Avengers: Concerning tricksters, truth and teamwork

Posted: May 4, 2012 by Emilio Garofalo Neto in Action
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For some funny reason the Avengers movie was released in Brazil a full week before the US release. Enough time to tease my US friends. But that gives us mere mortals of Reel Thinking the opportunity of coming out with this review at the very release day—and knowing exactly what happens.

Yesterday Josh considered several important issues. I will deal with some issues first without spoilers and then go on to spoil everything, but I will let you know when spoilers begin.

There are many, many memorable action/cool moments in the movie. It is indeed the culmination of the Marvel project of making separate movies for Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America and Thor. Joss Whedon directs a seriously geek and great movie. By the way, the movie is often hilarious. The movie is great; everyone will at least “like it.” The first act was a tad dragging and the print seemed very dark, but all is compensated in the second and third acts. Great stuff. I know you do not need me to recommend you to watch it.

Several things could be discussed, but I chose to highlight two aspects. One is that of the team as more than simply the sum of the parts. While each hero is powerful enough on his own, by being in a team their flaws become more evident but also can be covered by the strengths of the others. They are stronger being together-and it is to the credit of the movie that it is more about the team than about the individuals. Like in the church! We are part of a body; and by being part of it our flaws become more apparent as we rub with others and are measured against them.  The church is not a collection of individual heroes but a group of people with flaws, strengths and different abilities.  And yet, it is also truth that as the Avengers, we are stronger being together, for each body part can perform its functions.

I would not suggest you put names to the labels, but in most churches you can find:

– A dude who is nice and charming (and little sad) in a moment then is all fury and destruction in the other;

– A chick who can sweet talk folks into doing anything for her;

– A naïve/brave guy who sees every little task he is given as a matter of life and death;

– A sarcastic and smart guy who is rather funny but can be a bit reckless with words and hearts (and has an armor);

– A tall and somewhat dumb guy with a golden heart and a crazy brother;

– A brooding guy who likes to be by himself and nevertheless is the one with the key to the heart of the above mentioned chick;

– A pastor with pep talks, hidden agendas and an eye patch (ok, hopefully not).

Ok, maybe not all of them, but you get my point. Part of the beauty of the church is that it is made of diversity of gifts, temperament, and styles of people. There is beauty and strength in our diversity.  More seriously, the church is a collection not of heroes, but of villains, turned into heroes by the death of the only hero, and now united towards a common goal in spite of their differences.  From now on some serious spoilers.

SPOILER SECTION

You have BEEN WARNED!!!!

How great was the Hulk swinging Loki like a Labrador would do to a rubber chicken? Or sucker punching Thor? Or that hammer in the green face? Or the Point Break reference? Or…THANOS!!! (you did see him, did you not?) Or the helicarrier? How about jumpstarting the helicarrier? Ok, enough geeking.

Before moving on, my geek friend Filipe Schulz (lover of all things fun and beautiful) pointed to me that for the team to be united there needs to be the shedding of blood of an “innocent”caracter… sounds familiar?

Another issue I want to discuss briefly is rather disturbing if you pay attention to it. Often in this movie truth is to be found in the mouth of Loki, the trickster. A feature of general revelation and of common grace is that we understand that truth can be found anywhere. Loki talks about many true things in the way mankind craves to be ruled, struggles for freedom and finds no peace; stuff like “You were made to be ruled.” Yes we were, even if the movie tells us that we were made to be free and avenge anyone who try to say differently.  Naturally we do not like to hear that and we want to jump and throw a hammer or a shield to Loki’s smug face. The avengers are ready to preserve human freedom and if necessary avenge the Earth. Of course, what Loki means is that he is the one to rule. And therein resides the main issue. In our desire to be free from God we followed the Devil’s suggestions and became in fact servants of the trickster.

In our sinful rebellion against God, we strive for autonomous freedom that is in fact no freedom at all, but slavery to a sinful self and to Satan. The true God is loving and all powerful and in his kindness he gives his own Son to die for the rebels, to the point of declaring them to be righteous and adopting them in his own family. And he tells us not to seek vengeance for the sins committed against us; we would never do it right and our hands also have blood on them. We need to remember that our own sins call for retribution. The Bible teaches us that retribution comes by God’s righteous and gracious hand. The sins of the world were either paid for on the cross or will be dealt with throughout eternity. Talk about avenging.

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Comments
  1. I loved the line, “There’s only one God, and I’m pretty sure He doesn’t dress like that.” Whoot!

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