Throughout the week, we'll be presenting the Heroes of the Year, our list of individuals who made a major impact on the comic book movie community in 2012.
Kicking things off is Tom Hiddleston, who starred as the mischievous villain Loki in "Marvel's The Avengers." Honoring the "hero" is guest blogger and Hiddleston fan Kate Miller, one of the masterminds behind Project Wendy.
It may seem counterintuitive to consider a villain in the context of "Heroes of the Year." Yet although "The Avengers" owes much of its success to Joss Whedon’s brilliant screenplay and deft directorial hand, not since Darth Vader in the original "Star Wars" series has there been as charismatic and compelling an antagonistic portrayal as Tom Hiddleston's Loki — and the resulting impact on both the film and the genre is significant.
We've always had a soft spot in our hearts for our Tricksters. Charming and vain, clever and cocksure, they represent a personification of our collective id – that force within us that rails against authority, order and predictability. Refusing to be defined by such narrow terms as "good" or "evil," the Trickster is alternately the bane or boon of mortal existence, and the Loki of the Marvel Universe is no exception.
Building on the nuanced performance he delivered in prequel "Thor," Hiddleston gives us a God of Mischief whose ambitions and motivations are not only clear, but authentic; there is reason behind the madness, pain behind the megalomania, which makes it possible to relate to him even as he commits despicable acts. Furthermore, his Loki is a perfect foil for each member of the Avengers, and through this interaction helps define them and what they will become. In essence, he is the glue that binds them together — without that strong characterization the team, and the film, simply would not work.
Perhaps ironically, in real life Hiddleston exemplifies many qualities one might associate with a hero: humility, gratitude, graciousness and selflessness among them. And it is his commitment to and passion for the craft of acting that makes such an effective performance possible. Thus in terms of influence on the comic book movie space in 2012, his Loki seems an appropriately heroic candidate indeed.
About the author: Kate Miller is an inveterate bibliophile with a predilection for bladed weapons and a propensity to quote Monty Python – all while cleverly disguised as a responsible adult. She also is purported to be the culprit behind the LokiIsMyCopilot Twitter and Tumblr accounts, and the mad scientist responsible for #ProjectWendy. She lives on a houseboat, struggling to stay afloat despite a burgeoning library and action figure collection.