In May, 2017 I did a column titled “Avengers ‘Infinity War’: Teaching children that mass slaughter is okay for all the wrong reasons.” I wrote:
I used to be a fan of Marvel comics. Not anymore. The reason is the latest edition of 18 films in Marvel studios Avengers series titled “Infinity War.” After watching the film I was very disturbed by the message. Here is a key exchange between Thanos, the alien invader/protagonist, and Dr. Strange, one of the Avengers:
Thanos: When we faced extinction I offered a solution
Dr. Stephen Strange: Genocide?
Thanos: But random, dispassion is fair for rich and poor a like. They called me a mad man. What I predict came unannounced.
Dr. Stephen Strange: Congratulations, you’re a prophet
Thanos: I’m a survivor
Dr. Stephen Strange: Who wants to murder trillions
Thanos: With all the six stones I can simply snap my fingers, they will all cease to exist. I call that… mercy.
Dr. Stephen Strange: Then what?
Thanos: [I] finally rest, watch the sunrise on an ungrateful universe. The hardest choices require the strongest will.
In the end Thanos wins and trillions of people in the universe are slaughtered. The final scene is of Thanos in a green pasture admiring his work.
After watching “Avengers Endgame” I give credit to Marvel Studios for redeeming itself. While the film lasts 3 hours I was riveted to my seat.
Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame – Official Trailer.
The film picks up where “Infinity War” left off. The opening scenes are compelling. The film personalizes the catastrophic losses suffered by those who Thanos did not slaughter, the survivors. This reminded me of those who lost family and loved ones during the Holocaust, during the reigns of Joseph Stalin and Mao, the Armenian genocide and in the killing fields of Pol Pot.
Of course there really are no super heroes with super powers. But we have witnessed over our brief American history the actions of real heroes who have done extraordinary things. This is the lesson of mankind.
As English writer, poet and philosopher“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”
What is behind mankind are the memories of those who were taken away from them by pure evil. Thanos, evil incarnate, slaughters half of all living creatures in the name of saving the universe from itself. This is not unlike those who today want to enslave all of mankind in the name of saving the planet earth (e.g. environmentalism, Green New Deal, One World Order).
MANKIND’S GOD GIVEN ABILITY TO THINK
As University of Maryland economist Julian Simon noted in his 1981 book that the human brain is the “ultimate resource.” And so it is in “Avengers Endgame.” We have seen the idea of time travel repeatedly in films. The fantasy of going back in time to stop evil is just that, a fantasy. “Avengers Endgame” pokes fun at this fantasy and shows how, in part, how this is folly.
Of course this is Hollywood and all things are possible, even time travel to get a human redo.
The key to this film is redemption. The surviving Avengers know they failed in their quest to protect humanity. Their losses, on a personal level, drive them to use their own ultimate resources, their brains, to redeem themselves and put things right.
AVENGERS AS CRUSADERS
At the end all but two survive their quest for redemption. It reminded me of the Christian Crusades.
Thomas F. Madden, professor of Medieval History and Renaissance Studies as Saint Louis University, is a recognized expert on the Crusades. Professor Madden in his book “The Crusades Controversy: Setting the Record Straight” notes,
“Pope Urban II called the knights of Christendom to push back the conquests of Islam at the Council of Clermont in 1095. The response was tremendous. Many thousands of warriors took the vow of the cross and prepared for war.” Why did they do it? For two reasons:
- The first was to redeem [free from oppression] the Christians of the East.
- The second goal was the liberation of Jerusalem and the other places made holy by the life of Christ.
Professor Madden writes:
The word crusade is modern. Medieval crusaders saw themselves as pilgrims to the Holy Sepulcher.
[ … ]
The re-conquest of Jerusalem, therefore, was understood by Christians as an act of restoration and an open declaration of one’s love of God.
Perhaps we as humans need to turn to the God Abraham for our redemption and not to Hollywood?