We all have to admit, that Loki's journey in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is living proof that the wheels of fate go up and down in loops. Loki's character has been through a major development throughout the years, and with his own starring solo series, you'd think the MCU would finally reveal the truth behind him: Is Loki a villain or a good guy in the billion-dollar franchise?
The quick answer would be both, but not in the way that you think - Loki is literally both a villain and a good guy.
Here's a quick preview of who he is: he is the adopted brother of Thor. Loki was taken in by Odin when he was abandoned after the Battle of Jotunheim. Defeating the Frost Giants had Odin take the God of Mischief under his wing.
Loki is a Frost Giant who grew up under the guidance of Odin and Frigga as their own. Loki has the God of Mischief moniker being full of tricks and using such to his advantage.
Is Loki a Villain in the MCU?
Yes, in the film where he debuted, Thor (2011), he was established as a villain when he went against Thor, claiming he's a god while demanding to be treated like one.
He formed jealousy towards Thor when Odin wanted Thor to be the successor to the throne.
Loki wanted to be more than a brother of Thor and became greedy in seeking the throne for himself. While Thor was sent to Earth and Odin was sent to a coma, the God of Mischief took the throne.
It did not end well for Loki in the film when Thor arrived back to Asgard and learned about what Loki had been doing all along, as Loki brought Laufey to Asgard only to betray him.
He planned to aim for the power of the Bifrost bridge to Jotunheim.
Thor and Loki engaged in face-to-face combat, which later resulted in what seemed to be the demise of Loki when he let go of Thor's hand at the edge of the Bifrost bridge.
We see him again in Avengers (2012) and this time, he's wreaking havoc on Earth. With his scepter, he manipulated Eric Selvig and even Hawkeye to carry out his plans of opening a portal on Earth. He wanted the people to bow down to him only to be stopped by the Avengers.
The God of Mischief was successful, though, in bringing the Chitauri army to Earth, as the Battle of New York ensued. This is where Loki went to become a full-on villain, facing the OG Avengers.
Still, he was no match for Hulk as he was waved in the air and to the ground repeatedly, even calling him a 'puny god.' He was then taken by Thor back to Asgard where he was imprisoned.
Is Loki a Good Guy in the MCU?
In Thor: Dark World (2013), we see Loki back and this time, he is on his way to redemption when he is approached by Thor to help stop Malekith and the dark elves.
Side by side, Thor and Loki fought together. He even took a deadly blow to ensure that Thor gets to be successful in his plan on the Battle of Svartalfheim. This time, he died as a good guy, or so we all thought.
All this time, everyone thought Loki was dead. Little did we know, it was essentially a part of himself that he could never get rid of. He went on to steal the throne, took the appearance of Odin, and brought Odin to a care home on Earth in Thor: Ragnarok (2017).
When Thor returned to Asgard after defeating Surtur, he figured out that it was Loki leading the place. Thor and Loki flew down to Earth only to find that the care home was destroyed.
When they found Odin, it was just in time as he was dying.
Upon the death of Odin, Hela arrived and made everything worse. Loki, trying to escape, called for the Bifrost to open and sent Hela to Asgard while he and Thor were thrown to Sakaar.
Loki was with the Grand Master while Thor had to be a prisoner. Once it was time to return to Asgard, Loki betrayed Thor again, but at the time, Thor was prepared and left him with a neurotransmitter.
Freed by the other prisoners of Sakaar, Loki took the ship where the Asgardians would then escape. He fought alongside Thor this time and even summoned Surtur to fulfill the prophecy of Ragnarok.
Being really close to the tesseract, Loki took it before everything else fell into ashes. By the time they all escaped, Thanos arrived on their ship.
In the introduction of Avengers: Infinity War, Loki did not bow to Thanos without a fight, he was full-on a good guy now, even telling Thanos that he will never be a god. This is when Loki finally faces his demise.
He even told Thor on the brink of his death that the sun would shine on them again.
By the time of Avengers: Endgame, the Loki that escaped was his 2012 self, and such is the one who faced the Time Variance Authority in his starring series, Loki.
Considering this was the time when he was still a villain, this Loki was full-on the undeveloped God of Mischief, the one who raided and led the Battle of New York.
In his own series, Loki began to uncover more about the secrets behind the universe, or the Multiverse, rather. Loki Season 1 featured an entire flashback of Loki's crimes and mischief over his years spent in the MCU, which the 2012 Loki had yet to experience.
At first, he couldn't believe that he could ever reconcile with his brother Thor the way his 'original' variant did.
But it was after his life flashed before his eyes that he eventually started taking charge of his destiny. This time, as the better version of himself, the version we couldn't see unfold as he died at Thanos' hands.
So, is Loki a Villain or a Good Guy?
Loki was captured by the Time Variance Authority, despite his attempts to escape. Once he realized the greater good that humanity needed in fixing the Sacred Timeline, he reverted to doing better than his old 'evil' side would.
Along the way, he made friends he never thought of making, including Mobius M. Mobius, Sylvie, Casey, and so much more.
Loki showed improvement in Loki Season 1's finale when he decided to stop Lady Loki from executing the Kang Variant, He Who Remains, since he was considering the possibility of the world getting destroyed if they didn't listen to him.
The Loki Series Painted a Different God
Remember that the Loki we've been following in the Loki series is but a variant of the original one we grew up watching in the main MCU timeline.
To be more specific, this was the Loki who was captured after pulling the Battle of New York stunt in 2012.
Thanks to a brief self-reflection on how the main Loki did with the Avengers on the Sacred Timeline, this variant knew exactly how to play his cards right this time.
That said, Loki has not only helped the Time Variance Authority and the other TVA agents along the way, but again, even in Loki Season 2 when they had to fix the branching timelines from eradicating the citadel altogether.
With Loki Season 2 ending soon, we'll get to see Loki in a different light this time. There had been possible rumors that the second season's finale might unveil that this variant is the MCU's official God of Stories.
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