I noticed the Captain Marvel promotional items at the supermarket yesterday, heralding the impending release of “one of the most anticipated”–by who?–“movies of 2019,” which is expected to “rescue the box office from the worst February in years.”
Captain Marvel isn’t a man anymore. They killed off the original Captain Marvel and now it’s a woman named Carol, “one of the universe’s most powerful heroes.” The universe? Gee. And her task is to save Earth from being destroyed in a “galactic war.”
Ah, fanabla. The nearest galaxy to our own Milky Way is the Andromeda Galaxy, a mere 2.5 million light years away. For the college-educated, that means that if you traveled at the speed of light, it would take you two and a half million years to get there. So really, the prospect of any kind of intergalactic unpleasantness is not on the cards. Does nobody know these things anymore?
“Entertainment” is a passive but powerful form of self-education. An uncritical consumption of superhero comic-book movies can’t possibly be good for you. Besides which, the whole idea is inexpressibly boring.
Y’know, there is such a thing as a real hero: someone to be admired for his or her greatness of character, to say nothing of achievements. Someone who stands up to evil and won’t back down. And it is possible to create fictional heroes who demonstrate goodness, courage, faith, integrity, and all the other virtues. We watched a movie-length Endeavor episode the other night that displayed and celebrated genuine heroism–ordinary men going up against evil, fighting off the powerful temptation to join it and get rich, putting their lives on the line against it… and winning! And they did all that because they were police officers and that was what it was their duty to do: they carried out a public trust, cost them what it may. What a splendid thing that was to see!
And of course history, and especially the Bible, is full of heroes. Hebrews Chapter 11 celebrates godly heroes–Abel, Moses, Abraham. “And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthah; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens” (verses 32-34).
Now that turns me on! And all without a single superhero in the list.