Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 movie posterSynopsis
After a botched job, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) and the rest of the Guardians are being chased by the Sovereign. They are found by a man named Ego (Kurt Russell), who claims to be Peter’s long-lost father. They go to Ego’s planet to search for the truth behind Peter’s mysterious heritage.

Review
In 2014, Marvel put their blockbuster powers to the test, releasing Guardians of the Galaxy. It was filled with lesser known characters, even to some regular comic readers, who are unique unto themselves. It turned out to be one of Marvel’s best films and now comes the inevitable sequel. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has all of the qualities that made the first so much fun and enjoyable, albeit without the surprise of what to expect.

As I said, everything that made the first film so fun and enjoyable has returned. Everything and everyone are just as quirky and zany as you have come to expect. Chris Pratt as Peter Quill is the main funny man, but Dave Bautista’s Drax get his fair share of comedic moments. Zoe Saldana is the green-skinned bad-ass Gamora. Groot, voiced by Vin Diesel, is more adorable than ever and Rocket, voiced by Bradley Cooper, wants to get a hold of everyone’s prosthetics simply to see their reaction. All the while, it has a rocking soundtrack in the background.

Doctor Strange is probably Marvel’s most visually vibrant films to date, but this movie give that one a run for its money. The most notable is Ego’s planet. The moment the team sets foot on it, it just pops. The fauna are colorful, the buildings are shiny and bright, even the soil is a vibrant color unlike what you would expect. However, it’s not just Ego’s planet. The opening battle between the guardians and an interdimensional creature (a big part of the trailers) and scenes where Yondu’s ship is jumping through several wormholes are also vivid scenes worth mentioning. At the very least, your eyes won’t be disappointed.

One of this films best characteristics is its character development. Most of the second act is spent really diving into the characters and their relations with other members of the team. Some you would expect, like Peter and Gamora, but there are some that you wouldn’t, like Rocket and Yondu or Drax and newcomer Mantis (Pom Klementieff). These interactions do a great job of building the characters and lead to some strong, emotional moments.

Much to my surprise, Yondu (Michael Rooker) has one of the greatest arcs of the film. His moments with Rocket and their similar histories really tug at the heartstrings. As Peter’s adopted father, he had to deal with Peter finally meeting his real father, Ego (Kurt Russell). In the previous movie, he felt like a throwaway character; someone who was there when the plot needed it but didn’t feel like he had much importance. This time, he is front and center and gives the film’s most emotional scene. Speaking of Russell, he was a great as the living planet Ego. Like most villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he isn’t going to have any lasting presence, but Russell gave one of the more memorable villainous performances is the MCU. The relationship between Peter, Yondu, and Ego would make a great conversation starter between step-children and step-parents.

I wasn’t as in love with the soundtrack as I was with the first Guardians movie. It was still bouncy and fun and integrated into the movie well but it wasn’t as entrancing as before. Maybe it’s because I was unfamiliar with more of the songs this time around or maybe it was that I expected a rocking retro soundtrack and it wasn’t as much of a surprise. Whatever the reason, I wasn’t blown away but I still was rocking out nevertheless.

This might sound contradictory, but despite all the great character development throughout the second act, it also felt like the weakest part of the move. Weakest isn’t the right word but I’m not sure exactly what word I’m looking for. During this time, the team is split into two groups. The bouncing back and forth between the groups, as well as the balancing of those serious moments with the humorous ones gave it a really weird pacing. Whenever the movie slowed down to give the great character moments, it immediately went into a joke / gag or changed scenes. I liked that they managed to get as much development in as they did but the jumping around made my head spin after a while.

I thought Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was GOOD 🙂 This movie is a good example of a movie studio giving a director the freedom to do their movie their way. James Gunn brought as much heart and soul into Volume 2 as he did in Volume 1. A slow and somewhat oddly paced middle act does not deter from what this movie does well: great characterization, a fun soundtrack, and plenty of humor to rival any comedy film. It can feel like much of the same but if you liked it the first time, you’re going to like it here as well. Once again, I left the theater excited to see where these characters go next.

Favorite Quote
Yondu: He might be your father, but he ain’t your daddy.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
James Gunn – Director / Writer
Tyler Bates – Composer

Chris Pratt – Peter Quill / Star-Lord
Zoe Saldana – Gamora
Dave Bautista – Drax
Vin Diesel – Baby Groot (voice)
Bradley Cooper – Rocket (voice)
Michael Rooker – Yondu
Karen Gillan – Nebula
Pom Klementieff – Mantis
Kurt Russell – Ego
Sean Gunn – Kraglin
Elizabeth Debicki – Ayesha
Chris Sullivan – Taserface

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Movie Quote of the Week – 5/5/17

Answer to MWL 5/3/17: Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) – Guardians of the Galaxy

Ronan: [Peter starts singing and dancing] What are you doing?
Peter Quill: Dance off, bro. Me and you. [Continues dancing, motions to Gamora] Gamora. [Gamora shakes her head] Subtle. Take it back. [Peter keeps dancing]
Ronan: What are you doing?!
Peter: I’m distracting you, you big turd blossom.

Thanks for everyone’s submissions and one ticket to Xander to That Other Critic (That Other Critic) for answering correctly.

Movie Quote of the Week – 11/6/15

Movie Quote of the Week bannerAnswer to MWL 11/4/15: Drax (Dave Bautista) – Guardians of the Galaxy

Rocket: I have a plan. I have a plan.
Drax: Cease your yammering and relieve us from this wreched confinement.
Peter Quill: Yea, I’ll have to agree with the walking thesaurus on that one.
Drax: Do not ever call me a thesaurus.
Peter: It’s just a metaphor, dude.
Rocket: His people are completely literal. Metaphors are gonna go over his head.
Drax: Nothing goes over my head. My reflexes are too fast. I would catch it.
Gamora: I’m gonna die surrounded by the biggest idiots in the galaxy.

Thanks for everyone’s submissions and one robotic leg to the following people for answering correctly:

Kim (Tranquil Dreams)
Tom (Digital Shortbread)
That Other Critic (That Other Critic)

Drew’s Movie Reviews is now on Google+.

Anniversary Week 2 Conclusion: My Fave Five New Movies I Watched During Year 2

I meant to post this on Thursday, my actual blogiversary, but because of the Christmas in July Blogathon and poor time management on my part (what else is new?), it wasn’t ready.  Every year, I like to look back at the new movies I watched, whether they were in the theater or simply new movies to me that I watched for the first time.  Last year was my freshman year as a blogger, so I made my fave five list of reviews I wrote, not the movies themselves.  Now that I have found my writing groove, this year, and probably in future Anniversary Weeks, I’m creating my list based on the movies.

When looking at the movies I reviewed, I discovered most (maybe even all) of the movies I reviewed from home video were ones I have seen before. Oops. 😛 As a result, all the movies on this list have been released between July 30, 2014 and July 30, 2015.  Now here are my five favorite movies I watched in the past 365 days.

Furious 7 movie poster5) Furious 7

Ever since Fast Five, the Fast and Furious series has gone in a fantastic direction. I really like the heist element that has been infused into every entry since. Furious 7 ups the ante and ridiculousness even further and is simply a fun ride. With the unfortunate passing of Paul Walker, this film had its share of problems. Luckily, Walker’s brothers took over and with some impressive CGI work, you couldn’t tell it wasn’t Paul. The tribute at the end was emotional and the perfect way honor to Walker.

4) InterstellarInterstellar movie poster

So far, I haven’t seen a single movie from Christopher Nolan that I haven’t enjoyed and Interstellar is no exception. The science can be hard to wrap your head around at times but the film did its best to explain it. It is also one of the best looking films of the year with its breathtaking special effects. Hans Zimmer’s score is spot on as always and adds some powerful emotion the what’s on screen. The final act may be a little out there but what would you expect from a Nolan film?

John Wick movie poster3) John Wick

When was the last time that you watched an action movie that simply enjoyed being an action movie? John Wick is, pure and simple, fun. It never takes itself too seriously and is a breath of fresh air for the action genre. Keanu Reeves gives a great performance as the titular character, a retired hitman, with a reputation that isn’t shown to the audience. Instead, the characters around him tell us what he is capable of before we even see it for ourselves. Plus the world of assassins it creates is ripe with story possibilities. I hope the next foray into the world is just as exciting.

2) Guardians of the GalaxyGuardians of the Galaxy movie poster

Guardians of the Galaxy is considered Marvel’s largest risk. Sure, people could believe a billionaire playboy philanthropist can build a suit of armor or a World War II soldier can be frozen for 70 years, but what about a talking raccoon or a tree that only says one sentence? Well it turns out audiences can. Leading with the ‘seems to be everywhere’ Chris Pratt, and sporting a wide variety of characters, every character brings something to the table. The main villain suffered like many Marvel villains seem to but not every villain needs to be a Loki or Magneto. Guardians of the Galaxy isn’t continuity heavy. In fact, the only continuity element is Thanos, who is getting set up for Avengers: Infinity War.  Given how it did with both critics and audiences, it is hard to believe people doubted this would work.

Inside Out movie poster1) Inside Out

Pixar is a pioneer in animated storytelling. In my opinion, Inside Out is up there with greats like Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and The Incredibles. The animation may be the best they’ve done so far with its vivid colors and fun character design. And the story is heartwarming and understood by all audiences. Older viewers can understand what Reilly has gone through and relate to the parents. Younger viewers can use the movie to understand what they are currently going through and are feeling in their lives. The world created for inside Reilly’s head is absolutely ingenious. Your train of thought is an actual train, memories are stored in shelves like a library, and the list goes on. I think it’s safe to say that Inside Out is one of the most unique movies of the last few years, which is one reason why it has claimed the top spot on my list.


And that does it for Anniversary Week 2! I hope you had fun joining me all week, looking at the Ocean’s Trilogy (Ocean’s Eleven, Ocean’s Twelve, Ocean’s Thirteen) and the Toy Story Trilogy (Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Toy Story 3), as well as my Original Six reviews that kicked off this blog.

Entering my second year of blogging, I had two goals in mind: 1) build relationships with fellow bloggers, mostly by becoming more active across other blogs (liking, commenting, participating in bloagthons, etc.), and 2) I’ve been trying to figure out how to word this goal but it simply boils down to increase my number of “regulars,” which builds off goal 1.  I like to think that I have successfully accomplished both objectives.

I would like to end with a BIG thanks to every one of you! These last two years have been a blast and it’s honestly due to all the contributions from all of you.  Every time my phone pings with a notification of a like or comment always brings a smile to my face.  So thank you everyone! 😀 I look forward to seeing what Year 3 brings. I have notes for Jurassic World, Inside Out, and Ant-Man that I will eventually turn into reviews and a few awards to accept.  Now time for a break, I have some gaming to catch up on. 😛

Cheers!

Guardians of the Galaxy Review

Guardians of the Galaxy movie posterSynopsis
When Kree extremist Ronan the Accuser (Lee Price) threatens the planet Xandar, five misfits, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Rocket (Bradley Cooper (voice)), Groot (Vin Diesel (voice)), and Drax (Dave Bautista), must work together to prevent its destruction.

Review
I’m not sure what Marvel put in the Kool-Aid but I’m drinking it up. Guardians of the Galaxy is pure fun. On top of that, it tells a great story and looks beautiful. I have often praised Iron Man for being the model on how to properly make a superhero origin story, now I can say that Guardians of the Galaxy is the definitive example on how to create a superhero team origin.

Ever since The Avengers, Marvel movies have had a lighthearted feel to them. I am a big fan of this because it prevents them from going too dark, although they still may have serious moments. This tone also allows for some great humor. With comedic actors Chris Pratt and Bradley Cooper, Guardians is the funniest superhero movie since Iron Man 3. I don’t think there was one moment where I wasn’t smiling. Pratt is definitely the highlight of the film but I’d say Cooper is a strong second. Despite not having much screen time, John C. Reilly stole his scenes. He wasn’t overly heavy with the comedy but instead was more subtle, contrasting with his usual movie antics.

Currently, the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack is the best selling album in the United States, and for good reason. The music is a great mix of classic 1970s and 80s rock and pop songs. If I didn’t have most of the songs already I would probably go pick it up. Besides the music, there are many references to the 80s. My favorites being Quill calling Rocket “Ranger Rick” and Quill explaining to Gamora the plot of Foot Loose.

This is one of the most unique movies I have seen in awhile. I couldn’t help but feel like I was watching The Avengers but in a skewed, Thor setting. Not many movies have a gun-toting, talking raccoon who travels with a talking tree. Actually, I don’t think any others do. Being the Marvel fan that I am, I appreciate them dipping into their less popular franchises.

I absolutely enjoyed Rocket and Groot. The duo reminded me of R2-D2 and C-3PO from Star Wars (except this time the small one was the interpreter). Besides Rocket being one of the stand-out characters of the film, several of his scenes were made better by his interactions with Groot. To go with the rest of the film, they were fun and goofy with the right amount of action sprinkled in.

With the set-up Benicio Del Toro’s The Collector had in the mid-credits sequence in Thor: The Dark World, I expected him to have a more integral role in the story.  But the more I thought about it, I realized that he could become Marvel’s next Agent Coulson.  In the comics, he is very involved in the cosmic side of things, and he could do the same in the films.  He could act as the glue that binds several of the cosmic properties that are sure to appear over the next several years, showing up to offer explanations and add cohesiveness to the films.

If there was one thing I wished this movie did better, it would be to expand on the relationship between Gamora and her sister, Nebula (Karen Gillan). Guardians did well to build and showcase the rivalry between the adopted sisters, but didn’t do much more than that. There is large potential for stories based on their relationship, similar to Thor’s and Loki’s relationship, that I hope it’s picked up in future movies.

Marvel once again raises the bar on the superhero movie genre with Guardians of the Galaxy.  It’s playful tone, great action sequences, lovable characters, and beautiful special effects blend together perfectly to create one of definitive team origin movies to date.

Rating
5/5

Also check out my reviews for the other films in Marvel’s Phase 2: Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Ant-Man.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
James Gunn – Director / Writer
Nicole Perlman – Writer
Tyler Bates – Composer

Chris Pratt – Peter Quill
Zoe Saldana – Gamora
Dave Bautista – Drax
Bradley Cooper – Rocket (voice)
Vin Diesel – Groot (voice)
Lee Pace – Ronan
Michael Rooker – Yondu
Karen Gillan – Nebula
Djimon Hounsou – Korath
John C. Reilly – Corpsman Dey
Glenn Close – Nova Prime
Benicio Del Toro – The Collector

Guardians of the Galaxy Trailer #4

Official Synopsis: Brash adventurer Peter Quill finds himself the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by Ronan, a powerful villain with ambitions that threaten the entire universe. To evade the ever-persistent Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of disparate misfits–Rocket, a gun-toting raccoon; Groot, a tree-like humanoid; the deadly and enigmatic Gamora; and the revenge-driven Drax the Destroyer. But when Quill discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must do his best to rally his ragtag rivals for a last, desperate stand–with the galaxy’s fate in the balance.

This trailer, just… wow.  Marvel definitely saved the best for last.  There is a lot of new footage, but it is mostly action sequences, which is perfectly fine with me.  I don’t know what to say it was so awesome.  Just watch it.  And if you already watched it, watch it again.  It’s that good.

Guardians of the Galaxy rockets into theaters August 1, 2014.  Directed by James Gunn, it stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Baurista, the voices of Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel, Lee Pace, Karen Gillan, Benicio Del Toro, John C. Reilly, Peter Serafinowicz, and Glenn Close.

My Christmas in July Blogathon is at the end of the month, read this post if you would like to participate.

GuardiansOfTheGalaxy