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Greatest Modern Religious Themed Characters: Five Roles That Live on Through the Big Screen

By    |   Monday, 27 Apr 2015 06:34 PM

Religion has played a vital role in human culture since recorded history began. It only makes sense that modern religious themed characters would be central to stories in modern cinema. Whether defending humanity against supernatural villains or freeing people from slavery, these characters stick with audiences long after a movie ends.

These five religious themed characters rank as the greatest in terms of their actions and symbolism:

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Jesus Christ

Many films have retold the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. “The Passion of the Christ” brings to life brutal details of Christ's suffering in the final hours of his life. ABC News noted how every scene, from Christ's violent arrest to his crucifixion, is marked by cruelty and bloodshed. It offered a stark contrast to peaceful teachings from Jesus and gave power behind what Christians believe he endured to affect salvation for mankind as the Son of God.

Moses

The ancient deliverer of the Jewish people was introduced to modern audiences in “Exodus: Gods and Kings.” Here, the adopted son of the Egyptian pharaoh, is a reluctant hero. Moses gradually comes to realize his destiny to free the 12 tribes of Israel from slavery. The audience can share his reluctance and at times weakness in this spiritual journey.

Noah

Flood stories are a common tale in many ancient cultures. Noah is central to the most notable one. The 2014 movie “Noah” makes the Bible's famous ark builder into an angry, morose individual, who rules his family with an iron will. Noah is purposed with a sense of vengeance against humanity and feels it is the Creator’s will to end all life. He sees himself as the vessel charged with carrying out this plan.

Thor

Can a Norse god be an action hero? In the Marvel cinematic universe, there's no question about it. Thor wields his hammer in the “Thor” and “The Avengers” movies, aided by other superheroes and even humans in his quest for justice. He is given a human element amidst his divine origins, worrying about his worthiness, pining over Jane Foster, and repentant for a brash attack on the giants. This is far removed from the Thor of Norse mythology, but it makes the god more accessible to human audiences. “The film portrayal of both Odin and Thor owes more to Judeo-Christian mythology than it does to Norse mythology,” said Norse expert Dr. Karl E.H. Seigfried on his blog. “The first Thor film has a Christian storyline: God the Father sends his son down to Earth to live as a mortal, to gather a small group of followers and convince them of his godhood, to prove his worthiness by sacrificing himself to save humanity.” 

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Zeus

The leader of Greek gods is introduced to modern audiences in “The Clash of the Titans.” Zeus retains his vengeful and petty nature as head god but lacks the level of power he held in ancient myths. Zeus was initially reluctant to fully punish humans for rebellion and only does so when manipulated by Hades. This lets the god of war usurp power. Making Zeus more vulnerable lets audiences sympathize with the once all-powerful Greek God.

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Religion has played a vital role in human culture since recorded history began. It only makes sense that modern religious themed characters would be central to stories in modern cinema, whether defending humanity against supernatural villains or freeing people from slavery.
modern, religious themed, movies, characters, films
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2015-34-27
Monday, 27 Apr 2015 06:34 PM
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