So I don’t write about things other than Jesus on this blog very often. And there’s a reason.
I want you to think that I’m super-spiritual, that I only think about Jesus and the Bible and God day and night and day and night.
But I’m gonna be honest with you: that’s not all I think about. Here’s a few other things that take up my mind, and honestly take more of my brain space than Jesus, right or wrong:
- How am I progressing in my marriage?
- Is Arsenal FC gonna figure their defense out before our next game?
- Isn’t the way some Christians speak about “mainstream media” just shameful?
That’s just a few.
I recently read a blog post by entrepreneur Nicolas Cole in which he talks about what we really need to be asking ourselves when we think about our dream jobs – what do we enjoy doing on a daily basis?
…in order to find what your dream job really is, you can’t ask yourself what “end reward” you want.
That question is elusive, and often times leads you astray.
Instead, you need to ask what activities you enjoy doing on a daily basis.
I love writing, but I don’t always enjoy writing about Jesus. Sometimes it’s a drag to find something relevant to the Bible. Honestly. I don’t know whether that’s right or wrong, but here goes.
Today, I’m going to tell you five things about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, why I love it and why I think you should too:
The MCU has now spanned 10 years and more than 20 movies, from 2008’s Iron Man to this summer’s Ant-Man and the Wasp. I love it. I love reading theories about it, thinking about the characters, the stories, watching YouTube videos, all that.
I can’t watch Avengers: Infinity War, at least not all the way through, because the ending is too sad. I just can’t.
But I love it, and here’s five reasons why.
1. There are characters I relate to so well.
Captain America has become one of my favorite characters in all of fiction for a number of reasons. He doesn’t pretend to be perfect or pretend to be a Christian — although he did reference God in The Avengers. He’s Marvel’s equivalent to Superman in his pursuit of truth and justice and what’s right. You see that throughout all of his films that, even when there might be an easier way, he wants to do the right thing.
I desire my life to look like that — principled, assertive and direct, looking solely to what is right and what is just. There are a range of characters in the MCU like Captain America in which you can find yourself. You’ve just got to look.
2. There’s lots of mysteries.
Infinity War was not the first MCU movie to leave us wondering what was going to happen next. Each movie leads well into the next by leaving some holes and some questions for us to ponder and think about.
For instance, Doctor Strange, another one of my favorite MCU movies. After the day is saved — what, did you think the good doctor was going to lose in his first film? — one of the main characters is shown to be doing something quite dastardly. Sorry, minor spoiler alert. I’m left wondering what’s going to be next.
Not only is it a great business plan to keep people interested and buy more tickets, it’s a great narrative plan to keep the characters alive and the story going.
3. It’s flippin’ funny.
If everything in the MCU films was destruction and fights and mystery, that’d be OK, I suppose. But there are some movies in the franchise that are just too funny.
My favorite MCU movie, Thor: Ragnarok, is one of the best examples of this. Director Taika Waititi brings in his real-life goofiness — just watch this video — to the film in both the tone and words, as well as my favorite MCU character Korg, who is played by him. “Over here, the pile of rocks waving at you!”
If Thor doesn’t do it for you, check the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. Andy Dwyer from Parks and Recreation leads the gang, if that doesn’t tell you enough. If you need more, watch this.
4. The best actors flock to these movies.
Benedict Cumberbatch of the BBC’s Sherlock fame plays Doctor Strange. Michael B. Jordan is striking as Black Panther villain Erik Killmonger. Paul Rudd is perfect as criminal-turned-superhero Ant-Man. Tom Holland portrays a youthful and slightly naive but determined Spider-Man. Former WWE superstar Dave Bautista is an excellent Drax from Guardians of the Galaxy.
If you want to see good performances, see a Marvel movie.
5. The characters are flawed people doing good things.
Tony Stark/Iron Man is a narcissistic playboy. Bruce Banner/The Hulk has an anger problem. Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow has a shady past. Peter Quill/Star-Lord sleeps around and exhibits extreme selfishness at times. Hope Van Dyne/The Wasp lost her mom at a young age and holds great resentment for her father.
These are the people who are the heroes of the MCU. They’re not perfect, but they show redemptive qualities. Some even display incredible sacrificial selflessness in key moments.
In this way, they’re representative of what we can be as believers. (I guess I did have to Jesus juke this). They are not perfect, and while some of them are born with or unwittingly discover extraordinary gifts, they try to make the best of them while dealing with their flaws.
Stephen Strange/Doctor Strange is perhaps my favorite example. He’s an incredibly talented surgeon, the best in the world. And he knows it. He tells others it. But after a car accident leaves his precious fingers unusable, he reaches the bottom. Through the help of a teacher, he learns a new set of skills and powers and starts to use them to help others, selflessly and sacrificially.
Sounds like a believer after conversion, right?
That’s why I love the MCU. Plus, it’s just so much fun.