My family and I are big fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (hereafter referred to simply as the MCU). We’ve seen every one of the movies and now own them all as well. We laughed the most during Thor’s flicks, cheered the most during “Black Panther” and watched in expectation for what would happen to our heroes in the most recent “Infinity War.”
If you haven’t seen the latest movie and plan to, you might want to save this post for later, although I won’t give any major spoilers.
I think there is something in the heart of every man that wants evil to be vanquishable. We want to know that the good guys will win. When that doesn’t happen (apparently, as in the case of “Infinity War”), we’re disappointed, some even to the point of despair.
In the MCU, we know that the heroes are fallible. At least most of them are. I’d like to think Captain America is about as perfect as they come. Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, along with Dr. Stephen Strange and Quill, who prefers to be called Star Lord, battle a fierce pride that makes them think they are better than everyone else. Therefore working together as a team is difficult for them.
Natalie (Black Widow) has major skeletons in her closet that have only been hinted at so far. Dr. Bruce Banner, well, his issues are hulking.
Yet we know that they have the good of others at the heart of everything they do. When the Avengers team seemed to be split in the aptly named “Civil War,” the big question was whether the good of the few outweighed the good of the many. Throughout their time together, the Avengers have battled with whether their saving a society while losing individual members has been worth it.
Tony made his decision in wake of the disaster that Wanda (the Scarlet Witch) instigated that took many innocent lives. Though completely unintended, Wanda’s actions caused the deaths of many even though it also prevented worldwide annihilation.
Collateral damage. It happens when you’re trying to save the world.
So that’s what makes Thanos such a disturbing villain.
He is seemingly unbeatable. While his backstory may try to make us believe that he is a sympathetic character simply trying to find a way to save civilizations around the universe, his super-sized ego is completely out of control.
And that makes him very dangerous.
Wiping out half the populations of every civilization isn’t really murder, it’s actually compassion. People are starving and suffering because of over population. Cutting the number of citizens in half will allow everyone to prosper and live better lives.
Thanos believes it without pause. When his minions walk through towns after the purge has happened, they declare how blessed everyone is to be “saved” by such a gracious lord as Thanos. What great mercy has been shown to them. Nevermind that they’ve just lost half their civilization. It’s out of great love that this has been done for them.
The movie doesn’t seem to show that anyone is actually believing this nonsense, but they are incapable of doing anything about it. Thanos cannot be stopped.
And that’s what makes this movie so hard to handle. If I didn’t know a part 2 was coming, this would be one of the only Marvel movies I didn’t want to own.
We can feel that way about evil in the real world sometimes. Why do the wicked seem to prosper?
In Psalm 73:3, the worship leader Asaph laments that very point. “For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked” (English Standard Version). He goes on to describe how good things continually happen to them. They are fat and happy.
And he despaired.
But then he went into the sanctuary of God. He spent time with Him. And there he learned the truth. “Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin” (Ps. 73:18, ESV). He discerns that the end is coming for those who are wicked. He knows God is good and that in the end, God wins. Good will triumph.
Hold on to hope. In the midst of an evil and perverse generation, when it seems evil cannot be vanquished, Jesus is there.
And Thanos doesn’t stand a chance.
Can’t wait for part 2.
images from: imdb.com (The Avengers poster); digitalspy.com (Thanos); abcnews.go.com (The Avengers group)