Step aside, because I'm about to get my geek on. There won't be a dry seat in the first three rows. Contains spoilers for Thor, Thor: The Dark World, Thor: Ragnarok, The Avengers, and Avengers: Infinity War. (Basically, any movie featuring Loki.) PS: Everything in the theories expressed below pertains solely to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or MCU, and does not take into account the comic books. Now, let's nerd hard.
I keep seeing memes/posts about how in Thor: Ragnarok, Thor passes out within seconds of being shocked by the obedience thingy that Valkyrie puts on him while Loki remains conscious for the whole time until Korg turns it off. In the meme, people say the disparity is because of Loki's Jotun heritage. "Ice is a poor conductor."
Okay, so I have problems with this. Let's start with the most nebulous.
Loki of Jotunheim
Look, Marvel hasn't ever really explained HOW Loki's glamour works or why it does. While some posit that the magic is Frigga's--since she's the dab hand at spellwork in the family--there's more reason to believe Odin cast the spell that made Loki appear Asgardian. When we first hear Odin tell the tale of how he found Loki abandoned, we see the Allfather cradling the Frost Giant baby. Blue skin turns pale and the red eyes of a Jotun melt to a more Asgardian hue. Frigga is not present for the change, though, Odin's storytelling is always skimpier on truth.
There's even a fan theory that Loki himself made that change happen with his powers, bolstered by the wave of pure love he felt upon being taken into the arms of a bloody old man missing an eyeball. That even then Loki just wanted to please Odin. (I disagree, if that's not obvious, because that kind of magic is not something that Frost Giants can do in canon, let alone an runty infant left to die on a slab of rock during a war.)
Here's the thing: The only times Loki reverts to his Jotun form are when he is in direct physical contact with either another Jotun or the Casket of Ancient Winters. According to what we've seen on screen, Loki cannot willingly shift to that form even when on Jotunheim. This would seem to indicate a more permanent spell rather than just a fleeting glamour. If his appearance was anything other than a major spell by Odin or Frigga, magic logic says it should have stopped when the caster died. By that point, however, Loki is accomplished enough that he could maintain the look on his own. When Thanos drops Loki in Infinity War, there is no change. I mean, he's blue-skinned and red-eyed from asphyxiation, not because of his Frost Giant heritage.
And speaking of that...
Despite the fact that Frost Giants live on a craggy, dark space rock that boasts little more than frigid temps and stunning aurorae, it's not like they are made of goddamn ice. Jotuns bleed and die just like Asgardians and humans. They have ice-forming abilities, but ice isn't inherently part of their genetic makeup. You can put Loki in the middle of the New Mexico desert and he's not going to melt.
So this has no bearing on the electricity going through him. In fact, we see the same blue marks writhing under Loki's skin when he's being shocked that we see when Thor has the same treatment. (Which is odd considering Thor is channeling motherfucking lightning like all the damn time. It's his thing. It's what he does. So why can he be tased, bro?) Anyway, the device is affecting Loki the same way despite the fact that he's a different race than his adopted sibling.
So what is it?
Did Korg show up within a matter of seconds, thus saving Loki mere minutes after initially being left on the floor? Is it a random detail that was overlooked for the sake of something funny? Should people stop over-analyzing movies? (Ha! Never gonna happen.)
Maybe Korg arrived mere minutes after Thor left the hangar--Loki is enough of a drama queen that it's not beyond the realm of possibility. And the fact that Loki and the ex-prisoners-with-jobs show up in the nick of time gives us an idea that the rescue ship penetrated the Devil's Anus not long after that same hole was breached by Thor, Banner and Valkyrie.
But, I think there's something else at play here. And to understand it you have to go back to the end-credits scene of Thor, and the opening gambit of The Avengers.
Not His First Rodeo
When Thor ends, we believe Loki has fallen into the vastness of space to his death. However, the end-credits scene shows Dr. Erik Selvig being led through dark tunnels by Nick Fury. Director Fury reveals the Tessaract, and an image of Loki appears in a mirror. He smirks and says, "Well, that's worth a look." Selvig repeats the line and the movie ends.
Loki is, to put it mildly, fucked up. His already slim features are fucking gaunt. He's got circles under his eyes and he's clearly wounded. And look at those teeth! He has the hungry, lean look of a starving coyote, and some of that same madness in his eyes as well.
At the start of The Avengers, Loki comes through the portal made by the Tessaract looking much the same. His hair is longer--telegraphing the passage of time--but he is raw and rangy when we first meet him. And he's angry. He gets sassy with The Other (Thanos' mouthpiece) in a mind-meld sort of meeting. That encounter ends with a flash of pain sent from light years away and a threat that should Loki fail, there's more than agony waiting for him. This scares Loki.
Let that sink in. At this point in the story arc, Loki is the asshole teenage kid who believes he's immortal and misunderstood. He's still looking for validation, but trying to put on that he doesn't need any. Keep in mind, this is someone who followed Thor into crazy battles, and killed his birth father over the sickbed of his adopted dad. He has seen the Allfather in a rage. He has wielded the power of The Destroyer. He was willing to destroy a whole planet of Frost Giants. He chose to dive into the unknown of deep space!
And Thanos scares Loki.
And not in the funny "I've got to get off this planet" way that Hulk scares him later on. No, this is the kind of fear that turns the guts to water. When, in Avengers, Loki and Thor have a few moments to deliberate on the matter, Thor almost gets his brother to relent. You can see it when Thanos' ship rolls up in the end credits scene of Ragnarok. Dude barely flinches when he sets off the end of the world and summons a fire giant, but when Thanos and his gang of four arrives... yeah.
Scroll through those pictures. We start with Loki realizing Thor has just started a fight with the King of fucking Frost Giants, and his reaction is, "Damn." Next we've got his opening mood in Avengers when he is burdened by glorious purpose and working for Thanos. Then, in Thor: The Dark World, we see his response to a prison riot. He's reading a book with zero fucks to give. But when Thanos shows up? Look at that face. That's the face of someone who's been through shit and isn't going back. He knows what Thanos is capable of because he's experienced it first hand. Hell, he probably witnessed some heinous shit perpetrated by Ronan. I'd love to know if Loki met Nebula and Gamora between Thor and The Avengers.
So, based on this progression and the performances turned in by Tom Hiddleston, I say that Loki doesn't pass out from the pain of the obedience disk because he's been tortured before by far worse than a hand buzzer. Loki is a badass in ways that Thor is not.
While we're talking about Loki Fan Theories, let's address these.
Loki Was Under The Spell of the Mind Gem in Avengers and Didn't Mean It - *buzzer noises* Nope! Sorry, loves, Loki was of sound mind at the time. (As much as is possible for someone who's been tortured, and is trying to sort out some emotional baggage.) Now, I will allow for the theory that he was trying to get the Tessaract and use it against Thanos eventually. If the Mind Gem in Loki's scepter shows people things, I'm guessing it gave him a few ideas of how to subvert the Mad Titan.
Loki Isn't Dead - One of the prevailing theories is that he didn't die in Infinity War, and that he is masquerading as Banner while Hulk is off with Valkyrie and the surviving Asgardians. Those who believe this argue that the evidence is in the aforementioned fact that Loki remains in his Asgardian form when he dies and doesn't turn into a Jotun. And...well, just look at every previous movie where he fakes his death. The Loki-Is-Banner theory, some say, would explain why Banner can't turn into Hulk. I disagree. No illusions this time. No dramatic resurrections. I think we'll see Loki in Avengers 4 (especially since time travel is likely to be a big deal) but I'm hoping that the Trickster just gets some peace.
Loki's Outfit In Ragnarok and Infinity War is Blue Because He's A Hero Now - While traditional hero colors are blue and red, I don't think this is the reason for the costume change. In fact, I know it isn't. Taika Waititi has said that it was a choice he made because there was already "too much green" in the film's color palette with Hulk and Hela, and all of Sakaar. My personal headcanon, however, is that Loki's blue suit and yellow cape are more of an indication that he's doing some self-work and looking at what his component parts are as he rethinks the man he wants to be. Blue and yellow make green. So he's still being true to himself while exploring other options. You'll notice that when he goes to save Asgard, he is flying the green cape. Why? Because he wears it better than Hela, bitch.
Anyway, what do you think? Do you have any fan theories or headcanon about the MCU? What do you hope to see in Avengers 4?