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Guardians of the Galaxy: a movie review (SPOILER ALERT)

Dr. Jim Denison is the CEO of Denison Forum.
His Daily Article and podcast globally reach over 160,000 subscribers. Dr. Denison guides readers to discern today’s news—biblically. He is the author of multiple books and has taught on the philosophy of religion and apologetics at several seminaries. Prior to launching Denison Forum in 2009, he pastored churches in Texas and Georgia. He holds a Ph.D and a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Jim and his wife, Janet, live in Dallas, Texas. They have two sons and four grandchildren.

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Chris Pratt (C) as Peter Quill walks down a corridor on a spaceship with the other guardians, Zoe Saldana as Gamora (L), genetically-engineered raccoon named Rocket, tree-like humanoid named Groot and Dave Bautista as Drax (Credit: Marvel Studios)

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Guardians of the Galaxy had the best August launch of any movie in history.  The film opened to a record-breaking $94 million in North America, and took in another $66.4 million overseas.  The sequel has already been announced, and is scheduled for release on July 28, 2017.

The movie is based on Marvel’s comic-book series that premiered in 1969 and was updated in 2008.  Peter Quill (also known as Star-Lord), the central hero, does battle with arch-villain Ronan.  Both want the Infinity Stone, which has such power that it destroys nearly everything it touches.  Quill is joined by Gamora (the female lead), a tree-like humanoid named Groot, a genetically-engineered raccoon named Rocket, and a warrior named Drax the Destroyer.  Together, they become the “guardians of the galaxy.”

Along the way, a medical team determines that Quill is only half-human, and that his father’s biology is unknown to them.  In the movie’s climactic scene, Quill is able to seize the Infinity Stone and use its power to destroy Ronan.  No mortal could do such a thing, so we know that Quill’s biological inheritance from his unknown father is the explanation.

Fans of the comic-book series know that Quill’s father is J’Son, king of a powerful intergalactic empire called Spartax.  His ship crashed on Earth, where he fathered a child with Quinn’s mother before returning to space.  However, none of this is disclosed in the movie.

While Guardians of the Galaxy is intended to be a summer blockbuster and not a theological documentary, the plot line regarding Quill and his unknown father is spiritually significant.  Ronan is a satanic figure in the movie, able to destroy all his enemies without remorse but seeking even more power from the Infinity Stone.  Quill is a Christ figure, incarnating his father’s power in humanity.  He is willing to die to save mankind from Ronan, but his sacrifice destroys the enemy rather than himself.

Here’s where the biblical parallel ends: unlike Jesus, Quill does not know about his status and relationship with his father until the end of the movie.  He discovers his uniqueness only when he risks his life by seizing the Infinity Stone.  By contrast, Jesus knew himself to be the Son of God who “came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).  He knew that he was dying as the Savior of humanity and that he would be restored to his Father soon.

Now to my point: many Christians are more like Quill than Jesus.  As sons and daughters of our heavenly Father, we are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for [God’s] own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).  However, many of us don’t live in the power of our omnipotent Father.  We choose to depend on our strength rather than his Spirit.  We trust in our own wisdom rather than his omniscience.  It’s when we come up against an enemy we know we can’t defeat that we turn to our Father for help.  He will give us his aid, but he wanted to empower us long before we turned to him.

Self-sufficiency is spiritual suicide.  Choose to begin your day by submitting it to your Father as your King.  Ask the Holy Spirit to control and empower you (Ephesians 5:18).  As you go through the day, turn every challenge and opportunity over to your Lord.  Ask for his wisdom with every decision, his power with every temptation.  Live as the child of the omnipotent King of the universe, and you will learn that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13).

When last did you trust your Father’s power?  When next will you?

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