He's managed to take his "consent issue" fetish into the Avengers fandom. GAH! How does he keep doing this?! And why does it always create huge kerfluffles everywhere?! Prepare for me to once again rant about the Glowhypnol sex in S8 and Loki's role in Thor and the Avengers! Gird your loins! This is not spell/grammar checked at all.

So, I still haven't seen the Avengers. However, most of my RL friends have, and I've watched pretty much all the Loki scenes (through totally legal methods that I did not pirate in any way, shape, or form). I have noticed that Loki fandom is divided up into camps just as Spike fandom was/is-- evilistas ("We like our boy big and bad in any medium he's in!"), comic book and movie apologists ("Nothing is his fault! His family is so horrible! Can't you see he's just a damaged soul that needs help?"), movie!redemptionistas ("Loki has to learn from his mistakes, but he can be redeemed."), comic book!redemptionistas ("Loki already is redeemed. He's been reborn into a fresh start in life. If anyone hurts him, I will kill every living thing on this planet."), and general fans who like him in any medium he's in and are just along for the ride. There's also a split between older fans of the comics and new movie fans. Sound familiar? Yes. I thought so.

Anyway, Tumblr has brought to light just how divided fans of Loki can get in regards to the films. Some people claim that movie!Loki is too sympathetic due to Tom Hiddleston's ability to cry like his heart is literally ripping in twain (some fans do not even give that much credit to the others, claiming that it is Tom Hiddleston's physical attractiveness that has given rise to the amount of apologists and redemptionistas out there). However, a new debate has sprung up about whether or not Loki was being mind-controlled to some degree during the events of the Avengers film, and the conversation started to sound like one I had heard before during the end of Season Eight.

Due to Tom Hiddleston mentioning that his eyes were digitally altered to appear more blue in Avengers: Assemble, some fans took that to mean that it was a sign that Loki was being in some way mind-controlled by Thanos, either through the scepter or a mental link. Based on one scene I saw in which Loki receives a very literal "flash"back in which he's warned about what will happen to him if he fails, I would say that that is a fair assumption that there is something weird (okay, weirder than normal) going on in Loki's brain. It's been noted that Loki really looks crazy for most of this film. His eyes are sunken, his gaze darts around wildly, he's twitchy. It's only at the end of the film when he's restrained and taken away from his toys that Loki suddenly appears to look more like Thor!Loki.

The thought that Loki might have been influenced was quickly denounced by a lot of general fans. They reminded everyone that Loki made his own decisions, and he has to face the consequences of his decisions. This is a logical way to look at things because, at the moment, there is no concrete proof as to what is going on. It was stated that, if Loki was being influenced in some manner similar to how he could control Hawkeye, then Loki wasn't really being fully controlled; the power over him was only amplifying his own wants and desires. Someone wrote that, and I'm paraphrasing, "To some degree, the scepter may have influenced him, but it was not making him do anything that he did not want to do. It just made what was already there come out more, if it did anything at all." This made me have a flashback to Season Eight, and some of the consent issues brought about by the Buffy/Angel space sex.

Where does a consent issue start when something is influencing a person's behavior? Scott Allie claimed that if Buffy and Angel were being affected by Twilight or some mystical force, everything they did was still completely consensual because it only brought out there deepest desires. However, would a rationally minded person, no matter what their desires are, have sex in the middle of a battlefield while his/her friends are in danger? It did not make sense for either character, except Angel, who seemed to already be deeply under the effects of Twilight's influence. Then later when Angel is completely taken over (with glow-eyed motif) by Twilight and kills Giles, the act is treated as if it is Angel's own action. Granted, it would be difficult for other characters to know that, but it is obvious to the reader that Angel is not at the steering wheel of this tugboat. The reader is supposed to accept that because Angel did allow Twilight to influence him, then he must accept the consequences of those actions. He killed countless people because he thought he was doing the right thing. However, what happened when Angel was willing to stop listening to Twilight and follow Buffy's lead? Is it then fair to shift all the burden onto Angel for Giles's death? Angel did not want to kill Giles, which is why Twilight had to take over his body and mind entirely. It's logical and reasonable to say that everything that happened because Angel listened to and agreed to help Twilight is his responsibility, but when did the influencing really start? When Angel agreed to help, was that when it started? Or did it start the moment they came into contact? It's hard to know. I tend to believe that, Whedon's own weirdness and Allie's comments and retcons aside, something of significance had to have happened for Angel to be willing to abandon Connor. I don't have an answer for when that willingness started.

For Loki, it is a similar situation. He's made a deal with the devil, and even if he wanted to stop (which is debatable), it's not clear that he could. A lot of what Loki says is pure bullshit; he's the god of mischief and trickery. It would also be extremely easy for him to convince his dear brother Thor that Thanos manipulated his mind and made him act in a way that killed a bunch of people. Thor would believe his brother, and Loki is a talented liar. However, there is some evidence of fear in Loki. Did fear really make him accept the bargain? Or did the fear come after the deal was struck? What if he really did want to back out of it? What if Thanos had to exert some influence over him to get him to do certain aspects of his plan? When Loki fell through the void, he had just experienced an emotional trauma (finds out he was adopted, kills his biological father, tries to kill his adopted father and brother, and nearly destroys an entire realm of beings because of his own self-loathing after finding out that the race he was taught to fear was the race he belongs to), leading to his attempted suicide into the void (again, I've heard whether or not Loki thought he would die debated). After that, was he capable of making rational decisions?

Ultimately, I am left with one question-- If a person is being influenced, even in the smallest measure though mind control or mystical object, does that negate all of that person's ability to consent? If it pushes their desires to the forefront of their mind and make them act in a way that is obviously the way the controller wants them to behave (otherwise, why would the controller need to influence them at all?), are they truly consenting? What about when they want to stop being controlled, and they can't stop it? These are a lot of vagaries with Loki, just as there were a lot of vagaries with BtVS-- Willow's mind-wipe of Tara, Jonathan's Superstar twins, Buffy ripping off Spike's cloths during the Gone home-invasion, and the Buffy/Riley poltergasm episode just to name a small portion of the consent issues during the seven seasons. I guess I'm not surprised to see these sorts of issues come up again in Whedon's other work, and I just wonder where things will go from here. The writing of Loki's next appearance will be up to non-Whedon persons and Kenneth Branagh (who I trust as a director more than Whedon), so it will be interesting to see where things will go. Branagh seems to have a more sympathetic touch with Loki's character, so I guess we'll find out what is in store for Loki Liesmith in November 2013 (unless he shows up in the Easter eggs at the end of any of the other Marvel films before then).

From: [identity profile] spankingfemme.livejournal.com

Being a long time fan of Loki, I have seen a lot of his schemes play out. He's a god, and a bored one of mischief at that. Loki has always had jealousy issues with his family, but he has also always come back to his senses when anything outside himself was threatening them. (As with the Jotuns letting Laufey so close to kill him in front of his family to bolster himself as a hero in front of them because that's what he was going for. Destroy any association of himself with Laufey and prove himself worthy to his family. He wasn't counting on Thor showing up to destroy his hard work. I don't think he was being controlled by Thanos in Avengers, but I do see him going with the flow if he thought not doing so would be detrimental to his health. Loki is a complicated character, but he's far from innocent. That being said, he's also not beyond regret for his actions *evil grin* which leaves lots of room for redemption ;) I do hope they bring him back for more scenes in the next movies especially since he's gotten so much acclaim from the fans :)

From: [identity profile] fenderlove.livejournal.com

I remain in the camp of who just watches Loki in any of his various forms in profound fascination. Very interesting. I mean, leading up to the new Journey into Mystery, Loki sacrificed himself, even begging the All-Father for one last chance. Of course, isn't that the ultimate trick? His plans already have gone awry, and what better send off than to make himself appear the hero? And it worked. He's the hero and the villain of the piece, and there was enough love in Thor's heart to warrant bringing Loki back (though in a prepubescent form). Then we find out that Loki went all Voldemort and created a bird Horcrux. XD It's amazing, and I love it. Of course, his Golden Age form is profoundly hilarious. XD

From the official Thor 2 Twitter, there's apparently going to be a lot more of Loki. I'm curious about what they'll do with him. Of course, I hope it does not involve his lips being sewn shut.

From: [identity profile] spankingfemme.livejournal.com

I'm definitely happy to hear that! And like you, I really hope they don't do the lips sewing bit :/ I never understood so many folks fascination with that particular bit

From: [identity profile] ericadawn16.livejournal.com

Oh, there is so much more going on with this than just Loki because it's a whole theme involving multiple characters about how much do you go along with something? How much can you be your own person? How much do you even want to? Isn't it in fact easier to be ruled by someone/something else and not have to take responsibility for anything you do? But then, it's not really...

Anyway, to just include Loki in this conversation is to miss a lot of what's going on...

*says the girl who's seen it eight times*

P.S. I would also include Willow after Tara died in any conversation about Loki because while Loki's lover was not killed, Loki's person as he understood himself was completely, utterly shattered in the film preceding Avengers. He found out that he wasn't who he thought he was at all. His self was killed in every way except physically...although we really don't know what or how long took place between films.

To me, he felt THAT seriously crazed like she did when she tried to kill the world. Well, she wants to destroy the world to end everyone's suffering...that sounds kind of familiar, too...
Edited Date: 2012-07-31 04:28 am (UTC)

From: [identity profile] fenderlove.livejournal.com

If I was going to do a larger comparison between the Marvel Movie Universe and BtVS, I would definitely bring up murdering-to-ease-the-world's-suffering/subjugating-the-world-from-the-subjugation-of-freedom parallels. Sadly, this post was written due to a specific kerfluffle that I encountered over the past few days. It could be pondered upon if Loki truly is crazy in the Avengers. I mean, one could not blame him for losing his grip with reality just as Willow had suffered a traumatic event in S6. How much grip do they still retain, and questions of taking responsibility for impaired judgement in revenge scenarios are all interesting points for further inquiry. I can't say anything about the other characters in the Avengers as I have not seen much else of the film besides the scenes with Loki. I'll just go and watch Thor a few more times while I wait for Captain American 2 and Iron Man 3. XD

From: [identity profile] uglybusiness.livejournal.com

This is an excellent meta and it touches the issue that's been bothering me, too. There are many hints throughout the film that Loki himself is not as "free" as he likes to pretend. The speeches he gives revolve around the same theme ("freedom is life's great lie"; "you lie and kill in the service of liars and killers, you pretend to be separate ... but the horrors are a part of you"; "to be reminded what real power is"). There's even a line that can be interpreted as reference to torture (?) or some kind of torment Loki's experienced, "you think you know pain". Also, he's been "touched" by the Tesseract, apparently (he said to Thor that he's seen its true power, and in the deleted scenes there's a conversation with Selvig in which he states that the Tesseract "touches everyone differently").

These are all interesting and meaningful which would be a balm for my movie!redemptionista's heart :), if only the implication of mind control didn't rob Loki from any character development. What kind of storytelling is it, when a central character, whose actions are pivotal for the entire plot, is in fact not "himself"? And what kind of writer would bend and reshape the character so blatantly to force him into a role?

But then, I had forgotten about the comics where Joss had done to Angel exactly that, so I don't even know what to think any more. The fact that Loki's past and his motivations were never explained is my main source of frustration and disappoitment about the movie. :\

tries to kill his adopted father

He doesn't, though. He used sleeping!Odin as a bait to lure and kill Laufey (if that's what you're referring to?)

Due to Tom Hiddleston mentioning that his eyes were digitally altered to appear more blue,

Ooh! *flails a little* I never heard about that. Could you please link me to the source? :)

From: [identity profile] fenderlove.livejournal.com

I think some of the problems with Whedon's writing in this film is vagueness. Is Loki just saying those things to Barton and Selvig, like a cult leader type-of-deal, or does he mean it? I think that the Tesseract can influence people as it did when the scepter was left in the room with the Avengers, making their slights and ill-at-easiness with one another break into a more heated nature. Now, is Loki immune to that control? Is he the one controlling the scepter's power and how it uses the Tesseract in that way? If he is not immune to its power, then one can only assume that he has felt some effects. Then one has to wonder how much is he being influenced. He's been carrying around the scepter for a while... and he's got a lot of nasty feelings about his brother and his own self-importance.

What I would really wonder about is what if Loki really did want to back out of the deal? Not for Thor or because he felt remorse, but because he wanted to escape when he knew he couldn't win. He was threatened with torture if he failed by beings he knew, as a force, to be more powerful than himself. He spends the entire movie, including the deleted scenes, flipping back and forth between ridiculous posturing (which might have to do with the fact that he wanted to get caught) and self-doubt. He's weakened, he looks manic and sickly. The healthiest he looks is when Thor is taking him back home. These types of things leave questions in the audience's minds, or at least it can.

He doesn't, though. He used sleeping!Odin as a bait to lure and kill Laufey (if that's what you're referring to?)

I feel that Loki was leading up to kill Odin. It was never going to be enough. He humiliated Thor, made his father see that Thor was not yet ready. He got the chance to be king in Odin's place, a chance to prove he was capable. If his intentions were to only prove to Odin that he was capable, he had a big chance, and he threw it away. He got a taste of power, and he was never letting it go. Even if, in that moment, he did not want Laufey to actually kill Odin, Loki wasn't thinking about the repercussions if his plan didn't go the way he wanted (which he had excellent evidence that he is not the greatest tactician in all the Nine Realms). Putting a hit out on his dad, even if he intended to stop the murder from occurring, is still risking the possibility that one's dad is going to be killed. Eventually, Loki would kill Odin at the rate he was going. His need for daddy's love was going to be overshadowed by the growing hate in his heart, especially since, instead of needing Odin's acceptance, he'd basically convinced himself that he didn't need it until he's placed in a situation where he has no lies to hide behind.

Ooh! *flails a little* I never heard about that. Could you please link me to the source? :)
See, that's another problem. I know that there was a source for the information because I saw it, but it has disappeared into the ether of the Internet. There are so many people reblogging the information without a source that it has clogged up any searches anyone tries to do for the original material. Also, it doesn't help that many people think that Loki's eyes are green in Thor (they don't look green to me, except for the Photoshopping on the DVD cover and the promotional materials), which is leading to more arguments. It seems that, if there was digital altering to his eyes in The Avengers, then it was not uniformly applied throughout all the scenes. People seem to be grasping at the moment Loki cries a single tear and says "Sentiment" because his eyes look more teal in that shot than the bright blue that they had been a few moments before. However, it seems that Tom's eyes can just do that in different lights, much like James's eyes.

From: [identity profile] fenderlove.livejournal.com

Here is a comparison between shots from the BluRay though that most people on Tumblr are using as evidence that Loki was being somewhat controlled and that Thor is actually able to snap him out of it for a moment: http://tomhiddles.tumblr.com/post/30195655178

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