The movie “Avengers: End Game” just shattered box office records for opening weekend earning around $1.2 billion which proves I am not the only Marvel movie fan in the world.
I have loved these movies not simply for their entertainment value but also for the deeper spiritual meaning that lie at the heart of superhero movies. I believe this is one of the reasons why these movies are so popular…even if most people it is on a subconscious level. (And just for your information, my kids hate it when I talk about this stuff to ruin all the movies.)
These movies can serve as modern parables…stories that can use the familiar to teach the unfamiliar about a moral or spiritual truth. This is what Jesus did, whether it was farming, traveling or the weather, He took things that everyone was familiar with to use as a tool of communicating truth.
Here are just a few examples:
Why is it that we even need superheroes? The answer was explicit towards the end of the first "Avengers." There are or will be supernatural problems that humanity faces that are beyond our capabilities…therefore we will need supernatural defenders. Sounds familiar…our sin is beyond us and we need a Savior to bring us supernatural grace. (Now the beauty here is that our superhero Savior does more than defend us but He gives us the ability to change and act like Him.)
The concept of conversion and moving from selfishness to self-sacrifice is strong in most of the Marvel movies, two great examples are found in the first "Iron Man" and "Dr. Strange." The character of Loki has a constant pull between good and evil within himself that plays out in several of the movies.
The final example I’ll share, while it is present in most of the Marvel movies, has really come to the forefront in the last few especially "Dr. Strange"…that is the knowledge of "another world." As Catholics we KNOW that there is more to the life, we KNOW that there is the material world but also a spiritual one, we KNOW there is the temporal but also there is the eternal…but do we LIVE like there is something more than this world?!?!
All of these are great conversation starters that perhaps, if the Holy Spirit allows, can lead to deeper conversations. Even if there are things in the Marvel movies we don’t agree with, for instance I felt like "Captain Marvel" had an underlying anti-religion bent to it, this can still be used.
Remember as a Missionary Disciple of Christ we need to be willing to "do whatever it takes" to reach the lost souls that the superhero Savior of the World is searching for.
Co-Founder & COO
Casting Nets Ministries