See, Loki wanted them to defeat the Chitauri. He wanted to lose the battle in New York. Why? So he could be taken back to Asgard. That was his plan all along. He never cared about conquering Earth. He never cared about defeating the Avengers. He just wanted a ride back to his home, the place he DOES want to conquer. And he got it, first class accommodations right back to Asgard. You can even see the smirk at the end when he’s got the gag on. It’s in his eyes. He won, and the heroes all thought they did. What better than to beat your enemies and make them think they won?
Now you may ask why Loki would betray Thanos in such a way. I mean, Big Purple is no one to mess around with. But I think Thanos was the co-architect of this plan. Why? Because he wants Loki back in Asgard too. Just sending him back wouldn’t work – Loki has to be brought back by Thor so that Odin does not suspect he’s still working with Thanos. See, with Loki back in Asgard, and knowing that Odin feels incredibly guilty about Loki in general and usually lets him off with little more than a slap to the wrist, Thanos has the perfect operative within striking distance of the one thing in the whole universe he REALLY wants (well, more than Death).
What is it Thanos wants? Did you miss it when you saw Thor? It’s easy to miss, but…
That’s right…in Odin’t vault is none other than the Infinity Gauntlet. And now Loki is right there, and he broke into it before without much trouble. Loki losing to the Avengers was the best possible outcome for both Loki, who can now try to take over Asgard again, and Thanos, who now has potential access to the Infinity Gauntlet.
The bad guys won this round, and meanwhile the heroes are off eating Shwarma and thinking they won.
And all of this points to one thing – Joss Whedon is a fucking genius. This is Machiavellian planning at its best, and the payoff clearly won’t come until at least Thor 2 or Avengers 2. It’s a perfect set up, and with luck we’ll eventually see that the “win” in the Avengers was actually a loss. Of course, that’s not to say the heroes didn’t really win anything. They did…because while the battle was nothing more than an elaborate smoke and mirrors to get Loki back to Asgard, the formation of the Avengers is actually the biggest win for the side of good you could hope for.
It’s all about the long game, and writers who understand and can use it.” —Andrew Black “Very Good Writing - Why Loki Won in The Avengers” (via monoclesmash)