Staff Voices: Christian Soundtracks for MCU's Phase 4
The release of Ant-Man: Quantumania marks the start of Marvel's Phase 5, and our team of Christian music Avengers has created a soundtrack of Christian music anthems to accompany the movies and shows of Phase 4.
Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe, or MCU, has taken the world by storm with a never-ending stream of blockbuster movies and streaming shows. With over 30 successful films under their belt, the MCU continues to dominate the box office, and the franchise’s latest offering, Ant-Man: Quantumania, which opens this week, will do the same. To celebrate the new release and to bring together two powerful cultural forces, our staff members have paired a Christian song with one of the recent films and shows from the recently concluded Phase 4 of the MCU.
for KING & COUNTRY's "Love Me Like I Am"
Fewer heroes in the MCU are more complicated and stretched thin than Wanda. Her story arc—so far—has gone from abused Avenger to hesitant hero, to permanent Avenger, and her latest role of deadly vigilante. She's torn, broken, traumatized, and horribly isolated.
While still being incredibly loved and accepted by her friends and those who know her best. for KING & COUNTRY's "Love Me Like I Am" is an incredibly honest song that takes the worst parts of us and places them all in the middle of a relationship with each other and even with God. It's fantastic when others love us through our weaknesses, seeing the heart and not the hurt, even when healing is far away. Somehow, they stay. And we'll always remain with Wanda, no matter what she puts us through. - Kevin McNeese, NRT Founder
Falcon & the Winter Soldier:
"The Executioner" by Disciple
The history of the superhero Bucky Barnes is one of many trials and difficulties to overcome. He's far from the image of a typical hero. He rose to fame as the terrible Winter Soldier who committed many crimes in Captain America: Winter Soldier. Yet, his best friend, Captain America, and more recently, Falcon (the new Captain America), have helped him lay down his guilt and shame from his past to embrace a heroic future. The rock band Disciple recently released "The Executioner," a song that captures Bucky’s journey nicely. It talks about our tendency to hide our shame and guilt, but better yet, to lay it down and to "let the hammer swing down/I've made my peace." - Ryan Adams, Rock Reporter
Loki: Season 1:
"Soul Worth Saving" by Apollo LTD
One of the best surprises in the Disney+ streaming series so far has been Loki, following the multiverse, time-traveling supervillain that finds his true self by encountering—himself. The series has one of the most profound character developments yet in the MCU, a nice by-product of being able to focus six-to-eight hours on a character through episodic television versus sharing the screen with multiple characters in a two-to-three-hour movie. Loki's arc finds true redemption and love, which is why contemporary band Apollo LTD's "Soul Worth Saving" is a good fit. It's a song that reminds me we’re not what we've done but whom we're becoming. There is no one undeserving of God's love and a heart worth chasing. Yes, even Loki. - Kevin McNeese, NRT Founder
"Framing My Perception" by the GFM Band
The Black Widow movie is a thrilling origin story of one of the beloved Avengers, following the death of Natasha Romanoff (also known as Black Widow) in Avengers: Endgame.
Natasha is a fugitive from the government after the events of Captain America: Civil War. During this time, she reconciles with her past, including her choices and the surrogate family she feels she was deserted by.
When she discovers that the people who had mistreated and brainwashed her during her childhood are still indoctrinating young girls, she puts everything on the line to make amends with her former family, fighting against the evil that has once again threatened them all.
The GFM Band's song "Framing My Perception" works well for Natasha in her story. She learns to accept what happened in the past and forgive herself and her family. Together, Natasha’s surrogate family knows to come to terms with their flaws and choose to stand.
Despite our mistakes, we can change our perception to see each other as we are and rise to accept change. It's painful to come to reality with the trauma. But we serve a God who holds us even in our brokenness. With Him, we can fight to do what may seem impossible, to step into the new day He has for us all. - Bradden Ford, Contributor
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings:
“The Beautiful Things We Miss” by Matthew West
Marvel Studios introduced new characters in Phase 4. One such character is Shang-Chi. The theme of family is central to the story of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, where a mother's death leads to a strained relationship between the father, son, and daughter, who eventually come together to fight against the father before reconciling with him before his death. Talk about family drama.
While our family conflicts are likely not as complicated as Shang-Chi’s, contemporary artist Matthew West’s song “The Beautiful Things We Miss” complements the family theme, as it’s a prayer not to miss precious time with family. The music connects with the message of Harry Chapin’s “Cats in The Cradle” about a father missing out on time with his son because of his busy life, reminding us not to spend endless hours on our phones and instead cherish the beautiful moments with our family. - Paul Phillips, Senior Editor
"Won't Let Me Go" by Sanctus Real and Francesca Battistelli
Like Shang-Chi, Eternals introduces several new characters to the MCU. The movie’s central theme is friends and family. The Eternals, a group of ancient aliens living on Earth in secret for thousands of years, come together to protect humanity from the end of the world (the hallmark of every superhero film). In this case, the evil beings are the Deviants—so we think.
What stands out is the close bond between Don Lee’s Gilgamesh and Angelina Jolie’s Thena. Thena suffers from psychotic episodes where she nearly slaughters her friends. So instead of rebooting her brain, Gilgamesh volunteers to take care of Thena.
The song "Won't Let Me Go" by Sanctus Real and Francesca Battistelli celebrates the unbreakable connection between God and humanity. Just as Gilgamesh didn’t abandon Thena, God loves and watches over us—even when we reject or hurt Him. This unconditional love may be challenging to comprehend, but it exists, nonetheless. - Paul Phillips, Senior Editor
"Someone Like Me" by Evan Craft
Even though the show's events occur during Christmas, the main character, master archer Clint Barton, also known as Hawkeye, grapples with the fallout of his past mistakes and the loss of his closest friend. Also, he takes on the task of guiding Kate Bishop, a newcomer whom he deems not fit to mentor.
This kind of Christmas show reminds me a lot of the kind-of- Christmas song "Someone Like Me" by contemporary artist Evan Craft. The song is an honest prayer for those who feel too far gone by their choices or the place they find themselves in. No matter what time of year, mercy, healing, and redemption are found in our savior, Jesus Christ. His mercy is enough for every story. - Bradden Ford, Contributor
Spider-Man: No Way Home:
“Us Against the World” by Bizzle and God Over Money
Spider-Man: No Way Home is the third and final movie of the Tom Holland-version of Spider-Man from the MCU multiverse. Peter Parker's identity as Spider-Man was just revealed to the entire known world by Spidey villain Mysterio.
Parker spends most of the movie struggling with his two identities as a civilian and a superhero. He even enlists fellow Avenger Dr. Strange to make everybody "forget" who Spider-Man is under the mask. Parker faces a constant battle of feeling alone, as many of his Avenger brethren are taken by the hands of big bad Thanos.
The song fitting for the events of Spider-Man: No Way Home is the title track from hip-hop group God Over Money's collaborative album, Us Against the World.
The Lord calls us to be a superhero who doesn't hide behind a mask or suit: to face the evils of this world and sin and to "rescue" others from the enemy's grasp.
There are many similarities between Christians and superheroes, as exemplified by the six GOM rappers who come together to offer guidance on overcoming life's challenges with resilience, much like Parker must do as both himself and Spider-Man when faced with adversity. - Joshua Galla, Hip-Hop Reporter
"Better Days Coming" by MercyMe
Another Disney+ series that blew away everyone's expectations was Moon Knight, following the split personalities of Marc Spector and Steven Grant (a possible third that has yet to be introduced).
The series was a deep dive into mental health wrapped around crazy Egyptian mythology and Indiana Jones-level adventure. It was a wild ride, but in the end, audiences felt the deep trauma that split the real personality of the hero, and it hit hard.
Mental health is an incredibly important subject right now, which is why songs promising that things do, in fact, get better are just as important.
Iconic Christian contemporary band MercyMe's "Better Days Coming" from their latest album, Always Only Jesus, is an excellent reminder that we all need at times. And it's upbeat. Why does every song about mental health have to be just as down as the feelings around it? - Kevin McNeese, NRT Founder
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness "Hope" by NF
The tragedies in Wanda’s life made her spiral downward; thus, she made decisions that hurt many people. So, to stop Wanda—or, hopefully, bring her back to her senses—is Dr. Strange. Here, he plays the hero, making decisions that might hurt others. His methods also cause fear in his peers and endanger the universe. In the end, Wanda and Stephen Strange come to favorable—yet tragic—resolutions.
Rapper NF dropped a song that summerized the inner termoil most Marvel superheroes wrestle with, especially as they deal with such complex issues and decisions while billions of lives are on the line. NF is beginning a new journey of hope, but still dealing with a lot of inner voices challenging his directions, his decisions, and mental capacity to actually choose better health for himself and those around him.
Dr. Strange is in similar situations throughout his story arc and in the end, he has to be at peace with new versions of himself that weren't there before. - Kevin McNeese, NRT Founder
“I Don’t Wanna Live Like This” by Gable Price and Friends
Ms. Marvel, a Disney+ Marvel series, is a show about a young girl who spends her time fantasizing about her favorite superheroes. She has a quirky, cool imagination that sweeps her away regularly. Kamala, the series’ main character, is stuck in the seesaw of preserving cultural traditions and breaking into her own personality.
To say I can relate is an understatement. I spent much of my summer watching this show, and around the same time, I found myself listening to the contemporary Christian band Gable Price and Friends.
"I Don't Wanna Live Like This" presented an excellent connection for me between the show and the band, although this song wasn't released until later.
“Fly high sweet fascination,” Gable sings just as Kamala sweetly characterizes her heroes into roles in her own life. My favorite lyric in the song “so I’ll take my Kool-Aid microwaved” is so random that it makes me smile every time. Ms. Marvel brought the same type of innocent joy in each of its six episodes. - Selena Schulz, Worship Reporter
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law:
"Psycho In My Head" by Skillet
A fitting song for the show’s themes is the new single, "Psycho In My Head," by the famous rock band Skillet. Expanding on the similar themes of their signature hit "Monster," the song delves into the idea of feeling like there's a "psycho" inside us, a darker half with crazy and sinful impulses.
The song reflects on the idea that, like the titular character's "hulk" side with a violent temper, each of us has a darker side with crazy impulses. But it also offers hope that someone can save us from letting that "psycho" take control. - JJ Francesco, Throwback Reporter
Thor: Love and Thunder:
Any song by the Worshicken
Thor: Love and Thunder is fun, but it doesn't match the quality of other MCU films.' The main characters Thor and Jane were cute together, and Christian Bale made a great villain as Gorr the God Butcher. But the real stars of the show were the screaming goats. If they make another Thor, they should use music from the Worshicken and have the goats join in on the singing. I don't know if I'd want to hear it, but it would be funny to see. - Paul Phillips, Senior Editor
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever:
"Deconstruction" by Lecrae
In Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, you saw a broken family and kingdom without their fearless and inspiring King T'Challa. Queen Ramonda, the ruler of Wakanda and the late king’s mother, was doing her best to hold the people together, deal with her grief, and stop her daughter, Shuri, from imploding.
Shuri, the king’s younger sister, is fighting her battle of utter anger and somewhat avoidance of truly grieving her brother's death. Her faith in what she once believed in was tested. She was even tempted to take the all-out approach of brutal revenge on Namor for killing a family member (No, not the king. Someone else.).
One song that comes to mind when I think of Shuri’s struggles is "Deconstruction" by Lecrae. Like Shuri, Lecrae's faith was tested, and he even went down a path of anger, hurt, and a loss of faith. By the movie's end, Shuri finds her faith again and finds redemption even amid so much loss. In "Deconstruction," Lecrae reconstructed his faith in Christ, returning stronger. - Dwayne Lacy, Gospel Reporter
Ant-Man and the Wasp:
"Weary (Time) Traveler" by Jordan St. Cyr
As part of Phase 3, Ant-Man and the Wasp serves as a primer for its sequel, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, by introducing characters and events from the greater MCU. This sets the stage for the upcoming film, which kicks off Phase 5 of the MCU.
To me, the contemporary song "Weary (Time) Traveler" by artist Jordan St. Cyr represents the experience of Ant-Man, a Marvel character played by Paul Rudd, who missed five years in the "blip" before the events of Avengers: End Game.
Ant-Man was a key superhero in helping the missing Avengers reappear after Marvel’s big bad Thanos had made half the population disappear.
To contribute to this article with my fellow Marvelites, I'll say "Weary Traveler" fits Ant-Man’s experiences. The song connects to the biblical truth found in Matthew 11:28-30: "Come to Me, all of you who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light."
The song includes some great faith statements: “No more searching/Heaven’s healing is gonna find where all the hurt is. When Jesus calls, we’ll lay down all our heavy burdens/Carry on.”
A significant challenge is to make these words your prayer: “You were never meant to walk this road alone/It’ll all be worth it, so just hold on/Weary traveler/You won’t be weary long.” I find Ant-Man to be inspiring, just like the song and passage. - Kevin Davis, Lead Contributor
Assembled from the four corners of North America and many other corners in between, the NRTeam comprises staffers whose energy is equally dispersed towards loving and writing about the music they love.
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