What’s a “Film Avenger”?

So what is a “Film Avenger,” you might ask?

Is he going to leap from tall movie theaters in a single bound? Probably not.

Will he shoot light beams from his eyes? Nope.

In short, I’m just a guy who likes movies. The difference is I like movies with a purpose. That is to say, I watch movies with a specific purpose in mind.

Allow me to explain…

Superman

I have always loved film. I loved the stories – tales of characters both broad and complicated, yearning for something better, or just trying to get along in life.

I can think of so many instances where I learned more about life from a movie than from my days in the public school system. Life became a battle of good and evil like Superman or Star Wars (I even got a nasty cut on my head trying to fly off my bed at an early age).

My love of film came to consume my whole world. I believed I was in my own movie, and would dream up silly scenarios of searching for lost antiquities or saving a pretty girl from the jaws of death. These were childhood delusions brought with me through adolescence. In a way, I think we all think of ourselves as the “stars” in our own story.

Despite all the fantasies, it was film that lead me to the greatest decision of all.

The Passion of the Christ brought a choice to my attention, and forever changed my life’s direction. I was no longer an aimless sinner, but a child of God, forgiven and loved.

Jesus with the cross

Here was no fictional character, but the only true Hero. The Savior of all mankind. I realized that the larger story is not about me, but about Him. It was always about Him, and my place is a supporting role.

Though my life was changed and I now lived for Christ, I still enjoyed movies. I still loved the fanciful stories. I knew that this in an of itself was not sinful. After all, God gave humans the creative impulse – the ability to imagine, and dream up stories. I wondered if there was a reason why the Lord gave me this passion for film and story.

Then I came upon Cinemagogue and Pastor James Harleman.

Here was a fellow movie and pop culture fan who integrated his love of cinema with his love for the Savior. After reading his blog and book, and listening to his lectures on different films, I became convinced that I could use my passion for film and storytelling to further God’s kingdom, and to tell people about the Greatest Story ever told; to use it as an inroad to reach a culture in need of the love of Jesus. To allow people to see that, to quote Pastor Harleman, “entertainment is not mindless.”

Story is a cornerstone of culture. It is an extension of our connection to our Creator. It is a reflection of a longing, the “great longing,” as Christian apologist (and creator of The Chronicles of Narnia) C.S. Lewis put it. There is a reason why people gravitate toward certain stories – stories of a savior, a hero coming to save them. There is a hope there for something.

We all love stories, and whether they know it or not, filmmakers make and audiences watch certain types of movies because of this longing we have. We want to see the villain get it in the end and the hero triumphant. But why? Why are certain stories good and bad?

Jesus Himself taught through stories – dramatic parables that conveyed a certain part of God’s character and His reason for coming to earth. Anyone remember the story of the Prodigal Son? The lost sheep?

So here I am, an average guy with a movie review and culture blog.

Unlike some Christian-based movie review sites, I see all kinds of movies and don’t deny certain movies my attention because of content some may find objectionable. In other words, I don’t just relegate myself to PG and under. Don’t get me wrong, those sites and blogs still serve a very good purpose (like informing parents of content to which they may not want to expose their children). I have my own individual tastes (and a limited movie budget), and I’m not going to review every movie out there. I’m not a big fan of gory horror films, for example, so I probably won’t devote any time or money toward them.

I think that one can find good story even in the most “objectionable” of films. After all, some of the most violent stories ever told are from the Bible itself. This isn’t biblical justification for random violence, mind you. The Bible doesn’t celebrate violence, but uses it to inform us of some theme or truth. Since man is by his nature sinful, violence and conflict will always be a part of life. The Bible reflects that. It is, after all, a historical document.

However, this does not mean that all films project some kind of Biblical Truth. In fact, some films go out of their way to mock Truth or use some part of the Word to go against the Word (The Matrix and its sequels come to mind). There is also material that is made to satisfy a lust (i.e. pornography), which does not hold any spiritual merit whatsoever. I hope that part of the point of this blog is to differentiate between these types of entertainment.

It’s not about the level of violence or the amount of profanity in a movie. It’s how one goes into seeing a film that matters (in other words, do you like it just to fulfill a lust or because the carnage “looks cool”?). If one goes into a film with a God-centered mind and heart, the temptations won’t get far.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23

Everyone’s limits are different, as dictated by their individual sin patterns. We are all susceptible to sin and temptation. The important thing is to know yourself before you go.

With this blog, I will review movies, both old and new, through the prism of my faith and worldview. There will be spoilers as the review gets deeper into the themes and meta-narrative. If you haven’t actually seen the movie yet, stick to the first section in each review, before I get into the stuff I liked and the stuff I didn’t like.

I hope to give people another perspective about film and its connection to the Ultimate Story – to get people talking about the common narrative threads in film, using Scripture as a guide. However, I am not writing for a purely Christian audience. In fact, I welcome good conversation from non-believers as well.

I hope to further my faith in God. I feel that writing about my faith and looking in the Word for guidance and purpose will bring me closer to the Lord, and will make me more aware of the plan He has for my life. He gave me this passion for a reason, and I intend to use it for His glory.

Lastly, my hope with this blog is to reach others for Jesus – to stimulate conversations in others about God and His role in their lives.

So let’s take our seats… the show is about to begin.

movie-theater

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4 thoughts on “What’s a “Film Avenger”?

    • Hi! Thanks so much for your kind words. I usually do post regularly, but I’m in a bit of a creative block right now. I’m working on a couple posts, but I find myself discouraged for some reason. Prayers would be greatly appreciated. I’m praying that God would fill me up enough to write.

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