|Thor and Loki|
But what can atheists learn from The Avengers?
Here are three lessons.
All the hype about being a god is just that -- hype.
Villains talk smack, it's what movie villains do. The baddies are typically pretty confident people wearing some pretty cool clothes and having some pretty cool stuff (Nazis fit all three criteria). And as any movie aficionado knows there is a moment in a film where the villain gloats about how awesome he or she is and how everyone else is there to do the dishes and take out his garbage. Add to the mixture that the villain (Loki. in The Avengers) is supposedly a deity and you can guess how the monologue goes.
Joss Whedon has an interesting take on that in The Avengers. I'm not going to ruin it for you. You'll know it when you see it.
Even really well meaning and helpful people are simply wrong about God.
I totally bought Chris Evans playing Captain America. Evans was able to play the war veteran/man out of his own time role well. The Captain America movie, which came out in 2011, was a pretty strong superhero/war movie and humanized the hero from being an icon to a man who has lost almost everything. And this person who has lost so much in the service of fighting the enemies of freedom continues to do so regardless of the price. The other heroes in the movie: Iron Man, Thor, Hulk and Black Widow are all excellent characters, but I walked out of The Avengers being a fan of Captain America.
Even so, but the Captain's opinion concerning the Almighty is simply wrong -- wrong as the day is long.
There comes a point in the film that Cap chooses to engage Thor (and possibly Loki), and he is told to be careful because they are gods. His response?
There is only one God, and He doesn't dress like that.Funny, to be sure and it conveys his old-school attitude. But he's still wrong, because there simply aren't any gods. Period.
God exists and His name is Joss Whedon.
I called the Wife after getting out of the movie yesterday and told her this was the best work I've seen from Whedon post Buffy the Vampire Slayer. To tell you the truth I may like the post-Buffy projects from Whedon like Firefly, The Dollhouse and Dr Horrible's Sing Along Blog, but I haven't fallen in love with any of them. There are many artists out there who only have so much artistic gas in the tank, and I was beginning to think that Buffy was the highpoint of Joss' creativity (just like Pulp Fiction was the apex for Mr. Tarrantino). The Avengers changed that for me. This movie is a shot of super-concentrated Joss Whedon. It's a shot of adrenaline. In The Avengers Whedon artfully spins a tale of secular "gods" using the classic heroic template that is found in universal myths.