My extended family invited me to go with them to see Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3. Though I didn’t voice this to them, this movie—among the plethora available—was not on my must-see list. On other occasions of wanting to be with family, I’ve seen similar blockbusters, but I’ve never been invested enough in the movies to retain who did what and what happened from one film to the next.
Perhaps you are a serious fan of superhero movies and will understand why our discussion following the movie was animated and seriously enlightening. I say enlightening because before seeing the movie and being part of the subsequent discussion, I didn’t think that it was about storytelling. I mistakenly assumed that this and other similar movies were all about shocking actions and comedic interludes. Intrigued by what I was hearing in the follow-up discussion, I left the conversation with suppositions and questions.
Storytelling, in whatever form, entertains, interprets, teaches, and stimulates the imagination to create possibilities that often need the space of the multiverse to be realized. Whether the heroes are in the form of humans, animals, or the inanimate, the throughline is wanting to do the right thing despite the improbability of success. The heroes believe and have faith that good will win out over evil.
In one sense, these very loud and extraordinarily violent superhero films are like fantastical nightmares. But what is a nightmare? Might they be our way of being in the multiverse grappling with evil and fighting for what we believe in?
These movies and our fantastical nightmares may free us from ordinary planes of consciousness in order to help us gain insights through extraordinary ways of imagining what else there may be out there in the multiverse.