Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

Guardians Poster

Plot: Set to the backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ continues the team’s adventures as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage.

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The Original Guardians of the Galaxy was celebrated far and wide as original, refreshing and pretty much different from any normal Marvel film. I mean we love them, but they aren’t necessarily ground breaking in the stories they tell. I agreed mostly, but I also still felt that everyone and their grannies took the hype too far. Regardless of my opinion, the first film was a runaway success and since it is Marvel, a second one was inevitable.

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The sequel is in many ways an equal to original. Chris Pratt is Chris Pratt and the lovable and very attractive goofball. He is still surrounded by his team – Gamora (Zoë Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel). They acquire more recruits this time – Kraglin (Sean Gunn) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff). It is starting to feel like the Space Avengers with such a large cast going on here, but I very much doubt that the majority of the audience worries about that too much.

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Plenty of things work – Dave Bautista’s literal minded Drax gets more dialogue and the things he says is what we think without saying it, making the situations he’s placed in quite hilarious. Telling the creepy Mantis she’s probably beautiful on the inside was quite funny and painfully blunt. Baby Groot is emotional manipulation – he’s so cute he could have danced the duration of the film and I would have liked the movie. Chris Pratt loses his shirt and I couldn’t complain about it. The directing is colorful and bright and suits the upbeat tone of the film. The dialogue is relatable and funny, the banter between the team easy and seemingly sincere. The soundtrack is a lot of fun and a continuation of the first film. Sylvester Stallone shows his face and boggles the mind that he’s still looking smoking when he is six hundred years old now.

What lacks is an actual plot. The writers focused on the one thing left unanswered in Volume 1 – Starlord’s patronage. Enter Kurt Russel, cool old-dude extraordinaire, as Ego the Living Planet. He’s not much of a villain with a lot of ego and little grey areas, and it is pretty clear quite quickly that he doesn’t want the best for his son. There are also gold people, led by Elizabeht Debicki’s Kismet, who are angry that Rocket stole shit from them and are now determined to wipe out the team. It’s a pretty weak story, sloppy in places and lazy writing. It doesn’t particularly fit into the Marvel Universe that has so carefully been crafted. Some redemption is provided by the presence of Baby Groot, the fights between Starlord and Rocket and the chemistry between Starlord and Gamora. I also didn’t particularly appreciate how every bad guy last time was sympathized with this time around – Nebula (Karen Gillan), the conflicted sibling of Gamora, is the grayest character of the lot. Her hatred towards her sister is based on her robotic punishment as a child, and we don’t really blame her, but was it necessary to include it so much again into the second film? Yondu remains damn cool and everything for a blue guy, and Michael Rooker is cool enough to be him, but again, so much unnecessary things in this film piled it up to one long watch. I appreciated the cameo by Sylvester Stallone, but really, was it necessary?

I enjoyed GoTG II. It is not a particularly strong film but it is fun and really funny. Marvel took a chance changing so much from their usual formula, and despite following some of their renowned plot moves, it is still the most original work they’ve done in a while.

A 7.5/10 for me

Have you seen Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2? What did you think of it?

Movie Review: Spectre (2015)

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Plot:

While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE.

Rating: 8/10

December 2015 is such a massive month in the cinema. We’ve seen Mockingjay Part II, Spectre just released, Star Wars, which I’m sure will make everything this year pale in comparison is nearly out and Creed is getting a few good punches in before the end of the year.

Well, I signed on for Spectre because even though I am not a super fan, I thoroughly enjoy Daniel Craig as James Bond. It didn’t disappoint. Spectre is extremely enjoyable experience and doesn’t feel like two and a half hours.

As mentioned, I’m not one of the Bond super fans – nothing against it, but my knowledge of all the films is terribly poor. I’ve (unfortunately) seen Die Another Day and the incredible Casino Royale, maybe a few others, but that is it. So I can tell you what I thought of this film as an entity on its own and not really as part of the Bond franchise.

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Let’s talk a bit here as the 007 himself, Daniel Craig. I think he is truly the definition of virility – he just looks so well for his age and exudes charisma and power. He is cocky but also gives flashes to a scarred man that is haunted by his past. I find it a very intriguing combination.

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The Bond ladies shine in Spectre. Monica Bellucci and Lea Seydoux both make me feel slightly ill – can such beauty be possible? Granted, Bellucci only has a few seconds on screen but she slays when she is on Lea Seydoux plays main Bond girl Dr. Madeleine Swan and does a great job. She is a central part to the fight to tract down and the destruction of Spectre, and without her Bond would have been mincemeat.

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Villainville is quite large with an intimidating amount of characters signed on to kill Bond. We have Christoph Waltz with a fantastic turnout as Oberhauser, Dave Bautista terrifying as Mr. Hinx, Andrew Scott as C, the character who successfully fulfils the need to portray a corporate suit as a villain. I would have enjoyed a bit more on Oberhauser and how he came to be so hateful, but I really can’t see how that they would have fitted that into the film.

The directing looks amazing and is splendidly done by Sam Mendes. He did a fantastic run with his time with Bond, and the shooting is beautiful in that warm slightly washed out feel.

The story itself is quite interesting and although I wished it could have been much more fleshed out, it was really well linked. I won’t say too much of this because it heads into spoiler territory, but it was really painful to see how Bond’s pain could be so linked.

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My very favourite scene? The opening with the Day of the Dead parade. It looked fantastic, Bond’s suit was fantastic and the whole setting set a great premise.

Spectre worked remarkably well. I truly do think that they could have developed the story just a bit more, but further than that it was a great film, both standalone and into the Bond franchise.

Have you seen it? What did you think?

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

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What happens?

Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is abducted from earth by Ravagers seconds after his mother’s death. He is raised by them, and grows up under their leader Yongu (Michael Rooker).

Twenty-six years later Quill steals an artefact on the planet Morag. He is intercepted by Korath (Djimon Hounson), who is a servant for the cruel Ronan (Lee Pace). Yongu is furious that Peter did this without him and issues a bounty for him, while Ronan sends the assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana) to kill Peter and retrieve the stone.

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I am Groot!

Quill, Gamora, the bounty hunter Rocket (Bradley Cooper), a genetically engineered racoon and his tree-like friend Groot (Vin Diesel) are captured when Rocket and Gamora tries to catch Quill the same time on Xandar, the home world of the Nova Corps. They are sent to a high security prison where they eventually team up with Drax (Dave Bautista), an inmate who initially wanted to kill Gamora for her connection with Ronan. Quill convinces Drax that Ronan wants Gamora dead for her betrayal and that he would be doing his enemy a favour and Drax decides to tag alone in the hopes of killing Ronan himself. Gamora reveals that she has a buyer for the orb and that if they work together they can share the cash.

After breaking out, they attempt to sell the orb, but disaster strikes and they realise how dangerous the orb is that Peter stole – it is an infinity stone that is exceptionally dangerous. They agree that getting the stone back to the Nova Corps is crucial because if Ronan gets it he will destroy Xandar.

Will they be able to elude Ronan? Can Xandar be protected by the fanatical Ronan who is intent on destroying the planet? Will the Nova Corps believe that Peter is trying to help them?

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Rating: 7/10

I have to confess that I solely went to see this movie because I wanted to go to the IMAX theatre that opened in Pretoria recently at The Grove. It was so much fun. It is FAR and PRICEY but totally worth it – the mall itself is beautiful and new and wonderfully designed and the theatre is epic, although the leg space is a bit small. I really enjoyed the experience and the movie as a result.

Guardians of the Galaxy seem like something Marvel worked really hard on. it is beautifully done – the graphics are amazing and for once the 3D was actually obvious – have you felt as well that sometimes 3D seems so NOT 3D? The movie is packed with events and worlds and drama, humour and attitude.

Ronan the Accuser was frightening. He seemed genuinely cruel and without mercy, fanatical and bent on destruction. His outfit contributed towards the horror he carried with him, and his eyes genuinely seemed dead. I liked the fanatical side to the character – he wasn’t overly interested in world domination but wanted a brand of justice. It felt like a nudge to all the people in the world who murder on some misconception of giving justice to their own people.

Chris Pratt is suddenly this sexy man that has a real career beckoning in Hollywood. He is really funny as always and his character has so many quirks. He worked extremely hard to pull off a type of Iron Man superhero – who saves the day but is funny while doing it.

I really laughed at Drax – he is an ode to every person on the planet that doesn’t grasp sarcasm and is made up of pure logic. His story was sad and his initial despise of Gamora understandable. It was sweet to see how they all became closer as their adventure progressed, especially Gamora and Drax, who didn’t meet under the best of circumstances.

Good things in the movie:

Completely new story being told – very original stuff

The graphics was flat out awesome.

Chris Pratt

Groot – especially in the tiny form. He might go into the cuteness overload club alongside Toothless and Stitch.

Stan Lee – duh, as always.

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Drax: NOTHING goes over my head!… My reflexes are too fast, I would catch it.

Things that didn’t work:

Zoe Saldana – I feel like I can’t ever connect to her performances. She is firstly too fond of playing aliens and she doesn’t really ever feel authentic.

It sometimes feels too much – there is so much happening in this movie that you can lose track what is going down.

It is very long – three hours maybe?

The spoiler at the end of the movie was so not satisfactory considering the amount of credits you must sit through.

It didn’t give me that rush of emotions I was hoping for. I probably unfairly wanted to feel like I did the first time I watched the Avengers. This was good but the action never approached wow levels.

Have you seen it? What did you think?