Photo: REX USA/Picture Perfect.
To say that discussions in the R29 office can get a little heated can be an understatement. It's not that we're argumentative, per se — we just have really strong opinions. And, we're prepared to fight to the death to defend them. The latest (friendly) spat came after last night's viewing of Thor: The Dark World. The film's two stars, Thor and Loki, represent the classic dichotomy of the male gender: hot, hunky, man's man versus brooding, intelligent mystery.
News editors Leila Brillson and Lexi Nisita each have more than their fair share of feelings about which superhero deserves all of our love, appreciation, and fantasies, so we decided to pit them against each other. Editor against editor, they'll each duke it out in an attempt to prove which god's shirtless visage should be our collective computer background. There'll be underhanded jabs, slightly embarrassing fangirl moments, and even a few hubba-hubbas. Fighters, to your corners.
Photo: Courtesy of Marvel
In Thor's Corner: Leila Brillson
Look, I'd like to make something crystal clear before I begin: I am not anti-Loki and, even more, anti-Tom Hiddleston. I'd like to give Tom Hiddleston some smooches. Many smooches. However, if I could only bestow smooches on one member of the cast of Thor, I am afraid that I would pick Thor. Because, let's be real: He is a god. (And, Loki is a frost giant.)
Chris Hemsworth is a slice of man cake. He is a big ole slab of Asgardian mangod. He's chiseled (which the movie likes to remind you, and I would like to remind them that I am A-OK with that), he's brawny, and he seems like he is having a really good time. (To be fair, one of the pure synaptic delights of Thor is that both Hiddleston and Hemsworth seem like they are having a blast: Hiddleston's fun seems a bit more like a boy who has a seen a naughty movie or is looking at you naked without your permission, while Hemsworth is just enjoying having eye-sex with me vis-à-vis everything the man casts his gaze upon.) And, while I am a huge proponent of shifting, boundary-blurring depictions of masculinity or the outright rejection of traditional signifiers of the yang, when it comes to my very heteronormative tastes, I want a bronut. A hairy, strong, barrel-chested dude who sets his jaw and jumps into battle with Mjölnir swinging.
Please note the attached conversation:
See? Even my coworker Seija understands the sheer virility of a massive hottie. There is a moment in the movie (you have to stay late for it), when Thor sweeps up Jane into a kiss, and his hand — no, his palm — is the size of her head. Yes, NatPo is small, but unnngh. Ngghghh. Omnomnom. Whereas the sinewy and spider-like Hiddleston is wielding nothing but a grimace (and some ridiculous leather dress? Is it a dress?) and he is not running to our side. In fact, in traditional Loki form, he is often running away from us/responsibility/warmth/kindness. (Also, please note: The first Thor had Tom Hiddleston as a pleasant alabaster, where in this one, the guy's poor face looks like it has been hit with a juicy cream pie. Someone in makeup has a very heavy hand.)
One of the things that makes Thor a compelling comic book, and thus movie, is the constant push-and-pull between the super-good Thor and the not-entirely-evil Loki. Whereas the God Of Thunder loses his powers, learns humility, finds solace in Midgard (EARTH. Duh.), and finally accepts responsibility for his actions, Loki is just kind of the same Grumpy Gus who doesn't learn his stupid lesson and whines about it. Thor is the tanned man of power (pronounced "pow-uh"), while Loki is tortured by craving the power just outside of his spindly little grasp (literally, as both mythology and the comics dictate). And, he has stringy hair. And, a hairline that somehow gets lower, creeping down upon his eyes throughout the movie like some sort of angry follicle monster. Yes, I get that they come to represent intellect versus sheer might, but also, goodness over a thirst for power. (Holy crap, Loki is such a cheater and whiner.) When it comes to making my ovaries twitch, on a very primal level, I'm going to take the muscular guy with a heart of gold.
Photo: Courtesy of Marvel Studios.
In Loki's corner: Lexi Nisita
I'm about to type what may be the nerdiest, tweeniest sentence in the world: I'm really obsessed with Loki because he has a total Severus Snape vibe going on. The dark hair and deathly pale skin are an obvious shared trait, but Loki also has the benefit of being a very emo, twisted, tortured individual whose insides are a knot of sadness and self-loathing carefully patched over with pure confidence and, somewhere deep down, rooted in goodness.
Why, you ask, am I having a pretend relationship with a fictional character who is, by all accounts, a terrible person? A person who would rather rot in prison than admit he was wrong, who has gladly betrayed his family on numerous occasions? Because valor is boring. I am over it. I am so over knights in shining armor and dudes whose moral quandaries are only matched by their rippling biceps. To be honest, I was never really under it, but the increasing ubiquity of superhero movies has given me even greater good-guy fatigue. I'm all for heroics in real life, but this is not real life, and therefore, I will put my ridiculously expensive movie ticket to good use and thoroughly enjoy just what a horrible person my hero is — and how damn sexy he looks while doing it. (Side note: I definitely, audibly smacked my lips and said "mmhmm!" when he first appeared on screen in Thor: The Dark World).
Muscles and hair color are all a matter of personal preference, but Loki has one absolute advantage over his brother: intellect. It's the same thing that makes Sherlock of Sherlock and Khan of Star Trek: Into Darkness so attractive (yes, I'm also really into Benedict Cumberbatch, and you will deal with it). Thor might beat him in an arm-wrestling match, but when it comes to a battle where any strategy is involved, much less an actual conversation, he doesn't stand a chance. You can even hear it in their names! Thor thuds off your tongue; it's brutish and dull and macho. Loki? What kind of a name is Loki? I don't even know. It's cool and it has a "K" in it, and it's kind of androgynous, and I want to make out with it.
Let us now move on to his lovely physique. Thor, if you have ever seen him shirtless, looks like a gnarled tree with a bunch of weird muscle lumps. Loki, on the other hand, is not not muscular. But, he's also slim, streamlined, and generally more aeronautically pleasing. He's plenty tall and imposing, but unlike Thor, he doesn't look absolutely ridiculous. I mean, Thor is so huge, his face is about 10 times the size of Natalie Portman's. Speaking of ridiculous, in any Thor scene but especially when the two of them are together, Thor's voice is so insanely deep that it sounds comical. He's like some insanely overblown parody of machismo, and I'm just not buying it.
Loki also has two very amazing facial features on his side: piercing eyes that could kill you with one glance, and this amazing sort of pursed-mouth expression. While Thor's face is basically just one of two expressions (Hammer! MAD! or neutral), Loki always has this gleefully challenging look, and you never know if he's about to stab you in the jugular or gently caress your cheek. That is, in large part, due to Tom Hiddleston's incredibly skilled, nuanced acting; he's so in character that his normally boyish, adorable face takes on an entirely new level to match the character in question.
Thor usually comes out on top, because he's the hero, the main character. But, even when Loki is pathetic and down, and has made a total fool of himself, his manic arrogance continues. The world is one big joke, and he's above it all. When he is actually invested in something, it's because of his complex emotions, not because he blindly follows some vague, absolutist idea of a principled moral code. Sometimes, it feels like Thor has never been anything more than a cartoon character — where as Loki is a fully fledged, slightly insane, deeply disturbed human being with amazing cheekbones.
But, at the end of the day, there's really no point in fighting. Because fans from both sides of the debate can share a common goal. So, let's drop the weapons, and join together in hopes that someday Thor and Loki will get together for the greatest slash fic ever filmed. Is not this simpler?