Tuesday, June 20, 2017

What Hero Does the World Deserve?

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This article may contain some mild spoilers for Wonder Woman.

I have a...spotty...attraction to superhero movies. Sure, I like Captain America and Thor (and therefore the Avengers), I was hooked on Arrow for a little while, and I enjoyed The Dark Knight trilogy, but they aren't my go-to genre. Guardians of the Galaxy didn't do too much for me (other than Drax), Man of Steel was forgettable, and I really have no urge to see any of the X-Men movies.

So when my roommate suggested going to see Wonder Woman, I was neither thrilled nor appalled. I didn't expect much out of it.

While I definitely wouldn't classify it as one of my favorite movies, it was a pleasant surprise. It had an interesting exploration of good vs. evil, a touch of humor, and some good fight scenes. Its setting in World War I provided an interesting backdrop.

Aside from the question of evil, I think one of the most interesting aspects of the movie was the idea of what humans deserve. Diana (Wonder Woman) is repeatedly told that the human race does not deserve her help.

In one of the scenes, several of the characters share a drink, toasting: "May we get what we want, get what we need, but may we never get what we deserve."

Obviously, the characters have decided that they don't deserve anything good. It's easy to see why they would think that--the world is embroiled in one of the most bitter and deadly conflicts it had ever seen. Corruption, violence, and depravity surround many of the characters. All have lost something dear to them and many have also lost a sense of their moral compass during the war. Indeed, the human race doesn't seem to deserve a hero--especially a good one.

This attitude is also reflected elsewhere in the DC universe. At the end of The Dark Knight, Lieutenant Gordon says of Batman, "He's the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now."

One can conclude from these quotes that it's obvious to the writers of these films that humans don't deserve good things, but they also sometimes need something good, like mercy or grace.

The idea of undeserved redemption is further explored at the climax of Wonder Woman. Faced by her nemesis who offers her one last chance to have her deserved revenge, she replies, "It's not about deserve. It's about what you believe. And I believe in love."

I'm sure the writers didn't stick a "hidden Christian message" into either story, but it certainly brings to mind the fact that we did nothing to earn Christ's sacrifice for us. We deserved death, but instead He became the hero we needed, but didn't deserve, sacrificing Himself for us out of love.

The best art always has at least a shadow of the truth in it.

What recent movie unintentionally reminded you of a Christian idea or concept?

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