Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (Review)

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (Review)

The soundtrack to the Guardians of the Galaxy movies are probably the reason I’ll end up buying a Vinyl player.

Guardians of the Galaxy was definitely one of the better movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase 2 series of films.  It was unique, it was funny, the characters were instantly likable and even if the plot served more to add context to the MCU’s overarching story and it suffered from the MCU’s patented boring villain, it was still engaging enough to be memorable.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 delivers on the comedy.  It’s the same characters that we’ve come to know and love doing what they do best: save the galaxy while having to deal with each other.  This time around, there’s a bigger emphasis on them actually working together as a team.  With this comes the realization that this time around, the focus is on the relationships between the characters than them saving the galaxy.

Peter Quill finally meets his father, Gamora and her sister Nebula have to deal with each other after their plot line was left up in the air in the last movie, Rocket and Groot wind up with Yondu after a series of events, even Drax has moments with Mantis.  Every character has a clearly defined arc and development to the point where I realized that this was what I was supposed to be focusing on, not the overarching plot.

Sure, there’s a galactic threat that needs to be stopped by the Guardians but at the same time, you’re not watching it for that.  In fact, for the most part, I wasn’t waiting to see what happened next, I was sitting there waiting for the turn of events that kicks off the climax.  There’s no sense of rising action, for the most part; of the stakes getting higher and higher.

Having said that, I liked this movie more than the first one because of it’s emphasis on the character’s emotions and their relationships.  In the first movie, they had to learn how to work as a team to finish the mission.  In this movie, they actually have to learn how to live as a family together.  There is actual growth going on and it’s a pleasure to actually see them grow closer through all the trials and tribulations.  Though certain story beats are predictable, some are not and actually took me off guard.  The more we learn about the characters, the more we realize that those moments shouldn’t have surprised you because they were absolutely in character.

It’s a rarity in the MCU where the sequel is just as good and better than the first one.  Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is just as charming, just as heartfelt and just as funny as its predecessor.  It’s focus on the characters emotions and their relationships is a wonderful way to spice up the series and to make sure it doesn’t grow stale.  As it stands, it is currently one of the best movies of Phase 3, if not the best.

The Fate of the Furious (Review)

The Fate of the Furious (Review)

Binge watch The Fast and the Furious franchise and take a shot every time someone mentions “family.”

I haven’t been keeping up with the “Fast and the Furious” franchise.  The last movie I actually watched all the way through was the first one back in 2001. I saw a few moments of 2 Fast 2 Furious and Tokyo Drift but had no real interest in continuing to watch the series.  It seemed to be a generic popcorn franchise that studios continued to pop out for easy money.

Around the time the fifth one came out, I started hearing people say that the films were actually good.  Still, I didn’t pay them any attention, even when Dwayne Johnson joined the franchise and they stopped being about street racing and started saving the world in elaborate ways involving cars.  Eventually, my buddy Mason from ReelDudeReviews asked me to join him opening night and since I had no other plans, we went and watched it.

One thing I appreciated from the movie was it’s tongue in cheek nature.  Nothing ever seems to be done with any real seriousness.  Being chased by police?  Send a wrecking ball through them.  No reason how or why that happens, it just does.  It’s one of those movies where cool things happen with a the slightest of reasons given as to why they happen.  Normally this would be a criticism, but for this film, I have a hard time criticizing it for that.  It’s a film that knows exactly why people came to watch it.  They didn’t come for the logic, they came for cool action and set pieces.

The only real criticism I can even think of is that the film has about seven films worth of backstory that go right over my head.  I had to guess that Paul Walker’s character’s name in the movie was Brian (again, I had only seen him in the film back in 2001) when they mention him in passing.  I didn’t know who was who or how they related to each other.  I didn’t know when Kurt Russel joined the franchise or why.  I was really surprised with Nathalie Emmanuel showed up in the film as a hacker, having only seen her in Game of Thrones.

The film is so over the top at times that it almost takes away from the impact of the more serious scenes.  The premise is that Vin Diesel’s character is being forced to work for Charlize Theron thus betraying his family (shot).  It’s a emotional situation that lends itself to good drama but at the same time, it has a hard time reconciling itself with how ridiculous the action scenes become.

Again, I can’t really fault the movie too harshly.  It’s a movie that did exactly what it set out to do.  It’s an action movie that entertains with the bare minimum of effort given to plot, character development and scripting and the maximum of effort given to intense action sequences.  All of this is held together with a cast that is surprisingly strong together even when I don’t have the experiences that I assume most people had watching all the movies previously.

Family (shot).