Dat glaive: Projectile gestures

TRIGGER WARNING: IF YOU ARE PRONE TO SEIZURES, this is not the post for you. In fact, you can just read the text and be quit of it. The more neurologically daring of you can press “MORE,” but you have been forewarned.

If the first use of Loki’s glaive is as a melée weapon, the second use is of a projectile weapon. Loki primes it, it glows fiercely blue-white, and then he fires it with usually-deadly accuracy to the sorrow of his foes.

This blog is not interested in the details of the projectile, but what is interesting is the interface by which he primes and fires it. How does he do it? Let’s look. He fires the thing 8 times over the course of the movie. What do we see there?


At first I thought there was no priming mechanism, or that it was invisible. After all, we don’t see him squeeze it or anything. But braving the gifs I noticed that there is a gesture that precedes the glow, and that’s his expression. He gets haterface right before he fires. The only time we can’t verify it is when he’s not looking at the camera. Which is a nifty realization that the firing mechanism is an affective interface—a brain interface capable of deducing emotion.


If that’s how he primes it, loading the chamber so to speak, how does he launch it? Most of the time he fires it, he does this gesture thing, where he kind of slams the projectile away: With the glaive pointed forward in his right hand, he cocks his left arm back and then in one fast jerk, he pulls the glaive back and thrusts his left hand forward towards the target, counterbalancing the weight and sending the Magic Missile to do its nefarious work.

But then there’s this fight with Thor atop Stark tower, and for one particularly dancy move he spins around, lays the glaive across his shoulders until it’s pointed at his brother, and it fires. There’s no cocking back or counterbalancing. It just goes.

So what’s going on there? Well, it’s not clear, but at the very least it means that the thing is responding to something other than his usual gesture. We can’t see his face, so it’s Occam-logical that it’s affective, i.e. responding to his haterface again.

Ok, then, what’s all the dramatic gesture for throughout the rest of the film? Well, I think Stark said it best when he explained that, “Loki is a full-tilt diva. He wants flowers. He wants parades.” He must dance his hate, and the glaive lets him do that. Better him than Thanos, I guess.

Note that in this way the glaive serves a humane purpose similar to what Ruby Rhod’s staff does for him: it allows him to express his abundance of personality. I’m poking a bit of fun, but in all seriousness I’m quite fond of expressive technology, of things that let us do more than do, and convey a bit of who we are.

It’s nice to see that in a sci-fi interface. Even if it’s a deadly alien weapon.

Usually he’s all…
Staff-bolt03 Staff-bolt05

But this one time he’s all…


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