Avengers and the Culture Endgame

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Avengers and the Culture Endgame

By Tomasz Juszczak, Director of the Office of Youth Evangelisation

I have written previously about Avengers: Infinity War and Thanos’ vision for ‘saving’ the Universe from poverty and environmental destruction by destroying half the population. Now that Avengers: Endgame has been seen by enough people to make it the highest grossing film ever, I figure it’s safe to talk about it. But, if you’re one of the few who haven’t seen Endgame yet, SPOILER ALERT!

One of the first things we observe in Endgame, is the effect that eliminating half of the world’s population has had on those who survived. We witness a world that is hurting, full of mental illness (depression/anxiety/PTSD/survivor’s guilt etc.) and anguish. What was – according to Thanos – meant to bring about a greater good for the world has instead brought desolation. We see this as a real confirmation of the Avengers’ position: when the dignity of the human person is compromised, what follows is misery and suffering.

While some of the Avengers have fallen into grief and despair, Ironman has seized the opportunity to make a new start and is embracing a peaceful, simple life as a husband and father. When the Avengers work out a way to go back in time, collect all the infinity stones and reverse what had happened, Ironman initially hesitates for fear of what he has to lose. In the events that follow, and specifically through the character of Ironman, we see the true mode of restoration for humanity: self-sacrifice. Not only does Ironman’s final act of sacrifice eventually save the universe, it also shows us how we can help the earth’s plight whilst upholding the dignity of the human person.

Thanos’ “solution” ultimately reflects the culture of death: sacrificing others for the good of ourselves and our own self-interest. How does this look in today’s world? War, poverty, refugees, abortion, environmental destruction, euthanasia, abuse, power and violence. The Avengers, on the other hand, give us the antidote: the “culture of life” where we are called to give of ourselves for the good of others. We call this “love”, and long before Ironman we were given a perfect example of it in Christ.

“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends,” (John 15:13). Real love is what will save our world and in the end is what will triumph in this culture war.