Movie Review: X-Men: Days Of Future Past

Day of Futre past poster

The end has come. The end of all life- both natural and mutants, is at the brink of total extinction. Today, there is nothing any of the X-men can do to stop it. Sentenial, machines of biological warfare, have destroyed all but a few of the x-men and most of the world’s population as well. Everything centers around one history changing event, but that was 30 years in the past.

Thankfully (and conveniently) though, one such X-girl has the power to manipulate time and send people back. Unfortunately, it is so painful on the brain, no one can survive. No one, save for your friendly neighborhood wolverine. He is the only one who can go back and change what was done. The mind he has to change though, is none other than Charles Xavier- the world’s most powerful telepath.

Wolverine isn’t known for his well spoken or patient demeanor. Let’s hope his younger teacher can be taught by his older self in the days of future past. Because time travel always makes about as much sense as that previous sentence.

Things I Liked

I am a fan of hopeful movies. As hope is what drives us in our everyday lives as well. This movie is filled with it, and carries through to the end. There is hope that things can go differently and that choices can be changed. Hope motivates all in their actions to change the future for the better.

Logan volunteers himself to go through the excruciating pain of time travel. His brain has a chance of being ripped to nothingness, yet does so anyway. He has grown so much since we last found him as a rouge selfish guy. It was great to see him change, in part, for the better.

Perhaps the best thing I liked about the film, is how it portrays the worldview of survival of the fittest. That is, it shows the fruit of this philosophy resulting in complete and utter destruction. Millions of lives are lost in the world, and there are essentially no survivors. This is Darwinian theory at its best, by showing its worst. By trying to survive, they have destroyed themselves. Leaving nothing but ash, ruin, and death in their wake.

Things I Didn’t Like

Logan is back with his well toned muscular form, and unfortunately in this film, we see his the back of his body, au’ naturale, as he looks out a window. Adding nothing to the plot except a clip that sinfully displays his human figure more than ever. Mystique’s costume still sports the tight fitting blue latex suit she has become known for as well.

Cursing is Prevalent as Logan drops many profanities at least once, his favorite being the D- Word. The F- word is used once as well. God’s name is taken on vain once.

With all X-Men movies, fight scenes are to expected. The difference with many of these however, is we see they happened, but then, they really didn’t. Early on we watch the result of the sentinels. Massive mounds of dead bodies litter streets, in various forums of decay. The sentinels impale and kill mutants with their own powers, but then, in another time, we see these same mutants alive. Most we see die, we see later alive. So while the violence is there, the pain of death is gone.

Mystique and Logan have their own little blurb of violence because they account for the majority of it in the film. Mystique takes out dozens of people martial arts style. We see a flashback of a man being shot by her, and also some close ups of her killing some guards with hands. She shoots a man in the neck, and we get a close up of the trail of the bullet.

Perhaps the most squirm worthy scene though, or the one I most disliked, was when Magneto decided to wrap wolverine in iron bars. The bars not only wrap around Logan, but puncture into his legs, arms and torso. Rendering him in incredible pain, immobile, yet unable to die.

Closing Thoughts

“We can show them a better path…”

~Charles Xavier~

This is the… sixth(?) movie in the multi-million dollar X-men franchise. In some ways, it is like every other movie with the superhuman mutants. While in others, is completely set apart. On the one hand, we find common things that we’ve come to expect in these films. There is sinful glorification and screen time of wolverine’s rear nude and Mystique’s bodies, a dabbling in some foul language, and obligatory violence to show off the mutant powers. The violence of entertainment is lesser than that of past three X-men, but it is there nonetheless.

On the flip side, there are some bread ideas presented that make you think long and hard about the lasting impact our choices make. We see these flawed characters grow into people they should have been, or at hoped they would be. There are also some pretty hard hits on evolution, as it fleshes out that philosophy to the core, and we see the full grown fruit. Sacrifices and mercy is shown by one character that surprised even me.

I’d like to say this is the X-Men movie we all have wanted. This movie culminates all theories and philosophies that have been toyed with in the past five films. With messages presented that are pretty solid in terms of a biblical base, the question is does it counterbalance the negative themes?

Honestly, and disappointingly- No. In my humble opinion it does not. While this one may have mutated to lead to a better moral resolution, the method in getting there is still dark and without redemption. All struggles and success point to the glorification of the mutants, rather that the glorification of the actions (biblically praiseworthy) themselves. I’d be hesitant to say it is worth watching again, and while certainly a different path, I would not say much better. Maybe sometime in the future past, wherever that may be.

Have you seen this film? What did you think? Leave your thoughts below!

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Christianity, Nudity, & Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones Wallpaper

Content Warning: The following post contains much material that deals with nudity, sexuality, and other mature themes. While I believe I’ve presented such material in a tasteful, rather than graphic, manner, be aware this post is certainly not the typical “G” rating that I strive towards in my writings. 

Games of Thrones. There may not be a hotter topic of discussion regarding TV shows among Christian circles. If you are out of the TV-Show loop, Game of Thrones has been described by Kit Harrington (an actor of the series) as “It is a beautifully crafted epic Fantasy. With plenty of raucous sex thrown in.”  Epic fantasy, raucous sex, not even mentioning the violence that exceeds the “R” rating scale (if that is possible.) What more could you ask for? Content aside, many Christians I know watch this series mainly for the given reason; “The story is incredible!” While the Game of Thrones yarn may be a good one, it amazes me how many professing followers of Christ watch, and even go as far as to promote, this series even with the inexcusable content it contains. The fact is that Game of Thrones shows vile immoral sex and deplorable nudity and consequently, the people who watch the series develop an insatiable lust for more and more of the show.

Here’s the deal though. Game of Thrones isn’t the problem. HBO isn’t the problem. It is much much deeper than one series which will be over in a few years. The problem is a complete moral disconnect from what we watch on TV. We view people without clothes, and, as Christians, we think this acceptable? I observe many Christians have no qualms with nudity in movies and television. They justify it by playing the legalism card, saying it does not affect them, and even go so far as to compare it to the stories of the Old Testament (thereby making it okay.)

These attempts at justification are disturbingly naive or indignantly ignorant. In either case, let’s unpack this sensitive, albeit crucial topic. For if we do not draw our line at viewing nudity and the promiscuous acts which often go along with it, then where is that line drawn?

Why Not Nudity?

In order to actually begin to dwell upon this topic, we have to first ask ourselves; “Is there anything wrong with public nudity?” I mean, God created us, our souls, and our bodies. He created Adam and Eve without clothes too. Surely it isn’t that bad. Actually, it is that bad, and we are given a moral law to abstain from viewing people in the nude. This is of course wrong, given the context outside of marriage.

When Adam and Eve sinned against God, their eyes were opened because of that sin. They had lost their perfect innocence and what was the first thing they realized? They were naked and they were ashamed. Public nakedness after the fall has always been shown in Scripture as shameful and demeaning. God also gives commands various times in the Old and New Testaments that, if someone lacks clothing, we should cover him. God set this standard by clothing Adam and Eve.

Digging even deeper, We see, in Job 31, an example where even gazing at a young woman (other translations use “virgin”) would break his holy covenant with his eyes. In Habakkuk  2, there is condemnation in looking upon people who are without clothes. Ham looked upon (an intentional look) the nakedness of his father Noah, and was cursed. Our reaction to nudity should not be even a passive gaze- even that has been declared as sin by God. But rather an active covering. Following the example God has given us.

So you don’t like the Old Testament verses. You’re free in Christ. I get that; I am too, in fact. Here’s the deal though; Christ did not abolish God’s moral Law. He fulfilled it and commanded us to have “not even a hint of sexual immorality among you.” Romans 1 sets a great example of how dangerous it is to, instead of getting as far away as possible from a potential sin, see how close to the edge one can get.

Obviously, I fail at this; everyone does. That does not excuse us from intentionally viewing such immorality with our eyes when you know it will be shown again, and again, and again … Sexual immorality is not just sex. It is thoughts, lusts, and the viewing of nakedness. If it is not so wrong to watch nudity on TV, what is wrong with going to a strip club on the weekend? The input is the same- sinful on all counts. TV just throws in a story to make it more entertaining and give people justification.

The Big Excuse

So you’re still with me so far; still reading at least. I’m sure some of you are thinking this:

Austin, viewing nudity doesn’t cause me to have lustful thoughts about those people. It doesn’t affect or bother me. Paul says meat for some is sinful, and for others it isn’t. It depends on your conscience and is a matter of conviction. I simply don’t struggle with it.

Okay, I’ll take you at your word, as I can’t judge the heart. Say viewing promiscuous sex, shameful nudity, and the like does not conjure up in your mind lustful thoughts. On the one hand, the Bible is clear, since the fall of Adam and Eve, nudity was, and is meant to be associated with sexuality (which is good in proper context.) On the other, viewing such things causes no apparent lustful or sexual thoughts to enter your mind.

When our God-given natures do not line up with our personal declared moralities, we have a problem, and a big one at that. God has put into us sexuality. In the the proper context of marriage, we are told and shown it to be a great thing in Scripture. We are not called however, to let our sexuality be reduced to the state of neutrality of a desensitized state. No one is just naturally immune to the pull of sexuality. In this day and culture though, people have been so steeped in it, that many have lost the natural desire and appreciation for our sexual natures that God has created in us to partake in. How sad it is that this gift of God has been viewed and abused to a point of where one, even a professing Christian, can look at and watch a person in the full nude, and go “meh”, and feel nothing.

That isn’t personal conviction- that isn’t even self control. That is a soul that is so desensitized and is living with a heart so deceived, that it has become sexually neutered in the mind. Have we forgotten that our heart is deceitful above all things? That we are to flee any kind of sexual immorality, instead of trying to reason through it by ourselves? It truly pains me to see so many Christians failing to understand the glory of what God has created. Continuing in this, sexuality will lose the precious meaning that was originally intended.

A Call to Accountability

So, where am I going with this? Essentially, I believe we need to continue to proclaim to all, but especially our brothers and sisters in Christ, to pray about what we watch. Notice, I didn’t say think. We as humans can reason out of any situation if we let our minds justify enough. Especially in this case of media, we need to be vigilant in asking, “Is what I am viewing sinful?

While many aspects in films can be discussed, and I believe do apply to the illustration that Paul gives regarding meat; nudity and sex are not one of them. It isn’t faked, and to look on it is sin. We need to start asking those good questions to one another in a sincere and loving way. Asking about the “why” they watch such sinful content and if they know what Scripture says about it. I’m not perfect in this area, I’ve seen things which I wish I could take back, take Braveheart for instance, and the most recent X-men (which I’ll be reviewing shortly). Those viewings are from a lack of pre-reading diligence, but are in no way excusable. Even accidental viewings are to be repented of- we are still responsible for those. I am still responsible for those.

We are also responsible for keeping each other accountable in Christlike love. Starting from the spot where we all acknowledge we all have struggles, and we are all struggling together to walk in a manner glorifying to Christ. Game Of Thrones has no place in that walk. Nudity has no place in that walk. Therefore, let’s work together to call those stumbling in these areas to get back on their feet. This proclamation will certainly come with ridicule, being called legalistic, intolerant, or even losing friendships. Through Prayer and loving concern though, we can successfully work towards this reality. One step at a time, because our victory is in Christ, and he has already won.

The Post about Controversial Posts

Wrong Internet

I think we’ve all seen it before. That one post about that one thing which that one author is incredibly passionate about. There are bible references, quotes, experiences, and e’rething (not just everything). And then it happens. Another person comes in and comments in disagreement… And you would have thought the world had been shaken out of orbit by the response given by the author. We find it everywhere don’t we? On Political blogs, Christian blogs, Car blogs… anywhere there is opinion there is most always overreaction to the disagreeing side (or vise versa). YouTube is famous for this, and also the quickest way to lose hope for humanity. ;)

One thing I’ve found about the internet which fascinates me is how quickly people will argue about something with a passion. Then, when meeting in person, they remain silent to the point of awkwardness about it. How quickly one will vehemently defend their opinions online against people they’ve never met, yet rarely do so with their best friends.  The reasons for this are many, but that’s not the point of this post, merely an observation.

Before I go on, I’d like to say I do find controversial posts expressing an opinion or belief, with a christ centered heart, an excellent thing. The problem is, often we find one without the other. Most often, I see a heart that is not centered on Christ. I’ve written my share of controversial posts, and read a great many more. One common theme I’ve found is while posters may not be soft headed- meaning they know a lot- that knowledge has puffed them up to being hard in their responses to disagreements. I’ve done it, you’ve done it, we’ve all done did it. Figuring out the problem is just the first step right?

Whether you are the initiating poster, or the responding commenter, I’d definitely encourage you to share what you believe or think. If everyone agreed on everything this world would be a dull and quite boring place. Through confronting, questioning, and discussing our ideas, we grow to understand them more. Often not letting them go or changing our minds, but coming to a greater understanding of where the other is coming from, and solidifying the “Why” of your statement.

So when you post a controversial statement or opinion, don’t see a disagreement as challenge to your beliefs. Rather, an opportunity to grow in them and perhaps learn something you hadn’t considered. If more people did this, comment boxes would be a place of beneficial encouragement and dialogue, rather than the degrading speech which is currently found in the large majority of posts today regarding just about anything.

So leave a little bit of Christlike comments and posts in those controversial places. Worse that can happen is you leave a little bit more informed and the person doesn’t change their mind. Which as we all know, mind changing happens all the time online. Oh. Wait…

;)