The Avengers is a behemoth worthy of the box office gods. It’s a great piece of entertainment that rivals any popcorn feature I’ve seen in the past year. So I’m not here to blindside anyone or trample over success. I had a blast with the movie. But I must admit to something: watching the rather thorough destruction of one of our most beloved cities, some doubt crept into my head. Was all this destruction – all this death – worth it? And did the Avengers do more damage than it was worth in their “victory” against the Chitauri hordes? In other words, what if we just let Loki win?
Let’s take a step back and think about what happened here. An endless onslaught of alien beings (the Chitauri) kept pouring into Earth through some sort of wormhole. The only reason New York City isn’t a massive ruin tourist attraction is because Iron Man prevented some sick bastard (yup, you guessed it… Powers Boothe again) from sending a nuke into New York City. I will grant the Avengers that. They didn’t allow us to get nuked. It’s just another example of those who are trying to “protect” us leading us to our eventual incineration. But don’t blame Loki for that business. He was trying to conquer and subjugate the population, not turn us into ash.
By the way, why didn’t anyone think to send a nuke through the wormhole? Why did Powers Boothe (freaking Powers Boothe, man) decide to nuke New York instead of the Chitauri battle station? Nuking New York good. Nuking enemy wormhole battle station too dangerous. Got it. Sure, there would have been some collateral damage but at least the damage would have been contained. Most of the fallout would have been in the other dimension (it’s another dimension, right? This confuses me). And look if we couldn’t close the wormhole, we couldn’t close the wormhole. You take lemons and turn it into lemonade. At the end of the day, you have your own freaking wormhole. How cool is that? Neil DeGrasse Tyson is out there somewhere pissed the Avengers decided to close that sucker up and send the Tesseract packing. Let’s just pour gasoline all over the Tree of Knowledge, light a match and celebrate in Eloi mirth as it burns, burns, burns! People are paying through the roof at the pump and we decided an unlimited power source was bad for business.
Obviously, these were goofs on the part of the Avengers and the council. Now let’s look at the superficial aspect of this. We must consider the cost in damages for which the Avengers were responsible. The cats are liable to bankrupt us and in this economy, the whole foundation of civilization may be at stake. If the human race had just submitted to Loki and told the Avengers where to stick it, maybe giant, armored alien whales who can fly wouldn’t bombard buildings left and right with their muffin tops.
Back to the actual damages: According to Bloomberg, total repairs for the city of New York would be in the $160 billion range. Now I know what you’re thinking, insurance companies would likely pick up the tab, no big whoop. One problem. Damage of this scale would be considered force majeure – or an “act of God” – and acts of god (or demigods like Loki) are not covered by insurance agencies. So who picks up the tab? That’s right, the good ol’ American taxpayers, that’s who. You really want to hand over more money to the construction industry? Those guys take forever to build anything. Do not pay those guys up front because they will milk you dry. If alien terrorism is the war that never ends, New York City will be the city that will never be rebuilt, trust me.
And this isn’t going to be the last time the Hulk smashes through millions of dollars of office space to save people from the painful act of standing with their arms in the air as the aliens point their laser staffs at them and look at them like big meanies. Let’s be honest for a second, did you actually see a Chitauri kill a human being?
I would venture to guess there were more deaths by friendly fire or friendly Hulk-smashing than by alien laser weapons. Because the aliens didn’t seem interested in shooting anyone. They kind of just crashed into windows and misfired at people ten feet away from them. Or they shot and blew up cars that were long abandoned. Perhaps these weren’t the soulless, evil creatures they cracked up to be. Or the soulless, evil creatures S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers wanted them to be. Maybe we were misjudging them because they had raspy voices, bad skin and really poor dental hygiene. I’m just saying we may need to look within is all. Maybe they weren’t monsters. They were more like hideous rock stars in need of some attention. Maybe where they’re from, you jump off flying whales and onto the sides of buildings because that’s what everyone does on the weekends. Extra terrestrial parkour. Get some.
Also, consider this: Loki knew how easy it would be to conquer an Avenger-less human race. He basically destroyed an entire underground battle station in the film’s opening five minutes. He took one super-jet and one brainwashed soldier with a hell of an eye for archery and crippled the most sophisticated and imposing flying fortress these eyes have ever laid eyes on. And he nearly single-handedly opened the aforementioned wormhole from another dimension. That is some really smart, economical destruction and hell raising. NATO would have folded like an envelope and before long, we’d all bow before Loki’s divine greatness. These are, of course, the words of a coward. So be it.
If you’ve seen Thor, you’d know that Loki isn’t really pure evil. He’s more Anakin than Palpatine. He has a redemption streak waiting to be exposed. At the start of Thor, he betrays his arrogant, pompous blonder brother, allowing Odin to realize there was no way in hell Thor was ready to take the throne; that in fact Thor taking the throne would result in the devastation and damnation of the Asgardian population. Thor wasn’t just arrogant, he was a fool. Given the choice of it happening or not happening, it’s a good thing that Loki betrayed Thor and opened Odin’s eyes. Thor needed to learn some valuable life lessons. Without Loki, Thor is just a jerk who acts before he thinks and whose actions leave a trail of dead Asgardian bodies. Loki’s act was no doubt inspired by jealousy, but it was also the best thing he could have done for Asgard. Let’s face it, Thor was a bully and a cretin.
Loki follows his betrayal of Thor by coming up with a genius plan to eliminate their enemy, the Frost Giants. Okay, there was a really disturbing ethnic-cleansing quality to Loki’s plans in regard to Jotunheim (I will admit he got a tad ahead of himself), but at least he was loyal to his pops when all was said and done. What I mean is, his attempt at mass murder and wiping out an entire race of beings at least came from the right place. And again, if you've seen Thor, you know when he isn't planning the annihilation of alien races, he mostly just sits on his throne and leaves everyone alone. Occasionally, he visits Thor to razz him and engage in a little schadenfreude but that's just innocent sibling rivalry. And despite what he shouts at Thor from the mountaintops in The Avengers, Thor did not push Loki into the abyss of space. Loki let go and let himself fall into that abyss because he knew deep down he was wrong. And he also isn’t able to admit this to himself quite yet. But like I said, that redemption streak is alive and well within him. Loki only pretends not to have a moral compass just to throw it in Thor’s face. He wants to be wanted. He wants Thor to love him. And deep down he loves his brother. He's just a diva and needs to play hard-to-get. He's essentially harmless.
In the end, Loki just needs a race of peoples to believe in him. And by “believe” I mean bow before him, cheer his name, recognize him as a deity and submit themselves in every way required. Eventually – and maybe it would take a massacre or two at the hands of an overreaching Thanos or something – he would redeem himself with some kind sacrificing act that saves all of humanity. Guys like him always do. So submit, I say. Or face the wrath of the Avengers, alien armies, burdensome flying whales and Uncle Sam.