Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the most anticipated Marvel movie of the year…until the next one was teased. The first Guardians of the Galaxy movie was a huge and unexpected success. Those sorts of films are hard to follow up on, and the pressure to recapture lightning in a bottle is incredible, fortunately James Gunn was up to the task.
Our band of spacefaring misfits are at it again, now they’re charged by the Nova Corps to safeguard the universe…. or to guard the galaxy. This time though, we get some more backstory to the characters, and a few of the mysteries from “Vol. 1” are answered. Learn! how Star Lord, a seemingly ordinary human was able to handle an infinity stone! See! the development of a recently resurrected Floral Colossus! Discover! the secret of Peter’s father! Watch! as Taserface hunts down the Guardians for the Sovereign! Shudder! as there could be a traitor in the ranks of the Guardians! Cry! as certain key characters actually don’t survive the movie! Laugh! at the excellent banter between the Guardians! Be amazed! Be amused! Be entertained! Because that’s what the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is really all about.
I managed to make it out to the theatre with my brother to see Guardians Volume 2, and we were the only two people there. Granted, we did go rather late into the run, and we went to the late show on a Sunday night. The nice thing about being the only two people in the entire theatre was that we could talk about the film freely without upsetting anyone. Of course we did switch off our cell phones, we’re not animals. We didn’t actually talk that much, but it was nice to be able to say “wow” or ask what something was, or comment or predict/guess something without getting nasty looks.
Guardians Volume 2 was a wacky, funny, action packed, fun, popcorn flick. And I liked it just fine that way. New characters were introduced, new ideas, and new locations in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The banter and humour was constant and well done once again. The special effects were excellent, and everything seemed to have been amped up to at least equal the first film. All the main characters delivered exactly what I expected, and I even managed to enjoy Karen Gillan this time around, something that didn’t really happen last time. Michael Rooker’s Yondu got an expanded role in the sequel, and it was quickly rewarded with an excellent, almost standout, performance. There may have been a few too many characters, and sadly, once a movie or a franchise becomes popular, all sorts of “big name” actors come out of the woodwork and are thrust into roles they might not normally take. I enjoyed Pom Klementieff as Mantis, and Kurt Russell was really good as Ego, Peter Quill’s father, but I thought that Sylvester Stallone was just kind of thrust in there, with little explanation. Apparently his character is supposed to be big in future movies, but I, a rather big comic book nerd, had no idea who he was, or why I should care about him, or even agree with Stallone being cast. All that aside, you can tell James Gunn really enjoys his job, the characters and everything about the Guardians of the Galaxy, and ultimately so did I.
Bottom Line: Even though it’s one of the better selling soundtracks in recent years, I think I like “Awesome Mix-tape Vol. 1” better than Volume 2. Sure Mr. Blue Sky by E.L.O. was nice, The Chain by Fleetwood Mac was great, and I loved George Harrison’s My Sweet Lord and Come A Little Bit Closer by Jay and the Americans is one of my all-time favourite songs, but the rest of the arrangement didn’t wow me as much. Ah well, still a really good soundtrack.
Naturally I enjoyed the film, as I’ve enjoyed every Marvel film so far. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen them all in theatres too. Sorry, I missed the two Hulk films, and If we’re counting the non Disney/Marvel Studios films, I didn’t go to theatres for Daredevil, Elektra, Blade 2 or Blade Trinity…or X-Men 3; all of which though I did watch at home on DVD. I have outright passed on Amazing Spider-Man 2 and highly doubt I will watch it on DVD, but you never know, I am a completist.
Guardians of the Galaxy was a fairly big risk, they’re characters that so very few people really know about. It will draw the die hard comic book fans (many of whom will lie and say they know all about their new favourite characters); it will draw the Marvel fans who need to see everything the brand puts out; it will draw from the fringe of the science fiction crowd as well, but beyond that, I’m not sure how well this film will preform at the box office. Marvel it seems didn’t have a huge amount of faith either based on the after credit scene. No real spoiler here, but lately there have been two after credit scenes, one humorous and one that furthers the plots of the Marvel Cinematic Universe by teasing something that will happen or a character that will appear in an upcoming film. Thor 2 had The Collector scene and The Collector featured in Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers had the Thanos scene and Thanos as well was in Guardians. The after the credits scene today was only for humour and did not further anything. Does this mean that Marvel had little faith in Guardians becoming a bankable franchise or have they lost their way and are unsure where to go next? They had minimal reveals as the San Diego Comic Con this year, so who knows? As Grace Randolph of Beyond the Trailer said in her Spoiler Review of Guardians, perhaps Marvel has Pixared themselves?
As I said, I enjoyed the film, but there were some things that didn’t fit for me. It certainly did what every team movie is expected to do; the team start out at odds with each other then bond and form the cohesive unit that will save the day. It may be cliché, but when you’re introducing little known characters perhaps it is best to stick with what has been proven to work. The acting was okay for the most part, but not without fault and I don’t know if that is due to the actors or the writers. Even for a team movie it seemed to have a few too many characters. There have been several of WWE wrestler Dave Bautista’s acting abilities but I didn’t really find him that bad. I didn’t find him to be exceptional, but certainly passable for a wrestler who has had little acting experience. Some of his lines came across poorly but the character fit him and he was actually quite funny with his literal take on some of the lines directed at him. Gamora seemed to be very mishandled, the “most dangerous woman in the galaxy” as she has been touted in the comics (and the film I believe) seemed to be in peril an awful lot. Also Zoe Saldana didn’t really seem to bring anything special to the character. There likely won’t be a Gamora solo project anytime soon. Chris Pratt as Peter Quill (a.k.a. Star Lord) was impressive and carried the story pretty well even though he seemed to be very Captain Kirk-esque. Shatner Kirk, the real Kirk not Chris Pine. (Also, the scene where the Nova Corps made their “net” of ships really looked like an effect I saw in Star Trek, but I can’t remember if it was TNG or TOS…Tholian Web perhaps? It’s late, I don’t plan on Googling this.) The best characters of the film were of course Rocket and Groot. Vin Diesel really didn’t need to be brought in for Groot, he only uses three or four words in the entire film, only with variations on the emphasis…any voiceover actor could have done this, but would not be as impressive a name to put on your credits. Bradley Cooper however was great and really seemed to relish the role of Rocket. I’m sure they probably had a puppet stand in or possibly a child actor or something for the rest of the cast to act with, but Rocket was really a lot of fun and really was Cooper’s character. Of the rest of the cast only John C. Reilly and Glenn Close stood out, as even Benicio Del Toro as The Collector and James Brolin as Thanos really just seemed to fill time. I’ve never been a fan of Karen Gillan (I was probably the one who cheered the loudest when she was finally off Doctor Who), and again her Nebula really did nothing to impress me. Perhaps I’m biased and holding my resentment for her Amy Pond character (not necessarily her portrayal) against her, I don’t know. I heard Oculus was okay, but scary movies scare me so I’ll have to try and catch her in something else to see if I like her as an actress or not. Michael Rooker as Yondu really did nothing to impress me either and his delivery didn’t seem all that different from his role as Merle on The Walking Dead. I did manage to spot Mikaela Hoover as the assistant to Glen Close’s Nova Prime, and that was quite nice. I owe Mikaela Hoover a lot actually, a few years ago I posted my review of Super with Rainn Wilson and she picked up on that and retweeted it to Nathan Fillion who retweeted it, gaining this blog and this humble reviewer it’s best numbers. The Nova Corp themselves were pretty cool, and hopefully setup a Quasar or Nova character for the next Guardian instalment. Also with a great deal of the Corps killed in the Ronan battle, maybe Mikaela Hoover’s character will get a bigger bit of the spotlight.
I’ve rambled on enough, the story was fun, the action was plentiful and offset by an ample amount of humour. I enjoyed it a lot, but that could be because I got to take my kids to it. I do have to admit I love it when they tell my ex-wife that they want to see certain movies with Daddy and not her. Also there were a lot of cool posters for this movie as I’ve included a few at the start of this post. I had hoped to get a picture of my boys in front of some cardboard stand ups at the theatre but there was nothing, ah well, maybe they’ll get to pose with a Hobbit and some Dwarves as the trailer for that today sparked their next theatrical request.
Bottom Line: a fun movie, but I would hesitate to say it is the next great Marvel film or franchise. A Rocket and Groot film though….that would be gold!
I was a little surprised by Delivery Man after seeing the trailer, it was not a typical Vince Vaughn comedy. After seeing the commercial I figured it would be an hour and a half I would never get back, but the trailer seemed to show that there was a bit of heart behind it, and thankfully the movie upheld this.
Vince Vaughn plays David Wozniak, a man who donated sperm nearly six hundred times under the anonymous user name “Starbuck” some twenty years ago. An affable underachiever he finds out there was an error at the clinic and he is the biological father of 533 children. Now when 142 of them file a class action suit against the clinic and “Starbuck” to learn the donor’s identity, he must decide whether or not to come forward. Of course he does, but not by revealing himself to be the father. He begins to play “guardian angel” to some of them, by randomly pulling their bio sheets from the court files he’s been served with. Slowly he gets to anonymously know his children by becoming a friend and posing as the adoptive father of a handicapped young man who is another of “Starbuck’s children”. David is not entirely a saint though, as he is $80,000 in debt to some shady characters who threaten him and his family; his on again-off again relationship with his girlfriend Emma (Cobie Smulders) is more off than on, until she learns that she is pregnant and would rather not have the irresponsible David be in her and her child’s life.
The story does become a little predictable as David wants to be a father but she won’t let him; then he discovers he has 533 kids already. His interactions with the “Starbuck children” make him a better person, and of course responsible enough to be in Emma’s world. The story certainly wasn’t difficult to follow or predict, but it was still told quite well and was quite amusing at the same time. Vince Vaughn is quite relaxed and natural as Wozniak, and plays it quite earnestly.
Delivery Man is a remake of the 2011 French-Canadian film Starbuck, and from my quick bit of research wasn’t changed a whole heck of a lot, which makes some sense as both were written and directed by Ken Scott. Remakes are a tricky thing, I suppose the best thing about this case is that by making Delivery Man a “big” Hollywood film with mainstream stars, it does open the story up to a much wider audience. That being said, I’m going to search out the original just to see what the story started out as.
Bottom Line: why did he use the name Starbuck? Did he like the over priced coffee place, or was it a Battlestar Galactica reference? Perhaps the original will tell…
Simply amazing. Lots of jokes, lots of in-jokes, lots of Lego, lots of fun, and lots of memories brought back. I’ve
played with built with Lego for as long as I can remember, and I can definitely now relate to the “man upstairs” in the movie.
This Sunday I took my kids, who are also lifelong Lego builders, to see The Lego Movie, and I think I enjoyed it more than they did. Grace Randolph of Beyond the Trailer, brought up on her show Morning Movie News that it may really be an animated movie for adults. She had heard of several instances where the adults in the audiences loved the movie but the kids only liked it, and theorized that this might actually hurt the box office appeal of the film.
It had all the pieces necessary for a good movie. Humour, heart, great characters (a bit of a surprise for an animated film) and in the end, it meant something. I do need to see it again, and preferably from further back, our third row seats weren’t the best, and I will definitely be watching it again at home where I can pause often, because there was so much going on and probably so many things in the background that I missed and want to see. Also, because I went with my kids (who are aged nine to twelve) I didn’t get to sit all the way through the credits as I always do. Smaller bladders and general impatience prevented that. If anyone knows if there was an “after the credits scene” let me know!
The story was quite fun, as Emmet Brickowoski (Chris Pratt) is a regular construction worker in Bricksburg where he lives life by following the instructions. Instructions passed down by President Business who is also Lord Business (Will Ferrell) the evil overlord who plans to destroy the world of Lego using the Kragle, his ultimate weapon. Emmet is soon mistaken for “The Special” of prophecy when he discovers the “Piece of Resistance” the only thing that can stop the Kragle. The other Master Builders now look to this ordinary guy to lead them and save the world. Unfortunately Emmet isn’t that creative (his whole life has been lived following the instructions) so he can’t build “outside the box”, he’s not that confident, and fears that he probably isn’t The Special. Full of great characters from Lego sets past, Emmet teams up with Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), Batman (Will Arnett), Superman (Channing Tatum), Green Lantern (Jonah Hill), 1980s Blue Spaceman Benny (Charlie Day), Unikitty (Alison Brie), Shaq (Shaquille O’Neal), Metal Beard the pirate (Nick Offerman) and Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) to stop Lord Business and his army of “micro managers” and the police lead by Bad Cop (Liam Neeson). I usually don’t like “big cast” movies because they tend to water down the story so that each actor gets face time, but that wasn’t really an issue here in an animated feature, and each character got to do something fairly important to the story. My one son’s favourite character was Unikitty, but my favourite was Benny, perhaps because 1980s Space Lego was a big part of my childhood (though we only had the Red, White and Yellow spacemen in my house…).
Yes, it could be that adults will enjoy the film more than kids, but should we adults feel guilty about that? Is it a problem that we still enjoy our Lego sets? Is it a problem that we don’t let our kids touch them? Well, perhaps we all should watch The Lego Movie. And it’s never a bad idea for me to watch a movie again with my sons. Being a part time dad, sharing my experience of The Lego Movie with them may have biased my rating. I have several movies that I enjoy only because of who I watched them with originally, but still I think my rating and enjoyment of The Lego Movie stand.
Bottom Line: I think they have a good enough base here to build up to a sequel….puns intended.