The fight is hard, there are great sacrifices that need to be made, but in the end the good guys win and the armies of chaos and confusion are defeated.
Or at least that is how one would expect of a superhero movie that packs movie theaters around the world, right?
Some, from my religious roots, would decry the fact that “Avengers: Endgame,” the wrap-up to a 21 movie saga where an unlikely group of misfits take on villains of increased size and power, is better attended than their Easter services.
I mean how can it be a good thing that so many seek to be entertained by watching such nonsense?
However, in my own perspective, it doesn’t seem like such a bad thing that story of triumph through self-sacrificial love still dominates the box office. In fact, if imitation is the highest form of flattery then this creation of Stan Lee’s imagination is possibly the ultimate expression of Christian worship.
God, who lives outside of time itself, taking on the form of a man to save the world from death and destruction, sacrificing his all for sake of his friends only to triumph in a way unimaginable, is basically the end game of the Gospel.
As someone who enjoys “cinema magic” I’ve had to reflect many times, and often with tears, as I related to the struggles of the characters on the screen. Sure, the stories may be fictional, yet there is truth that transcends our reality captured in these fantastic accounts and that is exactly what draws the crowd now as it did when Jesus worked his miracles.
I am Tony Stark insomuch as I’ve needed to adapt to survive and overcome even myself, my pride, to protect those who I love.
I am Steve Rogers insomuch that I’ve often felt like a throwback to a more innocent time and, like him, I belong in a world that has passed me by while frozen in ice.
I am Bruce Banner insomuch as I’m the nice guy, who doesn’t always know how to express himself, but when pushed far can go full on Hulk mode and leave a path of destruction.
I am Thor insomuch that I’ve been handed great responsibility, given a divine inheritance that I feel unworthy to wield (despite many assurances) and have failed those whom I love.
I am Natasha Romanoff insomuch as my loneliness, being a tragic character, haunted by my past and my crushed romantic hopes in particular.
I am Clint Barton insomuch as I’m just a man wanting to live a happy simple life, yet always faced with complexities, sucked into a fight bigger than my abilities, etc.
As I enter this endgame of my life, I’m in a fight to save my future from my past. I carry a weight of painful baggage, the resurrection of my hopes still incomplete, and some days I feel stretched well past my abilities to continue on. There are times I wish I could go back in time and fix the terrible things that have taken so much out of me. However, there are those whom I love too much now to abandon in an effort to retrieve that which was lost.
It is only fitting that the Endgame movie come out so close to Easter and you’ll need to watch it if you want to understand why that is. The story is compelling because it is a story very much like that of the one who overcame death through death and has given humanity a path to salvation. As I look forward to being a husband and father, a true friend to those in need of love, it is the heroic example of Jesus that will guide me.