There Is No God, But… Cool!

M. Leary has an interesting article (probably more interesting if you have already seen the movie, which I have not) on the few references to gods and deity in Marvel’s The Avengers.

Not one to sit on his duff when justice can be served, Captain America begins preparing to do his thing. “Wait,” Black Widow says. “You might wanna sit this one out, Cap. These guys are basically gods.” To which, the Captain replies, “There’s only one God, ma’am. And I don’t think he dresses like that.” And out of the plane Captain leaps, his fall to earth surely cushioned by his ideological purity.

Leary makes the valid point that whenever you pull God into the conversation, you can’t just side-step him. Somehow, a simple reference draws in a world of meaning.

3 thoughts on “There Is No God, But… Cool!”

  1. That line “There is one God and I know he doesn’t dress like that” is one of my favorites from the movie.

    The scene is Germany is also amazing.

  2. Having seen the movie, I feel this review is pretty accurate. Joss allows the characters to speak in their own voices (surprisingly, for people expecting the whimsical existentialism that pervades everything else he does), and only really insists on solidish character-arcs, snappy dialog, and absolutely incredible action (which is often as well thought-out as it is spectacular.) I think part of the movie’s appeal is that it is able to throw together conflicting parts of our nation’s psychology, yet keep any potential ruptures and debates quiet under a thick layer of sheer genre-fiction craftsmanship. This feel like one of the few readings that manages to capture both the film’s political overtones and the pervasive escapist adventure that dominates them.

  3. Actually, I think Leary’s interpretation is basically wrong, except for the conclusion. Captain America was NOT asserting that he had a manifest destiny from the American civil deity to win over those not-like-us gods. The point is not that Cap knows he’s going to win – he’s expressing a statement of reality as he knows it, i.e. Loki’s not God, and Cap’s going to fight regardless of outcome. That’s what he does, is keep fighting through ridiculous odds. Incidentally, I thought the comment was mostly to mock Loki. Which the movie did. A lot. And it was hilarious. Especially when Loki wore the dorky horns.

    Back to the point… I’d argue the “demigod” comment is a pretty good descriptor of how the movie wound up reconciling the Asgard/Judeo-Christian God discrepancy, in a science/tech modern setting. SHIELD passed the uproar off to the public as “space aliens” – Thor is more of a being from a different planet, than any sort of numinous God-ish God.

    I also don’t necessarily buy his analysis of the Hulk. But I could be mistaken since I didn’t previously know the Hulk.

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