One of the most highly anticipated films of the year, Avengers: Infinity War recently opened to a wave of excited fans and a successful opening week with over $1 billion in box office sales worldwide.
The film follows the well-loved Avenger characters, plus other favorites such as Spider-Man and the Guardians of The Galaxy. These forces of good must band together to defeat Thanos, an otherworldly being who will stop at nothing until he possesses the Infinity stones and destroys the natural order of the universe.
There are clever jokes, breathtaking graphics, and quirky banter, as we are accustomed to in the Marvel universe, but there is also a somberness in this film that goes deeper than what has been displayed before.
Through all the immense battle scenes and star power, Avengers: Infinity War is about sacrifice.
From the beginning of the film we become mesmerized with the power of Thanos and his crew. Killing those around them with a twist of the head, or using their dark forces to mangle their enemies into submission. No one is safe. Not even the characters that are so well-loved and made to seem invincible. Even they are at risk of death.
Throughout the film, little by little, we are made privy to the motives behind Thanos’ obsession with the Infinity Stones and his plan of annihilation. And little by little, we begin to see the sacrifices he has made to gain his power. We see everything he has given up, and everyone he left behind. Over and over, he is faced with the choice of power, or people/relationship.
There is no better example of this choice, than when Thanos is faced with the realization that to gain the power he so desperately desires, he must give up the one thing that he loves the most. Perhaps the only thing he has ever truly loved. And as tears fall from his eyes, in the most tender of moments we have experienced with this Character, Thanos chooses power.
Thanos is not the only character with this theme. In fact, almost every character in the film is faced with the realization that they will have to make a personal sacrifice one way or another in order to succeed. Whether that be Tony Stark sacrificing his relationship with Pepper, former Avenger teammates sacrificing their pride, or the superheros sacrificing their own lives to save their fellow heroes.
Though we may not live in a universe with superheroes and otherworldly villains, many times we are faced with the same choices. We too are faced with the choice of power, or people.
Power may look different for each of us. Maybe you are a parent and your power comes from the authority in your parent/child relationship. Or you are a leader, and your power comes from your ability to lead others in a common goal. Perhaps you are the breadwinner, and your power comes from your ability to make money. Or maybe your power is your ambition or your job, and you are willing to overcome every obstacle if it means success.
Many times it is necessary to use our power to accomplish a goal, or to grow to be a stronger individual. But how often do we prioritize our power over a person, or a relationship? What do we choose in the moments that really matter?
What if we chose to stop and listen to our children, even if we are busy and need to accomplish a task…
What if we chose to lay down our leadership role for a moment, with the desire to truly connect and hear those who follow…
What if we put aside the idea that we deserve more power because we make more money, and saw our partner as equal…
What if we prioritized the people we love over our ambition to get a promotion at work...
The choices we make in these moments matter, because life is not meant to be lived alone. We need each other, and we need to truly see one another.
The Avengers are a group made of the most powerful people in the universe, yet still they are more successful together than alone. And when their time comes to defeat the ultimate force of destruction, the only way to come out alive stems from their ability to see and believe that their fellow hero’s power is just as significant as their own.
When we choose to step outside of our own power to see another, we are choosing to see their significance.