Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Spider-Man 3

Okay, so much for trying to post every day to get caught up. It's amazing how easily your time gets eaten up when you have less to do. I'll have to work on that this summer...but for now, I'm going to post something that was not even on my list of upcoming posts: a review of Spider-Man 3 that I had written back on opening weekend and then never posted so that I didn't spoil it for anyone. I guess the statute of limitations has run out by now, so here's the big post (as written on May 4).

Last night I went out with my coworkers and watched the midnight showing of Spider-Man 3. However, it would not be fair for me to give a bunch of spoilers to everyone else who did not go to the midnight showing, so I'm not going to actually post this article for several weeks to give people a chance to see it. So here's my disclaimer again: The following review contains major spoilers and expects familiarity with all parts of the plot, including the ending, so don't read it if you don't want the movie spoiled.

First, my critical review: I enjoyed the movie. I don't feel like it met the high standards set by the first two, but it was an overall enjoyable movie. I had three major concerns with it: first, it felt like they were trying too hard in this film. The first two films were known for their "more is less" mentality, but this one went all-out to try and wow and impress. The best example of this is that there are four major villains in this film, which just feels like too many. The special effects were great (especially on Sandman), and the backstories were good, but not fleshed out because there was too much going on. Second, the editing felt poorly done. So many times I felt whipped around, like they were trying to fit too many things in, so they just had to show me this--and then that--and then this because we were running out of done.

Third, much of the humor felt very campy and out of place in this film. Both of the earlier films had moments of humor, but this one played up the jokes significantly, especially during the time when Peter is under the influence of the black suit. For example, he breaks out into a whole dance sequence at one point, which personally left me thinking, "What on earth?" It seemed like the audience was constantly being led to laugh at times when a laugh felt out of place (part of this was because of some very melodramatic moments that came between Harry and MJ). However, the French waiter did not feel out of place (at least to me), and I quite enjoyed it (it felt very John fact, at first I thought it was John Cleese).

So those were my critical comments, but I also found some great thinking moments I wanted to comment on. Overall I thought that the alien symbiote that first took over Peter and then Eddie Brock made some great points about the nature of sin (although not perfect by any means). It was a sort of Jekyll/Hyde adventure, where Peter loves the power rush that putting on the black suit gives him, but soon finds that it is possessing him and turning him into something terrible. When he finally tries to free himself from it, it is intensely difficult. When it takes over Eddie, turning him into Venom, he loves the way it makes him feel angry, and at the very end, when Peter gives him the opportunity to escape from its clutches, he runs back in and embraces it as it is destroyed, taking him with it. He is so attached to the anger that he is willing to be destroyed rather than part with it. It is sad, but it's a great picture of how sin grabs onto our lives, makes us feel good, but eventually destroys us.

So it was an imperfect film and could have been much better, but I did enjoy it. If you want to see a great superhero film, though, watch the first two and Batman Begins. Those are the cream of the crop.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Odds and Ends XI

Whew, it's been almost a month since my last Odds and Ends post, and I have a lot of great links to share with you guys.

  • Nathan Williams at Pulpit examines the concept of God's "foreknowledge", which is very applicable to the post I will soon be writing in response to Karyn about predestination.
  • I linked to the Wilson-Hitchens debate taking place over on Christianity Today last time, but now the debate is over and someone has compiled all the arguments into one PDF. Wilson tore him apart nicely, I think.
  • Joe Thorn explains why it is good for Christians to go to the movies, an argument I have been trying to make for years.
  • Al Mohler reviews The Dangerous Book for Boys, which sounds like just what our effeminate culture really needs.
  • Centuri0n points to a statement from a top NASA official that makes one of the most critical arguments against the whole global warming controversy: how do we know that the current temperature of the earth is the best?
  • John MacArthur spent a week evaluating the Roman Catholic Church's claim to authority in interpreting the Scriptures.



  • If you're like me and let your emails pile up on you, this article will be invaluable: how to clean out your Gmail inbox and keep it clean. I'm planning on implementing some of these suggestions today as I clean out the 300 emails in my inbox.
  • A fellow Na attendee posted this video recap of the conference...I almost walked in on him interviewing someone in an elevator while I was there.
  • C.S. Lewis explains why it is we enjoy which I give a hearty "Amen!"
  • Steven Speilburg and Peter Jackson are producing a trilogy of Tintin films! I grew up on those books, so I can't wait to see what they do with them.
  • I want one of these tables...will Bill Gates never stop?


One of my favorite humorists is Patrick McManus, who writes about hunting, fishing, camping, and all things outdoors. Reading one of his stories, no matter how many times I've read it before, never fails to bring a smile to my face. In one of his stories, "The Worry Box," he talks about an old man with whom he goes fishing, and they have the following exchange:

"Why are you always so cheerful?" I growled. "Must be because you have so few worries."

"Nope," he said. "It's because every morning this incredibly wonderful thing happens to me."

"I'm not so sure I want to hear this," I said, "but what's the incredibly wonderful thing?"

"I wake up again! Dad-gum if that don't make my day!"

If only we all had that view of life, I think we would all be a lot happier.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


Well, my high school graduation was last Saturday, and what an event it was. I was the the senior in charge of administrating everything (I was under Mrs. Hoover and the other moms, of course), and I'll be honest: I'm glad it's over. There are a lot of details that go into an event like that which I had no idea where even issues. But thankfully, everything went wonderfully, and the worst mishap was when one of the moms knocked off one of the graduate's caps when they hugged.

Bob Donahue spoke, and gave a nice exhortation from Psalm 90:12, which was our theme verse: "Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." Bryce and Emily, the 10:31 winners for our class, eloquently thanked our parents for all their work over the years. And I got to give the charge as the unofficial valedictorian (it's hard to figure that out objectively in a homeschool class, but they chose me since I was a National Merit Scholar...of course, all that really means is that I do well on standarized tests, but they insisted). Here's the text of what I said:

Friends, after 13 years, we finally made it. We've been invested in by our parents and by our church, and we have been entrusted with the single most important gift we will ever recieve: the gospel of Jesus Christ. Now, as we go forth into the world as adults, let us be faithful to live that gospel for a watching world to see. Let us seize every moment as an opportunity to glorify God, and let us pursue wisdom and maturity all the days of our lives.
Then my good friend Robby Sawyer (a fellow member of the PC crew) led the class in flipping the tassels on our caps, and then we ran down the aisle to the sounds of James Bond. What a wonderful feeling to run down the back hallway screaming at the top of our lungs. So exhilarating.

(Oh yeah, we also gave our senior pastor, Josh Harris, an honorary membership in our class, since he once mentioned that he has never graduated from anything...i.e. his parents forgot to graduate him from high school. So we gave him a cap and gown, filmed him walking down the aisle, and gave him a diploma. It was great fun, and now I can say that I graduated with a bestselling author, not to mention a prominent pastor and one of the men I greatly respect.)

Now that my life has cleared up a little bit (although not that much), I have a whole line-up of posts I've been working on that should be making an appearance in the next couple of weeks. A foretaste:

  • A meditation on Romans 3:26, inspired by John Piper's message at Na
  • A defense of the just war theory, inspired by Sergeant York
  • A critique of the "God is love" mindset
  • A fun browsing of different Narnia book covers
  • A response to Karyn's post about predestination (a continuation of this debate a few months ago)
  • A massive Odds and Ends post that has been piling up for weeks!
  • And of course the long-awaited Harry Potter post! (don't worry, I didn't forget)

So the next few weeks should be interesting as I head out on several vacations and other miscellaneous events. Tonight is my first new caregroup meeting, which I am very excited about. I'll let you all know how that goes. Hopefully this blog gets out of the personal life rut soon and back into some real meaty posts.