I ended up at the movie theatre on Sunday evening and the new, 3-hour Avengers adventure was far deeper than I expected. A lot of of setting suns and rising stars on the horizon.
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This episode of Think Spiritual Podcasts wasn’t planned. The ideas I will express in it will not be fully fleshed out. I really didn’t expect Avengers: Endgame to be so good and, at most, I expected something that would make a good conversation with Bernardo and Gonzo much like we did for Infinity War.
However, I think I have to write and talk about it on my own in order to explore some of the larger concepts in my usual podcast format. So, welcome to my thoughts on Avengers: Endgame – spoilers will abound.
Hello Spiritual Seekers and welcome to a brand new and completely unexpected episode of Think Spiritual Podcasts.
As always, I’m your host, Mark, and I had fully planned on having my next Hero’s Journey episode done and uploaded by this time, but as I write this script I just saw Avengers: Endgame and I think I have to talk about a number of things in it.
I loved a lot of moments in this movie. Was there anything I didn’t like about it?
Maybe Brie Larson’s haircut? Maybe the fact that Ms. Marvel…er Captain Marvel…wasn’t really in the movie enough, but she is kind of ridiculously overpowered so I can see why they had to keep her out of it for the most part.
Captain Marvel also seemed a little flat and brooding which shouldn’t be the case as her movie was all about her reconnecting with her emotions. You need to feel more than anger, ladies, and you don’t have to be fixing everything everywhere.
And I didn’t like that Vision didn’t make a reappearance, but I guess he was kind of “at one” with that Mind Stone, so him reappearing wouldn’t have worked – the Mind Stone couldn’t be in two places at once.
One thing that I didn’t like at first, but as I think about it more it kind of makes sense, and that was how the world stayed broken during the five year period after the Thanos incident. For instance, how New York city was still jammed full of broken down cars and the harbour was strewn with empty boats.
Logically and literally speaking I just don’t think that the world would crash to a halt like that for that length of time. However, symbolically it does make sense. It was pointing to the fact that people often become stuck in their trauma. They don’t move forward. More on that later when I talk about Captain America.
And I suppose it would have been nice to have seen Angry Hulk or Worldbreaker Hulk come to the surface, but speaking of Hulk I have to admit that I absolutely loved the integration aspect of Bruce Banner and Hulk.
To me there were a lot of characters who had “Atonement with the Father” moments and Banner/Hulk was one of them for certain. This is something I’ve brought up before – especially in my Thor: Ragnarok breakdown.
Bruce Banner represents our intellect and vulnerability while Hulk is our protection device – our cloak of rage. I really like how, in Endgame, Banner says that he had to stop thinking of Hulk as a “disease to be gotten rid of”. So, he worked hard to bring all the best parts of himself into one being.
And that’s what we have to do with ourselves. The parts of our Self that we think of as weaknesses or liabilities or even as dangerous are often parts that we have to integrate. We can’t be whole and complete if we’re always fighting ourselves and having our inner archetypes possess us.
Which is, unfortunately the path that Hawkeye takes when he loses his entire family when Thanos wishes half of the life in the universe away. Essentially Hawkeye becomes The Punisher. He just wants to inflict his own pain on others.
He’s extremely broken, but this is an archetypal and symbolic aspect that I want to explore on a future episode of Think Spiritual Podcasts: the whole and satisfied man who loses his family.
This happens in so many stories and especially in action movies. The man’s wife generally represents his feminine archetype. His children are representations of his slowly maturing emotions and new growth.
So, when this feminine nature and parts of himself die, he is left in a barren wasteland with no love or joy or place to belong anymore and he will almost always then take the road of vengeance or, as in Hawkeye’s case, just inflicting as much pain as possible on others around them. Maybe they deserve that pain and maybe they don’t: the man who has lost everything doesn’t care.
And the subject of not caring brings me to Thor. Ahhh, Thor. How do I feel about this Hero…this King, now? I loved the first Thor film and Thor: Ragnarok – I talk about them all the time on this podcast. I loved the completion of Thor’s Hero’s Journey and his taking up the mantle of the King.
But, you know, I don’t mind that the King lost everything and fell from grace. I don’t really understand why they gave him back his eye, but the rest of it kind of makes sense to me. I don’t think any of it negates any of Thor’s previous development.
I mean, the same things can happen to us all the time, right? We can come a long, long ways on our personal Hero’s Journeys and raise ourselves to amazing heights only to realize that we haven’t quite dealt with everything. It literally can be that one, stupid emotional moment can tear away all that we’ve worked so hard to achieve.
However, it’s not really torn away – we just feel like it has been because we had a moment of epic failure. We judge ourselves too harshly and don’t allow ourselves to be human – and often other people don’t either. Sometimes we let down followers and friends and the petty ones will never forgive us for it.
So, Thor actually having a bit of a “goodbye” moment with his mother and discovering that he’s still “worthy” was important for his continued development. I’m hoping he will eventually take the King path again someday or perhaps the Mentor path – which could be pretty epic.
And now, how about Captain America? Honestly, I’ve never been a huge Steve Rogers fan. I’m not sure why that is – maybe just the fact that he’s a little too aloof and stoic. He’s always holding himself back from vulnerability, but in Endgame his perfect armour is definitely cracked and his humanity shines through a little more.
Perhaps that’s what makes him worthy of the Power of Thor. I have to say that it was pretty awesome to see him wield Mjolnir and to eventually pass on the Captain America mantle…or shield…to Sam Wilson.
And I was very happy to see him genuinely happy at the end. I think the man had held himself in battle mode for too long.
That’s the funny thing about Steve Rogers in this movie as well. He keeps telling others to move forward and he keeps trying to as well, but he’s just running on fumes at this point. He’s tired. He’s ready to be done, but the only place he really can find happiness is in the past.
That’s not usually a message I would condone, but in this particular case I think it’s appropriate.
And all of this finally, finally, finally brings me around to Ironman. Mr. Tony Stark. The Arrogant Hero who really is no longer the Arrogant Hero.
You know, I love the original Ironman movie and can happily ignore the other two – although they probably have their place. I am actually not sure how many times Tony Stark makes it around the wheel of the Hero’s Journey – I haven’t worked it out yet, but I want to say that it’s at least three and maybe four times.
I absolutely love that he found his bliss by having a child that he loved more than anything. I love that he was unwilling to give her up for the entire world, that he found a way to save the present and future by not actually changing the past.
You can’t change what happened, you can only change now.
I love that he was able to take the path of sacrifice.
I really, really, really wish that instead of saying, “I am Ironman” when he snapped his fingers that he had said, “I am Morgan’s father”. Oh my god…that would have been so impactful and powerful and would have really shown just how far he made it on his journey.
I hope there’s an alternate scene with that line somewhere.
I’m just going to always hear that line that way anyway when I watch this movie again in the future. I think, in his heart, that is what Tony actually said.
And that’s about it. That’s about all I’m going to say. Hmmm…notice how I’ve only talked about male characters?
Well, that’s because those are the characters that are in their sunset phase. The female characters are rising, people, whether you like it or not and whether it’s ideologically driven or not.
And there is nothing wrong with that. Every writer and every director and every artist has an agenda when they write or depict or express an idea. You are always being fed something. How you interpret that thing you’ve been fed determines a lot of your character.
So, the scene of all the women banding together to protect the Infinity Gauntlet was a portent of things to come and a pretty powerful and cool scene if you ask me.
Although I still didn’t like Captain Marvel’s haircut. However, I guess she doesn’t want nor need my approval.
Thank you very much for listening to or watching this very random episode of Think Spiritual Podcasts. Please like, share, comment, subscribe and please donate to the podcast or buy a piece of music gear from me if you feel so inclined.
And I guess the best lesson that we can all take away from Avengers: Endgame is that if Thanos destroys your world, you can always change your Self first and then change your world with a lot of powerful allies at your side.
I will see you on the next episode of Think Spiritual Podcasts…and very soon because it’s already written. Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey Step 10: Apotheosis is on its way!