This feels familiar: A blockbuster DC movie comes out to negative critical reviews though positive fan reactions. Like Batman v. Superman, Justice League is not nearly as bad as many critics make it out to be, critics who seem to suffer from groupthink and who keep expecting DC to be like Marvel. Still, while Justice League is coherently written plot-wise, it has frustrating short-comings that again could have been easily avoided like former DCEU mistakes. In fact, what ultimately made this movie just okay was because the DCEU listened too much to whiny critics who wanted bright colors, no tension, and incessant quips like Marvel movies instead of trusting its own darker and mature take on comics. Thus, Justice League is an awkward movie, one that has some of Snyder’s darker tone but also Whedon’s light-heartedness that clashed. It culminated in a last fight that was much like Age of Ultron‘s: CGI minions to destroy, flashy lights, and altogether no tension while fighting a dull bad guy who was way less threatening than he should have been.
Ironically, the fact that Rotten Tomatoes seemed to delay its score for Justice League was actually harmful to the movie. Still, before you feel sorry for Warner Bros., they were ultimately the ones who forced a two hour limit on the movie, forced a Marvel-like humor onto it, and rushed everything instead of more patiently building a world. That is all their fault. And that horrific thing called Suicide Squad is all on them as well. Just threw that in there because that movie was so bad that it defied explanation.
Another terrible mass shooting hit America recently, this time in the small town of Sutherland Springs, TX. Devin Kelley attacked the town’s First Baptist Church on a Sunday morning and shot and killed 26 people, many of them children. He was shot by a local man after the carnage and then fled in a truck, and he was pursued before he eventually crashed and killed himself. The scene at the church was described as horrific, with blood everywhere and dead bodies littered on the floor. The nation once again reacted in anger, sadness, horror, and confusion.
In that anger and confusion, we once again have seen people targeting their political enemies, something that never seems to fail to happen. Many people have called for stricter gun laws, and if you disagree with them, they’ll react in disgust and basically accuse you of being an accomplice in such mass murder sprees. We have to do something, they say, and if you don’t agree with their “something,” you’re automatically a bad person. Others have championed the fact that Kelley was fought off by a citizen with a gun, possibly preventing further shootings elsewhere. Such people argue that those who want strict gun laws are naive control-freaks who want to take away basic rights of self-defense and resistance against potential tyranny.
Such “discussion” gets tiresome pretty fast, especially when a tragedy like this weighs so heavily. While it is understandable that people will get emotional over this (people should get emotional over this), emotion often makes for poor solutions and poor policy. What is needed is sober-minded reason, and in actuality, if people have a firmer grasp on logic, it helps to have more charitable discussion.
Now what I mean by “charitable” does not mean that you can’t dish out firm or harsh criticism. After all, I eviscerated Shaun King for his utterly stupid response to the Las Vegas shooting. Still, I clearly argued why King’s article was built on worthless arguments as opposed to simply attributing all sorts of bad motives to him without evidence. And that’s what’s needed: An evaluation of evidence and argument, not knee-jerk reactions to satisfy anger. Thus, I mean “charity” to be the avoidance of attributing the worst motivations to your opponent (unless you have good reason to) but instead trying to understand what his argument is and answer it. Such evaluation needs some basic understanding of logic.
I often like listening to podcasts of various sorts when I eat (sports, politics, or theology), so I looked for one while eating lunch today. I checked on what podcasts were available on the sports/culture website The Ringer because while I care little for their takes on pop culture and politics, they do have some good sports content, especially concerning the NBA. Surprisingly, the newest podcast for The Ringer NBA Show featured Pastor Carl Lentz of Hillsong NY, and he talked with the website’s founder Bill Simmons about Lentz’s relationships with NBA players and other celebrities. Simmons is a unique and entertaining (if often annoying) voice in the sports world, building his average guy brand as “The Sports Guy” first at ESPN, but he is far from a religious person. In fact, he admitted that Lentz is the first pastor he’s ever had on his podcast. This seems to be part of Lentz’s media tour for his new book, as he recently showed up on The View.