Monday, May 9, 2016

Marvel's Civil War: More Like a Small Scuffle

So on Friday, I put on my Deadpool costume and headed out with a group of friends to see Marvel's newest movie, Captain America: Civil War. Unfortunately, it lived down to my expectations. As I understand it, the original Civil War timeline from the comic books was more like an actual civil war, with huge amounts of supers fighting against each other, rather than the 10 or so Avengers having a minor scuffle. This was pretty disappointing for me. Not to mention that having superheros fighting with each other isn't really all that exciting. I'm pretty sure that Captain America and Tony Stark could have just hugged it out.

The most exciting part of the movie for me was when we got to meet the new Spiderman. It's kind of silly that we have had three different renditions of Spiderman in the last 14 years. I'm very sad that we'll never see anymore 'The Amazing Spiderman' movies with Garfield. They were all very solid Spiderman movies in my opinion. I guess I'm going to have to settle for the end of the series as depicted in HISHE, where Superman went back in time and saved Gwen. Dispite my disappointment, there's certainly something to be said for a Spiderman that is actually a teenager. I can tell you that I'm a little sick of Hollywood, Disney, and everyone else casting 30+ year-old actors as high schoolers. There are plenty of good child actors out there.

While Civil War was a disappointment, it had it's moments of greatness that will keep me coming back to see Marvel's Avengers movies. The fight scenes were interesting and the graphics were great. I thought it was kind of stupid to have all the heroes charging each other face on, though. I suspect that scene was only there to make the previews seem more exciting. That sort of scene is what you put on the front of a comic book to quickly tell readers what they can expect and to get them excited about the story line. In reality, a head on charge is not a strong combat maneuver.

Overall, the movie was a bit of a disappointment. I wouldn't say that it's not worth seeing, unless you're someone that's easily disgusted by crappy plots. The characters' actions were forced and were poorly written in some scenes, but were dead-on to the characters' personalities in others. The ending was disappointing and unsatisfying, but there were a lot of people that enjoyed it anyways. Most of the people that saw this movie in the theater with me, including all my friends, loved the movie. If you're a teenager or a twenty-thirty something, you'll doubtless enjoy this movie. I'm in that age category, but I'm more critical of movies than most people.

If nothing else, see this movie for Spiderman, Deadpool approved.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Sports Lockouts

The effect of sports on the economy is an interesting problem that I had never considered until I started looking more in sports lockouts. While they can affect the excitement and enjoyment of the fans and the team’s rank that season, lockouts can have a positive impact on the economy. In a paper by Coates and Humphreys, it states, “An examination of the impact of past work stoppages in professional [sports] can shed some light on the potential impact of ... professional sports as engines of economic growth in cities.” (Coates and Humphreys 2001, 737) You would think that having a sports team coming into town would increase the influx of money into a given city, boosting the economy, at least temporarily. But Coates’ and Humphreys’ tentative findings seem to indicate otherwise. "Although imprecisely estimated, the parameters on the strike variables suggest that real per capita income rises in SMSAs during years that the professional sports teams in these SMSAs are on strike. ... Several possible explanations exist for our results. One is substitution in private spending. Fans could alternatively go out to dinner and a movie of go bowling during a sports strike. If these activities have higher local spending multipliers than does spending on professional sports, then income could be higher during strikes.

Differences in the impact of public and private spending represents a second explanation. Professional sporting events increase metropolitan government spending by driving up spending on public safety, crowd and traffic control, and so on. I this category of public spending declines during a strike and the metropolitan government either borrows less or collects fewer taxes or fees as a result of this decrease in spending, then additional money will remain in the pockets of private citizens. Furthermore, if the marginal impact of these additional private dollars exceeds the marginal impact of these dollars in public hands, then total income in the metropolitan area would increase. There would also be a decrease in deadweight loss in this case." So it’s possible that, rather than one of professional sports’ many flaws, professional sports itself is the problem, in the case of economy. That’s not to say that all of our country’s debt could be wiped away by killing all professional sports. The per capita income increase recorded in Coates’ article was less than 1%.

There’s no real way to ‘solve’ the decrease in average income when a sports event is happening. Professional sports culture has been ingrained in American culture since at least the 1940s. However, it is interesting to note that sports aren’t the economic stimulator that most people could assume that they are.

Coates, Dennis, and Brad R. Humphreys. 2001. “The Economic Consequences of Professional Sports Strikes and Lockouts”. Southern Economic Journal 67 (3). Southern Economic Association: 737–47. doi:10.2307/1061462.