“In the end, you will always kneel.”
“Not to men like you.”
“There are no men like me.”
“There are always men like you.”
-Loki and the Old Man
A simple exchange, between a simple old man, whose name we never know, and a villain so powerful he might as well be a god when compared to the mere mortal standing in defiance of him.
In a movie filled with superheroes, this humble old man is the greatest hero of all.
This old man’s life is saved by Captain America, and he may well be old enough to remember the last time the Captain was in Germany. Did this man’s family follow Hitler, or were they one of the defiant few who opposed him? What side of the Berlin Wall did he grow up on? Does he have any family, or did the whims of lesser men who happened to have guns take them from him? What experiences have shaped this man’s life, and forged him into the sort of man who, old and unarmed, will stand before a demigod, simply refusing to bow, or kneel? Knowing it will cost him his life?
We don’t know.
We don’t know a thing about this man, except that he is willing to lay down his life instead of be enslaved. He knows that, for all his power, Loki is just a man who seeks to dominate and rule through force and fear. Loki is not special. He’s just another tyrant.
No matter how terrible, fearsome, duplicitous, influential, or evil, tyrants are nothing more than mortal men, no more entitled to power than any other man. There may be an endless supply of them, but there’s a similar supply of men, in all walks of life, who will be free, and are willing to lay down their lives to ensure the freedom of others.
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I certainly remember that scene in the first Avengers movie. There have certainly been tyrants over the course of history. Some have been rightfully demonized like Hitler, Pol Pot, and Stalin to name a few which we can all agree on. There are some who never got punished let alone were portrayed as tyrants like Leopold II or Cecil Rhodes to name a few which is quite sad. To be honest, it can be tough going against tyrants with good publicity and I mean this in an abstract way.
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