The MCU is filled with stories of love and loss, but perhaps no duo better fits the term “it's a thin line between love and hate” than Thor and Loki. The princes of Asgard, portrayed by Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston, respectively, have appeared together in five Marvel films — Thor (2011), The Avengers (2012) Thor: The Dark World (2013), Thor: Ragnarok (2017), and Avengers: Infinity War (2018). Their stories have been inextricably tied together since the beginning of the MCU. So, it's only fair that we examine their most telling moments together.
Loki's death in Infinity War, while upsetting to so many fans, was presented as a necessary evil to further spur Thor into action against Thanos. With his last remaining family member dead, Thor felt he had very little left to lose (other than, y'know, half the universe). How Avengers 4 (2019) will carry on Thor's grief has yet to be seen, but Loki's death will undoubtedly weigh heavily on the God of Thunder's mind.
When taking into account Thor and Loki's relationship, it is, obviously, at its best when Loki isn't the outright villain. Thor spends plenty of time in Avengers begging Loki to set aside his “foolish” plans and return home to Asgard, but given how much Loki sways back and forth between sides in future films, those brotherly moments now fall a bit flat. You have to take the whole series into context.
So, without further ado, here are the top five brotherly love moments that define Thor and Loki's relationship in the MCU.
Best of friends and brothers, Thor (2011)
"A wise king never seeks out war," Odin tells his sons at the beginning of Thor. "But, he must always be ready for it." Thor will later quote Odin's words to Hela in Ragnarok but, for now, Thor and Loki are kids, innocent to the Dark Elves and universe-conquering Titans coming their way. As Odin walks away after delivering this wisdom, young Thor and young Loki glance at each other and share a smile.
Sure, Thor was the boisterous golden child and Loki his more somber, even-handed counterpart, but this scene is a reminder that they really did grow up as brothers.
It's cute. Then everything goes to hell in a handbasket.
Thor, Loki, and Jane’s escape from Asgard, Thor: The Dark World (2013)
The escape scene in The Dark World is easily the best brotherly moment in this much-maligned MCU installment. Even while running from hostile forces, Thor and Loki hurl childish insults at each other. It's easy to see them as bickering brothers in this moment, duking it out over who gets the last cookie or that time Loki transformed himself into a snake and then stabbed Thor when he picked up the snake to admire it because "he knows that I love snakes." They were eight, at the time.
This one might seem a little out of place at first glance. After all, not too long before they escape, Thor promises Loki he'll kill him if betrayed again. The Dark World is also the movie in which Loki "sacrifices" himself for Thor, so isn't that scene so much more worthy? But, no, that moment is tainted by the knowledge that Loki pulled a fast one on Thor yet again. Thor's tired of mourning his brother’s "death."
Besides, everyone with a sibling knows how equally irritating and comfortingly familiar it is to argue over the stupidest of things. Thor and Loki can't help but push each other's buttons because they're brothers, through and through.
Let's do get help, Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Any insight we can get into Loki and Thor’s supposed millennia of growing up together is a real treat.
Ragnarok is filled to the brim with excellent gags, one-liners, and on-point characterizations for these beloved characters. After a brief heart-to-heart (which we'll get to) Thor brightens and talks Loki into doing "Get help," the origin of which isn't explained outside of Loki rolling his eyes and telling Thor "it's humiliating." We're not sure how many times Loki and Thor pulled this move growing up, but we get the impression it was a pretty regular occurrence.
Loki’s death, Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Infinity War directors Joe and Anthony Russo let audiences know right off the bat that they weren’t messing around by killing both Heimdall (Idris Elba) and Loki within the first 10 minutes of the latest Avengers outing. The audible sound of Loki's neck snapping will likely haunt Thor (and MCU fans) for the rest of his days.
Thor collapses over Loki's body, sobbing and vowing vengeance. The worst part about Loki's death was that he seemed to (maybe) be changing for the better. He loves Thor and returns to Asgard at the end of Ragnarok to help save everyone; he tries to use his silver tongue and a dagger to kill Thanos and save Thor within minutes of meeting the Mad Titan. But, alas, there's a good chance we've seen the last of the God of Mischief just as he was starting to mend things with his brother.
Elevator heart-to-heart, Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
The best Thor and Loki moment in the entirety of the MCU is a 45-second break between a casual action scene and "Get help."
"I thought the world of you," Thor tells Loki. The fact that Thor thought the world of him and presumably no longer does surprises Loki. In fact, it really hurts him. A rare occurrence. In this scene, Thor has cut to Loki's truest self and has finally come to an understanding: Loki can't be changed. But that is something Loki never expected his golden retriever puppy of a brother to get at and Loki doesn't like that Thor has figured this out. Loki wants Thor to keep trying to make Loki better. Loki wants to keep fighting over the same stuff with his brother for the rest of their lives.
This moment fully defines Loki and Thor's relationship. It is beautiful and heartbreaking. And, technically, Loki did get his wish.