One of the most haunting scenes I've ever seen in a movie is from The Passion of The Christ. Satan is cloaked in a dark robe with a demon child, on the prowl in the crowd of onlookers while Roman soldiers publicly flog Jesus.
Sometimes evil is like this scene: Satan is obviously right in front of us.
Yet at other times, evil is sneakier, and more discernment is required.
I'd argue that blockbuster movies in theaters right now require us to watch with caution.
Have you ever heard of the term anti-hero?
An antihero is a character who would classically be considered a villain, but the plot is reframed to make the character the protagonist, even the hero.
This is especially evident in Maleficient: Mistress of Evil and Joker.
In the Bible, the Lord condemns evil. This is why the rise of the antihero as the title character is so problematic.
Let's look at how this plays out in a few movies currently in theaters.
Maleficient: Mistress of Evil is the follow-up to the 2014 Maleficient movie that showed the evil queen's humble beginnings, betrayal and her resulting callous attitude.
Joker communicates a similar beginning.
As the Movieguide® review states, "Arthur Fleck aka the Joker works as a clown while moonlighting as a mediocre standup comedian. He gets beaten by teenage thugs, but fights back one night against three rich white men on the subway and shoots them in cold blood."
Although their stories make for compelling stories at times, media-wise viewers need to recognize that in these movies, evil is masquerading as the hero, which is nefarious (Luke 18:19, Mark 10:18). Explaining a character's evil origin doesn't justify who they have become. Even Satan had a backstory:
How are you fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weaken the nations! For you have said in your heart, "I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will sit also on the mount of the congregation, in the recesses of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High" (Isa. 14:12-14).
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