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Movie Breakdown: Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 (Noah)

May 4, 2017

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Pre-Screening Stance:

Well, I’ve sat through every other Marvel movie up to this point and for the most part (Thor, I’m looking at you) I’ve enjoyed them. And from that pile of spandex and superstars, Guardians of the Galaxy rises to very near the top. So, yes, I’d say I’m pretty excited.

Post-Screening Stance:

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 might be, in terms of using the palette of the comic book medium, my very, very favorite Marvel movie. James Gunn has taken his team of lovable losers – Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Drax (Dave Bautista), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) and Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) – and thrust them into yet another eye-popping adventure with a surprisingly sentimental, if at times overly gooey, core. This time around after a mission gone horribly wrong, and in true sequel fashion, the group splits into teams, each pushed into a side adventure before slamming back together for an action-packed ending. You’ll hear a lot of critics (the magnificent John Laird himself, amongst them) saying this film is exactly the same as the first just with a bigger budget. To some degree, I’m with them. This is, again, the story of a bunch of jerks starting to realize that in the greater context of things, they’re actually pretty good people. Yeah sure, Gunn retreads some of the plot points from the first, and yeah, there hasn’t been a large amount of character growth between films, but, truth be told, I didn’t even notice. Instead, I was drawn into the visually spectacular world Gunn managed to sneak past Marvel studios. This isn’t a film constrained by focus groups, it’s a film that takes the world of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee and Jim Starlin and just blasts it on to the screen. Every scene, every prop, every character is something to goggle at. This, unlike a lot of Marvel’s work, is a rich tapestry of ideas and because of the work done in the first film, Gunn doesn’t have to jam a lot of character development down your throat. Instead, we just get to spend two hours with a crew of rogues in a world pulled from one of the strangest minds in Hollywood. Beyond that, this film is rife with humor and genuine sadness. This is what crowd-pleasers used to look like: spectacles with heart. We’ve lost our way, but hey, maybe Guardians 2 is what will bring us back.

One More Thing:

Marvel’s Cinematic Universe has done a lot of good things, but it’s also created the concept that a film isn’t a film, it’s a vehicle for story/character development. I mean, yeah sure, every good film should have story and character development, but because of the multi-tiered nature of expanded universing, every movie has to move the characters into place for whatever comes next. Sometimes I just want to watch a good movie and not think how Peter Quill is going to fit into Infinity War.

One Other Thing:

You should watch FF8 before every movie. It’s so singularly disappointing in terms of movies and that franchise in general, that you’ll like Sandy Wexler if you pair it with FF8.

And Another Thing:

Drax steals the show in this film. Whomever thought Dave Bautista was funny enough to be in a movie, you deserve a pool shaped like James Gunn’s face.

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Movie Breakdown: Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2

May 4, 2017

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Pre-Screening Stance:

Come on!  If you’re not hyped for Baby Groot The Movie Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2, then you’re probably dead.

Post-Screening Ramble:

The nerd in me really enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.  The film has a bright, colorful, creative design, and it’s very energetic and loaded with great music.  All of the principal characters are back and in fine form – Chris Pratt is super charismatic as Peter Quill, Bradley Cooper’s sarcastic voice drives Rocket, Zoe Saldana is stoic as ever as Gamora and Dave Bautista is wonderful as the thick-headed Drax.  And then there’s Vin Diesel as Baby Groot.  Oh my.  Expect your heart to melt.  The lot of them, without a doubt, are a great team, and watching them together on the screen again made for a rather enjoyable time at the theater.

With that being said, the critic in me though isn’t quite as accepting of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and it’s because it’s the same movie as the first Guardians of the Galaxy.  It starts the same, it then hits the same beats, and then it wraps the same.  So much has been made of how Guardians of the Galaxy is the best part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe because it isn’t tied to the same plot points as the other films, and yet the second entry in the series does nothing to expand its own story or move its characters forward.  At the beginning of Vol. 2 we find everyone where we left them, and then they’re right back there when it comes to a close.  In fact, there’s only one character that gets any sort of actual development, and it’s not even someone who is a main member of the team – Yondu (the great Michael Rooker).  Otherwise, it’s just more of the same.  Now, as I said up above, I enjoyed the film and didn’t mind the same ol’ same ol’, but I’m not letting writer/director James Gunn slip away without being tagged for essentially making Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1.5.  It feels like he wasn’t really sure what to do, so he stayed in his safe zone and did what worked the first time around.  To some degree, that’s fine, but Guardians of the Galaxy is a series that should stay way out in front of everyone else and take some risks, and there’s just none of that happening here.  This makes it difficult for me to not at least somewhat view Vol. 2 as a missed opportunity.

Should you see it?  Yeah of course, don’t be daft.  I just advise you keep your expectations in check a bit and make sure you’re down with a big serving of re-heated Guardians Vol. 1.

One Last Thought:

I just want to confirm that there are indeed five extra scenes that play during the credits.  I was thinking they’d all be silly, but there’s actually a pretty good mix of jokey bits and important things.  Definitely stay in your seat.

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Movie Breakdown: Guardians Of The Galaxy

July 31, 2014

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People are doing traditional-style reviews all over the web, so we decided to try something different.  In each “breakdown” we’ll take a look at what a film’s marketing led us to believe, how the movie actually played, and then what we learned from it all.  Read on!

The Impression:

Marvel momentarily tosses the Avengers aside to focus on a team made up of Chris Pratt, a Vin Diesel-voiced tree, a Bradley Cooper-voiced raccoon and a green Zoe Saldana.  James Gunn (PG-Porn) directs.

The Reality:

I really enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy.  It’s director James Gunn’s best work, the “a-holes turned reluctantly heroic a-holes” storyline is a lot of fun, pretty much all of the characters are immensely likeable, and its less than overt ties to the rest of Marvel’s universe means it feels (refreshingly, I might add) more like a standalone entry than a setup film.  If you’ve been looking forward to it, then you will not be disappointed.

And what about those of you who haven’t been anxiously awaiting its arrival?  Well, that depends.  If you’re open to a quirky space adventure (imagine a more over the top Fifth Element), then the answer is a definite yes.  If you’re hoping for a superhero-centric time at the theater, then I feel as though I should warn you that Guardians of the Galaxy is not that kind of movie.  It is very much its own colorful load of sci fi that’s complete with a full-on bizarro deep space vibe, and you won’t find a costumed hero anywhere in it.  Hopefully that doesn’t sound too bad to you though, as the super fun time that is Guardians of the Galaxy shouldn’t be missed.

The Lesson:

And the Marvel machine rolls on.

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