ScreeningNotes’s review published on Letterboxd:
Loki talks of freedom, of "freeing the Earth from freedom", of freedom as "life's great lie," and of course he doesn't actually want to free the Earth from this corrupt ideological freedom, but he's still exactly right. The U.S. government sells us freedom, but this freedom is America's great lie; what they call "freedom" really means imperialism, it's the kind of freedom that "isn't free," that's bought with military might abroad, with the violence of endless wars on foreign soil. The Avengers "pretend to be separate" from this propaganda, they pretend "to have [their] own code, something that makes up for the horrors," but they still "lie and kill in the service of liars and killers," and that part of them will never go away, no matter how many Lokis or Ultrons or Thanoses they destroy.
Cut directly from Loki's soliloquy to the reveal that S.H.I.E.L.D. was using the Tesseract to build weapons of mass destruction, to the implication that S.H.I.E.L.D.'s supposedly defensive measures actually encourage the violence they claim to fight, that "your work with the Tesseract is what drew Loki to it," and it almost feels for a second like the film is about to become self aware, as if it's ready to finally ask who watches the watchmen, to ask whether this power is just creating another nuclear arms race that can only lead to the destruction of our planet, but then alien terrorists attack the big tower in New York and the superheroes save us from 9/11 2.0, so I guess this power is good, so I guess our corrupt ideological freedom is worth it, so I guess we just continue to pretend that our code can make up for the horrors.
It’s been so long since I’d last seen this that I forgot how explicit it is in its recreation of 9/11 imagery, and I forgot how undisguised it is in its argument in favor of the Patriot Act.