A Must See for Marvel Fans

Thor Ragnarok Review

thor ragnarok

Thor Ragnarok was to my pleasant surprise a smashing departure from the usual Marvel fare. I was fully expecting the usual formula. You know…origin to hero, or crisis to new found purpose, maybe even a little bit of hang-up -the-powers- because-doing-good-hurts-some, thrown in. Instead, we actually get a story. As big as this movie was, it also zoomed in close enough to see the characters develop and interact with each other — and not just with punches.

As we open up to our hero in one of his usual scenarios, seemingly bested and about to be monologued to death, a new element in Marvel storytelling appears. We actually get some dialogue. This installment takes on the air of a great dialogue movie. But each scene is also carried by the stunning 3-D visuals and a well crafted script. Our primary characters shows up on the scene carrying the full weight of their backstory, a backstory that is revealed at a good pace and enhances the main plot.

Thor was never my favorite Marvel hero, but after this movie, he is definitely a favorite now. Once again we see him face impossible odds, which this time cause him to make hard choices and suffer great loss. He discovers new depths of strength, and we see a hero mature on the screen. We also see the return of old friends like Loki and Hulk along with some new surprises. With a confirmation of a Thor appearance in the forthcoming Infinity War, I can’t wait.

If you have the chance, see this one in 3-D. The visuals are absolutely stunning. From the battle scenes to the wide camera shots, this one is worth the upgrade. The only negative I can think of is that sometimes the comic relief crosses the line and detracts from the scene, but for the most part the comedy gamble pays off.

The bottom line is that this is a must see for any fan of the Marvel universe. I got the opportunity to see the prescreening with my oldest son. Check out his YouTube Review.

Matthew Stahlmann

Matthew Stahlmann is Jenni's husband. Together they have seven amazing kids. A lead guitar player for more than 25 years, Matt is passionate about music and worship.

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Date Night in a Galaxy Near You

Review of Guardians of the Galaxy 2

From the opening credits I was immediately hooked in. The expectation was high. I fully expected the modern day Han Solo in Star-Lord to be loosely in charge once again of his dysfunctional “family” of space misfits. This movie did not disappoint. From the opening scene I was bombarded with action, special effects, dynamic characters and last but not least, a seamless integration of great pop music.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2, like its predecessor, has an uncanny knack for combining the mundane with the extraordinary. Where else can we find characters bickering over senseless things like who does “the gun thing” while fighting off space beasts or the search for Scotch tape while the possibility of death and destruction is imminent? Set against spectacular action sequences, the dysfunction of this patchwork family takes center stage as we wait to see if the bonds of relationship created in the first movie can withstand the strain of a new threat.

Matthew Stahlmann

Matthew Stahlmann is Jenni's husband. Together they have seven amazing kids. A lead guitar player for more than 25 years, Matt is passionate about music and worship.

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The Family Movie is Back!

A Review of Disney's Pete's Dragon

Petet's Dragon

My oldest son Griffyn and I had the pleasure of pre-screening Pete’s Dragon. If you are looking for a family movie, this one cannot be missed. Think back to all your past favorites from the 70’s and 80’s, this movie has captured that magic. The family movie is back!

Directed by David Lowery with a screenplay by Toby Halbrooks, this movie is a surprising success. Mr. Meacham (Robert Redford), a woodcarver, delights local children with stories of a mysterious dragon that lives deep in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. His daughter Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard) believes these are just tall tales, until she meets Pete (Oakes Fegley), a 10-year-old orphan who says he lives in the woods with a giant, friendly dragon. With help from a young girl named Natalie (Oona Laurence), Grace sets out to investigate if this fantastic claim could be true.

Although the timeframe isn’t explicitly mentioned, it seems several decades removed from now. This was the first thing that struck me. The story is wrapped in a more modern setting than the original, but it’s still removed from the present — a simpler time with no electronic distractions where a simple children’s book can shine as a plot device for the story. And all this before we ever meet the dragon. As we held our breath hoping that the reveal wouldn’t disappoint, we were greeted on screen by a perfect CGI beast with a nod to the sweetness and goofy personality of the original. We wanted to take Elliot home with us. Being a fan of the first, I can’t help but make comparisons. All of the essential elements are there but re-imagined and retold in a way that merely hints at its predecessor.

Since this iteration is not a musical, we see the story unfold in a different way, but the pacing is perfect. The movie never drags, nor does it run away with fiery explosions and window dressing. The story is key, and it’s a moving story of relationship and trust that will find even the most stoic tough guy wiping “that thing out of his eye” from time to time. The only downside that we detected was the 3-D. Some of the effects were decent, especially with the dragon, but on the whole, it was so underused that it’s not worth the upgrade.

If you are going out to the movies this weekend, do not miss this one. It is a must see that delivers on the magic which will make you see the world a little differently. You can also click here to download the newest movies for free.

Matthew Stahlmann

Matthew Stahlmann is Jenni's husband. Together they have seven amazing kids. A lead guitar player for more than 25 years, Matt is passionate about music and worship.

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Just For Men

Have you noticed, in general, that Christian men have slim choices in devotionals? I have been to quite a few men’s groups, and the study material might as well have been a tract that I was handed on the street on the way in. The fact that a Men’s Devotional Bible exists was exciting news.

Bible

 

My initial unboxing was a little disappointing. I love the look of the cover. It’s very simple and neat — black background with a white frame for the title and a small beige accent. The font is clean and elegant. My issue is that this is a hard bound volume. I am used to a leather bound travel bible that I can throw in my bag all day long. This hardcover doesn’t seem like it would take the punishment of permanent backpack residence. That being said, it may be the only negative.

It’s the ESV Men’s Devotional Bible, and it comes with 365 devotions created under the editorial oversight of Dr. Sam Storms with contributions from more than 50 Christian leaders. Introductions are written to orient men to each book of the Bible and are directed specifically at how the book can relate to a man’s walk with God.

Matthew Stahlmann

Matthew Stahlmann is Jenni's husband. Together they have seven amazing kids. A lead guitar player for more than 25 years, Matt is passionate about music and worship.

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