Disney and Marvel have both had their ups, downs, and moral ambiguities. Disney recently introduced its first homosexual character in a children’s movie: LeFou, in the new Beauty and the Beast. And one of Marvel’s shows, Daredevil, seems to condone every immoral act except for murder, as the “heroes” torture their enemies and have premarital sex. In their most recent hit, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, is it possible that they will redeem themselves? Probably not. But I will make the Christian argument in favor of this movie.
The first Christian theme of in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is that of fatherhood and family.
It is explicitly stated a couple times that Star-Lord or Peter Quill was damaged in some ways by the fact that his father was absent from his life. He never knew his father and would see his friends with their fathers. He wanted what they had.
This plays into the Church’s teachings about marriage being between a man and a woman. Boys need men, specifically their fathers, in their lives to show them how to be men. Without that, we get the crisis that the world is currently facing, where there are not enough men willing to be men. Men who are willing to put off worldly pleasure in search of something better and more fulfilling.
In fact, looking back, we can see even in the first movie the effects of Star Lord’s single-parent household. In the beginning of the first movie, he had a woman in his ship with whom he had clearly had sexual relations whose name he could not even remember.
The second Christian theme has to do with the relationship between Yondu, the man who raised Star-Lord, and Rocket, one of Star Lord’s friends who is a genetically enhanced raccoon.
They reconcile and come to an understanding after being imprisoned together. At least from the surface level, it seems fairly similar to St. Peter and St. Paul, who did not much care for each other until they were imprisoned together.
This connection could become stronger if you think about how St. Peter sometimes made verbal mistakes, like when he said that nothing good ever came from Nazareth, even with Jesus Christ being the Son of God. This is not an exact parallel to Rocket’s verbal mistakes, but Rocket did have a couple of mishaps with his use of sarcasm and winking. Rocket is intemperate in his speech and learns that it is better not to push his friends away.
The third Christian theme in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is the death of Yondu.
He died to save his son. “Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13).” He showed that he was not too far gone.
This is exemplified by his first scene in this movie. He is standing at the window, shirtless, buckling up his belt, obviously discontented with the life of sin he leads. He looked out the window at his crew, who are all making happy and being merry, while he finished getting dressed.
We learn that he was exiled from his criminal organization because of his child trafficking. He had been taking Star Lord’s step-siblings to Star Lord’s father, Ego, who was trying to find one of his children who was as potentially powerful as he. When he realized that they did not have that power, he killed them.
When Yondu found out what Ego was doing, he decided not to take Star-Lord to him. And knowing what Ego had been doing had obviously haunted Yondu’s every waking moment.
And so, like the sinner he is, he indulges in sin to try to forget. He indulges in alcohol, smoking, and sex. And when he confronts the man who was the driving force behind banning him, we learn that he will not get the honor of having the specific type of funeral that is the custom for the organization.
But when he sacrifices himself for Star-Lord, he gets that funeral. He is the good thief crucified next to Jesus who repents before he dies, and because of it, he gets the equivalent of a Catholic funeral.
I do not want to exaggerate the morality of this movie. Obviously, its characters are not Catholic and do not subscribe to our principles. But because the moral law is written on every human heart, the characters do grow, and most viewers, whether or not they are Catholic or Christian, will recognize that their moral improvements are positive developments.
Image Sources: Flickr, BagoGames