! I only ever wanted to be your equal!
- I Just Want to Be Special: Grew up knowing that Thor was destined to be the King of Asgard, and he would just Thor's little brother with nothing particularly glorious in his future. Forging a peace between Asgard and the Frost Giants was not his idea of being "special". This is especially pronounced in Ragnarok, where as "Odin" he commissioned both a statue of Loki and a play honoring Loki's heroism during Dark World
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: In The Dark World, he pulls this on Kurse only for Kurse to pull it on him. He survives it.
- Inferiority Superiority Complex: He chooses to deal with his crippling self-worth issues by trying to blow up/subjugate worlds. If you want to see him lose his cool, try challenging his power and/or authority and watch him shout you down with declarations of how great and powerful he is. This is particularly evident in several scenes in The Avengers; the less control he has, the louder and angrier he becomes.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: Tony offers Loki a drink, which he rejects. After his defeat, he decides to take him up on his offer.
- Insane Troll Logic: Loki's motivation in The Avengers follows as this — he wants to conquer Earth, because if humans are too busy worshiping him, they won't be fighting any wars. He never really figured that they just might be warring against him. Thor calls him out on this during the final battle in New York, but he doesn't care.
- Internalized Categorism: Loki was raised in an atmosphere of profound racism against Frost Giants, so finding out that he actually was one at an already incredibly stressful point in his life led to him cracking up. In The Avengers (2012), Loki shows signs of projecting heavily onto Banner vis-a-vis the concept of embracing one's own monstrosity. Points for S.H.I.E.L.D. detaining him in their prefab Hulk cage.
- Irony: The actions motivated by his desire to prove himself to his adopted father wind up getting him disowned outright and thrown in the dungeons. Oops.
- Furthermore, his revenge on said father ends in an Actually Pretty Funny reaction and he ends up regaining his father's love and respect. Oops?
- It's All About Me: He's willing to destroy an entire planet just to work out his family issues.
- I've Come Too Far: The reason he rejects Thor's offer of redemption in The Avengers.
- Jacob and Esau: Loki is the Jacob to Thor's Esau. Frigga showed him special attention to make sure he knew he was loved as a child.
- Jerkass Has a Point:
- Sure, he ruins Thor's big day for "a bit of fun", but he also did it to reveal how unfit to rule his brother was in Thor. He does eventually become the villain, but at the time, he spared Asgard a massive headache.
- In The Dark World, he points out that Thor will outlive Jane by a very long time.
- Also in The Dark World, when confronted about his crimes, he points out that both Bor and Odin technically killed many more people than he to preserve peace in the Nine Realms. Considering Bor all but exterminated the Dark Elves, he has a point.
- And considering the revelation of Hela and Odin's rampages as depicted in Ragnarok, he had more of a point than even he knew at the time.
- Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: He went from a Tragic Villain in Thor to a straight-up Big Bad in The Avengers. Also a case of Took a Level in Jerkass. According to Word of God, falling through the rift he saw things that sent him round the twist.
- Kick the Dog:
- Though it was in his interests to convince Thor his exile was going to be permanent to maintain a new truce with the Jötunns, telling him Odin died due to the stress of exiling him was just cruel.
- In Ragnarok, during his Let's You and Him Fight with Valkyre, Loki makes her relive watching her comrades get slaughtered by Hela.
- Kneel Before Zod: Commands this to a crowd of civilians, and later Captain America, when he appears in The Avengers. The civilians obey — with the exception of two men, both of whom lived through WWII. One is an elderly German man, the other is Captain America.
- Knife Nut: Uses small throwing daggers (their effectiveness can be enhanced with magic) to attack from afar in Thor and The Avengers, and fights with a single longer one in The Dark World.
- Kubrick Stare: Makes this kind of stare in The Avengers after arriving through the portal created the the Tesseract.
- Laughably Evil: Despite usually having a pretty serious role, he was played pretty humorously in The Avengers.
- Large Ham:
- Lean and Mean: He's very wiry compared to the other Asgardians, and then even more so in The Avengers. Tom Hiddleston even said he was attempting to get a "lean and hungry look" (an allusion to Cassius from Julius Caesar) when losing weight for the role.
- Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Along with wavy black hair down to his shoulders, Loki has big blue eyes, a slender build, and moves very gracefully.
- Looks Like Cesare: When he first appears in The Avengers, his eyes are sunken to an extreme degree, and his hair is even more mussed and stringy than usual.
- Love Makes You Crazy: Non-romantic love for his father Odin, but love made him both crazy and evil nonetheless.
- Made of Iron: His durability is implied to be far greater than that of a normal Frost Giant's, as he is able to take hits from Hulk and Thor without sustaining major damage. While normal frost giants all die in one hit from either. Perhaps he uses magic like he does in the comics.
- Magic Staff: His Chitauri scepter in The Avengers. Its normal size is "wand", but when he dons his royal outfit its becomes longer with a larger blade and is used as a staff.
- Manipulative Bastard: As noted elsewhere on this page, he manipulates everyone he comes into contact with to prove how smart and in control he is of any situation.
- Manly Tears:
- In the first movie, Loki's face is visibly wet with tears after he discovers from Odin that he's actually a Frost Giant. He also sheds a tear when he asks Thor, "Is it madness?", which is a sign of his emotional breakdown.
- In The Avengers, Loki displays a rare moment of vulnerability right after he stabs Thor. A tear falls from his eye as he says, "Sentiment."
- The Man Makes the Weapon:
- Inverted; while he has strength and magic he relies on power gained from elsewhere rather than his own strength. In Thor, he uses Odin's staff and the Destroyer, and in The Avengers he relies on the Chitauri staff, mind-controlled heroes, and an alien army. This forms a contrast with the heroes whose power comes from their inner strength and qualities (Cap, Banner) or something they made themselves (Stark). This reliance on external power despite claiming superiority could be a sign of his insecurity.
- He abandons this trait by The Dark World, where he's never armed with more than a dagger, his powers of illusion, and his innate guile. What this indicates is open to interpretation.
- Master Actor: Even when he is pretending to betray Thor in front of the Dark Elves and denounces his own mother to the person responsible for her death, he sounds completely sincere. The only one he doesn't seem to be able to lie convincingly to in The Dark World is Frigga, and in the previous Thor movie, he uses his acting ability effectively many times against his brother.
- Master of Illusion: Though this was the gimmick of a different figure (Freya) in Norse mythology, movie Loki is fond of using illusionary copies of himself to distract his enemies, and to taunt them. In The Dark World, he shows an ability to cloak himself or others to look like other people. Ragnarok reveals that Loki has in fact been capable of Shapeshifting since he was a child and can turn himself or others into animals, though we haven't yet seen this on screen.
- Mind over Matter: In Dark World, he throws around the furniture in his cell by just clenching his fist, as a reaction of being told of his mothers's death.
- Mirthless Laughter: Loki is always laughing and chuckling, even when angry or sad; and it makes him all the more creepy.
- Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Thor genuinely loves Loki, but his self-absorption causes him to unintentionally demean his brother by using him as a distraction, patsy, or even impromptu projectile whereupon their "adventures" often end with Thor snatching up all the glory. This drives Loki to perform his fateful prank on the day of his brother's coronation, which drastically alters the courses of both their lives.
- Momma's Boy: Frigga seems to be the only member of the family that Loki can tolerate after all that's happened. Which makes seeing his reaction to her death even more crushing. He is also shown to be his mother's son to a certain extent, as Frigga is the one who taught him magic, and his combat style in The Dark World is very similar to hers.
- Moral Event Horizon: An In-Universe example in The Avengers with his tactics in trying to take over the Earth. How cruel were those tactics? Odin has him doing porridge for life (and would've had him executed if Frigga hadn't intervened); Thor, Sif, and Volstagg threaten to kill him if he betrays them as he's broken out; and Jane slaps him in the face.
- Ironically, the film where he suffers the repercussions for his actions ends up being the one where he's at his most heroic, not the least. And he only gets better from there.
- A Nazi by Any Other Name: In The Avengers, he is prone to Putting on the Reich, and performs a speech about how humans "were born to be ruled." One old German calls him out on this while refusing to Kneel Before Zod:
- Never My Fault: Loki doesn't take responsibility for his actions, and he doesn't believe he did anything wrong when he attempted to conquer Earth.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: He gets Thor exiled from Asgard by setting things up to show that his brother isn't worthy of taking their father's throne. In doing so, he humbles Thor enough for him to become worthy. Sending the Destroyer after him gave him a chance to prove it.
- Nominal Hero: In The Dark World. His reasons for helping Thor defeat Malekith are fairly selfish, but he nevertheless puts his life on the line to achieve their mutual goal.
- Non-Action Big Bad: A more subtle example than most. While he is technically well above any mortal in physical prowess, he isn't quite up to par with Thor in combat, preferring to compensate with his intelligence and cunning. As such, he tends to use trickery to avoid direct conflict. This changes in The Avengers, where he is willing to dirty his hands against S.H.I.E.L.D. agents that are no threat to him and proves Captain America's superior during their short battle.
- Not Quite Dead:
- The epilogue of Thor reveals that he's alive and well within human society, and he returns in The Avengers more badass than ever.
- In The Dark World, despite having a Died in Your Arms Tonight moment with Thor, it's revealed at the end that he survived and is posing as Odin.
- Not So Different: To Tony Stark. Both are nerdy snarky egomaniacs with Daddy issues and rivalries with blond beefcakes. Tony himself lampshades this in The Avengers:
...And Loki, he's a full-tilt diva. He wants flowers, he wants parades, he wants a monument built to the skies with his name plastered... [epiphany]
- Nurture over Nature: In spite of everything, it's still his Asgardian family that he primarily identifies with.
- Oblivious Adoption: He never quite fit into Asgardian society, but he doesn't suspect that he's adopted until his skin turns blue when he's exposed to the Frost Giant's magic.
- Oedipus Complex: In The Dark World, he genuinely loves his mother and overthrows his father, usurping the Asgardian throne in the process.
- Orc Raised By Elves: This is interestingly presented in Thor. Loki had always felt different but never realized he was a Frost Giant, since his Shapeshifting powers disguised his true appearance. When he discovers the truth, he's furious, especially because while Odin loved him, Odin is right that he was more or less taken as a bargaining chip to guarantee good behavior by the Frost Giants. Loki goes on to make a deal with the Giants and allow them to invade Asgard which is actually part of a Batman Gambit — Loki hates Frost Giants and in a twisted way of proving his loyalty to Asgard, planned to wipe out his own species.
- Orcus on His Throne: In Ragnarok having gotten everything he ever wanted, now stealing the throne from under Odin and Thor's noses, Loki proceeds...to do absolutely nothing but laze around. It's specifically because of his lackadaisical actions that unintentionally causes all the conflict.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: Wherever he goes as soon as he says his name, people remarks that he's Thor's brother and he absolutely hates it. Seems to have grown out of it by the end of Ragnarok, smiling with fondness as Thor unlocks his full mastery over storms.
- Parental Abandonment: Laufey (possibly) abandoned him when he was a baby, and there is no mention of his birth mother. Later on, his adoptive mother dies. And then his adoptive father in Ragnarok.
- Parting Words Regret: His last words to Frigga were to deny that he was her son. Alleviated mildly in that they clearly both know he didn't mean it, but it's still obviously tearing him apart.
- Patricide: Kills his biological father, Laufey, in Thor.
- Pet the Dog:
- During the brawl in The Dark World, he pushes Jane out of the way of a Dark Elf weapon, nearly dying himself as a result.
- In Ragnarok, where he heroically helps Thor in saving the Asgardians from Hela — again at great risk to himself.
- Physical God: Comes from a race of Sufficiently Advanced Alien Physical Gods.
- Pietà Plagiarism: He is the recipient of this when Thor cradles him in his arms after he is stabbed by Kurse.
- Pretty Boy: While his appearance in the comics is very much Depending on the Artist and has ranged from withered and ugly all the way to smolderingly handsome, this is the most daintily good-looking Loki incarnation ever. This is (completely coincidentally) in line with descriptions of Loki in Norse Mythology and makes him a perfect foil to Thor's Hunk looks. He becomes a Long Haired Prettyboy in The Avengers and The Dark World.
- Psychopathic Manchild: In each film, Loki's motives center primarily on gaining his father's approval, getting out of his big brother's shadow, or getting the respect he deserves from everyone. Even if it involves enslaving a planet or wiping out an entire people to do it. Plus he's the God of Mischief.
- Really 700 Years Old: He was an infant in the Middle Ages. The movies take place in the 21st century.
- Redemption Equals Death: He appears to suffer this fate at the hands of Kurse, though it doesn't prevent him from killing Kurse in return before seemingly succumbing to his injuries. Of course, he's faking it.
- Redemption Rejection: When Thor is still willing to offer Loki a chance as the Chitauri attack New York, he seems to genuinely consider it... then shanks Thor with a throwing knife.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The blue to Thor's red as he is more a shadowy presence meant to manipulate and confuse, but he still has Asgardian hamminess.
- Red Herring Mole: While Thor seeks his help in The Dark World, everyone including Thor himself is quite aware Loki is going to betray him eventually. They even use this to their advantage when tricking Malekith into exposing the Aether. Loki doesn't betray Thor, but he does trick Thor into thinking he died while he goes into hiding via shapeshifting.
- The Resenter: A seething ball of jealousy from his first scenes onward.
- Royal Brat: Like Thor, Loki has overtones of this. He has no problem getting guards and Jötunns killed for the sake of a prank on his brother.
- Sanity Slippage: Falling through a rift in space at the end of Thor did nothing good for his mental health. Not that it helps his case when he's faced with the consequences of his actions in The Avengers. Early in The Dark World, he suffers another slippage after Frigga's death.
- Secondary Color Nemesis: He's associated with green to contrast Thor's red, white, yellow, and blue.
- Self-Made Orphan: He kills his biological father Laufey while declaring himself the son of Odin. It looked like he was about to kill his adoptive father in an attempt to appeal to his biological father, but then he kills his biological father in a (completely misguided) attempt to appeal to his adoptive father. Wow.
- Self-Serving Memory: In The Avengers, he claims that Thor threw him into the void, apparently forgetting that he chose to fall in after Odin refused to condone Loki attempting genocide in his name.
- Sharp Dressed Man: When he appears before the imprisoned Thor in Midgard and when he attends Loge in The Avengers.
- Spare to the Throne: Oddly enough, he never realizes this until he gets made regent after Odin goes into the Odinsleep. He even tells Thor that he didn't want to supplant him, he just wanted to be his equal. At least at first.
- Squishy Wizard: Downplayed Trope. Loki is a skilled sorcerer and is physically weaker than his brother Thor, but he survived some very rough handling by the Hulk.
- Sibling Rivalry: With Thor because there can only be one king. However, they're forced to work together in Ragnarok when their older sister Hela shows up and takes the throne from both of them.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: The fact that they're total opposites in personality makes it worse. He thinks that Odin only likes the athletic Thor. In Ragnarok, it's revealed that Loki is actually quite similar in appearance and personality to his older adoptive sister Hela, which may have influenced the way Odin treated him in post-adolescence and early adulthood.
- Smug Snake:
- Soft-Spoken Sadist: A nasty man with a quiet voice, until he's got a reason to get mad, in which he'll get mad.
- Sophisticated as Hell: "This is my bargain, you mewling quim!"
- Staff of Authority:
- In the first film, he wields Gungnir, the symbol of kingship in Asgard, when he becomes regent.
- In The Dark World, Gungnir is once again in his possession in the final scene.
- The Starscream: In Ragnarok, Loki gained the Grandmaster's trust so he can serve as one of his aides, and then overthrow him so he can have a realm all to himself.
- Stepford Snarker: Though not so much at first, by Thor: The Dark World he is this. A few unguarded moments show that he actually still does care but he spends most of his time among other people, especially the Asgardians, snarking at them to cover up both this and his pain that they now (at least seem to) hate him.
- Sufficiently Advanced Alien: Like all Asgardians though he is also known as a "master of magic" which makes things a little complicated.
Black Widow: These guys come from legend. They're basically gods.
- Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum: Ever since discovering his origins, Loki has been subtly throwing one. All bets are off in The Avengers when he clearly becomes fed up.
- Super Strength: Most evident in The Avengers, where he kills a normal man in body armor with a single kick and throws Captain America around like a ragdoll.
- Tall, Dark, and Snarky: All three check off; he loves snarking at people.
- Technically a Smile: Loki never loses that confident grin of his, which widens into a leering, arrogant, wolf-like sneer when he's enraged; and it's easily the scariest expression he's got.
- Then Let Me Be Evil: This was his eventual reaction to learning his true heritage. In The Dark World, he's clearly conflicted, but his actions show that he still feels that he's gone too far to turn back. Ever.
- There Are No Therapists: Everyone seems to agree that Loki's got a few screws loose. No one seems to think he might benefit from medication or psychoanalysis.
- This Is Your Brain on Evil: When he arrives in The Avengers, he's a sweating, pale, sunken-eyed mess. This is our first clue that something has gone wrong in his time away. The second is the way he casually murders several soldiers before deigning to speak.
- Token Evil Teammate: To Thor and Jane, in The Dark World.
- And to Thor, Valkyrie and Hulk in Ragnarok.
- Tomato in the Mirror: Loki becomes a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds when he learns of his frost giant heritage.
- Took a Level in Badass: Going through a wormhole gave him one hell of a steel edge. He was already a total badass, being a God and holding his own against Thor and all, but by The Avengers, is considered to be exponentially more dangerous. Tom Hiddleston invoked the trope when discussing Loki in The Avengers
- Took a Level in Dumbass: As Cracked pointed out, he went from being The Chessmaster and a Manipulative Bastard in Thor to being perpetually fooled and outsmarted by virtually every member of the main cast in The Avengers. They summed it up with "Loki, the Silver-Tongued God of Deception, Can't Outsmart Anyone." However he still played Divide and Conquer against the Avengers before they rallied together for the grand finale and it could also be said that his "master" or the scepter he was given was disrupting his sanity. Justified in that he had recently been through a wormhole, and whatever he experienced could NOT have been good for his mind. As demonstrated by the ending in Dark World where he's sitting on Odin's throne, carrying his staff, and pretending to be him, thus effectively being King of Asgard, with Thor none the wiser, it is easy to state that any level he took in The Avengers is gone.
- Tragic Villain: His villainy was originally well-intentioned and his goal was familial love. However, his long-lasting goal got so bad that he got twisted into insanity.
- The Trickster: Loki is the epitome of this.
- Troll: He is the God of Mischief and Trickery, after all. In all of the Thor films, he uses his powers for pranks, such as shapeshifting himself and Thor just to irritate him, and after his fall to villainy, his demeanor is generally one of mocking snark and arrogance.
Laufey: So you're the one who showed us the way into Asgard.
Loki: That was just a bit of fun, really. To ruin my brother's big day.
- Tyrant Takes the Helm: Hilariously subverted, instead of killing Odin he just erased his memory and put him in a retirement home on Earth, and he apparently spent most of his time as Asgard's ruler eating grapes and watching terrible plays that exalt himself. The worst things he did were his exile of Sif and Heimdall and being lax on guarding the realms; though this is less his fault and more of Odin's since there were threats he never told anybody about.
- Ungrateful Bastard: How Odin views him since he was abandoned as a baby to die until Odin found him and raised him as his son. Loki repays that kindness by becoming a mass murderer.
Odin: Your birthright was to die as a child, cast out onto a frozen rock. If I had not taken you then, you would not be here now to hate me.
- The Unfavourite: He sees himself as such. He definitely doesn't fit the ideal of Asgard the way Thor does, but Odin repeatedly assures him "you are my son" and had great plans for him just as he did for Thor. He hoped that Loki would pioneer a lasting peace and friendship between Asgard and Jötunheim instead of the fragile truce present at the time.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: By exiling Odin to Earth, he made him a mortal, which eventually made him die and freed Hela from her dimensional prison.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: The scene with young Loki shows him and Thor being absolutely adorable as they listen to Odin telling them a story about the war with the Jötunns.
- Vain Sorceress: A Rare Male Example, he's seen changing his clothes with magic and quite cares about appearances. He also keeps his Asgardian form on at most times, although that is for other reasons.
- Victory Is Boring: He got everything he wanted — he finally took the throne of Asgard from his father, but ruling the entire kingdom ended up being so hard and tedious.
- Villainous Breakdown:
- Starting around the time he discovers he's a Frost Giant, and getting progressively worse throughout the rest of Thor. This does not make him less effective, however — his growing insanity coupled with his deadly cunning only makes him more dangerous.
- He also has one at the end of The Avengers, after the Avengers start winning and he gets cornered by the Hulk, he makes the very poor decision to try and intimidate the giant green rage monster. It doesn't end well.
- He's not back to normal in The Dark World, but he seems to have improved somewhat. He's actually in a vulnerable state which opens the possibility of a Heel–Face Turn, but the only Ase making an effort in that direction is his adoptive mother Frigga.
- Villain Has a Point: To quote Frigga, Loki is "very perceptive about everything except [him]self.""
- In Thor, he is right that Thor, at the time, would not have made a good king.
- In The Avengers, he calls out of the hypocrisy behind S.H.I.E.L.D.'s supposed moral superiority, which proves even more darkly prophetic given the revelations in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
- He also calls out Odin for raising him to be a king, despite never once having any intention of actually letting Loki be king. This combined with Odin never revealing Loki's true heritage to him until Loki found out the hard way are both things that did real damage to his psyche.
- Villainous Cheekbones: Especially prominent in The Avengers, Tom Hiddleston's already prominent cheekbones are further emphasized with makeup, leading his face to go from "friendly and lanky" to "skull-like".
- Villainous Legacy: His actions in Thor and The Avengers helped motivate S.H.I.E.L.D. to go to more extreme measures to protect humanity in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. He also set the stage for the events of Age of Ultron by bringing the Chitauri scepter containing the Mind Stone to earth, where it was eventually used to create Ultron and Vision.
- Villain Protagonist: In all three of the Thor films, he shares the protagonist role with Thor, though not so much in the second. In the first and third films he has his own scenes and own plotlines. In the second, he spends too much time in his cell to fully qualify.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Ragnarok finally verbally confirms that Loki is capable of this (although whether his Asgardian appearance is merely an illusion or a shapeshift has been left open so far).
- Waif-Fu: A borderline male example — he's played by 6' 2", ordinarily-slender Tom Hiddleston, but made up and costumed to look outright skinny — and still capable of at least briefly beating his beefy brother in combat (including, notably, using his father's scepter/spear as a pole to propel his body around in order to increase his momentum for a kick in the face).
- We Can Rule Together: In Ragnarok, he suggests to Thor that they leave Asgard to its fate and rule Sakaar together by staging an unfortunate "accident" for the Grandmaster. Thor obviously declines.
- We Used to Be Friends: Despite what he may thought he was loved by his friends and family. Then he decided to conquer Earth....
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Even though he is furious that Odin lied to him about his parentage, his ultimate goal is still his love and approval rather than his throne. In The Avengers, he's still driven by a need for validation and approval, but doesn't want it from Odin specifically, just in general.
- By Ragnarok, this is still the case; when Thor and Loki find Odin peacefully living in Norway, he's visibly taken aback by Odin's calm approval of Loki's trickery and looks ready to cry when the old man tells his two sons he loves them before his death.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Part of the basis for his motivations in Thor. According to Word of God, he's this in The Avengers as well, as Loki thinks conquering the Earth is a grand idea to bring about peace, since everyone will be too busy bowing to him to fight amongst themselves anymore.
- What You Are in the Dark: As far as Loki knew, no one would have known if he'd just killed Odin after overthrowing him. Instead, Loki just wiped his memory and left him on Earth.
- When He Smiles: Surprisingly, albeit in a deleted scene in Thor. Even if you doubt his motives for going with Thor, it's one of very few scenes where he looks genuinely happy about something (if only for a few seconds). And damn does he look adorable.
: Thank you, brother. Loki
: [beat, smiles]
Now give us a kiss.
- Also in Ragnarok, when after everything, the surviving Asgardians are escaping on a spaceship and Loki appears in Thor's cabin:
Thor: If you were really here, I might even give you a hug.
Loki: [smiles] I am here. [cut]
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Despite being generally unflappable and confident, even when stranded on Sakaar, Loki is absolutely terrified when he sees the Hulk.
Loki: I have to get off this planet.
- Wicked Cultured: Enjoys wearing dapper clothing when blending in among humans, as well as attending classical music performances.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: He's a genocidal, ego-maniacal tyrant, but he's driven by loneliness and a desperate need to validate his own self-worth, and it's hard not to feel sorry for him.
- Xanatos Speed Chess: He's not in full control of everything that happens in Thor, but he finds a way to makes things work to his advantage one way or the other. Shown to an even greater effect in The Dark World, where he out-gambits Malekith and Odin.
- Yandere: When Odin becomes ill just thinking about warring with the Frost Giants, Loki concludes that the quickest way to please his father is to blow up the Frost Giants' world.
- You're Not My Father:
- Zig-Zagging Trope: Loki's entire character is a dance between Dark Is Not Evil, Big Bad, The Evil Prince, and "Well Done, Son!" Guy. Ultimately, Thor sets him up as a bad guy who's playing both sides against the middle... to win his father's approval. He falls completely into villain territory in The Avengers, but in The Dark World he's a Knight Templar and has returned to The Chessmaster. Ragnarok continues this, having him work almost consistently with Thor and his team though he still tries (unsuccessfully) to betray Thor on Sakaar, which prompts Thor to hang a lampshade on the matter.