Infinity War and Religious Symbolism and Language (Spoilers)

This is not a review of The Avengers Infinity War, Marvel’s latest superhero offering (notice the word I used there, how it is a religiously loaded word. That is how this blog post is gonna roll). However, there are spoilers below. Lots of spoilers. But before I get there, here is this one spoiler-free thought–Thanos is the best bad guy in a while, precisely because he thinks he is the good guy.

SPOILERS

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STOP READING IF YOU DON’T WANT SPOILERS!!!

 

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So, notice the Crucifix-like post of Iron-Man? Also, remember where he was pierced in the film?

Good. You’ve been warned.

What this is, instead of a review, is a quick study of some of the religious themes in the movie. Superhero movies have always been religious tales, the most blatant is Superman, but Marvel is not afraid to engage in a little theology, too.

To that end, I ask you to consider the following observations. Keep in mind, I have only seen the movie once, so I likely missed some good things.

  1. Loki is the traitor who has remorse, but then dies by strangulation, very Judas-like.
  2. There are six infinity stones (gems), which perhaps symbolize the six days of creation. I would wager that somehow this gets solved in the next installment of Infinity War by the existence of a seventh infinity stone that can undo or set all things right–“one stone to rule them all” kind of thing? And of course, there is nothing biblical about the number 7 at all. Actually, the more I think about it, Infinity War is almost a mash-up of the book of Revelation.
  3. The portrayal of the ‘half the world is gone’ at he end, specifically the bonus scene of Nick Fury, could have been a scene from any “Left Behind” type film.
  4. Thanos mission is to ‘bring balance’ which he symbolizes with a blade. In religious speak, it is symbolized with the Yin-Yang of Taoism. Which is interesting, in that it casts this Eastern mystic idea as the problem. Hollywood usually casts mystic theologies as the good guys, so there is a definite zig and zag in that Yin and Yang.
  5. Three times (by my count) someone asks to be killed for the greater good. Loki and Thor, Gamora and Quill, then fatally with Scarlet Witch and Vision. Three end up dead, but not with the beneficial consequences they desired.
  6. Thanos, of course, is a derivation of the Greek Thanatos which is either death, or the personification of death. (note–my publisher’s name is Athanatos, which means, not dead). You know before this is over, Thanos will be defeated–(because they have made a Spiderman 2 and Guardians 3 etc… so these people have to come back) and thus a kind of fulfilling of “The last enemy to be defeated is death” which is an integral part of the gospel of Jesus–that he defeated death at the Resurrection. 

More predictions for the next installment: Captain Marvel is the obvious one–Gamora returns, but not Loki or Vision–Tony Stark and/or Captain America die for reals–and Phil Coulson returns to the big screen. 

Guardians Vol. 2–A No Spoiler Review

Mrs. Greenbean and I, along with the youngest sprout, watched Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 last night.

Here is what is good about it.

  1. Baby Groot. Not as enjoyable as Groot, but still fun.
  2. There are several moments of witty dialogue, which is the real strength of these films.
  3. The music is great.
  4. It is a beautiful movie to watch–the costuming, effects, and color are pleasing to the eye. 
  5. The family themes are positive in both directions. What I mean is that both biological and free association ideas of family are demonstrated as potential failures and successes, in their own way.

These five things are worth the price of a matinee ticket. Not an IMAX or even a comfortable reclining seat ticket. Just matinee.

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It definitely was not as good as the first Guardians film. In fact, upon reflection, it had all the defects of the first film and very little of the good things. Chris Pratt is always likable, but in this film I find him absent. I don’t know if it is an intentional device on the part of the writing team, but I’m guessing more than half the scenes do not have Pratt in them. Instead, there is a weird focus upon minor characters from the first film.

Here is what I didn’t like at all.

WARNING–I have been advised there is a spoiler potential in No. 1 Below, so, I have redacted it, and moved the uncensored version to the bottom of this blog post where you can read it at your own risk.

  1. The plot was not just uninspired, it was plagiarized. How many times must we see a  semi-divine being try to take over the galaxy.
  2. Zoe Saldana got lost in the mix. Her character is completely lost. I think she has one good scene. One.
  3. The film grabs at so many relationships — Peter/Yondu, Rocket/Yondu,  Gamora/Peter, Peter/Ego, Mantis/Drax, Nebula/Gamora, Baby Groot/Rocket that it really does a poor job with all of them.
  4. Sylvester Stallone.
  5. The Mummy trailer we were afflicted with. Another Mummy reboot? With Tom Cruise? Really?

Most sequels are not as good as the original, and I feel like Marvel rushed this one to fit the Avengers timeline. It felt that way–like they needed to get a couple of things checked off their big picture narrative before they can move on with what they really want to do.

Is it kid friendly? About the same as the first one. There is language and sexual innuendo I wouldn’t want a six year old to see, and a moment of intense violence that I found disturbing. However, it is not too great a departure from typical comic book. It is right square where a PG-13 film probably should be.

 

POSSIBLE SPOILER BELOW–SCROLL AT YOUR OWN RISK

 

I WARNED YOU

 

  1. The plot was not just uninspired, it was plagiarized. How many times must we see a  semi-divine being try to take over the galaxy.