By Anthony Casperson
[I know the spoiler ban has been lifted for the film, but it’s still polite to announce. MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD for Avengers: Endgame.]
There’s so much I’d like to write about with regard to the newest Avengers film. There’s the overarching theme of family, as it begins with the dusting of Hawkeye’s wife and children, and ends with various scenes of the heroes with their loved ones.
We could talk about the theme of resolution, shown through various character’s dealings with the past. Such as Tony’s time with his dad, Thor’s conversation with his mom, and Steve’s second chance with Peggy.
I could probably talk for a few hours about the symbolism of circles in the movie. From the grief counseling circle with Cap near the start of the film, to the return of his circular shield from Iron-Man, to the time machine’s circular design, to the arrival of the superhero cavalry through the circular portals of the sorcerers at the climax of the film, to the shot of Iron-Man’s first circular ARC reactor during his funeral, and to the ring featured on Steve’s finger at the very end. Circles are all over the place. Even the product placement continues this, with Audi’s quadruple circles prominently shown on a few vehicles.
There’s a brilliance of the filmmakers tying Endgame to Infinity War through the symbols of each film. When Infinity War first came out, I wrote about how the symbol of infinity meshes with the theme of balance in that movie. But the circle and infinity symbol find their union in a mobius strip, which happens to be the answer to time travel according to Tony. From one angle, a mobius strip looks like a circle, but from another, it looks like the symbol of infinity. A switch of perspective alters the symbol, even though it’s the same thing.
But I figured that I could go further with the circular symbology and write about a specific idea: the restoration of that which was lost coming through sacrifice. (No, I’m not exactly equating Iron-Man to Jesus. Tony already has enough of a savior complex. He doesn’t need an even bigger ego.)
Natasha’s sacrifice to gain the soul stone, Bruce’s mutilation of his arm to perform the reverse snap, as well as Tony’s sacrifice to finally defeat Thanos all led to the restoration of life. Life which was lost by a single act of will. Life which is returned because sacrifice. That which once was has come back again, as a circle coming to its completion. And yet, more is still to come.
This thought reminded me of how Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross returns life. The very same life which was lost in the Garden of Eden by a single act of willful disobedience. The life that will find its fullness in the future.
Revelation 22 shows us that there will once again be a return to the garden, right in the middle of the New Jerusalem. It might be in a city, but it is a garden city. A “New Eden,” if you will. The tree of life that once stood in the garden will find its pair on either side of the river flowing from the temple-throne of the King. An ongoing and eternal paradise.
The death brought about because of a single act of will, undone by the sacrifice on the cross. The restoration of humanity’s relationship with God, of being his family, returns life to the dead. And in that, brings about the relationship that God desired with his creation to begin with.
It’s a circle. That which once was has come back again. And yet more is still to come.
Those of us who are followers of Jesus will have the continuation of life as family into eternity. It’s a restoration, but also a new beginning. An amazing future, full of wonder.
That’s the thing about a circle, it’s an infinite beginning, even as it ends.