Avengers Endgame has been out for a few weeks now, long enough to have seen it, thought about it, talked about it, tried to dodge spoilers, give up and go watch it anyway. It also has been out long enough to think about it and compare it to the grand story against which all stories stack up. It is always important for us to remember, as Solomon wrote, "there is nothing new under the sun."
Jesus then, is the ultimate superhero, someone who looked like us, walked like us, but ultimately had the power to undo what we could not undo. It makes for an interesting cogitation as well that anytime we see a superhero, they are a normal being who has a power that makes them super. Whether that is the "Spirit and worthiness of the hammer" for Thor or the Chemicals that transform Bruce banner, one can find a comparison with Jesus who was a man like us yet fully empowered by the Holy Spirit to do Super things.
E Stephen Burnett does a fantastic job of comparing "Endgame" to the actual apocalypse in Revelation and teases out how watching and thinking a little more deeply about fantasy and fairy stories, like this one can help us appreciate and understand the coming real end and more deeply engage in the real story of ourselves and the God of the Universe.
The article is a 10- or 20-minute read but it is super helpful. Warning: of course it is full of spoilers, but if you haven't seen it by now you probably aren't terribly concerned with that. Burnett answers some interesting questions as well that would make great family discussions: is it OK to cry about fictitious characters? Can we learn anything about ourselves from fiction? What does joy in crisis look like? What does it feel like when the ending isn't wholly as happy as we would like?
Burnett unlocks a level of thought about media that most of us never really engage in unless we are prompted and drawn in. But it is a level on which we are called to function as Christians, living in but not of the world. We should be drawn by a movie like "Endgame" to joyously cry and celebrate what Christ did for us, one man, giving his life, to save the rest. My recommendation is to read the article and then rewatch the movie, and talk about it. Talk about Jesus and where the comparisons fail, but experience the emotions and spend some thought on the reality of the resurrection and its glory.
~ Pastor Nicholas Rich