What The Avengers Gets Wrong about God
Ryan Duncan Crosswalk.com blogspot for ChristianMovieReviews.com and Ryan Duncan, Crosswalk.com Entertainment and Culture editor
- 2015 May 11
Normally, you wouldn’t expect a homicidal robot to think much about God. Yet anyone who saw Marvel’s latest entry, Avengers: Age of Ultron, knows the signature villain mentioned Him quite a lot. For those who aren’t certified comic book nerds, this may require a bit of context. Like the previous Avengers film, Age of Ultron follows Marvel’s signature heroes as they once again come together to battle a brand new enemy, Ultron. Created by Tony Stark and Bruce Banner, Ultron was supposed to help protect the world from danger, but the android quickly decides humans are the root of the problem.
He’s not entirely wrong either. The Bible has some pretty choice things to say about humanity, stating that we have all fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), and that in all the world there is no one righteous (Romans 3:10). For all his talk of God and justice however, Ultron fails to grasp the true nature of our Creator. Jairo Namnύn of The Gospel Coalition believes that what The Avengers fails to understand about God is that He desires redemption, not destruction. Namnύn writes,
“Ultron’s mind, ultimately birthed from a human’s fears, is too small to capture God’s delight in salvation. Yet the sentient robot is much like us. Through the prophet Jonah, God shows the human tendency to desire justice for others and grace for ourselves. Though we may not be as blunt in admitting it, we are, like Jonah, looking for justice and payback to those who sin against us—even while God is consistently saving us by his grace. We love grace—when it’s extended to us; we love it less when it’s extended to others. We are always ready to accept a sacrifice made for us, but slow to make a sacrifice for others.”
For Namnύn, the Christian imagery doesn’t end there. Age of Ultron, he argues, isn’t just about the difference between justice and grace. While Ultron seeks to save the world by destroying it, the Avengers risk their lives to make it a better place. Our heroes know they are flawed individuals, but they also know they are part of something greater than themselves, something worth fighting for. In this way, they mirror what Christ intended to accomplish through the Church.
“In this latest film, the Avengers oppose not only Ultron but also his philosophy. Unlike the villain, they put their lives on the line to save every life possible. Captain America, Thor, Hawkeye, and even Tony Stark measure their actions by how their possible consequences will affect other human beings. Both sides say they are looking for peace, but what Ultron seeks through destroying, the Avengers find through saving. They feel a real burden for each individual, and believe one human life is worth the sacrifice of the entire team. More than Avengers, they act as saviors.”
What about you? What are your thoughts on Avengers: Age of Ultron? To read a full review of the movie, check out the Crosswalk movie channel.