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There are many characteristics of Tom Hiddleston’s MCU role that help him stand out among the likes of his brother, Thor, and other heroes and villains - but, if you ask me, Loki’s powers are a key, yet comparatively under appreciated, aspect of this matter. With the Loki TV show on Disney+ on the horizon, now might be a good time to better familiarize ourselves with his extraordinary abilities so as to say one step ahead of the God of Mischief. The following is a quick, comprehensive breakdown of all Loki is capable of and how he has used them to his advantage in the Marvel movies, starting with the natural gifts that come with his secretive origins.
Loki’s Core Powers And What They Can Do
We may call Loki the “God of Mischief,” but that title is really only half correct, as he is far more mischievous than he is actually godly. In fact, the source of his most mischievous acts is truly the result of years of practice, although he does have a few tricks up his sleeve that do come naturally. However, it was not until later in life when he realized the real reason why.
Frost Giant Physiology
What brings out Loki’s dark side in the first Thor movie from 2011 is the abrupt discovery that he is not a natural-born Asgardian, but the son of the Frost Giant king, the truth of which Odin (Anthony Hopkins) hid for years with a spell that conceals his true appearance. The enchantment would not, however, rid him of the certain gifts that come with being a frost giant, such as regenerative healing, an extended lifespan, your typical superhuman enhancements, and immunity to low temperatures. All but the last one are usually common among Asgardians, making the facade of his godly origins all the more convincing.
Speaking of being convincing, that is one of the coolest things that Loki is capable of thanks to his mastery in the art of sorcery, which is the most common contributor to his nickname in Asgard. He can manipulate almost anyone into believing almost anything, from perceiving thoughts or visions of his invention as their own, to seeing him appear as someone else with his shapeshifting ability or not seeing him at all when he turns invisible. Loki’s telekinetic abilities have also come in handy in combat or for visually inventive moments of emotional appeal (i.e., destroying his holding cell when learning Frigga has died) and he may not be worthy to wield Mjolnir, but can summon objects and even living beings just as easily.
The Biggest And Best Uses Of Loki’s Powers
A nearly countless amount of magnificently mischievous tasks and even honorably heroic deeds have been committed by Loki in the Marvel movies so far. I would say that the best way to go over some of his greatest hits would be to take things one movie at a time, starting with Tom Hiddleston’s superhero movie debut.
It was actually in the scene from director Kenneth Branagh’s Thor origin story when Loki learns of his Frost Giant physiology when he shows off how his sorcery skills can come in handy whilst in combat, specifically by enhancing daggers' speed with telekineses and projecting his image to distract opponents during the Thor-led attack on Jotunheim. Also, in the film’s post-credit sequence (if we are counting that), it was Loki’s mental manipulation that convinced Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård) to accept Nick Fury’s (Samuel L. Jackson) offer to study the Tesseract, ultimately.
The Avengers (2012)
Loki’s sorcery was not the only thing that made him a formidable foe of his brother and his other “friends from work” in The Avengers, MCU’s first crossover movie from 2012. He also proved fast enough to catch one of Hawkeye’s (Clint Barton) arrows (before it exploded in his face, that is), strong enough to defeat multiple S.H.I.E.L.D. agents at one time in combat, and durable enough to survive a beating from Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) that would have been undeniably fatal for anyone else.
Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Loki, once again, proved his impeccable durability in Thor: The Dark World by holding his own against more than one member of Malekith’s army of Dark Elves - which was also, pretty much, the extent of his heroism in that film. The film also sees him annoying his brother by impersonating Chris Evans as Captain America and later faking his death (for the second time) before impersonating Odin to usurp the Asgardian throne after manipulating his father into exile on Midgard.
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Thor managed to expose Loki for impersonating their father in Thor: Ragnarok, which also sees Loki tap into his more heroic side, particularly when facing off against Hela (Cate Blanchett), whom he strikes at with daggers he summoned a moment earlier. In fact, Thor, Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), and Hulk would not have been able to defeat her if Loki had not summoned Surtur (Clancy Brown) to destroy her and, ultimately, Asgard as a whole. Although, he did use his powers of illusion to hide the Tesseract after stealing it from the Asgardian vault, which would eventually seal his doom at the hands of Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, unfortunately.
In retrospect, I suppose we should have been to suspect that Loki’s death in Avengers: Infinity War was not permanent, or, at least, that the Marvel Cinematic Universe would find some way to bring him back into the story. I think that seeing the 2012-era God of Mischief escape capture from S.H.I.E.L.D. by stealing the Tesseract during the Time Heist in Avengers: Endgame was a brilliant way to shake things up and bring him back into the fold before adding him to the line-up of Marvel TV shows on Disney+ with Loki. Now, by the time the highly anticipated series premieres on Wednesday, June 9, 2021, you will be well versed in all the title character’s extraordinary abilities, but is there one you are most looking forward to seeing him perform again?
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Jason Wiese writes feature stories for CinemaBlend. His occupation results from years dreaming of a filmmaking career, settling on a "professional film fan" career, studying journalism at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO (where he served as Culture Editor for its student-run print and online publications), and a brief stint of reviewing movies for fun. He would later continue that side-hustle of film criticism on TikTok (@wiesewisdom), where he posts videos on a semi-weekly basis. Look for his name in almost any article about Batman.