At least one movie critic calls these kinds of movies simple escapism. “As long as people want to see good triumph over evil, see a man or woman fly or just forget about life’s problems for a few hours, superhero films will exist.” In my opinion, anyone who thinks superhero movies show a clear line between good and evil hasn’t seen very many superhero movies.
The first Captain America movie was an old-fashioned, good-guys versus bad guys flick. It was set during World War II, which (at least in our collective memories) was a simpler time. The second Captain America movie jumped to the 21st century (thanks to Cap being frozen in polar ice for 70 years). Now the bad guys are deep inside the good guys’ camp, waiting for their big moment to take over the world, and even the good guys are making some really bad decisions. By the time we reach the third installment of Captain America the good guys can’t even agree on what is good and what is bad—hence the name, Civil War.
In Civil War, the heroes are divided over the question of who should control their superheroing activities—themselves or a bureaucratic oversight panel. What caught my attention is how each of the heroes in the movie decided to join the fight. Some were led by ideals, others by respect for the law or government. Some were moved by friendship, others by duty. Some responded just because they were called, happy to be part of something bigger than themselves.
For the most part, they fought because they are soldiers—and that’s what soldiers do.
Soldiers fight. And every child of God is also a soldier of God. We have been called to do battle.
“Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well.” 1 Timothy 1:18
“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:12
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12
“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” 2 Corinthians 10:4
If you’re not sure what all this battle talk is about, I’ll be posting two more pieces on this topic over the next week. Until then, let me leave you with one of my favorite ‘soldiering’ songs.