ByJancy Richardson, writer at
To avoid fainting, keep repeating 'It's only a movie...It's only a movie...'
Jancy Richardson

There's one huge reason why The Avengers is the greatest Marvel movie to date: Loki is an awesome villain.

To clarify, I love Marvel and think that each and every one of their movies are awesome in their own way. It's just that there're specific reasons - backed up by Joss Whedon himself - why Loki sends The Avengers just edging ahead of the rest, and he's more than happy for us to know why.

Despite being the hardest-working man in Hollywood, Whedon took time out of his busy schedule to offer advice to five aspiring writers looking to make it in the industry. It was part of an initiative organized by Lily Cole and Impossible - a global community whose M.O. is all about helping each other out by sharing ideas, objects and - more importantly - time, by matching an individual's skills to someone who needs them. It's so awesome Joss was willing to share his wisdom about screenwriting - and more importantly, why getting the villain right is key.

Describing the problem of the unconvincing superhero movie villain, Joss explained:

I mean honestly, it's where Marvel has hair-balled more often than not, these villains : they just sort show up and go, [in weird evil voice] 'well I’m evil' and they don’t get into the hero’s head at all, and there's no connection…
Loki: a convincing villain worth fighting against
Loki: a convincing villain worth fighting against

You know what? I think Joss is absolutely right. He may not be talking specifically about any one movie, but all things considered, Loki has been the most popular Marvel villain in a long time!

In Loki, we get a villain worth fighting against, with real motivations and aims, not just some evil dude sitting around on an evil throne being evil... Also, he is given enough screen time and character development to be really memorable, which you don't get in a few moments on screen as the big bad guy...

The words that made Joss Whedon realize what he had to do to make his villains great actually came from actor Willem Dafoe.

Something years ago that Willem Dafoe said that stuck with me forever... somebody asked him y'know, what do you like better - heroes or villains? - and he said 'there is no difference, everybody thinks they're righteous.'

Thinking of his villains as believing in their righteousness really was a turning point:

That was one of those blow-the-doors-open moments for me, because it’s like, yes, everybody does, and the more my villains have, a perspective - not just an agenda, but a perspective - the more they're right, the more, whatever story I am writing, if it's y'know horror or action, whatever, becomes a story, becomes a journey, and less becomes a spoof

It's all a question of perspective, I guess. Here are some reasons that I think Loki's a great villain of the Joss Whedon school of righteousness.

Loki thinks he's reclaiming his birthright

Step into Loki's shoes and his evil deeds look very different. Loki's convinced that he's been wronged and now he needs to redress the balance of power. He thinks that Odin is an old fool who's making the wrong decisions for Asgard and that Thor is a jumped-up, egotistical show-off. It's kind of like looking at Harry Potter from Draco Malfoy's perspective...


Loki's evil is a type we recognize

A lot of what makes Loki a good bad guy is that there's a relatable form of badness. He's not just all 'Bwahahha, here's my ludicrous plan' - he's sneaky, he's uptight, and he uses sexist insults - calling Black Widow a 'mewling quim' is kind of an antiquated version of saying C***.

We meet people like this in everyday life, making his little irritating foibles all the more familiar and aggravating.


Emotional depth

As much as he has bad traits we recognize, they come from emotional pains that are just as familiar to us. He loves his mother and has real loyalty, even if it is twisted to his own personal brand of righteousness.

He's the adopted black sheep, feeling that his family have always preferred his brother, Thor. Come on, we'd all be a little jealous and embittered if our brother was lovely, muscly golden-haired Thor.


I guess this explains why we love The Joker so much?

Taking Whedon's theory further - the developed, interesting villain being key to an incredible superhero movie - we can use it to explain why we love The Dark Knight so much. No doubt it's an awesome movie, but it's the well-acted, fascinating Joker who anchors the movie as a classic. I guess maybe Loki is Marvel's Joker...?

Listen to what Joss had to say in full, below and see what you think :


Do you think that Joss Whedon's right about villains needing depth? Is Loki the greatest Marvel superhero villain ever written? And most importantly - is Avengers the best Marvel movie so far?


Do you think that Joss Whedon's Avengers is the best Marvel movie so far?

Sources: Impossible, Tumblr

This awesome interview from Joss Whedon is part of Lily Cole's Impossible, a site where people with cool ideas come together to make great things happen: to make the impossible possible.


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