The Love Connection in The Lego Batman Movie

It’s not only the dark side of Gotham City’s villains that we see in The Lego Batman Movie. We also see the dark side of the dark knight.

While the constant comedy of this family movie keeps the content lighthearted, the character development of Batman himself gives the film a sense of depth. The conflict Batman/Bruce Wayne faces is lurking inside the crevices of his heart; his change involves unmasking himself so he can learn to give and receive love.

Batman lost his parents to the crime-ridden streets of Gotham, which creates in him a passion for fighting crime. The Lego Batman Movie suggests he uses this mission as a way to avoid dealing directly with his traumatic past. In one scene, his butler Alfred catches Batman lost in thought as he gazes at a wall of family photos. Alfred suggests that Batman settle down and give up the mask. But Batman puts on his mask of denial and avoids facing his greatest fear, which, Alfred claims, is having a family again. Batman has kept himself safe from experiencing pain by being a loner, acting independently, being egotistical, and by staying focused on the physical aspects of his life. All of these are mechanisms that help numb himself to feeling any strong emotions.

Read the rest at Think Christian >>

Advertisements

Bon Iver and the Sounds of Change

“Skinny Love” and “Re: Stacks” were some of my favorite Bon Iver songs in my early twenties. Back then I prided myself on knowing about a band before they went mainstream, and I hung out with a like-minded group of friends who were mainly interested in music, film, literature, and art. Recently I turned 30 and developed a growing nostalgia for the “cool me.” At home with a preschooler and toddler, art revolves around paper plates and popsicle sticks. And while I’m behind on my music game, I’m on point with Elmo, Daniel Tiger, and PAW Patrol.

My role as a wife and mom has changed me significantly, so I can relate to the significant change in Bon Iver’s sound on the new album, 22, A Million. I was a different person in my single, early twenties. Though parts of that person are still in me, I’ll never be able to completely recreate my old self, because change has progressively moved me forward. As we are entering the fall season, with leaves changing to yellow, red, and brown, I’m reminded that change brings a form of death to us. Christians see an echo of Jesus in the way the leaf must first die and fall before we get to the resurrected buds of spring. With 22, A Million, Bon Iver similarly shows us how change is a necessary progression forward.

Read the rest at Think Christian >>

The Avett Brothers and the World’s True Sadness

It was my first time seeing them in concert. The place was a box of a venue, smelling of wood and beer, with dim lighting. The X on the back of my hand, made with a Sharpie, told the bartenders, “Don’t serve this girl alcohol.” It didn’t matter. I wasn’t there for alcohol. I was there for two, stereotypical Jesus lookalikes whose voices cracked as they yelled and yodeled, then settled down into a peaceful croon. The Avett Brothers were raw, grungy folk artists with tender, lyrical rhymes. They could make you dance and make you cry.

The Avett Brothers have come far since they were underground and I was underage. They recently released their ninth album, titled True Sadness. Since gaining popularity, Scott and Seth Avett have polished their raw musical edges while maintaining their folk ballad lyrics. Many of the songs on True Sadness tell stories with similar themes: fear, disappointment, hardship and redemption. Whether it is set to an upbeat twang, like “Divorce Separation Blues,” or to the gentle strums of “No Hard Feelings,” the brokenness of this world is made clear. The lyrics sing truth about a perfect world gone wrong. Once, perfect peace filled our souls. Now we battle with fear and, as the Avett Brothers phrase it, “…this evil inside me. I step out my front door and I feel it surround me.”

Read the rest at Think Christian >>

Chuck Norris vs. Communism and the Transformative Power of Film

Animals speak, conspire, and plot to overthrow a farmer in George Orwell’s fable Animal Farm. And in his nearly prophetic novel 1984, Orwell presents a world filled with thought police, revised history books, and surveillance from an entity called Big Brother. The concepts in these constructed literary worlds are bizarre and unrealistic, but the alternate realities hide real truths. These are the worlds buried beneath some of our past, present, and possibly future cultural and political ideologies.

Orwell poses the “What ifs?” of our time in his prophecies of doom. He sheds light on the world around us, picturing for us a completely censored and controlled culture, a world in which people are told: “You must read this and not that, you must watch this and not that, and you must think this and not that.” These made up worlds are in reality representations of our world and its history. For many countries, this was the world in which they lived; it was not made up. People felt this reality in their own lives: the reality of being watched, interrogated, reported, and being told what to think, the thick fog of paranoia blocking their vision, while their very words were censored. This was (and in some countries still is) the world of communism.

The western world (particularly the United States) has directly interacted with the leaders/dictators who promote this ideology. We were involved in the Vietnam War, the Korean War, and we played major roles in the Cold War. But in 1989 the downfall of communism in Romania was planted by a small seed from the west. The United States played an indirect role this time and unknowingly sparked a revolution in Romanian hearts. The revolution didn’t involve weapons, armies, missiles, invasions, or financial aid—it came on reels of film from the Hollywood hills.

Read the rest at Christ and Pop Culture >>