Are R-Rated Superhero Movies Good?

Deadpool 2 comes out in theaters soon, and I think it may be the last R-Rated superhero movie we’ll get for a while. At least from Marvel. DC hasn’t tried anything yet.

I wanted to do a review on the last two mature Marvel movies–Deadpool and Logan–in anticipation for the next raunchy, rowdy, R-Rated romp. But I have only seen each of them once, and that was almost a year ago.

That said, I’m going to answer a more ethics based question: are R-rated superhero movies good?

Naturally, the answer to such a question varies from person to person. I know some people avoid R-rated movies in general, and I know some people who see the MPAA ratings as a vague suggestion than anything else.

To me, I think they have some merit. Even though they are clearly not made for kids, the one’s I’ve seen still try to have some kind of moral. Especially Logan, which is effectively a story about a man trying to protect those he loves. Deadpool also had a moral about trusting and communicating with your loved ones rather than shutting them out, but it’s buried under a revenge quest.

What I’m getting at is that even though they are made for adults, they can still share stories that adults may need to hear. And from what I’ve seen, R-rated superhero movies are trying to do that more in recent years, which is a far cry better than the mindless antihero killfests of older decades. Looking at you, Blade.

That said, I’ll probably do something about Deadpool 2 next week, if I get the chance to see it over the weekend. Wish me luck!

 

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Netflix’s “Lost in Space” Review

A little over two-hundred years ago, a book came out called Swiss Family Robinson. It was about a family that got stranded on an island and learned to live there. Fast-forward to the 50’s—the era when space was being explored, new technology was being discovered, and the sci-fi was cheesier than the refrigerator at a pizza shop—and a TV series came out called Lost in Space. It was about a family that got stranded on the edge of the galaxy and learned to live there. And there was a robot.

Fast forward about forty more years, and we came to the 90’s—the era when the cartoons were great, the CGI was terrible, and I was…what, three? Four? I don’t remember. A movie came out called Lost in Space. It was about a family that got stranded on the edge of the galaxy and tried to get home…with time travel…I think…

So, what is my point in bringing this up? Well, these last two paragraphs were everything I knew about the story’s history when I went into Netflix’s Lost in Space.

It’s about ten episodes long and I’m only on episode four. So far, I’ve been mildly impressed with it. I mean, it hasn’t been great, but it has been a good show so far. There isn’t anything bad I can say about it so far, but there isn’t a lot of good I can say.

This should be a short review then.

The series, probably because of its roots, takes great strides to be a “family” series—both in the sense that it’s about family and family dynamics and that it’s something the grown-ups can watch with the kids—and I gotta give it credit for doing that.

I should also give it credit for showing the characters not getting along well with each other. The siblings squabble, the parents argue, but they find ways to overcome their differences. However, I’m too early into the show to see if it develops into something. It is a Netflix Original series, so anything goes. I wouldn’t be surprised if the dad cheats on the mom with Dr. Smith (who is a woman in this version; don’t panic).

I give this show….

 

4 – 6/10: the show hasn’t disappointed me yet. The robot is cool, but it could use more space.

 

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Isaac’s Infinity War Review [SPOILER-FREE]

WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

How could they do that?! They…they…WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

…and…and the WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

[Regains composure.]

So, as you may have guessed, I can’t really say a lot without spoiling this movie. Thanos demands silence, after all.

Even though he’s the big purple monster who…who…WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

[Regains composure.]

I do recommend going to see it, though. It brings a lot of new stuff to the MCU–and superhero movies in general–that I like. I haven’t found much bad to say about it so far. But I haven’t found much I can say about it at all. At least not here. I wanted to do a spoiler-free review, but I can spoil the movie by talking about the first five minutes.

So, here’s my Spoiler review.

 

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Isaac’s Infinity War Review [WITH THE SPOILERS]

[Cries and babbles incoherently for about twenty minutes.]

…and that’s about all I can say without spoiling anything. If you haven’t seen Avengers: Infinity War and want to, skip this post and go read my spoiler-free review, linked here. In the meantime, here’s a picture of LEGO Doctor Strange riding a dinosaur:

 

DSCN0070
Why? Because Miniature Master of the Mystic Arts meets the Menace of the Mesozoic. Also, we need happy thoughts.

If you have seen the movie (or just don’t care—I have met people) and are still reading, [inhales] WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA—

Just kidding. I got that all out in the spoiler-free review.

 

What I Liked:

Where do I begin? This is probably my favorite MCU movie so far, behind Avengers 1 and Guardians of the Galaxy.

I liked how all of the villains besides Thanos posed a threat. I mentioned this after seeing the movie: even Thanos’s grunt-level Outrider minions felt like they could pack a serious punch. His Elite Four—whatever their names were—also had that vibe, but didn’t seem as threatening.

I also liked how they did each hero justice in this movie. Nobody feels like they’re acting out of character, and when they are, it’s justified. I also like how the characters seem to have changed a bit off-screen. Iron Man is using nanotechnology, Doctor Strange has gotten stronger with his magic, and Spider-Man figured out his suit. I also gotta give some props to Black Widow for (technically) being the first to deal a casualty to Thanos’s army.

The writers made a really good call with the Hulk, in my opinion. Some of my friends expected him to die, but I liked how they scared him off instead. Hulk being scared of the villain adds a lot of weight weight.

I did like Thanos too, a little bit. He isn’t my favorite MCU bad guy (for me, that’s a tossup between Hela from Thor: Ragnarok and Vulture from Spider-Man: Homecoming, with Black Panther’s Killmonger behind them), though he is up there.

Believe it or not, I was fine with the ending, but I’ll touch on that in the next section.

 

What I Didn’t Like:

It definitely is a strong escalation of the series. But that seems to be the trend for Marvel Phase 3. Phase 1 was introducing people, Phase 2 had characters overcoming personal and relational problems, and Phase 3 had characters with an absurd amount of power straight up killing characters with less power.

I’ve had a couple people (who don’t care about spoilers) ask who died, which I believe to be the wrong question to ask. A lot of characters died, and I feel like I captured my emotions about that in the spoiler-free review.

I feel like the better question to ask is “Who survived?” I guess I’m far enough into the review to discuss this, so: everyone you expect to die survives, and everyone who you expect to survive (or at least get another movie) dies. I felt like this was a very bold choice, but a bit too telling. Anyone who died in this movie is probably going to get resurrected in Avenge Us. (Or, Infinity War, Part II. I like the speculated title too much.)

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Also, not something I liked or didn’t like, just a note: I was wrong about my X-Men prediction. But I’m not mad. Pleasantly surprised.

A collection of random thoughts

Well, I missed last week’s post.

I’ve kind of been in a dead zone lately. Nothing of much interest has been released lately. Nothing I can really talk about in depth.

I mean, we got the new God of War game recently, but I haven’t played any of the other games in the franchise. And if the new one did to Norse mythology what the last four (?) did to Greek mythology, I’m not interested. Disney’s Hercules triggered me enough.

You know, it’s weird. I could write a slam post on mainstream Disney movies that I don’t like. Because there are a few. But I don’t think that would be a good thing to write. I want my posts to be positive and edifying, not slamming for no reason. Plus, I missed the chance to do the Disney March Madness bracket thing.

Speaking of Disney, Infinity War comes out tomorrow. I plan on going Saturday, so I’ll write something about it next week. I have my theories–who will live, who will die, how things will go down–but I expect to be pleasantly disappointed. (Especially since one of my theories involves the X-Men showing up. A guy can dream.)

And that’s about it for new things going on. Really not that much.

 

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Call of Duty: Zombies has…Christian themes?

I mentioned this a while back; I’ve been playing a lot of Call of Duty: Black Ops III Zombie Chronicles for the past two month. In my defense, I alternated through this game, LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Bioshock, and Mad Max. (The latter two of which I’d like to write on at some point.)

Now, one would think that the less-mainstream alternate game mode of a very mainstream first-person shooter franchise wouldn’t have a horribly convoluted storyline, especially when it involves mowing down wave after wave of the undead. But somehow the writers at Treyarch managed to pen a quasi-cohesive plotline for a bunch of random locations and events.

I say quasi-cohesive because it involves time travel, alternate dimensions, and a surprising amount of non-zombie threats. (Including, but not limited to, flaming attack dogs, power-up stealing monkeys, electricity monsters, genetic abominations, giant robots, angels, spiders the size of terriers, ents, dragons—)

*Record scratches.* Angels? Wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Now, of course, all of this is explained in the lore. I did a lot of digging, mostly on the wiki, because I’m not that great at the game.

Basically, the mode (as of Black Ops III’s DLC) is the story of the conflict between the characters Dr. Monty (alongside the Keepers) and the Shadowman (alongside the Apothycons). The playable characters are fighting alongside Dr. Monty, but more as the ground-floor soldiers winning the war.

Believe it or not, as I played it and read up on the lore, I found a fair amount of Christian themes. Sure, most of them are in the Monty-Shadowman side of the plot, but it’s something.

I brought up angels once before on this blog, and the takeaway was that they’re really hard to write. Usually someone gets them wrong.

I’d like to make an argument for the Keepers as angels. Essentially, their role is twofold: protect the Summoning Key (an artifact capable of transporting souls) and keep the Apothycons (world-ending, zombie-creating tentacle space whales) at bay. Two other things about them tell me that they are angels. First, they don’t hold a lot of supernatural powers—the exceptions being the dimension-hopping that they do regularly and the stuff Dr. Monty, who is himself a Keeper, does. Second, they can be corrupted to fight alongside the Apothycons.

In fact, the Shadowman, the “big bad” of the game, was himself a Keeper. Which makes me think in this narrative, he is supposed to typify the Devil. The connections run deeper, as he initially appears in the game as a man in a suit, not unlike the Devil who masquerades as an angel of the light. (2 Corinthians 11:14)

This post is running a little long, so I’ll wrap it up. These are just my musings on the subject, and I know the series has drawn inspiration from a lot of other sources. And there are probably counterarguments against my thesis. But, these are just my musings on a game I’ve been playing a lot of lately. I’m willing to discuss this further in the comments below.

 

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5 Christian Songs I Actually Like

Christian music has a poor reputation among the greater music circle, and ever since I discovered secular music, my tastes in this subgenre have changed.

To be fair, it was a bit of a downward slide, since “Christian music” comes in two flavors—“Praise and Worship” (music directly referencing God, Jesus, and Christian themes, e.g.: Rend Collective, Hillsong, or Third Day) or “Music by Christians” (more like surprisingly-clean rock/rap/metal/etc, e.g.: Skillet, Thousand Foot Krutch, or RED).

I got started on “Music by Christians” at a fairly young age and stuck to that genre for a long time, mostly because I was trying to get away from “Praise and Worship”. Around…I think ninth and tenth grade, I started making the switch over to secular music, spurned partially by my desire to find new music to listen to and my involvement in music ministry (which meant getting up and performing a lot of “Praise and Worship”).

But I’m not here to talk about why I made the transition from Christian to secular music, or my opinions on the genres as a whole, though I could devote a month’s worth of blog posts to it. I’m here to talk about some of the Christian songs that I like. These are in no particular order. In fact, they fluctuate quite frequently. If you want to check them out, they’re probably on Spotify. The only one I can’t speak for is Number 4, since I don’t use Spotify, but I found it on YouTube, so maybe.

 

5. “Great I Am” by Phillips, Craig, and Dean. Some of the songs on this list come from my time participating in music ministry. This one does come from that, but it also stems from looking at the other popular songs of that time. “Great I Am” (alongside, “Oceans” and “You Make Me Brave”) is one of the last new/mainstream “Praise and Worship” songs to be listenable.  After this came “Good Good Father,” and its de-evolution “King of My Heart.” Songs with okay verses, but no effort on the chorus. My point is, if “Great I Am” is the last “good” Christian song, then I will be perfectly fine with that.

 

4. “Hard” by Rich Mullins. Having been involved in music ministry for over five years now, I have found that Rich Mullins is probably one of the more forgotten Christian musicians in the history of the genre. I personally think he’s one of the best–if you know him for anything, it’s for the songs “Awesome God” or “Hold Me Jesus.”  If I could pick one of his songs, though, it’s “Hard,” just because of how relatable it is.

 

3. “Eternity” by Disciple. When I got started on the “Music by Christians” genre, Disciple was one of the first bands I found. They usually tend more towards the “screamo” side of rock-n-roll, though, so good luck finding them on your local Christian station. I enjoy a lot of their songs, but I picked “Eternity” for this list because it’s the most obviously Christian. (That is, without going to the lyrics booklets where they type out the scripture citations for almost every line of almost every song.) That, and I have a thing for people’s interpretations/speculations of what Heaven looks like. I don’t know why.

 

2. “You Are Good” by Israel Houghton. I seriously don’t know why I like this song. It has probably the most repetitive lyrics I have ever come across in my twenty-two years of listening to music, and that’s even factoring in my EDM phase, all the camp songs I learned, and “Good Good Father.” But still, this song is one of the most fun songs I’ve come across. Granted, this is partially because it’s (hands down) the most fun song to perform in a worship team.

 

1.  “Be Thou My Vision.” (I prefer the Michael Card version.) Okay, I have a soft spot for Celtic/Irish music. (I mean, one of the two instruments I play is tin whistle.) So, of course my list would include a song of Celtic/Irish origin. That and it’s a song that has solid theology and is over a hundred years old and has been translated into a dozen languages, and lyrically it’s a prayer to God asking Him to help us in our daily life, as we look forward to the eternal reward of heaven.
I mean, I like it.

 

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