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10 Secret Reasons Why The Avengers Is the Best Superhero Film

9. Loki represents the Tyranny of Nature-Worshiping Fertility Cults, the Pre-Biblical Polytheistic Religions That Treated People Like Objects Through Practicing Human Sacrifice and Temple Prostitution.

Thanos, the Villain Teased After the Credits as the Sequel's Antagonist, More Explicitly Represents the Same Theme Since He Literally Worships Death and Seeks Her Love Through Genocide.

The filmmakers almost make this one too obvious. Forty minutes into the film Loki barges into a ritzy event at a museum in Germany. He grabs Dr. Heinrich Shafer, an official with security clearances, throws him onto an ancient, bullheaded altar, and uses a terrifying mechanical device to rip out and scan his eye (again with the eyes!). He then sends a holographic projection to the hypnotized Hawkeye at a remote location so he can steal a rare mineral needed for the doomsday machine.

So much of our popular culture today relies on this premise. From R-rated horror movies to the moralizing '80s cartoons of Millennials' youth, it's become such a cliche that we take it for granted (and ignore its real-world equivalents): an evil cult of barbarians want to kill and enslave everyone else. They have no rational reason for doing so, they just have their strange gods who demand a blood sacrifice. The recent satirical horror movie The Cabin in the Woods depicted the much-maligned genre's connection to the ancient ritual of human sacrifice in an inventive way. (Ironically, Chris Hemsworth who plays Thor also stars in this one and dies for our sins again.)

Cartoons like He-Man and the Masters of the Universe feature the sorcerer Skeletor as the antagonist; likewise the Thundercats wage war against Mumm-Ra, the Ever-Living.

Why do we take such satisfaction in seeing those who worship death defeated by a balance of masculine and feminine power?