Avengers: Infinity War Defines Love that Lasts Forever May07

Avengers: Infinity War Defines Love that Lasts Forever...

WARNING: Spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War ahead! Avengers: Infinity War contrasts what cannot last with what endures forever. The main issues at stake are, after all, “infinity” stones. It’s intriguing that, despite their names, these stones command forces that are finite in scope within our universe: power, space, time, reality, soul, and mind. The one notable force that has no infinity stone is love—and perhaps, given the paradoxical nature of the other stones, this is intentional. Thanks to the film’s enormous cast, there are an unusually large number of relationships hanging in the balance as Thanos stalks across the universe in search of the stones. And the explored relationships aren’t all on the heroes’ side; I was surprised to discover that part of Thanos’s motivation is his own twisted concept of love. Selfish Love Throughout the film, Thanos’s self-serving “love” is juxtaposed with the legitimate love demonstrated by the Avengers and the Guardians. First, there’s Thanos’s attitude towards the universe: according to Gamora, “he only ever had one goal: to wipe out half the universe.” Thanos believes it’s his job to maintain “balance.” He doesn’t see his actions as the destruction of billions of lives; he believes he’s giving the remaining billions the chance to experience better existences. In the film, just like in life, sometimes we wonder if love is worth it. Infinity War also highlights a much more personal relationship for Thanos: his status as a father to Gamora, whom he adopted after destroying half the population of her planet. Of all his “children,” Gamora is Thanos’s favourite, even though she hates everything about him. In order to obtain the soul stone, Thanos has to sacrifice what he loves most. Gamora taunts him, believing that there is nothing he loves, and therefore...

Preparing for Infinity War: Saying Goodbye, Part 2 Apr25

Preparing for Infinity War: Saying Goodbye, Part 2...

In Part 1, we went through most of the Avengers and their impact on the world. Here we have several more Marvel heroes who will face Thanos’ Infinity-gauntleted fist and perhaps death. Which heroes will fall and what legacy have they left behind? Each character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has had an effect on both their world and mine. If any of them aren’t going to make it through this fight, here’s how I’d want to see their final scenes play out. 1. Black Panther “Vengeance has consumed you. It is consuming them. I am done letting it consume me. Justice will come soon enough.” T’Challa is the newest addition to the Avengers’ growing ranks and boy, is he a worthwhile one. After his father is assassinated in Civil War, T’Challa accepts the mantle of Black Panther just in time to defend Wakanda from a nearly successful coup. He might hold the most balanced moral center of any hero appearing in Infinity War—the weight of his own beliefs, the influence of his role as Black Panther, and the well-being of an entire nation all rest on his shoulders and he doesn’t take that lightly. After he broke down the exclusionary policies of Wakanda, T’Challa showed us it’s always better when humanity builds bridges instead of walls. The perfect send-off: With the vibranium suit, superhuman abilities, and army of Wakandans at his back, Black Panther would not go down easily. We haven’t seen Thanos collect the Reality Stone yet, but I’d love to see it used in the style of Doomwar to molecularly turn all vibranium in Wakanda inert, and then Black Panther takes down a member of the Black Order before being overwhelmed. 2. Gamora “Whatever nightmares the future holds are dreams compared...

Preparing for Infinity War: Saying Goodbye, Part 1 Apr23

Preparing for Infinity War: Saying Goodbye, Part 1...

As Infinity War’s release looms just a few days from now, my mind has been racing with questions—which heroes will be squashed under Thanos’ Infinity-gauntleted fist and what impact have they left behind? Each character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has had an effect on both their world and mine. If any of them aren’t going to make it through this fight, here’s how I’d want to see their final scenes play out. 1. Iron Man “We need to be put in check. Whatever form that takes, I’m game.” The genesis of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe came as a total surprise to everyone. Without Iron Man’s caustic wit, Scrooge McDuck-level wealth, and awakened willingness as a reluctant hero, the world would be a Chitauri-infested disaster. Tony Stark reminds us it’s not the perfect who are called to be heroes, but the willing. It’s never too late to bend that weapon into a ploughshare, to try to build a shield when all you’ve ever known are swords. The perfect send-off: We’ve seen a strong mentorship connection develop between Tony Stark and Peter Parker. If Iron Man has to die in Infinity War, I want to see Spider-Man do something recklessly heroic only to have it utterly fail, and Iron Man swoop in to take the killing blow. 2. The Hulk “That’s my secret Cap, I’m always angry.” Two movies couldn’t make audiences care about the best “monster-inside-me” in Marvel until Mark Ruffalo’s soft charm grounded him as a man who fears and resents the power he wields. As an intellectual peer to Tony Stark and a physical match to Thor, Banner justifiably wants to run from his fears. There’s not a braver moment for Banner than when he Vespas back to Manhattan, realizing that...

Team Cap: Standing Firm Jun13

Team Cap: Standing Firm...

You’re a prude because you’re waiting until you’re married to have sex. You’re ignorant because you believe everything was created by a loving God. You are a misogynist because you believe life begins at conception. You’re homophobic for finding an identity based on your faith rather than finding it in how you feel or who you are attracted to. Have you ever had any of these things said to you? If so, then grab a shield, and welcome to Team Cap! Society tells us how to see people, how we should act, and the things we should accept as true. If we disagree, we are the villains. But society isn’t always right. Popular opinion is rarely the best indicator for truth and justice; actually, it is often the worst. Consider Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German theologian during World War II and, I would argue, a proud member of Team Cap. He spoke out against the atrocities committed by his society to the Jewish people, the handicapped, and the poor. He spoke out against war and taking land by force, and he was sent to a concentration camp by his society to be abused and ultimate die. I also think of Susan B. Anthony, James Brown (the 18th century abolitionist, not the singer), Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr; all people who spoke out against the societal norms and views of minorities, all who suffered for their convictions. All too often we present only the edge of our shield as we condemn people who disagree with our opinions and perspectives. These people, and many more, found their truth outside society, planted their feet and set their shield echoing the words left to Peggy Carter’s niece: “Sometimes when society says ‘MOVE’ you have to look back...

Team Iron Man: Keeping Us Accountable Jun08

Team Iron Man: Keeping Us Accountable...

Tony Stark knows the people of Earth are in danger and he’s going to protect them whether they want him to or not. He is so determined to shield them that he rides a nuclear bomb through a wormhole in The Avengers. In Iron Man 3, he builds dozens of suits, planning for any and every possible scenario, always fearing it won’t be enough. In Age of Ultron, he finally sees a way to keep the world safe (though it backfires horribly). “I see a suit of armour around the world,” he says. Every action he takes is a means towards that end. That’s how deeply the knowledge of imminent danger has rooted itself in Iron Man’s mind. When the Avengers themselves start being held to account for the deaths caused by their world-saving actions, Stark sees a huge problem. Vision spells it out in Civil War: “Our very strength incites challenge. Challenge incites conflict. And conflict… breeds catastrophe.” Stark is burdened with the knowledge that catastrophe is coming, and he wants the Avengers to be the solution, not the cause. That’s why the idea of accountability is so important to him. Each time they save the planet, hundreds—maybe thousands—of innocent people die in the process. Each of those deaths weigh heavily on Stark’s conscience. Captain America is asking the world to trust a team of people who could destroy the planet on a bad day. Captain America is asking the world to trust a team of people who could destroy the planet on a bad day. By signing the Sokovia Accords, Stark is attempting to put some accountability in place. I also think he might feel the lives of thousands of people should not be in his hands alone. While Captain America is a soldier and has had...

Irony Man Jul01

Irony Man

Tony Stark’s armoured suit is as much as a part of him as the electromagnet in his chest or the blood pumping through his veins. But Stark wears another armour, one that can’t deflect bullets or  stop explosions, but keeps him safe nonetheless: his sense of humour. Stark is not what some might call “emotionally available.” He keeps himself aloof and never lets anyone get too close (with the possible exception of Pepper Potts) . He doesn’t seem to trust his teammates and, whenever they try to have a serious conversation with him, he jokes around to deflect genuine emotional connection. When he brings a nuclear bomb through a wormhole to destroy a fleet of invading aliens and very nearly dies as a result, the first thing out of his mouth upon his revival is, “What happened? Please tell me nobody kissed me.” Shawarma therapy notwithstanding, Iron Man relies on his emotional armour just as much as his shiny red and gold suit. Iron Man 3 had a lot of great scenes showing just how damaged he is and how poorly equipped he is to deal with his emotions. A kid shows him a crayon drawing of a space portal and his body reacts by going into shock. He assumes he’s been poisoned before Jarvis politely informs him that he is, in fact, having a panic attack. The man who can fix anything can’t fix himself—talk about irony, man. Iron Man has spent his life dealing with pain by building it into armour. In the finale of Iron Man 3, Stark blows up dozens of his power suits in a spectacular metaphor for his newfound emotional freedom. But in Age of Ultron, his anxiety has evolved under his nose into full-blown fear. He responds...

Falling for entertainment Jun15

Falling for entertainment...

“Stop wasting your time.” If it’s not often explicitly stated that way, it is definitely implied in the array of looks I get from people when I list off the sheer amount of TV shows that I am presently keeping  track of. It’s 16, if you were wondering. “It’s just mindless entertainment.” My feelings of guilt and shame after hearing this comment one too many times came to a head when I started listening to podcasts on the way to work. I asked for suggestions on Facebook of what I should listen to.. I anticipated a number of the recommendations: This American Life, Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History, Freakanomics, and, given the circles I roll in, a variety of Christian and inspirational podcasts. Here was an opportunity to appease those entertainment-naysayers, improve myself, make effective use of my time, and be productive on my ride to work. I’m constantly looking for deeper meaning. But instead of choosing a podcast about faith, or about how to be a better dad, or about how to run a business better,  I settled on Hunt the Truth, the origin story of Master Chief. The podcast is told from the first person perspective of an investigative journalist. “You should be ashamed.” But really, should I? Look, I get it—all of us can easily waste our time by indulging in the mindless. But for me, watching the latest Avengers film engaged my creativity and inspired me more than a recorded sermon ever will. For me, sedentary entertainment is not always passive entertainment. It certainly can be, but there are times that it simply isn’t for me. For me, playing Fez is not just playing a video game. It is walking through an old forgotten chapel in Europe, smelling incense that is long...