Blue/Red Redemption: The Rise and Fall of Spider-Man

If you know me, you know that Spider-Man is my all time favorite superhero. When I was in fourth grade, I remember walking into the theater to watch the original Spider-Man, and I walked out amazed. Little did I know that two years later Spider-Man 2 would come out and top its predecessor, and to this day I believe it to be one of the top superhero movies ever. Now, I could argue that Spider-Man 3 is not as bad as everybody thinks it is because it has some very good parts that possibly outweigh its really dumb parts. However, I don’t think that you can argue that the third installment was not the beginning of Spidey’s downfall because the two movies that came after did not stand up to the three came before them.

I do not hate The Amazing Spider-Man. As a matter of fact, I bought it on blu-ray, but that was mostly due to my loyalty to the name. However, my loyalty was broken. It was shattered after the latest installment. I’ve never seen such mediocrity. It was so heartbreaking to see how far my hero had fallen since the original trilogy. If you don’t think so, you’re not just disagreeing with just me, you’re disagreeing with America. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was the lowest grossing Spider-Man film of all time. That means that its predecessor was not good enough bring people back into seats. On the other hand, Spider-Man 3 is one of the top 40 highest grossing movies of all time, with the 10th highest opening weekend gross ever. This is obviously because Spider-Man 1 and 2 were straight masterpieces.

I’ll break down Spider-Man’s fall. The main issue that The Amazing franchise brought was was Peter Parker, both his character and the person who played him. People complain about Tobey Maguire’s portrayal of the nerdy antagonist, but at least it was believable. I have nothing against Andrew Garfield as a person, but he was a poor choice for the role. He stood up to his bully in front of everything, rode his skateboard in the hallways, and was ridiculously smart and good looking. I didn’t believe for a second that he had no friends, which defeats the point of Peter Parker. He is supposed to represent that lonely and outcast part of all of us. That’s what makes it so groundbreaking when he receives his powers. A dorky kid from Queens gets great power, but after he takes the suit off, he returns to the struggles that he had before. Tobey nailed it.

Peter in the new Spider-Man films fell short. In the original film, there was a profound effect on Peter after Uncle Ben died. His act of omission directly caused it. This was not the case in The Amazing Spider-Man. The thief did not even run past Peter. That moment is everything to Spider-Man’s origins. The biggest flaw comes after Uncle Ben dies. The Amazing Peter does not change one bit by the death of his beloved uncle. It could even be argued that he doesn’t change at all throughout either movies. He just goes from being single to dating and back a few times before his girlfriend dies in a way she was kind of asking for. But whether he was single or dating, Amazing Peter was boring. I’m convinced that the people who defend these movies like them just because of the attractive male lead, similar to the reason people like Suits. The main theme of The Amazing Spider-Man movies was how to date and be a superhero at the same time.

Original Peter also has the girl issues, but the overall themes are much deeper. These movies actually have heart. They tackle themes of identity, morality, sacrifice, friendship. There is no depth in any of these areas in The Amazing franchise. Side note: Crying does not equal depth of character. Somebody should inform the Amazing creators because everybody is mopey all the time, heroes and the villains. Side side note, craziness does not equal interesting. Have a better motive for villains than mental imbalance please. Okay, back to the main point. The struggle was real in the original Spider-Man movies. I felt the difficult decision Peter was forced to make in Spider-Man 2. A worldly life is so tempting in the face of adversity. Without the suit, Peter has a successful future ahead of him, but he was called to a greater purpose. The whole movie is about him making the choice to put off his old self and put on the suit, no matter the cost.

An even newer Spider-Man is set to return to theaters next year, but my expectations are low. Hopefully the studios can return to the heart of the character that was displayed so well back in the 00’s, and I pray that it is not too late for our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man to win back the heart of America.

spider-man in the rain


God’s Not Dead is a terrible movie

I was against the movie God’s Not Dead from the beginning. I saw the trailer and hoped nobody would ever go watch this, but, miraculously (hah), it made millions of dollars at the box office. I could tell it would be bad, and I read that it indeed was bad. I vowed never to give that type of production my money, but I kept hearing fellow Christians say stuff like, “It was good.” I was brought to my breaking point when somebody finally said, “it was so good.” That type of language is some Guardians of the Galaxy type description. I could no longer stand idly by. I needed a way to substantiate my claims that this movie should not be praised.

I immediately watched that movie. Luckily, I did not pay for it.

After the deed was done, some people questioned my actions. My good friend Thomas (also a Christian) was incredibly concerned:

I worry about you sometimes Daniel. Watching “God’s Not Dead” is definitely red flag behavior. If you need to talk about stuff, I’m here for you.

The overall message of this movie is very offensive and just wrong for several reasons. I’m going to do this buzzfeed style because that seems to be the only thing that people read nowadays.

6 Things God’s Not Dead Wants You to Take away from it:

  1. Everybody who is not Christian is amoral, insecure, abusive, selfish, greedy, and a complete douchebag.
  2. All atheists are atheists because God did not answer one of their prayers, so they are actually just mad at Him.
  3. Every atheist is on the verge of becoming a Christian.
  4. The best way for somebody to be converted to Christianity is if they are put in some sort of mortal peril (ex. cancer).
  5. Arguing is the best way to get people to believe in God.
  6. Christians don’t need to talk about Jesus when trying to make a case for God.

The main issue is that if I were to change the title of this list to 6 Things Christians Should Stop Thinking Are True, most Christians who knew what the heck they believe in would agree. But no. People see a movie that is supposedly “Christian” and think that it is speaking truth.

Here are some specific reasons this movie does a poor job of portraying true Christian faith, misrepresents other people groups, and tells a bad story:

  1. One of the character explicitly says that all atheists got that way because they are mad at God. Not true at all.
  2. The rich and greedy atheist hated his mother apparently because she had dementia and prayed.
  3. The ministers tried to rent a car. The rental guy drove the car to them and sat stranded as they drove off.
  4. The professor had a change of heart and decided to go find his Christian, live-in girlfriend at a Newsboys concert with thousands of people in attendance and no ticket.
  5. The atheist reporter lady only comes to Christ once she finds out she is dying because why not.
  6. What happened to the main character’s girlfriend after she dumped him. Probably died. She was actually a horrible character and actress.
  7. The guy from Duck Dynasty is in it.
  8. There was a fobby Asian student literally says, “I have placed out of all my core classes, including math and chemistry.”
  9. The Islamic father beats and kicks out his daughter once he finds out she’s Christian.
  10. A freshman in college doesn’t really put up great arguments against his professor. He just gets his professor to admit that his mommy died and then pokes at that nerve until he breaks in front of the whole class.
  11. The movie asks you to text everybody in your phone, “God’s Not Dead.” I’m sure that will go over very well.

Christians are already portrayed negatively in the media by many non-Christian productions. It’s very sad that even a Christian production can’t get it right either. God’s Not Dead leaves out the grace, love, and compassion that Christ came down to teach us while we were still sinners. This movie would be much more interesting if the protagonist struggled with the fact that people who do not know Jesus are just as moral as he is. It would be a humbling and true story, and it would also give the film a chance to explain what Christ has done for us. We don’t need more Christian propaganda that more often than not turns people from the church. For now, I’m just going to keep watching The Prince of Egypt until something better comes out.

TL;DR – God’s Not Dead is a smug Christian movie made for smug Christians to get them to believe that everybody who isn’t Christian is a smug, insecure prick. It barely mentions Jesus, is unbiblical, and insults every group of people that it wants us to reach out to and save. God help all the sunday school classes that will show this to their kids.