I’m a huge big-screen movie fan. My adult son and I have a standing date most Tuesdays during prime movie release time to go and see whatever is out and hot at the box office. We’re even willing to take a risk and check out a film with a low Rotten Tomatoes score because of $5 Tuesdays at Studio Movie Grill. $5 movie + $5 appetizers + $5drinks = budget-friendly fun.
If you’ve been to a movie theatre in the past few years, you’ve likely noticed the proliferation of Superhero movies. In the words of film critic Allanah Faherty, “With a ton of source material and superhero films proving they can make bank at the box office, movie studios are clambering over themselves to bring iconic comic book characters to life on screen.” With the release of Logan and LEGO Batman already this year, superhero fans of all ages have been ecstatic and there’s more to come. Guardians of the Galaxy opens May 5th with a new release each month this summer – Wonder Woman (6/2) and Spider-Man: Homecoming (7/7). After a short hiatus, Super-hero flicks return in the fall with Justice League in November and Deadpool 2 in early 2018.
So why the explosion of superhero movies crushing it at box office around the world? What is it about these stories that we humans find so compelling?
We apparently love stories about people who have special powers and who use them in spectacular fashion to put a hurting on the bad guys. But as much as we love the action scenes, it seems to me that what we really connect with is the origin stories. We’re drawn into the story of Tony Stark who, when wounded and taken prisoner, builds a suit to save his life and escapes as Iron Man. We’re fascinated with the radioactive spider bite that turns Peter Parker into Spider-Man. We’re intrigued by how the orphaned Natasha Romanova is brainwashed by the government and transformed into the professional killer we know as Black Widow. In each case, a so-called “normal” person is transformed into a hero by some tragic event of their past. Something about the resonance of that storyline to our own storylines is compelling. We’re attracted to the strength that comes from their weakness.
If you’re like me, you tend to think of your weaknesses, failures and heartbreaks as setbacks and yet the God revealed to us through Scripture is a God more than equipped to take the hard things of our past – the losses, failures and betrayals – and redeem them. That’s precisely the message Joseph delivered to his brothers in Genesis 50: 19-20: “But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” In the words of Mike Foster, God, “takes your bad story and makes it your backstory. It becomes the interesting tale of how you got your superpowers.”
So what is your backstory? What challenge from your past is fighting to become a strength in your future?