Thursday Quote Day: Carter Stepper

For this week’s “Thursday Quote Day” is a quote from teacher and writer Carter Stepper:

“We are defined by our stories. In each stage of our lives, there are marked moments where we can perceive with clarity how are lives have changed, shaping our individual identities in unique ways.” (Carter Stepper Bigger on the Inside: Christianity and Doctor Who)

Sunday Devotional: Revelation 21:5-7

“And He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also He said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”  And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.  The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.”  (Revelation 21:5-7)

We all look forward to the future, to a brighter day.  For those who are followers of Jesus, we look forward to being with Jesus and seeing the Father face to face.  We long for that new Heaven and the new Earth that is described in Revelation 21 & 22.

These verses give hope.  They remind us of the one who makes “all things new”.  They remind us of the one who is “the beginning and the end”.  The one who loved us so much to die for us so that we may have life.  That we are able drink from the “spring of the water of life without payment”.  And the awesome thing is we get to have a relationship with God forever.  That is our hope.

During the time that Revelation was written, there was mass a persecution of Christians going on by the Roman Empire.  Believers needed to stand firm in their faith and hold onto their faith in Christ.  John reminded them of the hope that comes for those who endure, who overcome.  That same promise is given to us today.  We have that hope that once sin and death are finally defeated, we get to gather together wall all those who love Jesus and get to worship together for eternity.  That’s a hope worth remembering as we continue on following after Him in the present.

“Okay…that’s it?”: Thoughts on “Fantastic Four”

Fantastic Four

There has been a lot said about the newest Fantastic Four film.  Most of what has been said has been bad…real bad.  As in horrible bad.  And giving the history of the making of the film, there is no surprise that is the case.  The reviews that came out just prior to its release didn’t help it at all.  Even the trailers didn’t give the film much help, especially the initial teaser trailer.

But given all that, I went and saw it.  Because A) it’s a superhero film, B) I for the most part like superhero films, and C) I had a gift certificate for a free ticket.  So basically, I was going to see it for free.  I didn’t really have anything to lose, except losing one free ticket.

I will try and not spoil the film but I will share some of my thoughts here.  The main thought that I had as I walked out of the theater was what the title of this blog was.  “Okay…that’s it?”  It wasn’t bad, or at least I didn’t think it was bad.  Was it good?  No, it was not good.  So it was not good and it was not bad so it lands in okay.

There is a story there.  Unfortunately, it feels like a half finished film.  The visual effects are great.  The cast is great.  I thought that Miles Tellar, Michael B. Jordon, Kate Mara and Jamie Bell did a great job.  The Thing actually looks like The Thing.  There is a lot of potential there.

The problem is like I said, it feels like a half finished film.  There are several points of exposition that don’t really connect well (or in some cases at all).  There are several points in the film where there are time jumps (one point it jumps seven years, another one year) and that has the potential (especially the second one) to kinda throw things off.  It hits a lot of the beats of an origin story movie but at the same time feels like it misses some of the connections that weave through it.  Reed and Ben don’t feel like best friends (hurt by the time jump).  Not much is developed as far as showing the connection between Johnny and Sue (but at least there’s more shown there than with the friendship with Reed and Ben).

Then there is Victor Von Doom.  Yes, he is the villain of the film.  They kinda make that obvious even before he is shown on screen.  And the first scene he is on screen does give off the impression of the rumors of him being a computer hacker (but he isn’t any of the sort).  But even though he’s the villain of the film…he doesn’t really feel like a villain for a lot of the picture.  In fact, there’s a decent amount of time where after he’s introduced, he’s not even in the movie.  The real villain is the guy who chews gum a lot and either is a board member of the Baxter Institute or a government official (or both? It’s not really explained well or I missed it).  This guy basically uses The Thing (and tries to use Johnny) on military assignments while Sue and Franklin (Johnny and Sue’s father) try to find Reed.  And where’s Reed?  Reed goes into hiding after escaping from the government facility where the group was transported following the accident that gave them superpowers.  He basically pulls a Bruce Banner, which doesn’t make sense to me.  If anyone would pull the Bruce Banner and run away, it would be Ben Grimm.  But they went with Reed doing it.

Another kind of a pet peeve, New York City is pretty much non existent.  Aside from a few exterior shots early on in the movie, the city doesn’t play a part.  Which if you know the Fantastic Four (or for that matter most Marvel comics and films), NYC is almost like another character.  But it is relegated to almost a Stan Lee cameo (which by the way I blinked and missed his cameo cause I didn’t see it).

So I mentioned the title of this post is “Okay…that’s it?”  Well the ‘that’s it?’ part comes with the ending of the film.  Or I guess I should say the final third of the film.  The film kinda builds up and then all of a sudden you get to the end of the film and it’s over…and it almost seems to easy or that there should be more.  Now I say this knowing the film is 1 hour and 40 minutes.  And yet, I still felt like the final battle could’ve been longer or broken up into multiple parts or something.  It was kinda like a piece of chewing gum that had a decent flavor but the flavor was gone pretty quick and you left chewing and thinking “That’s it?”  That’s what the ending felt like to me.  It also suffered from the “Marvel Movie Syndrome” of how to deal with villains.

To sum up, Fantastic Four is not horrible.  It’s not bad.  On the flip side, it is not good.  It is not up to the standards that Marvel Studios puts out.  It’s unfortunate that Marvel Studios does not have the FF franchise.  Because I’m sure, they would do a better job with it.  I do think it’s worth seeing.  But I’d probably wait for a matinee or the dollar theater if you want to see it in the theater, otherwise you could wait until it comes out on DVD.  There’s potential there but I guarantee that Josh Trank will have nothing to do with the sequel…and that’s more that likely a good thing.

Thursday Quote Day: Francis Schaeffer

For this week’s “Thursday Quote Day” here is another quote from Francis Schaeffer:

“Love–and the unity it attests to–is the mark Christ gave Christians to wear before the world. Only with this mark may the world know that Christians are indeed Christians and that Jesus was sent by the Father.” (Francis Schaeffer The Mark of a Christian)

Sunday Devotional: John 1:35-42

“The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”  The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.  Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?”  He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.  One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.  He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ).  He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).”  (John 1:35-42)

This is the account of the first disciples who followed Jesus.  Each one heard and met Jesus in different places, but the same invite was given to them.  They were each given the opportunity to follow Jesus.  We are given that same invitation, to follow Jesus.  We are given the same invitation to “Come and you will see” who Jesus is.

This week, let us be like Andrew and Peter and not only follow Jesus but invite others to follow as well.