It’s summer. We’ve already seen our share of superhero movies. Some of them have been fantastic, others, not so much. You know why I love super hero movies? I love superhero movies because they represent the best sides of us: teamwork, passion, risking it all, running into danger.These are the qualities we all want in ourselves.To quote the filmmaker Kevin Smith, “I learned my sense of morality and values from superheroes more than I did the church.” Not sure if that says more about super heroes or more about the church.
Here are 3 reasons why I believe superheroes movies matter:
- They remind us we are in need of someone bigger than ourselves. It takes a hero to save the day. Someone who is incredibly strong and someone who has great nobility. This points to the God shaped hole in all of us, or as the scriptures say “He has placed eternity in our hearts.” Ever wonder why we cheer on a savior? Because we all know we are in need of one. Especially during these times of political tension, and post September 11th anxiety that war could suddenly spring out of the ground at any moment, we’d like to believe there is someone, or a group of people, who could respond nobly to such threats and defend the common good.
- They appeal to the better angels of our nature. Not only do we need a hero, we’d like to be one. What would it be like to save the day? What if that were me with the super human ability? What if I could change people’s lives? We want to see the most positive view of our future that we can, and we want to see it in ourselves. Again, this is a God given trait of wanting to be a difference maker. Or, as Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers” (and no, its not blessed are the cheese makers). Heroes don’t just save the day for us, they remind us of who we are, or who we need to become.
- They remind us of good verses evil. As much as we want to act like everything is permissible and live and let live, sometimes we just need to call it what it is… evil. There is just plain evil in the world and it affects us all. Violence, abuse, neglect, and oppression all need to be overcome by the good and we love to see the good guy finally win and the bad guy finally be put in his place. This again is from our Maker. The argument that there is no God because there is evil in the world doesn’t hold up. For if we believe there is evil, then we must believe there is good. And if there is both good and evil, there must be an originator of this and a judge. That would be God. Our main problem with God is not that we don’t believe he exists, it’s that we don’t think he’s very good. But I refer back to our first point… we need a savior. And God’s nature is to save. And no matter how long the movie is… the good guy will always win!
Though he only gets it right for a second, Peter speaks for us on this matter in Matthew 16 when Jesus asks him, “Who do you say I am?” Peter responds, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” and Jesus blesses him for it (Matthew 16:13-17). A few verses later, Jesus goes on to explain that being such a Messiah involves suffering, dying, and rising again. This is the way of the ultimate hero and something he calls us to follow by example in order to combat the evil forces of this world.