On this episode of Finding Christ in Cinema, we crank up the Blue Swede and fight the Dark Aster as we look for Christian themes in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. What business do a thief, two thugs, an assassin, and a maniac have in the Kingdom of God? Will they have their love of money at the end of the story? All that and more in 3…2…1!
Fitting Together Perfectly
In Marvel Studios’s breakout hit Guardians of the Galaxy, we see a dramatic change in the titular group of misfit characters. From the story’s beginning, they are collectively a thief, two thugs, an assassin, and a maniac. At first, they hate each other: the thugs are using the thief to collect the bounty on his head, the maniac is using the assassin to get to the one who killed his family, and the thief is using them all to protect him until he can get paid for the orb he has collected. Every one of them is using the others for selfish gain, and since that isn’t love, it may as well be hate, even if the subversive kind.
In fact, there’s one specific form of evil that exists between within at least two of these ragtag misfits: the love of money. Peter, for example, has made a livelihood out of stealing things and reselling them for a profit; this is how he came to possess the orb in the first place. At first, he was just going to get a substantial amount of units for it, but after some plot happens, he finds out that it contains an Infinity Stone and is thus worth at least four billion units. Rocket, however, better exemplifies the love of money (and the subconscious hatred of others) by being a bounty hunter. He has “kidnapped” Peter because he has a 40,000-unit bounty that needs to be cashed in. Then, once he also learns of the Infinity Stone’s worth, he keeps himself from killing the rest of the group just so he can get a piece of that Infinity pie. Even if the love of money isn’t proactively antagonistic to the rest of the group, it is a force that keeps Peter and Rocket from seeing past themselves.
Thankfully, something clicks within the team, and they realize that life isn’t just about them anymore. Unlike before, they can now no longer sit idly by while Ronan destroys Xandar and kills the thousands of people living there. Unlike before, they can now understand something beyond themselves and therefore act upon that new understanding: that Others are just as important as the Selves. Furthermore, they realize that they cannot take down Ronan by themselves and that they need each other to do so (as well as harness the power of the Infinity Stone).
This reminds us of what Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus, about the body growing together:
He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. (Ephesians 4:16 NLT)
As individuals, they couldn’t do much; but as the unified team known as the Guardians of the Galaxy, they saved the world. While each had his or her own gifts, it took the whole group fitting together perfectly to defeat the Accuser (aka the Satan). And once they became that one, unified group, they were able to then grow together and deepen those perfect ties that bind. If that isn’t a picture of how the Church should work within itself, I don’t know what is.
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Finding Christ In Cinema is the show where we discover Christian themes in movies past and present. Join us and together we’ll dig deeper into the silver-screen classics of yesteryear as well as the box-office hits of today. Brought to you by the Great Commission Transmission Network. View the complete show notes, including links to articles discussed, by clicking here.
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