The first episode of Marvel and Disney+’s Loki aired today, and we had the illustrious gift of being reintroduced to Loki Laufeyson, as played by Tom Hiddleston. My colleagues will write heartfelt think pieces about the lore, Easter eggs, Loki’s trauma, and the time-traveling stuff, but I’m concerned with something much more shallow. I’m talking about kink. After all, it is Pride Month.
**Spoilers For premiere episode of Loki.**
Loki has always been a sex symbol in the Marvel Cinematic Universe—partly because of the charm of Hiddleston himself, but also that he’s a pale brunette with daddy issues and lust for chaos. It’s a type. But I think that the true tingle happened when that muzzle was put on Loki at the end of The Avengers, and that element was cemented in the eyes of fanfic writers everywhere. Him being slapped by Jane in Thor: The Dark World, and then that mini knife measuring contest with Valkyrie in Ragnarok, all amplified the way in which Loki was seen as a sexual and romantic figure.
I mention all of that because, whoa-nelly, does this first episode play into that.
He gets beat up by a strong and powerful woman, Wunmi Mosaku as Hunter B-15, gets a collar put on him, and then is brought into a chamber where his fine leather clothes are burned off and he is standing there naked and shamed.
I giggled over all these weird, but very choice decisions, but as I looked at this cast and the talent there, I was reminded of something that permeates all of the MCU: the overwhelming lack of intimacy.
One of the really lovely things about WandaVision was that it fleshed out the relationship between Wanda and Vision, but it was also, for many non-comic book readers, the first time that relationship made sense. Iron Man was one of the few MCU movies to actually mention sex, and other than a few winks and nods to it, there is little romantic or intimate interlude. Everything is translated through snark, which leads to the levels of shipping that we see in the fandom where anytime people look at each other too intensely, it leads to coupling.
Calling Marvel films sexless often leads to people saying “well it is for children!” And while that is true, as an adult viewer watching these series that I would rate as PG-13, I feel the urge to remind us all that there is sex in PG-13 movies. People are allowed to say the word sex, to allude to it, to have it be part of the lives of people who have sex. If Loki can talk about gutting someone like a fish, then why would him looking longingly at a partner or sharing a deep kiss with someone that fades to black be so bad?
Thinking about big MCU kiss moments concerning our core Avengers group, the only one that really comes to mind is when Steve kissed Sharon Carter, and that was a fart. Guardians of the Galaxy is probably the series with the most level of actual human connection, but that series also felt so detached from the rest of the MCU until Infinity War. It is the most “adult” in its humor, but there is also a serious level of heart. Part of the growth of all those characters is seeing them be vulnerable with one another as a team. You feel the love they have for each other, and it’s because they are allowed to share in levels of personal intimacy.
We don’t need to go back to Iron Man Tony Stark who was joking about orgies, but it would be nice to have these adult characters have lives outside of just “the mission”—especially when these choices aren’t made to, say, highlight people who are aromantic or asexual, which would be awesome, but because the series doesn’t want to commit too these long game romantic relationships or any kind of intimacy. Especially when fandom is there turning every subtext into text.
After all, I did start this entire manifesto by talking about the BDSM!Loki fan image of him based on him being muzzled in The Avengers.
I’m far from the only person who has mentioned this issue in pop culture commentary, and it sucks that every conversation about this gets derailed by pretending we are asking for gratuitous sex, but if Loki is gonna start off by burning off Loki’s clothes leaving him shocked and naked in front of our screens, I think we should be okay with him potentially getting it on with someone in the potential multiverse.
I vote for Wunmi Mosaku. I’m already into their dynamic.
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