Savior of Superheroes

I confess I believe in superheroes. I even wear them on my shirt. Well, we all do, don’t we? Let’s blame it on the cartoons we were fed since boyhood. Maybe that’s where I got my childish dream: to be a ninja (I also don’t mind becoming a Shichibukai!). It is something why some people don’t understand us. I mean what kind of kid would not lose his heart to Son Gokou’s kame hame wave? With a focused chakra, Uzumaki Naruto can summon monstrous Gamabunta! The engineering genius of Tony Stark made him the awesome Iron Man. Do I have to say more about Saitama The One Punch Man? With the nodding approval of these heroes (whose powers have already sided with me), I think I can make any point of argument and be winsome. Let alone the fate of this article. Should this write-up go wrong, then guess who is there to save the day!?

It is still pointless until this part so I’ll start by cutting the word “superhero”. Using our super vision, we can see that it is a fusion of two words “super + hero.” I think it is very important that our heroes are actually “heroic”, meaning, they possess moral excellence. We wait in great anticipation for them to save the lady in distress, defend the weak and hate evil works. It is interesting that they struggle with these choices at some point in the movie. To me, that’s the very part in their character where we identify with them the most. They are, of course, not just some forces with no human-like behavior and emotions. Their humanity is what is hooking us up with the story. We’d like to think that we are also learning from them as they develop. We are as upset as they are every time they don’t get it right. We win with them whenever the day is once again saved. We weep with them when they lose their friends in battle. I hate it every time they are stuck to sacrifice one of them. Our heroes are, after all, not almighty. But isn’t that what makes them heroes? Admit it, you smug!

There’s that word “super”. It tells me that to combat the Evil Boss and his troops, one will at least need super-strength to fight back when cars are being thrown at you. Or catch the falling airplane especially when your girlfriend is in it. The complexity of the problem calls for more than human abilities. We don’t like our hero to be as basic a person as we are. So we arm them super-speed, super-minds, shuriken, legendary hammer, swords and other weapons of mass destruction. We all understand evil is too complex a problem to be managed with bare hands. There is almost nothing new or different from the choices of superpowers in whatever comics company there is. But whenever film-makers produce superhero stories, we rush to the cinemas. Others cover their ears from spoilers as they wait for the pirated copy. I wonder why we are so into this kind of movies. Why is this longing somewhat deeply seated in us?

J.R.R. Tolkien puts some light to this. This longing for a world where heroes win and villains vanquished, where there is no parting among the beloved, where people escape time and death; some place where we can speak with non-human beings (like “I speak Groot!”) is not foreign to human desires. We are, says he, are the discontented dwellers of the present time. We want to cheat the perilous reality because there is too much decay, works of evil, machine guns and bombs in the real world. So we invent imaginary worlds i.e. movies where our deep desires come to life and the bad materials are reversed. Tolkien, as a believer in Jesus Christ, argues that we are made for such a world. And if you are in Christ, all those desires will become true for you.

Christians live in a world where those deep desires are becoming true right now. They are in hopeful expectation of the final reversal of everything sorrowful. The direction of history has taken a sudden turn of events. When Jesus lived, died and rose again the game has already changed. He entered our stories of legends and superheroes by entering the real human history. He is literally saving our superheroes from giving us fiction. Whatever Superman is fighting against to this very day, Christ has already won it. This only shows that He is the Lord of angels, of man and of The Avengers. (Beware of reading Hebrews Chapter 2. Very life changing!)

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