When it comes to movies, especially superhero movies, I like a certain amount of predictability. I like the good guys to wear white and the bad guys to wear black. I want to know with a fair amount of certainty that the good guys will win. That’s why antiheroes aren’t exactly my favorite kind of movie characters.
Characters like Black Widow, Bucky Barnes, Ghost Rider, Venom, and even the Hulk—they are antiheroes. If you aren’t familiar with the term, don’t worry. My youngest son, Braxton, told me that they are basically characters who do the wrong thing for the right reason. The online definition says that an antihero is “a central character in a story, movie, or drama who lacks conventional heroic attributes.”
I would say that antiheroes are characters whose lives look a lot more gray than black or white.
That’s why (with the exception of Loki), antiheroes generally unnerve me.
While comics and movies have made considerable efforts to humanize superheroes, they are still pretty super, in more ways than one. Think about some of my favorites---Captain America, Spiderman, Thor... They don’t just have amazing super powers. They are also incredibly good looking, extraordinarily brave, and lead by a certain sense of morality. That’s not necessarily the case with antiheroes or the rest of us.
Antiheroes have some good qualities and some bad qualities. They make some right choices. They make some wrong choices. Sometimes they want to do what’s right, but they choose to do what’s wrong instead. Basically, they aren’t perfect. In fact, they are far from it. In a nutshell, they are just more human. I guess, they are a lot like me, like us.
Let’s face it. Not many of us are attractive enough to wear a Spandex suit to work every day. Not many of us are so confident in our own bravery that we could say without question whether we would put our life on the line for a stranger. Not many of us have such a strong sense of morality that we always choose to do what’s right.
It reminds me of Paul’s passage in Romans 15:21-23 where he says, “I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.”
Now doesn’t that sound just like the plot of a superhero flick. But unlike in the movies, I can’t blame my wrong attitudes or actions on any alien influence, faulty lab experiment, or misguided bargaining. It’s just my sinful human nature, pure and simple.
Thankfully, in the movies, antiheroes often come around to some extent in the end. They usually do something to redeem themselves, to make the audience proud of them, despite all their imperfections. But, I don’t have to worry about that either. I don’t have to worry about redeeming myself. I don’t have to worry about the fact that I will never be Captain Marvel or Wonder Woman. I don’t have to try to outwit, outsmart, or outclass anyone. Because, while I may relate more to the antiheroes, in real life, I have my own personal and perfect Hero. He always wears white, and (spoiler alert) the ultimate victory will always be His. My Savior, Jesus Christ, paid the price for my sins, conquered the villains called Sin, Satan, and Death, and has saved my sorry soul.
And that, my dear friends, is another reason I’m a Marvel Momma. Heroes, antiheroes, villains and super powers--the plots may be fictional, but there is a lot of truth to unpack if you just know where to look. I encourage you to give it a try.
Who’s your favorite superhero?