Friday Night Movie – Thor: Ragnarok

Standard

Friday nights have become movie nights in the Hall household.

Since my last post on Avengers: Age of Ultron, we have watched Ant-Man, Captain America: Civil War, and Doctor Strange. The Hall’s journey through the Marvel movies looks something like this:

  • Iron Man (2008)
  • The Incredible Hulk (2008) – Skipped.
  • Iron Man 2 (2010)
  • Thor (2011)
  • Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
  • Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)
  • Iron Man 3 (2013)
  • Thor: The Dark World (2013) – Skipped.
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) – Skipped.
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
  • Ant-Man (2015)
  • Captain America: Civil War (2016)
  • Doctor Strange (2016)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) – Skipped
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
  • Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
  • Black Panther (2018)
  • Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
  • Captain Marvel (2019)
  • Avengers: Endgame (2019)
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)

Quick Thoughts:

  • Ant-Man has been Wyatt’s favorite Marvel movie so far.
  • Watching the Marvel movies in order, I have loved Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain American: Civil War (two movies I had previously disliked). These films are amazing in how they build on one another. And yes, Tony Stark is 100% a jerk by the end of Civil War.
  • Doctor Strange is the second Marvel movie (besides Winter Soldier) that has bored Wyatt into talking during the movie.
  • I still love how the end of Doctor Strange is told in reverse (could be the best Marvel movie ending of all time). Also love the way “magic” looks and the overall special effects. Solid effects movie.

Moving Along:

Tonight, we act as if Thor: The Dark World never happened and that Thor: Ragnarok is the official continuation of Thor’s story. I enjoyed Ragnarok the first time through the Marvel movies… and I’m hoping my opinion doesn’t change like it did with Winter Soldier (which is very talky and a tad boring).

Friday Night Movie – Avengers: Age of Ultron

Standard

Friday nights have become movie nights in the Hall household.

We’ve made a bit of progress since my initial post. We no longer have to get movies from the library (which is still an excellent/free option) now that we have Disney+. Below, I thought I’d give a quick updated list as to where we are in our Marvel journey:

  • Iron Man (2008)
  • The Incredible Hulk (2008) – Skipped.
  • Iron Man 2 (2010)
  • Thor (2011)
  • Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
  • Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)
  • Iron Man 3 (2013)
  • Thor: The Dark World (2013) – Skipped.
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) – Skipped.
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
  • Ant-Man (2015)
  • Captain America: Civil War (2016)
  • Doctor Strange (2016)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
  • Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
  • Black Panther (2018)
  • Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
  • Captain Marvel (2019)
  • Avengers: Endgame (2019)
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)

Captain American: The Winter Soldier was the first Marvel movie Wyatt looked bored watching.

“Are they going to fight soon?”

Within minutes, Nick Fury was thankfully being pummeled by bad guys.

Quick Thoughts:

  • I love how Winter Soldier is super hero spy movie. The movie showcases how much fun the Marvel movies can be when they are coupled with another movie genre.
  • As the Marvel movies progress, especially from The Avengers on, they feel as if they are getting longer in run time and feature more and more talking. I’ve started to miss the brisk nature of the earlier films.

Moving Along:

Avengers: Age of Ultron is one of the first Marvel films I remember disliking when I first viewed it. (Well, maybe that isn’t true, I disliked Thor 2 with a passion.) The story felt like a mess, and I hated Ultron as a character. Watching the Marvel movies the second time around, I’ve enjoyed many of the films I originally liked more and have even come to appreciate/love Iron Man 3 (which I had previously hated due to the way they handled the Mandarin). Can’t wait to see if my opinion changes on Ultron.

Friday Night Movie – Iron Man

Standard

Friday nights have become movie nights in the Hall household. We’ve been slowly working our way through the Marvel movies.

  • Iron Man (2008)
  • The Incredible Hulk (2008)
  • Iron Man 2 (2010)
  • Thor (2011)
  • Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
  • Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)
  • Iron Man 3 (2013)
  • Thor: The Dark World (2013)
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
  • Ant-Man (2015)
  • Captain America: Civil War (2016)
  • Doctor Strange (2016)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
  • Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
  • Black Panther (2018)
  • Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
  • Captain Marvel (2019)
  • Avengers: Endgame (2019)
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)

Over the years, Wyatt and I have watched the first Thor and Captain America movies together (content-wise, these are pretty clean). This past summer, we watched Infinity War prior to watching Endgame. And then over the past few weeks, we’ve watched Far From Home before looping back around to watch Spider-Man: Homecoming. We have been all over the place! Tonight, we go back to the beginning with Iron Man. Thankful the local library has a chunk of the Marvel films to check out.

What’s your favorite Marvel movie? Have you gone back and watched any of the early films recently? Let me know in the comments below.

Spider-Man

Standard

Marvel's Spider-Man

Spider-Man is a game I kept waiting to see fail. And yet, every story beat pushed the game to new heights. Had my wife and son not been sitting with me, when I finished the game, I think I would have cried. May’s talk with Peter, at the end, almost did me in. One of those moments, as a parent, where you know you have done a good job raising your kid.

Can’t wait to pick up the DLC and continue Spidey’s adventures!

Developer Insomniac wisely chose to focus the game not on Peter’s romantic pursuits but more on the qualities that enable us to relate to Peter Parker.

I Loved Avengers: Infinity War

Standard

Tabitha, Wyatt, and I finally got a chance to watch “Avengers: Infinity War” over the weekend. We loved it! Can’t wait to see the endgame play out on April 26.

Welcome to Spoiler Country

I loved:

  • Thanos! He was awesome. Best shot of the movie is the final shot of him looking content on his farm. He had finally succeeded in bringing “balance” to the universe. Nothing quite like seeing a bad guy win. Also loved the stakes Thanos brings to the table.
  • How the story perfectly balances a huge cast of characters.
  • Bruce Banner fighting without Hulk. “Avengers: Infinity War” made it feel like Bruce had finally come to the point where he realized he didn’t need Hulk to make a difference.
  • Dr. Strange playing a much bigger “endgame”.
  • Thor going on a weapon quest with Rocket the “rabbit”. 🙂
  • Peter Dinklage showing up unexpectedly… as a giant.
  • “Avengers: Infinity War” fading to black. Making you want more. MOAR!
  • Nick Fury’s cameo at the end of the credits.

I disliked:

  • The lack of Hawkeye. By the looks of the “Avengers: Endgame” trailer below, Hawkeye looks to be back but acting like he has been hanging out with Wolverine.

I’m happy that God allows you to consume “blank”

Standard

Feeling like you have to defend your personal and even parenting choices, to fellow Christians, feels weird. You’d think that everyone would be on the same team. Brothers and sisters in Christ and all that, but nope.

Over the years, I’ve had many of these discussions. Whether I’m telling someone about how I don’t let Wyatt watch Marvel movies due to content OR how I dislike the sexual character designs in Fortnite, I still feel judged. Christians are a weird lot where freedom in Christ seems to mean do whatever feels good to you. Do the pleasurable thing, Jesus surely said, and don’t think too much about it.

You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is beneficial. – 1 Corinthians 10:23 (NLT)

A big part of our faith journey is dedicated to asking the questions:

  • Can I consume this?
  • Should I be consuming this?
  • What place does this thing have in my life?

We want those black and white answers where God simply says, “YES, YOU CAN PLAY GRAND THEFT AUTO: SINFUL EDITION.” But that’s not how the Christian walk works. The Christian walk is more about reading the Bible, listening to what God has to say, and engaging God AND the Holy Spirit in our decisions.

Have you ever noticed how when we don’t hear from God (He isn’t answering fast enough), we often turn to friends and even online communities for answers? Don’t get me wrong, community is a good thing. Being a part of several online communities, I have learned that what Christians are really looking for is justification for their media consumption.

We’ll say: “Andrew plays DOOM so why can’t I?”

The thing is, God may convict me over something completely different than you. I get that. It’s cool. But this judgement thing, making a fellow believer feel guilty over something God has convicted them over, is not cool. I’m happy that God allows you to consume _____________. I’m happy that you get to enjoy that freedom. I am. But please do not use your freedom to judge, and in effect, enslave me.

Grow Up Faster, Kid

Standard

Tab and I were at the bookstore recently and I came across Iron Man: The Gauntlet by Eoin Colfer. Knowing Colfer’s reputation from his Artemis Fowl series, I picked up the Iron Man book to read to Wyatt before bed. Being a good dad, in that moment, I decided to read a bit of the book before reading it aloud to the boy. I am happy I did.

Within the first chapter, teenage Tony Stark is accused of being “one of those boys”. Howard Stark’s secretary is angry at Tony for something he might have/have not done with her daughter. Tony acts surprised. All I could think of, as I was reading this, was having to explain to my 8 year old what “one of those boys” meant. I get that this is 100% par for the course for the character of Tony Stark. But I wish that Colfer could have played teen Stark more like he is in the cartoon Iron Man: Armored Adventures. Which is to say a Tony Stark that is driven, sometimes moody, but always resourceful; a Tony who is not on the girl crazy bus, yet.

For years now, I’ve noticed that children’s media (cartoons, TV shows, books, etc.) seems aimed at rushing kids to grow up. Presenting them with topics and life issues kids won’t encounter until well into the middle school years.

As someone who was homeschooled fourth grade through high school, I know that there is no hurry to grow up. Kids can be innocent, their imaginations left to thrive, by proper parental engagement in curating media choices.

My goal is not to shelter Wyatt. I want to help him work through life issues as they are presented to him. My goal is to be wary, watchful, and help make sure no outside media influences are forcing him to grow up faster than he is ready to grow up. I want my kid to remain a kid, on his own terms.

Age classifications and ratings boards cannot do the job of a parent. Just because another entity designates a piece of media as age appropriate doesn’t mean that it is.

As parents, we need to stay vigilant, realizing that we might need to hold off on introducing such things as Iron Man: The Gauntlet until our child is ready for it. Even if that day of being ready is weeks, months, or even years away.

What are you kids consuming, media-wise, that is causing them to grow up faster than they should?

Book Review – 42: Discovering Faith Through Fandom

Standard

Eric Anderson and Nathan Marchand invite you along on a 42-day journey. A journey filled with Star TrekDoctor Who, and the worlds within and beyond Marvel.

42-picture-640x640

42: Discovering Faith Through Fandom bridges the gap between pop culture and the Bible. When successful, soaring to personal heights that speak to the soul. On off days, testing the cultural and spiritual bonds woven together to the point of collapse.

Despite a few daily entries that felt forced, I enjoyed my devotional journey. Each daily entry features an introductory Bible verse followed by a narrative. The narrative then ends with a “Quest for the Day”. Offering a time of action, questions to journal through, and reflection.

Note: The “Quest for the Day” section is where the devotional fell apart for me. I would find myself skimming over the questions. Failing to engage with the book any further. If the extra scripture reading listed was added to each entry, I might have read it.

Eric and Nathan’s book is perfect for those interested in the junction point of pop culture and faith. I appreciated the chance to read and review their book. Which you can buy here.

Thanks guys!

Taking the Devil’s Dare

Standard

The sound of a man’s skull being crushed by a car door, not a sound I’ll soon forget.

I know that evil exists. From the psychotically deranged, to those being held prisoner by their pasts. Evil exists in simple lies and even in some of our everyday actions. The Bible calls this depravity sin.

543435c6b649bMarvel’s Daredevil is one of the finest products Marvel has crafted on film. The characters are believable and the action is intense. And yet, I cringe as I plunge myself into the darkness of this show. Within the first few episodes I’ve witnessed:
  • A man impale himself on a spike
  • A man flatten another man’s skull with a bowling ball
  • Women tortured and treated like dirt
  • A car door used to reduce a man’s head to goo
Why is evil so compelling? What makes us watch such things? Is it a hope, a desire down deep, that things will get better? That justice is right around the corner? I’m not sure. But justice in the world of Daredevil is executed by a man who makes himself judge, jury, and executioner. Daredevil is no hero, quite the contrary, he is part of the problem.
And yet, I continue to watch.
What are your thoughts on the series?

Life After 9/11: The Avengers

Standard

Living in a post-9/11 world, I view the world through a different lens. This past weekend I finally had a chance to sit down and watch The Avengers with my wife. As the movie raced towards its world-ending conclusion, with a portal opening above New York City, I found myself drawn out of the movie’s fantasy and into reality.

Helpless bystanders were running through the city streets, trying to evade the destruction going on around them. New York City was in havoc.  As taxi cabs were blasted through the air and skyscrapers were torn asunder, I became uncomfortable. I remembered scenes of people fleeing the dust cloud on 9/11; I remembered the repeated video footage of the planes that flew into the twin towers.

I don’t think I’ve ever realized just how much my perception of life has changed since 9/11. Even the movies that I used to think were fun, big budget action films, are tainted in messy reality.

Side Note: With all of the above being said, did anyone else notice that despite the falling debris from the skyscrapers, there was no dust in the air? The end scenes from The Avengers would have been almost unviewable had reality ruled. Hurray for viewable fantasy!