Every superhero movie is only as good as the supervillain it unleashes. Thankfully for Marvel, Tom Hiddleston's charming portrayal of Loki in 2011's "Thor" and 2012's "Marvel's the Avengers" has been embraced by an incredibly passionate fanbase. In addition to creating Internet memes based on Loki's hair and fanfic pairing him up with pretty much every character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Hiddleston's fans have gone so far as to create a Change.org petition with more than 25,000 signatures demanding a solo film for the character.
But however much love Loki's followers have for the guy who caused the destruction of a sizable chunk of Manhattan in "The Avengers," none of those 25,000 fans understand Loki as well as the man responsible for playing him on the big screen.
"You can't sit in judgment," Hiddleston explained to MTV News during our "Thor: The Dark World" set visit. "So in my own mind, I've unpacked his suitcase of pain. I can easily stand up and defend him even though many of his actions are indefensible... So yeah, I do like him. I was also enormously charming."
Fans got to see that charm ramped up in "The Avengers," the film that saw Loki bury all of the familial strife that defined his character arc in "Thor." Hiddleston credited "Avengers" writer and director Joss Whedon for giving Loki's ego a bit of a boost while on set.
"What I love about playing him is that there's a delight [in him] now because of the way the character was developed by Joss Whedon in 'Avengers,' " revealed Hiddleston. "He kept encouraging me to enjoy myself, enjoy myself as an actor and enjoy [scenes] like Loki's having a good time destroying Manhattan. He's having a good time teasing everybody and playing everyone else off each other like a chess master."
That approach has stuck with Hiddleston well after he parted ways with Whedon to work on the "Thor" sequel with "Game of Thrones" director Alan Taylor. "Now I really feel like I'm the god of mischief, and playing that mischievous element in all its unpredictability is really, really fun."
Taylor marks the third director Hiddleson has collaborated with to bring Loki to life, following Whedon and Kenneth Branagh, who directed the character's debut in "Thor." The character has remained consistent, however, thanks to Hiddleston's determination to solve the character's internal riddles.
"You know, he's a psychopath," admitted Hiddleston. "The fascinating thing about playing a psychopath, and like when it's a real life Category A inmate in the darkest prison that we have on earth or someone who is a mythological creature who's been around in human imagination for two or three thousand years, [is wondering] what quality of compassion or goodness is still there?"
After years sharing a headspace with the trickster god, Hiddleston reckons there's one else around that understands the character the way he does.
"I've lived through him, you know. Other people can have their opinion objectively about where Loki should go, but I've lived through every moment. And sometimes I'm the only person who knows how it feels... So other people have written him, other people have shot him, other people have framed him, but I know his inside. What's really exciting is that I have had a bit of an input into it. It's really great."
Loki returns in "Thor: The Dark World" on November 8.