The Avengers Infinity War Movie Mirrors Our Shallow Empty Modern Culture

I finally saw Avengers Infinity War and found it very disappointing. It seems to be yet another installment of the same failed Modern Comic Book Trope we’ve seen evolve the past 15 years where good looks, sex appeal, power, and privilege win the day. But this movie seems to carry an additional, terribly disastrous allegorical yet immoral tale about genocide and over-population who’s immature message of murder and survival seems dreamed up by some terribly confused teenager, not the rich, complex story-telling of a seasoned Hollywood screenwriter of old.

The idea that it’s “ok” for a monologuing, shade-of-gray antagonist to destroy half of all life on Earth in order to rationalize the saving of the Universe (based on a failed moral dilemma that murder equates to survival) is yet proof we have in Hollywood and in American Culture today a misguided generation running the show. And that itself seems frightening.

But we, the older and wiser among these kids, are to blame. Because those that wrote this script were not mentored on the basic ideas behind why moral relativism fails, it seems. That Postmodern idea was rejected decades ago. That is something most of us learned in an intro college course to the Humanities, which history often repeats so well.

But why have we got so many writers disconnected from history?

To see the end of Avengers and realize that rationalized murder was the true message of this movie says so much to me about what’s broken in America in 2019. It’s a wider problem of our modern culture whose source surely some sociologists would agree on?

It’s not enough to say that all this movie’s punching, slapping, hitting, and exploding is overdone, as it seems to be in most of these comic book films. It’s that comic book movies have jumped the shark in failing to move us as Human Beings bound to the society of ours, fail to teach us anything important about our shared Humanity, or fail have any inherent mythological power to spiritually move us, give us hope, give us something back. Instead these films can at best reflect some pathetic attempt to be important in the realm of great fantasy film which none of them the past decade have done. That seems to be all that’s truly accomplished beyond some mild entertainment.

With Avengers Infinity Wars we leave the theater empty, questioning morality itself, trying to rationalize the murderous ways of an antagonist in a movie who with grayscale love and hate in his misguided yet evil heart wants to explain away genocide and murder by trying to convince us and the protagonists that killing others will allow others to live?

Who made Thanos, the main antagonist, judge and jury? That is what our comic heroes really should be asking but strangely never do. Sorry, not convinced. Murder is NEVER right. So kudos to yet another failed screenwriter in Hollywood. This film will die a slow death like the others. But it didn’t have to go into failed allegory. That’s so much a 2019 thing in film now which showcases its failures even more.

This novel idea of murder as meaningful or explainable in movies today to me speaks of what has happened to movies the past 50 years in America. It reflects an increasingly broken, conservative, self-centered, Capitalistic, Me Generation, Baby Boomer cultural immoral mantra pushed down our throats the past few decades since Reagan. It speaks of the conservative myth that if you just work hard, lower taxes, ignore the suffering of half the world, and the forget about the starvation of children you’ll get yours…..your money and your retirement. And everything is ok in the universe.

This is strictly a new and Metamodern failed immoral messaging trope seen now over and over in modern film that flatly fails. We see this same message in reality tv where CEO’s control the destiny of the poor or where rich bachelors can choose brides. We see guns flow into the America streets to protect property and rationalize the over-priced medical care of the sick and suffering. The conservative message is we got ours, sorry you won’t get yours. If you died, sorry but your not important. Only your money.

Its a message that fits Hitler hateful movement early on in Germany where in the 30’s as the Nazi party dissolved German parliament there slowly rose an “alternate morality” that genocide of religious groups and minorities was the only way out of their troubles. That’s very much the message of our Donald Trump here in 2019.

How close does this same genocidal view in this film fit the American Republican view that minorities and immigrants are to blame for their financial troubles today? (The irony is the fact it’s their own people that have raided their own coffers?)How close does this film match Trump’s view that half of America isn’t worth because they just might be against him? In that sense maybe even Thanos in the movie isn’t half as immoral as Trump as at least he said himself that half the universe would die regardless of wealth or power?

Comic book movies leave us empty and sick, with a spiritual void in our hearts and minds because they do not acknowledge basic morality. Instead they acknowledge the loss of the “moral line” once drawn in the sand of American hearts for 200 years prior. They use violence and power and wealth to consume our minds and convince us that those are the only rationale solutions. These films create the “us versus them” philosophy rather than showcase the human heart, the cultural unity of America, and our shared view of good verses evil in the world.

This is what Postmodernism disavowed…..that there is good in the world beyond the individual. And that idea, that the only war is in the Human Heart is a failed Boomer view that should have died in the 1970’s.

This is what is most disturbing about Modern Film since 2000……it’s failure to deliver on its promise to emotionally stir and embrace civilized discourse about what is good and evil, what do we all share about that, what does it mean for culture to embrace the love of people and of life over selfhood, etc. Fallen films like Infinity War instead embrace the power and greed in conservative societies and so express the misplaced view it’s ok to fight to protect what’s yours at all cost so use racism, greed, and murder to to rationalize war.

The end never justifies the means, however.

I’ve said this in my criticism of fantasy books today versus the past…..we have lost our way in story-telling as all the plots in modern film and books now feel the same; contain the same failed immorality.

They are all just Urban Dystopias where men feel disenfranchised from their money and their familiar roles, where women desperate for love and attention turn to dark motives in film to express those feelings. That’s what is really voiced in Modern story-telling. Desperation. Comic book films are thus about our private struggles…..the search for family and morality and faith that America lost as a whole the past 50 years as we turned towards Capitalistic fervor, greed, drugs, and sex as short term gains. The evolution towards the search for selfish fulfillment and money at the expense of others has thus produced these films.

This is not my morality lesson generalizing on every film made today. This is an overview of the “patterns” of film-making and story-telling I see today compared to say 40 years ago when fantasy film like 1977 Star Wars explored real heroism,free adventure, myth, imagination, and adventure free of dark allegory and violence to entertain us. Film today have lost those qualities. We once had fantasy films that embraced the shared Human Experience and the Human Heart, whereas today film is about our desire and desperation. It’s raw this emotional desperation. You can see it in the super powers launched by these characters to solve their struggles through violent means, the destruction unleashed on worlds and vast populations, the desolation of the landscape they destroy, and their futility in the end at still having the same emotional scars despite the wreckage around them.

The message becomes then, what purpose power if all life is taken and all worlds destroyed? All that remains is you alone in the darkness of your soul. And that’s becomes the emptiness of Infinity Wars and all these empty Postmodern comic book films.

And so Today in 2019 we have clearly lost our way. Lost our Humanity. Our movies showcase that so well. We have embraced at last the failed Baby Boomer, hippy counter-culture view at last that there is no morality left worth defending but our own, the one we try and fabricate apart from the culture. It’s us against the world. That’s Postmodernism. And no one but the strong, wealthy, and powerful have the right to rulership over it, much less to live. That’s what a comic hero with super powers really represents. That’s what comic book film has embraced.

And it is a sad reflection or mirror of ourselves and the hollowness that lies inside American Culture in 2019. Our kids will see and partially embrace this trope, sadly. It’s a failed Republican political view that must die soon or we will all inherit an entertainment sector that fails to inspire. But what is worse, that view will rationalize a culture that accepts an Earth destroyed by Humanity itself because it devolved towards its selfish desire rather than the “greater good”, looking inward, embracing its own failed moral direction rather than the cultural morality it once upheld.

We will then have become an America that that embraces a “survival of the fittest” mentality that will spell its inevitable demise.

– the Author

It’s not just all the hitting, punching, and juvenile dialogue



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