We went out to see “Guardians of the Galaxy 2” if for no other reason than that it was the first time I had seen a movie rated 9 out of 10 on IMDB. It’s a silly space movie with gross scenes not appropriate for children, but as an adult, I found some redeemable parts worth mentioning to Christian audiences.
A near universal theme of novels and movies is the search for the father, and this new movie was no exception.
- “Finding Nemo” is about a little clown fish named Nemo looking to return to his father Marlin.
- “Iron Man” is about Tony Starks trying to reconcile his perception that his father loved his work with the reality that his father loved him, which was only fully revealed in Iron Man 2. As Tony watched an old recording of Howard Stark, he found a message of affirmation from his father, “I built this for you….my life’s work. This is the key to the future. I’m limited by the technology of my time, but one day you’ll figure this out. And when you do, you will change the world. What is and always will be my greatest creation, is you. ” From then on Tony had a breakthrough; he discovered a new element to power his core.
- “Batman” is about Bruce Wayne an orphan who grew up with the biggest chip on his shoulder (at least according to the new rendition of Batman). Understandably he lost both his father and mother in the same night in a back ally mugging-murder. In the old version of Batman, Bruce converted this pain to fight for justice. In the new version of Batman, he is angry and alone. He goes to Bhutan to be trained by Henri Ducard of the League of Shadows, a father figure in the underworld of vigilante justice. It turns out this “Master” was just using him and wasn’t a real father. The modern Bruce Wayne has some serious daddy issues from being raised without a father. But was he? In The Lego Batman Movie, Bruce Wayne finally realizes that the father he searched for was not in the Far East but right there in his house. Alfred the Butler raised him like his own son.
- “Spiderman” was about Peter Parker looking for a father figure. His parents had died before we got to know them, and his uncle also died in a random mugging Peter could have prevented but didn’t. He ends up looking to his friend’s father as his father figure, but that was a disappointment. Norman Osborn turned out to be the Green Goblin. And his best friend Harry Osborn will turn into his arch nemesis through an explainable misunderstanding. Spiderman didn’t kill the Green Goblin. Come on! But his friend wouldn’t listen. Irreconcilability creates great tragedies. (It also happened in Ben Hur, the best friends became arch enemies.)
- “Guardians of the Galaxy 2”, if it is about anything in particular, is about Pete carrying a chip on his shoulder because he didn’t know why his father had left his mother. I won’t spoil the plot, but it’s pretty outlandish. He reconciles with his father momentarily only to find out, much like Batman, that the man who raised him was protecting him all along. Yondu, the leader of the Ravagers, was a father willing to sacrifice his life for Pete. But as a child Pete took one sentence Yondu said too seriously, “I’m going to eat you.” Yondu said, “That was just joke!” It’s a good reminder to parents that sometimes what you say carries far more weight with your children and will be remembered far longer than you realize. Never demean children or make them feel scared. It’s not funny to them.
Hollywood Sticks to Script
The universal trait of great movies is the protagonist in search of his father. There is no great movie of a man searching for his mother. This is because a child gets older, the role of the father becomes increasingly important. This is a universal theme because in a very real way, we are like the lead character in a movie who has lost our connection with the Heavenly Father, and we spend all our lives trying to heal the wounds that have been left from misunderstanding God the Father.
Our wounds become healed and our true identity revealed when we reconcile with our Father who created us, through an intermediary, the God-man, the Savior, Jesus Christ.
It is not from our mothers that we need to form our identity. We form our identity of who we are and what we’re put on earth to do from our fathers.
Political correctness may one day flip it and make a movie about a protagonist in search of his mother, but it won’t resonate nearly as much as inside our spirits as the story of Finding Nemo, Iron Man, and Guardians of the Galaxy. Outlandish movies can make a box office hit by sticking to the formula written best in the Gospels. Jesus came to reconcile humanity to the Father. Jesus said, “…no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” (Matthew 11:27 ESV)
Hollywood took their script right out of Philip’s mouth. The Jewish apostle longed for more than a political victory over the Roman oppressors. Philip longed to know God as his own Father.
“Philip said to him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” (John 14:8-9 RSV)
The Tragedy for Our Children
Decades of family breakdown in the West have now given us conclusive statistics that the most negative outcomes in life are linked to fatherlessness1. Put another way, negative outcomes such as early promiscuity, poor self-image, out of wedlock pregnancy, crime, joblessness and poverty are directly correlated to a child being raised by a single mother.
God did not design children to be raised by a single mother plus government welfare as their substitute father. Social engineering and political intrusion into the traditional family have created a generation of troubled adults who have grown up without their own father, and with a single mum who felt little consequence to divorce, because the State absorbed the impact by subsidizing divorce, paying for welfare based on child custody, and supporting women no matter what choices they make. Fathers have become useless in the eyes of many women, but never in the hearts of children. They are on a God-given, spirit-driven search for their identity in their father.
The #1 theme of great stories is a lead character in search of his father.
The #1 need of the Church is to know God as Father.
The #1 need of children is to know their own father.
Then they said to Him, “Where is Your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither Me nor My Father. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also.” (John 8:19)
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This article was originally posted on Manna in Movies.