Yesss. I have so many feelings about that first scene and everything going on with Loki in it (and that relieved smile, oh damn do I have feelings about that) – because yeah, not only does he look like hell (he stumbles on the way out, and catches himself on one of the people he’s turned), his actions all have this edge of wildness and desperation. He’s not in control and he’s not happy, for all his glorious purpose talk.
There’s one point in a fic I wrote where someone noticed that for someone supposedly leading an invasion, Loki basically got thrown into the deep end on his own with nothing but the scepter to work with, and how that’s not exactly what you do with a valued commander of your army.
Loki is pretending, throughout that movie, to be a lot more certain and in charge than he is. It’s in the moments when no one’s watching that he needs to perform for – after his talk with the Other, the lack of affect when he says “send the rest” – that the mask cracks.
The way that Loki chooses to perform villainy – and feels he needs to perform villainy – will never cease to both delight and hurt me.