X-Men: Apocalypse – Revelation and Minor Spoilers

If this week’s post title didn’t give it away, spoilers follow for X-Men: Apocalypse.

Happy Tuesday, internet! Over the course of the holiday weekend, my wife and I had the pleasure of watching X-Men: Apocalypse and while the film has received mixed reviews at best, I enjoyed nearly every minute of it.  Save for the overly ornate temple destruction sequence five minutes in. En Sabah Nur apparently didn’t pay much attention to the schematics during construction. It seems a larger design flaw than a two meter wide exhaust port leading to your battle station’s main reactor. At least that was no bigger than a womp rat.

All said and done, I’d see it again just for the Weapon Xapocalypseposter-jpg sequence. Book mark this page and go see X-Men: Apocalypse.

That’s a captivating title for a film. isn’t it? APOCALYPSE! Even if you were not an avid consumer of comic books in high school and preferred having a prom date instead, you need know nothing about the villain to be intrigued. Apocalypse. That word conjures up fascination at best and fear at worst. Mad Max: Fury Road destroyed the box office with a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Comedy films about the end of the world were everywhere for roughly a two year span. Apocalypse. Who isn’t curious about the end of the world, especially when it involves some of comics most iconic ensembles?

Yet I think the title has much more behind it than just the villain for which it is named or the global calamity that is being unleashed at his hands. Apocalypse. Only in our contemporary lexicon is the word associated exclusively with the End of Days. Rather, the Greek word ἀποκάλυψις is a revealing or a disclosure. If we really want to dig into the etymology, it implies being laid bare and stripped naked. Isn’t that what we see happen through the course of the film? Magneto must pass through the chaos both internal and external and the grief of crippling loss both old and new. Mystique must come to terms with the symbol she has become following the events of the previous film. And Jean Grey learns not to fear the great power she has been gifted with. (Dave Crowe over at Den of the Greek wrote a great article examining what the Phoenix Force could mean for the franchise).

And perhaps most importantly, the title villain (who is never named Apocalypse in the film proper) is revealed to be one of the false gods he rages against. While some of my fellow church folk may take offense at the villain’s proclamation that he has been called Elohim, his imprisonment in the prologue takes place in 3600 BCE. The earliest possible date for the birth of the Hebrew people as a practicing religious group is roughly 1450 BCE, give or take two centuries. Highly doubtful he had any interaction with them. En Sabah Nur: a liar about being the god of the Hebrews. Probably lying about the others. The greatest “apocalypse” seems to be that of the false god himself.

Or it may be the set up for the Phoenix Saga. The nerd in me is torn.

How fitting that the villain’s dying words are “At last, all has been revealed.”

Well played, Singer.

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Authentic is a Millennial Buzz Word

We millennials get really stuck on authenticity. We look for it on our pop stars, in our presidential candidates, and in our peers. For those of us who are inclined towards a religious and/or intentional spiritual life, we want a space where our spiritual guides are authentic. When I decided to start a blog, I wanted it to be authentic.

Authentic is a millennial buzz word. I suppose it may be the only buzz word that every millennial regardless of his or her demographic or background holds onto tightly. (Side bar: when we talk about millennials, can we please be intentional about it including more than just Anglo, middle class, majority culture types?). We really want authenticity and transparency in the people we meet.

And can you blame us? Following September 11, 2001, which is arguably the most defining event in our generation’s existence, we became exposed to the notion of an enemy we couldn’t see, an enemy that could be among us. I think we often ask “Where is ‘safe’ any more?” This is bound with religious leaders stepping down from their pulpits yet unrepentant of their fraudulent activities, sexual abuse in the largest church in the world, two White House administrations who’s dealings over seas as well as their surveillance and taxation of their own citizens have been anything but transparent. Then being told by parents, teachers, and guidance counselors that the hope for our future was in higher education only to graduate with near unmanageable debt into a scarce job market. Is it any wonder why we are suspicious of the world yet crave authenticity?

But there is a flip side to my generation’s adamance about being authentic. I do not believe we are willing to offer it first ourselves. We want to be shown authenticity without showing it first. Because there’s an intrinsic ingredient in authenticity that we fear (Please read above again as I ask “Can you blame us?”).

Sometimes rather than say authentic, I’ve seen people spice it up by saying raw! We want people to be raw with us. We want it raw like our meat (or carrots for those of you who may not be into partaking in animal flesh. Respect). We want it untampered with, unseasoned, barely cooked, bloody (well not in the case of a carrot). Bloody like a steak, right? Bloody…

My first thought of at the word raw isn’t meat.

When I was toddler, I distinctly remember running around like a maniac on the side walk while my mom watched on, probably just glad I was burning off hellish 3 year old energy. Inevitably at that age, I kept running giving it all the gas I had.  Then the laws of physics took over and my large head decided to throw off my balance and send me to the pavement. Good bye carefree, olympiad grade speed! Hello two squares inches of a skinless, bloodied knee. To shreds! What a devastating blow to fun and the invincibility of youth.

And my mother came to me as good mothers do, and it is the first time I ever heard the word raw. I had skinned (I do prefer “skun”) my knee raw, she said. Raw.

Being raw hurts. Being authentic requires having the barrier torn back and being exposed. Being raw hurts. Not just any hurt like a cut. But it burns at everything that grazes it. A calm spring breeze? Much less delightful with a shredded, skinned knee. A hot shower? Burns with fire of a thousand super novas. And I think we know being raw involves being vulnerable in a way that requires pain. It requires we expose what in us aches and hurts.

And we ask, or more so, demand that people are raw with us even though we do not offer it up first. “Be vulnerable with me and then I will decide if I can be vulnerable with you.”

But someone must be vulnerable first. Some one must be raw first. So why not you? Actually, why not me? If my desire is for the Squall to reflect my chaotic person, then I should be raw. Not because I want to be first, but because I want my readers to know that being raw is okay. Sure it hurts, but then it heals.

Maybe authentic can be more than a buzz word.

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Over a Pint: A Taste.

[You may have noticed this collaborative element of the blog never came to fruition.  I had hopes it would, but alas, some things just aren’t meant for each season.  Feel free to listen.  If you would like to collaborate, please comment or find me on Twitter.]

The Noggin Squall comes in pints?  Actually that’s not true.  However, portions of what appears on the Squall are the result of quality time spent with friends over pints, coffee mugs, and periodically burrito bowls.  Over a Pint is where you’ll find my periodic conversations and collaborations with friends from around the internet.  This may include dialogue with other existing blogs or, as is the case today, videos I have collaborated on.

Hear us shoot the breeze about Star Wars and the actor slated to play a young Han Solo.  Also, be sure to check out my buddy JaimeBot and others under the Links menu.


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