In Avengers: Infinity Wars, personal sacrifice to save the life of another is a major theme—as is the value of a single human life. Here’s your Catholic family movie review, complete with the trailer and discussion questions for your older kids. (We’re not recommending it for the younger set.)
by Jen Schlameuss-Perry
With interesting timing, Avengers: Infinity War happened to come out when, Alfie Evans, a baby in England who was deemed not worthy of treatment for his sickness died, despite numerous pleas from his family, doctors, other nations—even the pope. Additionally, the weekend it came out, the Fifth Sunday of Easter, the readings are about making sure that our actions speak our love, rather than relying on our words to show it; because actions do speak louder than words. In this movie, there’s an extreme contrast between the the value placed on every individual by the heroes—to the point of potentially sacrificing the fate of the universe to protect even one life—verses a very distorted value of life on the part of the villain, Thanos.
Oftentimes when we go to the movies, if it’s a really good one, people will clap when the movie’s over. In the theater I saw it, nobody clapped when Avengers: Infinity War ended. Instead, the movie left many people silent; not because it wasn’t a good movie–a good deal of it was downright fun–but it left us unsettled the way that part one of a story has to. And then some. As with all Marvel (and I’d say all superhero) movies, many challenges were offered to the viewer on moral, ethical and spiritual issues.
There was a lot of great humor in the movie, lots of action and plot and character development, and a fun little Easter Egg if you happen to be a fan of the TV show Arrested Development (my family missed it and had to look it up). The movie is worth the price of admission, and as always, make sure you stay to the very end.
Is it appropriate for your kids?
Not really. Of all the Marvel franchise movies, I think this had the most crude and bad language, bloody violence, relationship issues, and upsetting visuals and themes. It’s rated PG-13, and I agree with the rating. It really is good for kids thirteen and up.
For another opinion on this, check out what Common Sense Media has to say. And here’s an interesting take from Catholic News Service, which classifies it as A-III (adults).
For my take, and some discussion questions to try with your older kids, check out my plot overview and themes for discussion, below.
But first, the trailer:
Caution: Contains spoilers.
Thanos, throughout the Avengers and other Marvel movies, has been trying to collect the Infinity Stones, which, once he has all six, would give him essentially unlimited power. Heroes have been trying to prevent him from getting them, but in this movie, it all comes to a head. These are elemental stones that posses incredible power–the power of soul, power, reality, time, mind and space. They are scattered throughout the universe, and some are protected by superheroes. Thanos got a gauntlet on which to place the stones once he recovered them, and when they were to be in his possession, he wants to wield it to destroy half the universe. Most of the heroes are there, working together to try and stop him. Many very dear sacrifices are made. Not everybody made it. That’s enough information to go by and I’m going to try and write the rest of this without including any spoilers.
Some Themes for Discussion
- Overcrowding and a lack of resources is a common discussion–what can be done? how can we find more equitable solution for providing for everyone’s needs? how do we control the impact that humanity is making on the planet and our brothers and sisters in countries that are less fortunate. Thanos had a plan. Do you agree with the action that Thanos took? Was it moral? What might be other solutions?
- What did Thanos hope to gain by carrying out his plan? Do you think his intentions were good? What did he hope to gain for himself, specifically? Is that an honorable motivation for doing anything?
- Every time Thanos retrieved another Infinity Stone, a sacrifice was made. The heroes were all willing to give something up in order to save the life of another. Thanos made a sacrifice, too. What was the difference between what Thanos was willing to give up, verses what the heroes gave up?
- Thanos claimed to love Gamora more than anything. Do you agree that he loved her? Why or why not? Did his actions match his words?
- Many of the heroes had to make judgment calls that had huge consequences. Do you think they made the right decisions? What would you have done in those situations?
- There was a running theme of “we don’t trade lives”, meaning that every single life has value and is worth saving. Often, the choice to save one individual life put others at risk. What do you think about that? Is every life sacred and worth taking risks to save? What do you think God would say about it?
- The heroes made some pretty significant mistakes that, if they hadn’t made, might have totally changed the outcome of the story. Which one annoyed you the most? What would you have done in that situation?
- The heroes had to put some personal things aside to work together. How are you at putting aside differences to work for a common goal?
- A few heroes didn’t come to the battle. What do you think about their choices, and the reasons for their choices not to show? Do you think it mattered? What do you think happened to Hulk?