Tag Archives: Guardians of the galaxy

Movie Review – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 takes you on a Roller Coaster Ride


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If you’ve seen the first Guardians of the Galaxy, you’d know the kind of experience you will be getting. The old gang is back. They are more dysfunctional than ever and settling into their new titular positions. The film weaves a number of different subplots, with a number of familiar faces from the original film making a return – Yondu (Rooker), the scavenger who kidnapped and raised Peter; Nebula (Karen Gillian), Gamora’s sister, who is intent on continuing the violent sibling rivalry. But these subplots are skillfully weaved together, and never interfere in the main story.

There are a lot of obvious references for MCU’s future, from Gamora and Nebula’s conversations about Thanos to the closing text “The Guardians Will Return.” You know that there is a lot coming your way but GoTG vol 2 still stands as an independent film as much as it can. It builds its own universe without becoming another Iron Man 2. The producers must have had their chances to drop obvious clues but they didn’t and it proved to be a well thought decision.

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Every character has an arc of self enlightenment.  From Rocket learning to not push people away, to Gamora and Nebula learning to love each other as sisters, Guardians plays on the trope that these characters are together because they share a very deep bond and their care for each other goes beyond that of a normal team.  All of these stories play out with fun filled action sequences that always leave you wanting more. Rounding out the cast is Mantis, a character who is used mostly for comedic effect but is so quirky and charming I couldn’t help but fall for her.  In her first appearance I worried that she was a bit too much of an Asian stereotype, but as the film progressed, she fell into her own and her relationship with Drax who tells her just how ugly she is, became one of my favorites in the film.

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Chris Pratt once again proves that why is is one of the Hollywood’s best leading men working today. He takes the opportunity to bounce off of the legend that is Kurt Russell; the two charismatic actors share a memorable performance. From Peter’s daddy issues to Ego playing with his emotions, everything is written so carefully. You’ve also got the likes of Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista (with his dry sense of humor), Sean Gunn and Bradley Cooper as Rocket Raccoon who are all perfect in their individual roles.

One doesn’t need to talk about how Baby Groot takes away the spotlight. He is one of the most charming creations to have graced the cinema screens. This adorable little tree steals the show and your heart the moment he’s introduced. His big brown eyes and childlike qualities place him right at the top of the cuteness level. Audiences are going to love him, and he’s easily the most memorable thing about the whole film.

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The jukebox soundtrack is again a wonderful addition to the whole storyline. The movie is filled with an eclectic mix of hits, the vibrant visuals that pop off the screen, truly bringing the comic book art form to life in a way others have failed to do.  The story creates a real sense of consequence in the film’s final third act, taking viewers completely off guard. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is hilarious and has a surprising amount of heart at its core.

Being set in space, we, of course, the visual effects become an important addition of the movie. For the most part the VFX is amazing. Weta Digital and Animal Logic make the movie gorgeous to look at. Some of those wide shots of alien worlds are so stunning, the new space ships have interesting designs, the explosions have weight to them, and the effect even helps sell some of the more humorous scenes in the movie.

My one big issues with Vol. 2 is something that’s plagued Marvel since the beginning.  We get an underwhelming villain like the usual.  Although Kurt Russel plays his part in the a very effective way and his plan seems very convincing. But for a powerful player like Ego who is a celestial, his powers and ending doesn’t make sense.  I’m hopeful that Thanos in next year’s Avengers: Infinity War will live up to its billing.

Despite a few flaws, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 proves to be another great chapter in the saga of these outer space misfits.  I’m looking forward to revisiting these characters again in Vol. 3.  Although Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 doesn’t quite come together in the way the original did, it nevertheless delivers humor, action, and familial themes in spades.

Final movie score – 4 out of 5

Marvel Studios Phase 3 line up: Thoughts and Analysis


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Marvel has finally revealed its plans for Phase 3 that will start soon after Avengers: Age of Ultron comes out followed by Ant Man that will end Phase 2 and Phase 3 will start in 2016.  Before I move on here is the Phase 3 line up:

May 6, 2016 – Captain America: Serpent Society… SCRATCH THAT!  It will be titled Captain America: Civil War

November 4, 2016 – Doctor Strange

May 5, 2017 – Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (has been moved up from its previous July release date)

July 28, 2017 – Thor Ragnarok

November 3, 2017 – Black Panther

May 4, 2018 – Avengers: Infinity War Part 1

July 6, 2018 – Captain Marvel

November 2, 2018 – Inhumans

May 3, 2019 – Avengers: Infinity War Part 2

 

Phase 3 from the set of announcements and the little that we already know about these movies, the MCU isn’t just shifting, but the entire MCU suffering from it’s own growing pains in the roughest way. There are a new slew of characters that are being introduced in Phase 3. With all new characters and what seem to be very firm endings to a number of characters that previously anchored the MCU. Those changes will majorly effect the MCU through Phase 3 and then in the future with Phase 4.

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Captain America: Civil War May 6th, 2016: With Captain America 3: Civil War it seems that maybe Age of Ultron will not end on a high note.  For those who do not know the comics, Civil War is a story line that pits comic book heroes against each other after a bill to be passed by the government for heroes to give up their identities to the public.  Iron Man, Tony Stark, is for this while Captain America, Steve Rogers, is against.  It also is the beginning of the end for Rogers because shortly after Civil War, Fallen Son takes place with Rogers being killed.  I believe Part 2 of the Infinity Wars will be the repercussions of Rogers death in Part 1.  I can definitely believe Bucky or Falcon will be taking the mantle of Captain America.

Doctor Strange November 4th, 2016: We already knew Scott Derickson was attached to direct. However, for a long time we had no idea who would be portraying Stephen Strange on the big screen. Sure, nothing has been officially confirmed, but Benedict Cumberbatch will likely land the part as he is in final negotiations. Doctor Strange opens a very different door into the Marvel Universe. Until now, everything we saw had a very solid explanation, many of which were based in science fiction. Even everything cosmic about Asgard and it’s inhabitants felt ethereal, but also had a sense of science fiction to. The movies went as far to say that what we from Earth may see as magic was really just science we didn’t understand. Doctor Strange may eliminate that sentiment as he brings magic to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There is also an interesting new dynamic that he brings to the Cinematic Universe.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 May 5th, 2017

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Marvel made it clear that they had a lot of faith in Guardians of the Galaxy. They knew it was their biggest risk, but they took it anyway. Honestly, it’s worked out very well for them as Guardians of the Galaxy is the largest domestic release of 2014 ($328M) and 3rd largest internationally ($752M) (and honestly it’s only 5 million away from being number 2). Guardians was a massive hit and generally well loved. The movie did brilliantly and it makes sense that they would come back for more. Especially since Guardians has easy connections to Thanos and the upcoming Infinity War movies. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 will likely see the crew dropped into an even worse situation than before. We will likely also see the results of this film trickle into Thor: Ragnarok as space and the cosmos go together nicely.

Thor: Ragnarok July 28th, 2017
The title of this film took me back and made me shed a tear. Sure, Thor is not the most loved franchise in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s most often cast to the side, but it has never been outright bad. Maybe I am just so enthralled by Asgard that I’ve connected to the place and the title Ragnarok scares me. In case you don’t know Ragnarok is almost like another word for apocalypse. It is the end of the world with many of the major heroes and figures in Norse mythology die. Dead as doornails, dead. The Marvel comics have had their own versions of Ragnarok in the past and guess what, many people died there too. With A blatant title like Ragnarok for the third Thor movie it screams bad news for those involved. When you line up the deaths in the traditional Norse mythology with the MCU characters we’ve been introduced to, you are looking at the deaths of Thor, Odin, Loki, and Heimdall.

 

blackpantherartBlack Panther November 3, 2017:

Marvel also took the jump and will have a black character head their own movie. I don’t think they could have chosen anyone better as T’Challa is a fascinating character in his own right. T’Challa is King of Wakanda. There are far fewer ways to assert a black character as important than letting the first one getting a solo film being a king. T’Challa’s politics will undoubtedly play a role in his story. He will also be introduced a few films earlier in Captain America: Civil War. How exactly T’Challa will play into Phase 3 on a grander scale as he doesn’t have much connection to other heroes or the cosmos is unclear, but I’m sure as always there is a very definite plan. Even if Black Panther is a bit less connected to the chaos, I won’t mind as his character will give us a very different movie than we’ve seen in the MCU and that is always a necessary requirement if these films are to retain their popularity.

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Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 May 4th, 2018
The Infinity War is clearly going to be a large part of Phase 3. A large enough part that it will need two movies to navigate through the intricacies of the plot. It will inevitably include the Infinity Stones which we have been seeing since Phase 1. I don’t have much to say other than I’m excited about what this can potentially become. We’ll have a new, or at least partially new team leading as the Avengers. We’ll also see a threat that affects the entire universe.

 

Captain Marvel July 6th, 2018: Marvel has finally jumped in and gone for the female led superhero film. And boy is she a great superhero. Carol Danvers is an interesting character that seems to scream that she is going to do things her way and no one is going to get in the way to stop her. She’s a strong female character and it’ll be nice to see her take center stage. Sure, it was long rumored that she would be the first Marvel female to get her own film, but it’s a good thing to see if finally happen. Considering her ties to Kree, it wouldn’t be surprising if that is center stage to how she is drawn in to the entire conflict and everything going on since the events of Avengers: Infinity War Part 1.

The Inhumans November 2nd, 2018: Everyone out there clamoring for an Inhumans movie can finally calm themselves. However, the Inhumans movie would not be happening if Guardians of the Galaxy had not been such a success. Because one risk paid off, they are now able to take yet another risk. Inhumans as a movie has a lot of potential and it’s inclusion between Part 1 and 2 of the Infinity War movies makes perfect sense. It also makes sense after the Captain Marvel movie. The Inhumans stands to be an interesting endeavor with the lead character forced to communicate telepathically because his voice is a weapon. There are already rumors that Vin Diesel may play Black Bolt, leader of the Inhumans, but it is still too early to know. I for one can not wait to see the hair effects on Medusa.

Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 May 3rd, 2019
I don’t have anything other to say other than I hope the end of this movie is epic and sound as we will get ready to movie into Phase

Movie review: Guardians of the Galaxy


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Before you start reading this review and the way I have gloriously described this movie and start calling me a Marvel fanboy (that I am) let me tell you this. I was really not happy when Marvel announced Guardians of the Galaxy movie was on its way. I among many of the fans wanted to see a Black Panther or a Hulk movie in the first place that was taken by Guardians of the Galaxy.

I mean who cares about bunch of misfits formed together to protect the universe, their stories looked good in comic books and they were needed to Avengers 3 to take place but I wondered why Marvel was putting money on this totally unknown franchise so soon when they have so many better options.

And then James Gunn was announced as the director and the skeptic in me kinda became hopeful.

Long story short I waited for one and a half year for this movie to come out that was obviously being ruined by pathetic run of Guardians of the Galaxy comics series that is left in the cruel hands of Brain M. Bendis and totally destroyed the series (I’ll continue this rant somewhere else in other space time). Finally the day came when I was going to watch Guardians of the Galaxy on 8th August 2014.

After the first trailer and the entire ooga chaka sequence I didn’t watch a single trailer related to this movie so I had no idea what was going to show up, not even a glimpse. I had to pay 300 bucks for this movie in my city because cinepolis is run by bunch of money hungry mongrels (another rant another time.)

What followed after were the best 120 minutes of my life.

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Soon after Peter Quill’s introduction and the music that followed after I knew that the movie is going to own. The way it introduced each character, gave them their space and character was simple incredible. The soundtrack, the references and the jokes felt like distinct characters and part of the film instead of being forced in the movie for no reason.

Words fail me when I start to describe how amazing the Marvel’s first cosmic outing was. The movie passed beyond the expectations and the benchmarks both Iron Man 3 and Captain America: The Winter Soldier created. I feel kinda bad for Joss Whedon that he is constantly facing new challenges on a regular basis to make Avengers: Age of Ultron set a new benchmark when it comes out.

The movie is about a group of misfits caught in between of an interplanetary battle and are forced to take desperate measures to take a side and save the universe from brink of destruction.

They call themselves the Guardians of the Galaxy – What a bunch of A-holes.

Guardians of the Galaxy is an origin story of the team, they are not called by their team name until by the end of the movie. This is the story of how a bunch of A-holes come together and ultimately form a team and learn to fight besides each other.

I’ll start talking about this movie with Peter Quill played by Chris Pratt. When his casting was announced I only knew him from Parks and Recreation and the amount of cheeseburger he stored inside him made me hard to believe that this guy is going to be Star Lord. In 6 months he bulked up for the movie from family pack to 6 packs. The way he walked and talked in the film reminded so much of Harrison Ford from Indiana Jones or Star Wars that right now it seems he’ll be the perfect person for the role if they decide to reboot Indiana Jones. He is someone who now seems on the levels of Robert Downey Jr. on the level of awesomeness.

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The best part of the movie were two CGI characters Rocket and Groot voiced by Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel. Rocket owned the movie, as said earlier he is the heart of the film, he is rude has a terrible past and loves guns. On the other hand Groot is a cute monster, who is as dangerous as he can be. I just loved the role they played in the movie. Thanks to censor board I missed a foul mouthed raccoon abuse on screen so a huge middle finger to them.

Drax guardiansDrax was a surprise package, I never knew that Batista can act so well. His role kind of grew up on me as the movie proceeded. Driven by revenge he almost drives the team on the brink of death only to revive himself later. I personally feel that Drax was underused and was not upto his full potential but I have hopes high for the sequel and Avengers 3 where we may see him pulling the heart out of Thanos’ chest with his bare hands.

Gamora Guardians of the Galaxy

Zoë Saldana plays Gamora, she comes out as another of the strong female characters in the marvel movies and has her own role and backstory developed in the film. She had the best hand to hand fight scenes in the film especially with Star Lord in the introduction of the film and later with Nebulla.

Now talking about the villains,

We finally get to meet the big bad playing behind the scenes till now come out of shadows. Yes I am talking about Thanos the Mad Titan himself. He looked simply Menacing played by Josh Brolin. For a 5 minute scene he turned out to be one of the most amazing parts of the movie because this time there was more of him rather than just a smile. BTW the way events of this film proceeded I strongly feel that Loki on Asgard throne is what Thanos planned as his actual mission to retrieve the Infinity gauntlet from Odin’s vault (discussion left for some time later :P).

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I liked how Ronan and Nebula’s role were developed in the film, Karen Gillian went from pretty Amy to menacing daughter of Mad Titan assisting Ronan with his mission. Lee Pace has changed his race from Elf to Kree and kind of looked scary. Unlike many other Marvel villains he looked like a villain but a well justified mission and came out as a threat not for the heroes but for the entire galaxy and the main major baddie himself, although I am disappointed that he had to die in the end of the film but the part where he had the holographic conversation with Thanos reminded me of Star Wars conversation between Darth Vader and the Emperor. It was amazing.

 

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One of the best part was checking out Collector’s vault that supposedly is filled with all kind of Easter eggs from Marvel universe. I saw a Chituari soldier, a Dark Elf, possibly a Karbonite horse like creature that looked like Beta Ray Bill along with Cosmo and Howard the Duck. I mean so much awesomeness in one movie that I cannot stop describing. The references, the cameos and everything that followed was simply incredible.

Also how can I forget Yondu, the original Guardian although looked nothing like his comic book counterpart and maybe he’ll evolve into a future Guardian but in this movie his role was so well written. I love Michael Rooker and though he initially wanted to voice Rocket that I feel would have been perfect for the role he did a beautiful job with Yondu. His comic timing and posing a fear factor in Quill’s life upto revealing that he was hired by Quill’s father to abduct him but he changed the deal and how can one forget the way he killed all the Skaaran soldiers with one arrow.

There is a lot to talk about this movie that I feel will take one more part if I keep going on like this. Coming to the direction James Gunn has done a tremendous job with the film. His vision simply plays off and makes the movie worth watching. The comedy and the seriousness simply blends with his style. He knows what he is doing and he proves it by placing all the Easter eggs, cameos and references throughout the movie.

The graphic sequences used to this film are better than any of the movies that I have seen this year, the 3d really supports the storyline and will look amazing on IMAX screen. The concept art for every characters and landscapes looks like the one from its comic book counterparts. The best use of the design really comes up with introduction of Knowhere and the Milano chase sequence.

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Talking about the soundtrack, I for one really felt old after watching this movie. Once these songs used to be the instant hit numbers that used to come on radio, today has evolved into classic pop from the 80s. 26 years later just like the time since Peter left Earth, the cassette is the reminder how awesome our childhood was. The MP3 players and the digital tracks can never define the identity the way this Sony Walkman and the cassette of awesome mix volume 1 and 2 have done. I have been continuously listening to Cherry Bomb and Jackson 5 since Friday on loop. The movie is reminded of good old days and the era that is gone by. Like metal is synonymous with Iron Man franchise, the classic pop is now synonymous with Guardians.

Anyways coming to the last part of this movie, I am overwhelmed the way Marvel and James Gunn presented this movie. I am one for sure that the this franchise will develop into Annihilation conquest saga as the finale, all I hope is that Marvel gets rights for Fantastic Four back from Fox and we will get to see Galactus and Silver Surfer in the future installments.

Now I’ll just sit around and wait for Avengers: Age of Ultron in 2015. For now here is a dancing Groot looking cute and all that.

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PS: No Raccoon or Tree creatures were harmed during making of this film.