#and the award for most heart-wrenching scene goes to…
The first one is also interesting because I noticed something I didn’t the first few viewings. Loki gestures to the blade of his sceptre (dripping with Coulson’s blood) while looking at Thor, almost as if to say “look .. this is your fault .. this is what your pride and ignorance has wrought”.
Thor realizes that an innocent man, a good man, has died because of him, and he knows there are countless more about to meet the same fate. And here, he’s powerless to stop it. There’s nothing he can do. Even with Mjolnir in his hand and his immortality intact, he’s as helpless as any of the people scrambling to keep the Helicarrier aloft.
And that’s why he steps down. He doesn’t beg Loki to reconsider, he doesn’t rage at him, he doesn’t try to escape.
Why? Because it’s vengeance that Loki wants. It’s the ability to step out of the shadows and finally be seen as Loki, not Thor’s brother. Coulson’s damn right when he says Loki lacks conviction. It’s the same as when the Other calls Loki’s ambition “little, and full of childish needs”. All Loki wants is to be seen as a power unto himself, and he’s willing to do anything to gain that recognition. Granted, Thanos and the Tesseract have had some not-so-kind influence on his state of mind (I’m still convinced he was tortured to Hel and back even after getting caught in the void), but there’s still that blinding need to be seen as himself, rather than Thor’s shadow.
So, here it is. Here’s his chance. He can finally defeat his perfect brother and climb out of the abyss. And Thor doesn’t fight him. Because for Loki, Thor is willing to make any sacrifice. Even if it means his own life.