COMMUNICATION & ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ packs a punch, hits on spiritual themes.

by Aaron Wilson, LifeWay, April 28, 2018.

… The threat of death is woven throughout Infinity War as Thanos seeks to “balance” the world by eliminating half the population. We’re told he can do this with a snap of his fingers if he accumulates six Infinity Stones scattered across the universe.

In the comics, Thanos is in love with a personification of death and attempts to court her through this act of mass murder. While Infinity War tones down the plot from the comics, it still tackles the subject of death head-on.

I won’t give away which characters bite the dust in the movie, but the directors didn’t shy away from insisting there be real repercussions to fighting a villain obsessed with genocide.

This hit especially close to home for me when I had to comfort my elementary-aged daughter who was visibly upset at the death of her favorite character. For a superhero movie—the kind that often presents heroes as bulletproof—this one helps audiences take death to heart.

This can be a good thing, according to Scripture. Ecclesiastes 7:2 says, “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, since that is the end of all mankind, and the living should take it to heart.”

…In this sense, the film can be helpful in raising discussions about the inevitability of death and the need for a Hero who can actually defeat this haunting aspect of the curse…

Almost all Marvel movies to date have dealt with the theme of personal sacrifice. Whether it’s Captain America surrendering his body to drive a plane into ice or Ironman risking his life to divert a nuclear missile, audiences expect superheroes to demonstrate a willingness to trade their safety for the benefit of others.

Infinity War certainly continues these storylines with its heroes; however, it also explores the idea of sacrifice through the eyes of a villain—one with a disturbing view of martyrdom.

For a big purple monster, Thanos is a very complex character driven more by a sense of mission than a raw lust for power. He believes his intentions are noble and that his mass killings—which he describes as random and unbiased—are inspired by mercy.

Nowhere does this warped idea of sacrifice play out more strongly in the movie than when Thanos seeks to gain possession of the soul stone and learns that the price of a soul is a soul itself.

Through all this, Thanos is an inverted version of Christ—a villain willing to save the world, but only through the sacrifice of others.

Like Jesus in Gethsemane, Thanos sheds tears in the face of sacrifice. He even has his own “it is finished” moment in the movie when he thinks his mission is finally complete.

Thanos tells another character it cost him everything to save the world. However, unlike Christ who emptied himself by assuming the form of a servant, Thanos’ “sacrifice” has him seeking ultimate power by assuming the form of a God.

Todd Miles touches on such comparisons between comic characters and Christ in his new book, Superheroes Can’t Save You.

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