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Thor Ragnarok – ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ Theatrical Review

Baby Driver  

Wow, I haven’t posted anything since February?  Okay, I get it, I’m really behind in my reviews, and I did see Thor in theatres… back in probably December…  It was great!  I loved it.  There was maybe a bit too much humour to it for some, but I still loved it.

Now, there were lots of trailers, and lots of clips, I have to say that Marvel knows how to put those together.  The trailers left me wanting more and put more questions in my mind as to how things got to where they were, even though the trailer pretty much plays out the same order of events as they happen in the film.

Thor returns to Asgard with the helm/skull of Surtur, a fire demon who according to prophecy will bring about Ragnarok, the Asgardian apocalypse.  With Surtur defeated, Thor sets about finding his father Odin, who Loki hypnotized and left on Earth at the end of Thor 2: The Dark World.   At least that’s what I think happened, I can’t honestly remember, as it’s been quite a while since I saw that one.  All I know is that Loki (Tom Hiddleston) took the throne, impersonating Odin (Anthony Hopkins).  Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has figured this out, and once he publicly unmasks Loki, the two brothers set off to find their father, making a side trip to the Sanctum Sanctorum where Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) sends Thor and Loki to Odin.  Nice bits of comedy here, and nice to see Doctor Strange, but the scene really just seemed like an extension of the “after the credits scene” from his own movie.  The sons of Odin meet up with Odin in Norway one last time, as he surrenders his life force and moves on, freeing his trapped first born child, Hela, the Goddess of Death (Cate Blanchett) who breaks Thor’s hammer (as we saw in the trailers) and sends he and Loki through space via the Bifrost, where they become trapped on a planet run by the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum).  Loki arrived several weeks earlier than Thor and has aligned himself with the Grandmaster, leaving  to be captured by a woman known as “Scrapper 142” (Tessa Thompson) to be thrown into the arena to fight for the Grandmaster’s amusement.  Thor’s first opponent is the reigning champion, the incredible… Hulk (Mark Ruffalo).  Fighting and fun, the two heroes eventually bury their differences and escape the planet with Loki and Scrapper 142, who is in fact an Asgardian Valkyrie.  Returning to Asgard to stop Hela who has killed and enslaved much of the population, Thor and his team set out to free their people, but can the Prince of Asgard win without his hammer?

Okay, that was a rather long-winded summary, and I left out a lot of key things.  The story was great fun, and it was full of great comic-book action.  It worked in a lot of great new characters from the comics, and I think it laid some very important groundwork for Avengers Infinity War, and the future of the entire MCU.  The scene after the credits leads directly to the opening scene of Infinity War (I know because I saw it the other day).

As I mentioned earlier, there was a lot of humour in the film.  I personally loved it, but I can see where some fans of comic book movies might be a little put off by it.  Thor Ragnarok still had some rather serious plot points and undertones, but I think director Taika Waititi (What We Do In The Shadows, Flight of the Conchords) balanced the humour and the darkness masterfully.  I think that is something that Marvel does better than DC does in their movies, and that can be very divisive in the comic book and comic book movie fandoms.  I like my heroes to be powerful and fun, not dark and brooding all the time, but that’s just me.  To each their own.  Check it out, it was fun.

Bottom Line: My favourite Marvel movie was the first Thor for the longest time, but then Doctor Strange came out quickly becoming my favourite, but now….Ragnarok may have put Thor back into first place again….at least until there’s a Doctor Strange 2…


Guardians Of The Galaxy Volume 2 – ★ ★ ★ ★ Theatrical Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 240

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.

Captain America 3: Civil War – ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ DVD Review

Captain America 3: Civil War4.5 Stars

This might as well have been Avengers 3, because it had everyone in it.  Steve Rogers’ Captain America (Chris Evans) battles Tony Stark’s Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) as the heroes pick sides after the fallout of Avengers 2: Age of Ultron and the events of Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier collide.  They may have saved the world (from a menace they had a hand in creating), but many innocent lives were lost.  The governments of the world and the United Nations now want to keep the Avengers in check and hold them accountable.  Cap’s WWII friend Bucky (who had been brainwashed into becoming the cold war assassin the Winter Soldier) has been framed for a new crime by Zemo (Daniel Brühl) and the two teams of Avengers set out to find him.  Captain America’s team (Falcon, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, Ant-Man) are trying to save Bucky, while Iron Man’s team (Black Widow, War Machine, Black Panther, Vision and Spider-Man) try to bring Bucky to justice.

The film may have been a bit of fan pandering, but it was still well constructed and entertaining to me.  We got the introduction of a few new key characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther will soon have his own film, as will Tom Holland’s Spider-Man.  Both are important additions to the ever growing MCU, and I like the potential directions that both characters/films/franchises could take.  I will admit that I’m super excited for a “proper” Marvel Spider-Man film.  What I like about the Marvel films (the proper Disney Marvel films that is) is that they really do know how to pace and lay out a story.  The first act of Civil War was the build-up and the increasing tensions between the team, as well as the hunt and mystery over the Winter Soldier.  The second act was the big battle scene that brought all the characters together and the third act resolved it all, with Captain America and Iron Man temporarily setting aside their differences to fight the common enemy that had been pulling their strings for most of the movie.  Essentially the first act was character driven, the second action and then it circled back to a character driven story again.  All of it worked, and balanced the action with drama and humour.  I have heard some people say there was too much humour, but I disagree.  When you’re dealing with gods and monsters and knights and soldiers and heroes, all fantastical things, I prefer to keep it lighter.  I also think there was more than enough action to keep the story flowing so that I didn’t mind or really realize that it was two and a half hours long.

I really enjoyed all the characters.  With a pool of characters as deep as those in the MCU, you like to see the filmmakers play with “all the toys”, or at least all the toys that they’re allowed to use.  It’s really nice to see Spider-Man back where he belongs, alongside the biggest Marvel characters.  There’s no subtlety lost in naming the upcoming film Spider-Man Homecoming.  Getting a small taste of Spider-Man in the big airport fight scene was a treat that many Marvel fans didn’t think they’d ever get, what with the complicated stories behind which studios have the rights to which characters.  That whole airport scene was a lot of fun, even if it did condense a whole “superhero civil war” down to about fifteen minutes.

There were of course comparisons between Civil War and the other big super hero film of the year, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.  I haven’t seen BvS yet, so I can’t judge it.  I know critics didn’t like it, and I know there is a HUGE divide among the fans both on that film in particular and on the differences between the Marvel and DC film universes.  Apparently it’s become a rule that Marvel fans can’t like DC films or vice versa.  I read quite a few user reviews on IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes where it seemed like DC fans were just bashing Marvel films (and fans) while the Marvel fans seemed pretty even tempered, though to be fair, I was just checking a Marvel film, so they would tend to be kinder on those pages.  It’s entirely possible on pages for DC films that Marvel fans are bashing those too.  I guess I can’t help but wonder why the two fandoms can’t just get along?  It seems like there are a lot of negative reviews out there just for the sake of negatively reviewing something!  I like reviews to be constructive and helpful.  If you liked previous Marvel films, I think you’ll most likely enjoy Captain America 3: Civil War.  Is it better than DC, and everything Batman v Superman wasn’t?  I don’t know, that’s not something I can say without having seen both films, that would be up to you to decide if you have watched them both.

Bottom Line: This was one of the few MCU films I missed seeing in theatres.  I think the only other one was Iron Man 3….

Doctor Strange: A Primer

Deadpool – ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ Theatrical Review

Deadpool4.5 Stars

Are you freaking kidding me?  I went and saw Deadpool in theatres back in February and somehow couldn’t find time to put up a review?  That was like five months ago!  Almost half a year!  Wow.  I kinda suck.  Yes you do.  And I really liked this one too.  Well if you really liked it, do up a review, that’s what you’re trying to do here right?  Man, it’s been a really long time since I watched this, I may just have to watch it again before I can give my opinions.  Well, you have the Blu Ray sitting over there on the shelf that you bought from Canada’s largest independent video-music store for a low used price…  Okay, I’m going to have to watch this again quickly (you can’t watch it quickly, it’s 1 hr 48 mins long and you have no powers that enable you to make that hour forty-eight go any faster than an hour and forty-eight minutes…) and then do a review….do you hear something breaking the 4th wall of my blog? 

Wow, there sure are a lot of bonus features on the Blu Ray for Deadpool!  I always watch the bonus features whenever I watch a DVD (or Blu Ray), but I don’t think I’ve ever watched a director’s commentary.  I don’t like people in the audience talking over the movie when I’m watching, why would I want the director?  Well, maybe some directors.  Okay, on to my review.  Boy did I enjoy this film.  This was a movie that was made for the fans, and you could tell that the production crew, the writers, director, and star Ryan Reynolds were all really big fans of the character.  They took an incredible amount of care to make sure that they were doing justice to the property. 

Part origin story, part established adventure; part action film, part love story, part comedy, Deadpool was everything you thought it would be.  That may be the only thing I have a problem with.  Let me explain.  I loved the film, loved the fight scene in the SUV; the fight on the highway bridge; the scene in the bar with Weasel (T.J. Miller) where they talk about how ugly Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is after the experiment; the fight with Colossus (voiced by Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) against Angel Dust (Gina Carano); oh yes, I enjoyed them all.  I enjoyed them in the leaked footage, in any of the numerous trailers, commercials and viral clips that I saw and then I saw them in the movie.  Again.  My biggest complaint about Deadpool was that it felt like I had seen 2/3 of the movie because of the extremely heavy social media push it was receiving.  Fortunately there were the “Wade” scenes that weren’t action filled that I hadn’t seen that made up a very good part of the film.

Lots of action, some blood and guts, lots of humour and lots of fourth wall breaking were exactly what this R-rated comic book movie needed to be true to it’s source material and to it’s fans.  The story was very good, and not just “very good for a comic book movie” good.  There were heroes, cameos, fights, jokes, and even a very big overreaching love story between Wade and Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) who he fears he cannot be with after being disfigured.  Yes, there was a lot of violence in it, and some gore, but it wasn’t overly done, you were more paying attention to Deadpool slicing, stabbing and shooting the bad guys than you were to the bloody aftermath he would leave on the ground.  The fights and stunts were exceptionally fun.  Lots of great nods to the Marvel comic universe, and even the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) as there is a scene that takes place on one of the crashed SHIELD helicarriers from Captain America: Winter Soldier.  There are only a few comic book movies that I personally think have gotten it absolutely right, Dredd was one, and now there’s Deadpool.

Bottom Line: Great cameo by Stan Lee, he joked that he was disappointed that he didn’t get to be on the set longer for it.  If you’ve seen it, you’ll understand the joke.  Also, a great “after the credits” scene, which makes me wonder, was Ferris Bueller the first movie with an after the credits scene?

Marvel’s Doctor Strange: my movie anticipations

Ant-Man – ★ ★ ★ ½ Theatrical Review

Ant-Man23.5 Stars

Did Marvel strike gold again by putting out a movie with a minor character, that not a lot of people know about?  Ant-Man reportedly opened to the second lowest box office take for a Marvel film.  So, while this wasn’t Guardians of the Galaxy, I found it really enjoyable.  I also think it will turn out to have played a very key role in setting up the future films of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe).

Hank Pym is Ant-Man, and Giant Man, and Goliath, and Yellow Jacket…at least in the comic books he is.  In the film, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) is a retired scientist who had developed a formula for “Pym Particles” that allowed him to control the space between atoms allowing him to shrink and grow both objects and people.  With his special suit he shrank himself to become the Ant-Man, and carried out covert operations for SHIELD in the 1980s.  After an accident causes the death of his wife, and seeing the potential harm that can be wrought with his technology, he quits the super hero/secret agent game and takes his formula with him so that it can’t be used by anyone.  That of course doesn’t mean that someone won’t try to recreate it.  That someone is his former protege Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) who is coming very close to cracking the secret and creating a weaponized version of Pym’s technology in the form of the Yellowjacket armour.  Teaming with his estranged daughter, Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) and a reformed burglar named Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), Pym plans to prevent this from happening.

Now, remember, this is an origin story, so we get a fair bit of exposition and quite a few montages as Lang learns to use the shrinking and growth abilities, as well as mastering his communication with ants.  All that being said, it really worked for me.  I had a blast, as the movie was light enough to entertain me and serious enough to fit with the rest of the MCU.  There weren’t a lot of fight scenes, at least not until the climax really, but that was okay because Ant-Man’s “training” sequences carried the action.

Originally Edgar Wright wrote a screenplay for Ant-Man, which was apparently not accepted or approved by the powers that be, and had to be re-written.  Some of his material must have remained as he did get a writing credit for the screenplay that was used, along with Joe Cornish, Adam McKay and Paul Rudd.  I was a little worried that the film would be too comical with Paul Rudd as the star and with Edgar Wright’s script.  Fortunately that didn’t happen, and there was an incredible amount of balance.  We got Lang’s backstory, Pym’s backstory, and they both were parallel stories of redemption.  Scott is a released felon who wants to go straight and do right so he can get visitation and reunite with his young daughter.  Hank sees the potential danger and wants to come out of retirement to set things right, and reunite with his estranged daughter.  Piecing all this together with the other parts of the MCU, it just seemed to “click”.  That all being said, I’m now very curious to know what Wright’s unused story was all about.

I saw this one in 3D, which longtime readers will know, I try to avoid.  This time the scheduling of the 2D versions was terribly inconvenient for me, so I had to go 3D.  Fortunately the 3D seemed to work with the story, and didn’t just feel it was there because “everything has to be 3D”.  Ant-Man surprised me several times, and I was thankful.  I had expected the climax to be either Ant-Man growing giant for the first time and defeating Yellowjacket, or Hank Pym coming to rescue Scott and defeat Yellowjacket.  Both of which I still think would have been plausible plots, but I’m glad they didn’t chose to go that way.  Mainly because it leaves me hopeful that I haven’t seen every storyline played out and that I can still be surprised.

Watch for Stan Lee’s cameo, it’s another classic, and doesn’t turn up until nearly the end of the film. Is Marvel putting these off until later in the films because they know we’re watching for them, and therefore are paying more attention to their movies? If so, I have to applaud the move. If not, it still worked for me, because I was watching and waiting all along for Stan the Man. There are two “after the credits” scenes, so be sure to catch them both.  The first relates to Ant-Man specifically and occurs about two minutes into the credits; and the second, after ALL the credits, ties to the next film…Captain America 3: Civil War.

Bottom Line: For a multi-million dollar company, no one at Cross Technology/Pym Tech ever notices that they have an ant problem and puts down a few traps?

Avengers 2: Age of Ultron – ★ ★ ★ ★ Theatrical Review

Avengers-Age-of-Ultron-IMAX-HR-1  4.0 Stars

It got a lot right, but also left a lot on the table.  Not to say that it got things wrong, but there were a lot of things that they could have done (and quite possibly should have done) but they didn’t.  You probably know the story, Earth’s mightiest heroes, the Avengers are back to fight Ultron (voiced by James Spader) an artificial robot intelligence that is planning to takeover the world by killing all the humans (the way Ultron plans to kill us all off is pretty darn creative I will admit!).  Ultron was accidentally created by Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and now he and his team are the only ones who can stop it, but along the way they’ll have to fight the remnants of Hydra (including the fearsome Baron Strucker) and the superpowered twins Wanda (the Scarlet Witch played by Elizabeth Olsen) and Pietro (Quicksilver played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson) as well as legions of killer robots.

  •  The film started off with a bang, and had a nice comic book action fight scene to whet our appetites…then they had an Avengers dinner party at the Tower with heroes galore…  We got Falcon from Captain America: Winter Soldier (Anthony Mackie), War Machine (Don Cheadle) from the Iron Man franchise, Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), and of course the Avengers: Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Iron Man, Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and even Stan Lee in his cameo.  This scene really wasn’t necessary.  It may have killed the energy of the opening and made the film fifteen minutes longer than it needed to be, but it did really make the film feel like a classic comic book to me.  The whole party could have been drawn by George Perez and written by Jim Shooter or Roger Stern or John Byrne…  In fact, one probably was.
  • Once the party was out of the way and the evil robots started attacking, things picked up and the pace only slowed down at one point when the Avengers had to go to ground and regroup.  More characters are introduced along the way as Ultron severs the hand of Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) who will likely become Klaw and a Black Panther villain at some point.  Minor Spoiler (but I want to gripe about it so I’m not hiding this one) We also learn that Ultron kills Baron Strucker (Thomas Kretschmann).  I think that was a giant waste.  First, I don’t think they even called him “Baron”, he may have just been “Strucker”.  Second, for being the big bad guy who orchestrated the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. and whatnot, he really wasn’t in the film that long, and he seemed to go out like a chump!  First the Avengers beat him and his goons quite easily, then Ultron kills him.  Ah well, c’est la vie, and such is the life (and death) of an arch villain I suppose.
  • My first disappointment with Avengers 2 was (spoiler again) that while there was a bit of a crossover with the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. television show, we didn’t get to see Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) on the big screen and reveal he’s still alive to the team.  Second, we had the setup, but we didn’t get “that” line.  If you’re a comic book fan like me, you know what I’m talking about.  How come we didn’t get Thor, beaten and bruised, confronting Ultron and delivering the classic line “Ultron. We would have words with thee.”
    Come on!  It’s classic.  Why wasn’t it in there?
  • The plot and cast advanced the Marvel Cinematic Universe quite well I thought, and set up the next batch of movies where the “big” stars may not be around.  Robert Downey Jr and Chris Evans (and likely the rest of the cast) signed limited contracts, only three or four films, so they need to start planning things without Iron Man and Captain America and such.

Lots of action, lots of fun, and this time the comic book-esque quips were spread out more evenly in the film, as opposed to the first film, where Iron Man seemed to get all the good lines.  I will say that I enjoyed the sequel more than the first film, as the first Avengers just didn’t live up to the hype for me.

Bottom Line: they suckered me in with this one, and I freely admitted it to the remaining audience members in the theatre.  There was only one “after the credits” scene in this one, but I foolishly stuck around until the very end just in case…Sure, I may know that Zoe Whittaker was the second unit video operator but I also wasted time waiting for a second bonus scene.  Maybe there will be something on the DVD, but if you’re going to the theatre, after the first bonus bit, you can safely leave!

Agent Carter


It’s 1946, and peace has dealt Peggy Carter  a serious blow as she finds herself marginalized when the men return home from fighting…  Hayley Atwell resumes the role of Peggy Carter that she began in Captain America: First Avenger.  She has gone from capable field agent to essentially a secretary for the SSR (Strategic Scientific Reserve).  But being Captain America’s girlfriend, and a friend of inventor Howard Stark has it’s advantages and disadvantages as Carter soon learns.

Stark’s vault of secret weapons has been broken into and things are starting to surface on the black market.  The SSR believes that Stark has gone rogue and turned traitor selling to enemies of the US, but Stark has recruited Peggy Carter to work the case from the inside and clear his name, giving her the use of some of his inventions, some of his resources and the use of Edwin Jarvis, his loyal butler.  The chase for Stark’s technology takes Carter from New York City to Russia and back, with voiceboxless saboteurs and young Russian girls who are bred to be assassins blocking the path to the truth.

The final episode of Season 1 aired tonight, and everything ended the way we expected it to.  The series is set in the past, and has had to fit itself into the established Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).  We already know that Agent Carter goes on to be the first director of SHIELD, and we know when Captain America returns, and we know when the super heroes arrive in the world, but still the show had it’s excitement.  I quite enjoyed the show.  It was a nice, short carry over piece while Agents of SHIELD took it’s mid-season break, and I think the intentions of the show were to first prevent us from forgetting the Marvel Television Universe (what I’lll call the MTU) during the break, and second fill in some blanks for the fans.

I know this show probably didn’t appeal to some of the Marvel audience; it was set in the 1940s, it had a female lead, and it wasn’t non stop action.  To that, I say it was cleverly written, had decent suspense and quality action when it needed it, and it built and developed a strong female character.  All of those things actually reminded me of the first season of Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman series.  Agent Carter also benefited by only being eight episodes long, and by bringing in elements of the greater Marvel Universe such as the episode with the Howling Commandos, finally introducing the fans to Jarvis (James D’Arcy) and of course sprinkling in Dominic Cooper’s Howard Stark.

Will Agent Carter return for a second season?  I don’t know, but I hope so.  It was a fun show, and it didn’t seem like it was just playing out to further the plots of the movies like Agents of SHIELD sometimes does.  And besides, we still need to discover who Zodiac is from the Agent Carter One Shot (which is now a little inaccurate as the Agent Carter series is supposed to be set between the end of Captain America: First Avenger and the One Shot, which opens with Carter saying she’s been with the SSR for three months and has yet to see her first assignment.)

And this.

Guardians of the Galaxy – Theatrical Review

hr_Guardians_of_the_Galaxy_29.jpg Guardians2 guardians-of-the-galaxy-star-wars-poster4 Stars

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!

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