I’m not the first one to think about Phil Coulson as a Christ figure. You can Google it–Jimmy Kimmel said he might be Jesus or a zombie, and in response Clark Gregg made that half-sheepish/half-sly face he makes and said, “I look a little different, but it’s basically the same character….I believe Jesus has super powers.”
After The Avengers movie, even before we knew about “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” one blogger was seeing Coulson as Jesus partly because of Nick Fury saying, “He died for us!”
But wait! There’s more!
5. He keeps putting together teams of disparate individuals to enact good in the world. He did it with the Avengers & he does it on Agents of Shield.
4. He answers to higher powers. We all know about Nick Fury, but apparently in the new Captain America, we get to meet Nick Fury’s boss, and he’s Robert Redford. Now there’s a holy trinity.
3. He is VERY egalitarian about the role women play in his life. Ming-Na Wen(whom I’ve admired since she was on “As the World Turns” a million years ago) plays Agent May, and Coulson treats her with the utmost respect. (I know the official 12 disciples were guys, but Jesus had a great crew around him and let’s never ever forget that Mary Magdalene was the first who saw him post-resurrection. The episode “FZZT,” Coulson and May have a really touching scene where she actually reaches out and touches his chest. Lots of “sacred heart” image synchronicity there!)
2.He is forgiving. In both “Eye Spy” and “FZZT” he takes the lead in forgiving an agent who has behaved badly.
1. The whole resurrection from the dead thing.
(NOTE: Clark Gregg does not appear to be in either the new Thor movie or the new Captain America movie as Coulson–it apparently takes place during the post-resurrection period in which many of the Avengers do not know he’s alive– maybe both took place when he was in Tahiti. Kind of like when Jesus descended to Hell to free the captives, which was so secret it’s in the Apostle’s Creed but harder to find in the Bible.)
This is mostly silliness, I know. I’m not trying to make the case that this is Marvel’s intent (although a bigger bunch of smarties is hard to come by) or that our lives are better thinking these things. But it’s fun.
And I sort of wonder if Mr. Gregg his own self would enjoy the speculation. In the special features section of the DVD of Choke (which he adapted from Chuck Palahnuik’s novel AND directed), they talk about a scene in which Sam Rockwell’s character talks to a stripper about whether Jesus was born good or learns how to become good through life, and she replies that Paul talks about that in Galatians. That’s apparently not in the book (which I haven’t read–it’s on my list, after seeing the movie). It came from Gregg talking to his father, who was on the faculty of Stanford Divinity school.
The academic in me just beams at that.
I’m late to the whole Marvel-is-marvelous world, but I’m here now, and loving it, and Clark Gregg’s Phil Coulson is a humongous part of why.