Sometimes we need Hero and Villain

mSometimes theologians and church people forget how culture expresses the “spirit of the times” and that such expressions can have something profound to teach the church. Often that great enemy, the secular world, is seen as entirely bad and merely a means to our mission. We forget there are human beings in that world, remarkable human beings who also have discovered amazing truths. So it is with the latest Disney movie Maleficent.


I saw this movie with my family last weekend. First of all I just want to express how majestic and amazing this movie is from a technical standpoint. The line between human actors and generated worlds and creatures was non-existent. Both flowed seamlessly together as one story. There were no “special effects”. The entire movie was a special effect.

The story is that of a familiar Western cultural fairy tale, but told in a remarkable new way, with rich perspectives that create a unique narrative but with respect to the old narrative. Three story lines stood out to me.

1. Dashed Dreams

“I had wings once, and they were strong. They could carry me above the clouds and into the headwinds, and they never faltered. Not even once.”

Why do some people give off a tone of bitterness or negativity? Well, perhaps it is because their wings were clipped. Perhaps such bitterness stems from intense injustice and pain in their past. Can such a person regain their wings and see their dreams again?

2. A Higher Love

“Oh come now Prince Phillip. Why so melancholy? A wondrous future lies before you – you, the destined hero of a charming fairy tale come true. Behold – King Stefan’s castle. And in yonder topmost tower, dreaming of her true love, the Princess Aurora. But see the gracious whim of fate – why, ’tis the self-same peasant maid, who won the heart of our noble prince but yesterday. She is indeed, most wondrous fair. Gold of sunshine in her hair, lips that shame the red red rose. In ageless sleep, she finds repose. The years roll by, but a hundred years to a steadfast heart, are but a day. And now, the gates of a dungeon part, and our prince is free to go his way. Off he rides, on his noble steed, a valiant figure, straight and tall! To wake his love, with love’s first kiss. And prove that “true love” conquers all!”

As with the movie “Frozen”, I give kudos to Maleficent for showing us a love higher than romantic love. Christians have historically demonstrated such higher love and yet in today’s world, we Christians seem to have forgotten such love. The church is entangled with romantic love and bitterly fighting sexual-related issues. Perhaps the church might learn from the world about higher forms of love?

3. Both Hero and Villain

“But, as many thought whenever they saw the graceful figure soaring through the air, it took a great hero and a terrible villain to make it all come about. And her name was Maleficent.”

When two opposing kingdoms are at war, how can they be united? How can the yin/yang cycle be broken? Maleficent offers an intriguing (and eerily familiar to me) solution. Sometimes when two sides are continually fighting, someone needs to step up and be both hero and villain. It was both shocking and massively comforting for me to watch a grand visual representation of exactly the role I believe the Holy Spirit has led me to play: both hero and villain for the sake of unity.


If you saw this movie, what are your reactions? What can we learn here? What do you think about the dual role of both hero and villain? Is this solution to broken kingdoms viable?


  1. Christ is regarded both as hero and villain. Sadly, we Christians like to think of ourselves as hero, while all others are villains. This false and artificial dichotomy is diminishing, decimating and destroying both the church and her witness to the world.

    On an unrelated issue, is the movie worth watching in the movie theater or can it be satisfyingly watched on TV or the PC?

    • Ben, as with almost all movies lately, there is a much better experience in the movie theater. This one would play out nicely anywhere though, due to the storyline, in my opinion.

  2. “This false and artificial dichotomy is diminishing, decimating and destroying both the church and her witness to the world. – See more at:

    Correct. And such an artificial dichotomy almost destroyed me. Perhaps this artificial “church/secular” dichotomy is the yeast Jesus warned about? Perhaps I need to rethink the “separation of church and state” idea…

  3. bekamartin

    How is the quote above describing a higher love? I don’t see it. I have not seen this movie because I rarely spend my money on first-run movies, unless it is super fantastic, like God is not dead or Fireproof.

    Also, I heard that the wing cutting scene was akin to a rape scene, so I probably will not see that movie.

    • Hi Beka,

      I was trying to not reveal any spoilers :) The “higher love” is about a God-mother’s love.

      “I heard that the wing cutting scene was akin to a rape scene”

      Wow, I never would have remotely thought of that or imagined that from the scene. I can see how that perspective might be portrayed onto that scene, but I would say that would be unfair.

      This touches on something I’ve learned the past year. I was unfairly portraying my bad experience with authority (at ubf) onto my workplace authority. Once I stopped doing that, my well-being drastically improved.

      On a side note, I have not found a good review of this movie by a Christian blogger. Some are now calling Disney the most evil and dangerous company on earth, and quoting bible verses to prove that this movie is evil.

  4. “How is the quote above describing a higher love? I don’t see it.”

    Correct. That quote does not describe a higher love. The quote describes the traditional Disney storyline about romantic love. The movie seeks to tell a new story about a Godmother’s love.

    One Christian blogger called this “new story” as Disney’s secret revisionist history, trying to rewrite the Crusader’s history…. I just say WTF? Disney is retelling their own decades old story, which is based on the Grimm story… all of which are fairy tales in the first place and don’t have any real connection to Crusader history…

  5. bekamartin

    Yes, christians have been against Disney for a long time. I judge a movie (including Disney) on my own value system, not on what others say. Still, there is more to life than great movies, so I can skip this one.

  6. bekamartin

    The “rape review” actually came from feminist sites, not christian sites.

  7. Darren Gruett

    I haven’t seen this movie as I rarely go to the theater anymore. In fact, I think the last movie I saw in the theater was The Avengers a couple of years ago. With a little girl at home it’s easier to use Red Box. Anyway, that’s not the point of this post. Since you were discussing movie reviews, you might be interested in this site.

    It’s run by Focus on the Family, and I use it all the time. On multiple occasions it has shaped whether I ended up seeing a particular film or not. I don’t find it to be nearly as subjective as movie reviews often are, and it’s way better than using the MPAA rating system.

    • Thanks for sharing a link to that review Darren. I really enjoyed reading it. Several comments in the review express what I was trying to say here.

  8. MJ Peace

    I just watched this movie in theaters yesterday. I absolutely loved it. I was pleasantly surprised. The beginning was very painful to watch and I can see how the “wing scene” is analogous to rape, but that’s not what I thought when I first watched it. Her suffering was unbearable, because she had trusted and been deceived.

    But Maleficent learned to love again. I commend the movie’s definition of true love. It wasn’t Phillip’s kiss that saved her. That scene had me tearing up. Of course, some relationships didn’t make sense like the stephen/maleficent and crow/maleficent. For me, I didn’t understand the basis of those relationships. But it’s a good movie to watch.

    One of my friends also saw the wings as a metaphor for Angelina Jolie’s double mastectomy. Interesting…I also loved the camo with her little baby.

    • I read that Brad and Angelinas’ daughter Vivienne was in the movie: Vivienne starred in Maleficent.

      “Her suffering was unbearable, because she had trusted and been deceived.”

      Yes that storyline resonated strongly with me, since I was duped by ubf KOPAHN theology for many years into thinking ubf was was Christian missionary training organization.

      “But Maleficent learned to love again. I commend the movie’s definition of true love.”

      Yes that is a very, very good storyline of the movie.

      I think the Stephen/Maleficent relationship expresses the all-too-common human experience of loving someone who then turns against you. It seems to also have something to do with the two warring kingdoms.