Spider-Man: No Way Home is just OK… Please change my mind.

Like most people, Spider-Man has been a big part of my childhood and young adult years. I grew up watching the Rami films and often imagined myself jumping from building-to-building shooting webs. As a teenager I reconnected with the Web-Slinger by watching The Amazing Spider-Man films, and then going into college, I quickly became hooked on the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s version of Spider-Man. At my first college musical audition I wore my favorite Spider-Man jacket, infact, I wore that some Spider-Man jacket all through-out college and despite it having a few badly patched holes in its pockets, I also wore it to watch Spider-Man: No Way Home.

I was excited for Spider-Man No Way Home, albiet I was a bit concerned going into it. I wanted all my concerns to be invalid and to exit the theater feeling like I’ve just witnessed the greatest Spider-Man movie of all time. However, that is not my story. I left the theaters a bit disappointed. And so far, I seem to be in the minority.

At the time of writing this, Spider-Man No Way Home sits at a 94% fresh in Rotten Tomatoes Critics Score and its audience score is even higher. Everyone I’ve spoken to about the movie seems to adore it and many would even rank it above Infinity War and Endgame. I wish I could say the same, but for some reason I can’t. Perhaps I was a bit tired, or perhaps I overanalyzed its flaws. But something felt off for me and I wanted to figure it out.

I’m currently trying to learn what makes a story good, and the hard part about this is that art is subjective. I’ve had arguments with my friends over this, while certain things in life are objectively good or bad, there can be things that suit one person’s taste and is sours to another. I wouldn’t quite say No Way Home was sour to me, but I will say that it didn’t meet my expectations. Perhaps that is half the problem.

I’m not here to convince you that Spider-Man No Way Home is a ‘bad movie.’ Art is subjective; however, I want to lay out the reasons why it missed the mark for me and hopefully hear some opposing viewpoints to help me enjoy the film more. Also, while I have some major critiques, I also absolutely adored certain aspects of the movie, so I will be taking about that as well.

Since I’m viewing this article as more of analysis, it will be full of spoilers. So, if you haven’t seen the movie, here is your official… SPOILER ALERT!!!

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Why You Should Play Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition!

You may have been hearing of Xenoblade Chronicles recently. Its a JRPG that excels at creating a unique battle system and… my personal favorite… telling a captivating and extensive story. Recently two Xenoblade characters made it into Nintendo’s hit game ‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.’ These characters being Pyra and Mythra. Having just finished the sequel in which they appear (Xenoblade Chronicles 2), and playing around with their unique fighting mechanisms in Smash Ultimate, I figured it would be the perfect time to share this article I wrote last year yet never got around to publishing.

This post is NOT about the game that Mythra and Pyra are in, BUT, is about the game that comes before. Continue reading to hear why you should check out the Xenoblade games and why you should start with Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition!

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Expert Love Advice from an Inexperienced Loser!

It’s that time of year again: Valentines Day! You know, the day you either go on a romantic date to your local Starbucks and order the same cup of coffee you’ve ordered everyday for the last five years… or you hide in in your room scorning the very existence of love and watching corny comedy movies to numb the pain!

This Valentines day I wanted to do something very special for all of my readers… beside actually posting another blog post, which is a rarity in itself. This Valentines Day I want to give you that special bit of advice to add a bit of pizzazz to your love life this Valentines Day! Most blogs that share advice on love and romance are typically written by the same type of people: typically they’re super cool people with lots of dating experience! After all, you know what they say, experience is a good teacher right? But you know what’s an even better teacher? Me. Yea that’s right. Me! Most of the blogs you read this Valentines Day will give you suave advice blinded by their own experiences. Some will say “do this,” others “do that.” Each citing the same thing: a exceedingly great amount of experience.

But me, I’ve got no experience whatsoever when it comes to romance! Which makes this loser totally unbiased! Therefore, this Valentines Day (or whatever day you are reading this) I am going to give you expert and unbiased dating advice that will change your life forever! Hopefully for the better!

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Can Fan Service Really Work? A Reflection on The Mandalorian Season 2

A little over a year ago a small green creature took the entire world by storm as millions of memes flooded our social media feeds. His name was Baby Yoda.

Or at least that’s what we called him, those at Lucasfilm and others working on The Mandalorian called him “The Child.” He was this mysterious green creature who is clearly of the same species as Jedi Master Yoda, one of the most recognizable characters in all of Star Wars. And in a day, “The Child” somehow became just as popular.

Season 1 of The Mandalorian followed a mysterious bounty hunter who obeyed a specific set of rules while trying to keep a valuable child out the hands of many greedy and nefarious foes. Throughout the first season he becomes attached to the child, learning that there more in life than making a quick paycheck, and quite possibly, that there’s more to being a Mandalorian than he originally thought. The end of the season tasks the Mandalorian, whose name is revealed to be Din Djarin, to return this child to a group of enemy sorcerers known as “The Jedi.”

There was also one other reveal at the end of the season, a fan favorite lightsaber pulled straight from The Clone Wars. This saber is called the dark saber.

In eight short episodes The Mandalorian was able to reveal quite a few surprises that kept the fans wanting more and felt true to the story they were trying to tell. And now that the second season has concluded. The question is, did the latest season do likewise?

I believe the answer is yes. Somehow, season two managed to have triple the amount of surprises without changing the core of its story. As a Star Wars fan, and as a writer, I would like to take a look at why this approach seemed to work.

MAJOR SPOILERS INBOUND!

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Sighs of a Discouraged Writer

I am discouraged.

There, I said it. I am discouraged. Lets be real. Writing is not for the feint of heart, and even if my heart is feinter than most my mere stubbornness and sense of calling practically forbids me to stop. There are somedays where I absolutely love writing, I find it refreshing for both the mind and the soul. But there are other days where I just want to throw in the towel, throw my hands up, and say I’m done.

Sometimes I look at an hour or two of work… and just sigh.

Maybe you’re a writer and you feel the same way. If you are not but still work and dream of doing something creative, there is a good chance you are often disappointed by your own work. I suppose it is a flaw of our broken world. God created us to get pleasure from our work, and yet often it leaves us drained. And I can say, one month after writing my initial draft of this article, the drain only gets harder when you have a full time job. Writing has been sparse over the past few months for me, both time and disappointment can really hold you back.

Today I would like to share with you three reasons I typically get disappointed. Maybe you can relate.

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Hamilton Review

Once again, the musical ‘Hamilton’ is sweeping across pop culture throughout our nation. The hit musical, which first was seen exclusively on Broadway, can now be seen from the comforts of your home through the magic of Disney+. (By the way, what I say ‘our nation’ I am speaking of my own, that is the USA, if you are outside of the States, and I know some of you are, hello! I am glad you’re here! Is Hamilton as big as a hit outside of the States?)

While Hamilton, due to some of its themes and language, may not be the most family friendly musical to watch in Disney’s streaming service, it is nevertheless a beautiful and powerful story of ambition, tragedy, as well as forgiveness. My intention is to briefly point out a few of the themes I noticed in the musical that I think make it one of a kind.

Since the musical has already been streaming for over a week, there will be a few spoilers in this post, so if you still haven’t seen it yet I recommend watching it first before reading. If you have already seen it, and don’t care for hearing major spoilers, by all means, continue reading below.

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Available Now: Poems for the Redeemed Heart

Cover Art
Front Cover Created By David Brandt

My latest book, Poems for the Redeemed Heart is out now! As I mentioned in a previous post, this project is very near and dear to me. It collects poems I wrote throughout both High School and College, most of which I never was really intending to publish. I hope you consider purchasing a copy. I think you will find it highly enjoyable!

What exactly is the book about? Here is an a description from the book’s back cover

This book is for redeemed hearts! It is for those who have been brought from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light! In short, it is a book for Christians and perhaps anyone interested in learning more about who Jesus is from a creative point of view.

Contained within are over sixty poems meant to stir your heart towards encouragement and genuine worship through theologically packed poetry that seeks to exalt Jesus Christ and edify the soul.

May the Lord use the words contained in this book to direct your heart towards him, the great redeemer of all who call upon his name!

Poems for the Redeemed Heart is 177 pages. And is currently selling on Amazon.com for $11.99!

Find it here!