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

Advertisements

A Journal Entry From May 29, 1999

I recently found my old diary that was given to me by my first grade teacher after the completion of that grade. It was in the exact place I left it many years ago.

In order to better process these past events of my life, I will be posting entries of my childhood journal into this blog. These posts will be exact copies with the original spelling, grammar, and punctuation that I used so many years ago, thus keeping the integrity of the primary sources. You will quickly learn that I was not the most literate person in the world. I wrote these like letters, as if I was sending them to an actual person. I will be using superscripts so that I can either comment on or correct my writings at the bottom of the page.

Anyway, in honor of the new Star Wars trailer being dropped last week, here is an entry from my journal I wrote after watching Star Wars: Episode I. Please remember that I was seven years old, and my brain was not yet developed enough to realize the train wreck that I was watching.

May 29, 1999 Daniel1

high2 I saw star wars today. And insted of darth vater it was darth mall. And there was a little boy named Anagan sky walkere3 and he was in this race and at the begening of the race he had a problam the moder wouldnt start but then it started to sart. And evryone crast4 ecsept anagan skywalker and a alean and anagan skywalker waln. And darth mall got cut in tow hal5 because a jeti yoused a saver6 to do it. and it was eng7 and lowd. And I have 3 star wars videos and the star wars that I saw today had gient fish in it. And it was so cool8. And my brothe9 is asking me queshtens he keeps asking m what bug is that

by10 see you to marro


1I have no idea why I wrote my name at the beginning of entries, but every entry is written like I am talking to an actual person. This was my way of either addressing a letter to myself or the way I credited each entry to myself.
2I couldn’t spell “hi.”
3I’m so sorry, Star Wars fans.
4crashed
5halves
6For the longest time, I thought the plasma beams that they fought with were called life savers. I thought it was really cool that there was a candy named after a science fantastical weapon.
7I have no idea. I couldn’t make out what I wrote.
8I’ve always thought that giant fish are really cool.
9I assure you that I meant to write “brother”, not “brothel.”
10I didn’t know how to spell greetings or farewells.

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.

How to Successfully Watch Film and Television

Science has proven that watching Film or TV requires hardly any brain activity. However, watching it successfully is a completely different matter. This is because taking on such a feat does extend past the living room or wherever you choose to watch. Even though people usually watch movies or TV by themselves, everybody has a part to play in order to maximize one’s viewing experience. As a society, we have not yet learned the rules that will allow us to communally enjoy ye old tube.

These are all pretty basic. Follow these, and everybody will be happy.

1. No talking

For TV, you can wait until a commercial. For a movie, you should have been paying attention, and it is actually much harder than you would think to hear both the television and a whisper in your ear about what just happened. If worst comes to worst you can pause.

2. DO NOT DESCRIBE A MOVIE BY IT’S ENDING. EVER.

This sounds silly, but it happens. Sometimes you bring up a movie you want to see and somebody else says something like, “oh, is that the one where it’s all a dream.” Eff, dude. Think before you speak of a movie. Try to describe it either by the actors or the general plot. “Is that the one with Leonardo DiCaprio? Is that the one with George Clooney and Sandra Bullock?” “Is that the one where the police and drug dealers are going at it?” Those are more acceptable. Just think.

3. It is VERY ok to assume things.

Actually, you SHOULD assume things. If you don’t, you’re going to go off asking a bunch of questions that nobody else knows either. The point of a movie or show is to bring up questions and make you wait for the answer. Many times you will be very correct in your assumption. If you’re not, you’ll find out, and the show will go on. No need to ask other people a question that they most likely don’t know because they are watching the exact same thing and have just as much knowledge as you.

4. Show your emotions, but with caution

Laugh. Cry. Scream. Do whatever, but keep it short and not ridiculously loud. Different settings give different allowances for volume and duration. For example, if you are watching a horror movie in a crowded theater filled with… people who like to yell at the movie, you can scream or laugh longer than you can if you are in somebody’s living room watching something on a TV with crappy speakers. Just use good judgment.

5. If you come in at the end of a movie or in the middle of a show, you are NOT allowed to ask questions.

This. If I’m on season 5 of a really serious drama or at the end of a movie, you’ve missed too much to be caught up enough to enjoy what’s happening. If you don’t want to ruin said media for yourself, leave the room. If you don’t care enough about the show or movie that you are willing to watch just the end of it, then you really shouldn’t care about what happened up to that point, and you are free to join.

6. Do not ask everybody else what’s going to happen next

Like I said in number 3, everybody else knows as much as you do. However, this situation applies to information that is not yet received. If the main character is about to go open a door because he hears a sound, don’t ask something like, “what’s in there?” Nobody knows. That’s what suspense is. Also, you are going to find out in literally 2 seconds.

CASE STUDIES (disclaimer: these are fictional versions of people I know. I quite enjoy watching with both)

Improper Ways to Watch:

This is Brian.

Brian thinking

Brian is a texbook cinephile. He has the looks, the height, the smarts, yet people will not go to the movies with him. Let’s find out why.

Brian describes movies like this: “Oh, is that the one where Bruce Willis has been dead the whole time?” (Maybe I broke my own rule, but honestly, if you haven’t seen that one by now, you deserve to have it ruined). People walk away from him shaking their heads.

Brian walks in on the end of Christopher Nolan movies and asks, “why are there so many of those guys in water tanks?” Brian expects you to pause the movie and explain it to him. When Brian walks in on season 5 of Mad Men, he expects me to explain to him who Dick Whitman is.

When Brian hears a rustling or sees a shadow in a movie, he always asks everybody, “What was that? Is it going to kill them?” When said thing pops out two seconds later, he screams for 10 seconds.

Brian isn’t fun to watch movies with. He now watches everything by himself on his laptop with headphones.

brian on bench

Sorry Brian, but you bring this on yourself.

Proper Ways to Watch:

This is Thomas.

Thomas

As you can see, Thomas has many of the same features as Brian. However, people love watching stuff with him.

Thomas never ruins anything. He described Catch Me If You Can as “the one with Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks.”

He walked in at the end of L.A. Confidential and immediately left the room so he would not ruin it for himself. I didn’t even notice him come in.

During Pineapple Express, his laughs were always to the point, yet they got the job done.

When Thomas thinks he figured out the plot of a movie, he keeps it to himself until the very end to see if his suspicions are confirmed.

We feel safe watching with Thomas. Everybody wants to sit next to him. Thanks Thomas!

Thomas thumbs up

Everybody, try to be like Thomas, not Brian.