Every human being is hungry for a single overarching storyline that ties all of our smaller stories together. Since 2008, evidence for this hunger has been as close as your nearest cinema. That’s when the release of Iron Man marked the genesis of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is not merely a series of movies, neatly sequentialized into episodes that convey a single storyline. The MCU includes a multiplicity of individual narratives. Continue reading.
“Comics are the new Bible,” film critic Anne Billson recently declared, “and devotees never tire of seeing their idols save the world.” Her elevation of comic books to canonical status in the culture is overstated, but I think she may be close to the truth in suggesting that part of the current appeal of comics is their openness to the supernatural.
In an increasingly secularized culture, comic books splash unabashed glimpses of supernatural sacrifice and world-saving wonder across silver screens and wood-pulp panels. Continue reading.
At the center of God’s story stands this singular act: In Jesus Christ, God personally intersected human history and redeemed humanity at a particular time in a particular place. Yet this central marvel of redemption does not stand alone. It is bordered by God’s good creation and humanity’s fall into sin on the one hand and by the consummation of God’s kingdom on the other.
This metanarrative of creation, fall and law, redemption, and new creation is the story that Christians have repeated to one another and to the world ever since Jesus ascended into the sky and sent his Spirit to dwell in his first followers’ lives. This age-old plot-line should frame every aspect of our lives. After I watch a movie with my older children, I’ve found that this fourfold lens is a helpful way of teasing out what was “true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable … excellent or praiseworthy” in the film (Philippians 4:8).
Over the past several weeks, I’ve been looking at each of the film’s in the Marvel Cinematic Universe through the fourfold lens of creation, fall and law, redemption, and new creation. Several readers have asked me for a full listing of these theological reviews and reflectionsContinue reading.
This exploration of Iron Man 2 is the fourth in a series of posts exploring theological themes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. You can find the rest of the series here. I recommend using VidAngel to filter the content of this film for your family.
Every part of Tony Stark seems to have been forged in brokenness.
A fractured relationship with his father birthed the man known as Tony Stark. According to Tony’s recollection of his father,
He wasn’t my biggest fan. … He…never told me he loved me, never even told me he liked me. You’re talking about a man whose happiest day…was shipping me off to boarding school.
Tony Stark the machine was born in brokenness as well.Continue reading.
This exploration of The Incredible Hulk is the third in a series of posts exploring theological themes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. You can find the rest of the series here. I recommend using VidAngel to filter the content of this film for your family.
Spider-Man teaches us that, with great power, comes great responsibility.
Iron Man reminds us that great power requires great accountability.
Captain America contends that great power can also provide a safeguard for liberty.
The Incredible Hulk teaches us a less welcome truth: With great power comes great danger.
When Bruce Banner’s pulse reaches a particular point—conveniently, in this second contribution to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a well-rounded 200 beats per minute—the scientist erupts into a gargantuan green rage machine. A supply of stretchy pants maintains the Hulk’s modesty, but it will require more than expandable fabric to contain his volcanic strength and temper.Continue reading.
This exploration of Iron Man is the second in a series of posts exploring theological themes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. You can find the rest of the series here. I recommend using VidAngel to filter the content of this film for your family.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe launched in 2008 with the story of Tony Stark, the man that your parents warned you about.
Tony Stark’s ego, libido, affluence, and intelligence all seem equally unlimited. Continue reading.