Movie Review – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Guardians Of The Galaxy vol. 2

Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Kurt Russell, Elizabeth Debicki, and more.

Directed by: James Gunn Written by: James Gunn Based on the Marvel Comics by: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning Cinematography by: Henry Braham Music by: Tyler Bates

Premise: After finishing a job for the Sovereign, the Guardian’s find themselves in trouble when Rocket filches some of the goods they were paid to protect. Saved by a stranger, the group meets Ego, Peter’s father. But the Sovereign are not about to let the Guardians’ transgression remain unpunished. They hire others to do the work. And as Peter finally embraces the fact he’s found his father, Gamora realizes something about Ego is not quite right. (Rated PG-13)

Review:

1) Acting – Total Thumbs Up: Lots of lovely and strong performances from all members of the cast. All the weird and sometimes clashing personalities are fun to watch. Several emotional scenes were beautifully carried out by all parties. Michael Rooker deserves added attention for his intense and emotional conversation with Rocket – and for pulling off a metallic 50’s hairdo with style! 😛

2) Special Effects – Total Thumbs Up: There were lots of great effects and visuals in the film. Mantis’s antenna and her bug like eyes were so well done, you never doubted she looked like that.

All the Sovereign people were gold from head to foot, and it looked natural. Their throne room, gadgets, and remote controlled ships looked great. And the giant tentacle monster? Awesome!

Ego’s palace was gorgeous. His ship and the molding platform were lovely. The moment reconstructions in the egg like receptacles were neat and loved that they had a different texture than everything else. There were several body repair sequences, and these were fab! The view of Ego from orbit said it all.

The big fight on Ego’s planet was spectacular. And kudos on making Kurt Russel look young and long-haired once more! He looked great! 🙂

3)  Plot/Story – Thumbs Up: On several levels, the plot for vol. 2 is a lot darker than the original film. The main point of this one is discovery. Discovery of self, of what’s been there all along, of things you never knew you possessed, and fear of acknowledging emotional needs. Every single character has a revelation of one form or another. Many are not ones they are happy to find out about, even as they bring a sense of growth, depth or even a bit of peace to their souls.

There are a ton of wonderful little moments. The opening section ties directly back to the beginning of the first film as well as the end. Adorable!

Several major items that have shaped Peter’s life are made clear. Things are not always as we assume.

I did think some of the action was less believable this time around. While our heroes are intrepid and hearty, some of this went way beyond. Almost like overcompensating for the darkness and going too far with the size of the action. This took away rather than added to the film.

As always, be sure to sit through the credits. Not only is the cool backdrop of a record album ala Jefferson Starship entertaining, so are the “I am Groot” word plays, and the multiple extra scene snippets! 🙂

4) Stunts – Total Thumbs Up: Most of the stunts are CGI-assisted, but no less fun. Some of the gags were taken to a much higher level than the last film, which stretched believability quite far. Still impressive to watch though. 😛

5) Music – Total Thumbs Up: While all the great 80’s music and visual 50’s music homage was fun, I was a little disappointed that they used those almost exclusively rather than more music by Tyler Bates. Some of this they made up with the neat, nostalgic treatment of the original theme by the Steepers in “Guardians Inferno.” Very disco and reminiscent of Meco and their cool renditions of Star Wars music and other popular science fiction soundtracks of the time.

Conclusion: While not as good as the first, Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 is still worth a watch. Darkness and discovery, as well as lots of humor, awaits!

Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again!)

 

Movie Review – The Fate of the Furious

The Fate of the Furious

The Fate of the Furious

Starring: Vin Diesel, Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Charlize Theron, Kurt Russell, Nathalie Emmanuel, Luke Evans, Elsa Pataky, Kristofer Hivju, Scott Eastwood, Helen Mirren, and more.

Directed by: F. Gary Gray Written by: Chris Morgan Based on characters created by: Gary Scott Thompson Cinematography by: Stephen F. Windon Music by: Brian Tyler

Premise: During his honeymoon in Cuba, Dom gets trapped by a mysterious woman. She’s picked him specifically. And she’s made sure to get something which will force him to choose to do things her way. First on her to-do list, get Dom to betray his family – that which he holds most dear. As the group tries to figure out why Dom has gone rogue, they get rounded up by Nobody. They want them to help find Dom but to also aid in putting a stop to Cipher’s plans. (Rated PG-13)

Review:

1) Acting – Total Thumbs Up: Charlize Theron as Cipher was multi-layered and fun (in an evil, despicable way that is :P). Very much enjoyed watching her taunt Dom and act like she has all the answers; even as we see her struggling to understand how he can feel the things he feels. And looking a little jealous. Like I said – fun! Jason Stratham and Dwayne Johnson as Deckard and Hobbs look to have the most fun in the film. The in-joke/subliminal advertising for Moana was rather cute. Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez speak volumes with glances. There’s lots of witty banter and fun. Good job all!

2) Special Effects – Total Thumbs Up: As we’ve come to expect from the F&F series, there’s a ton of special effects of all kinds. We’ve got engines catching on fire, crashes galore, subs, tanks, planes, explosions, and more!

They did some cool stuff with the sub and the iced over lake. And the torpedoes? Sweet!

The “rain” in Manhattan was fabulous! The whole Manhattan section was divine. The fight on the plane was also super. Bullet holes galore. Add in Stratham and the “package,” and you’re in for a whole lot of fun! (So unexpected and yet so awesome! lol. My most favorite part of the film.)

3) Plot/Story – Thumbs Up: Science and physics always take a back seat in these movies. This time is no exception. EMP doesn’t mean the same to these guys as it does to everyone else. lol. And though they cut away from the scene, there’s still no way for that sub to get in the water! They do make it all look good, though!

Even though it may hide their hands and faces, you do not go out onto the icefields in Russia without appropriate gear! Oh, you touched that bar with your bare hand outside in sub freezing temps? You just left a layer of skin stuck there. 😛 Sometimes I do wish they’d try a little harder to cover the easier things.

Definite kudos on the little hints dropped here and there as to how Dom might not be quite as subdued as Cipher thinks he is. They do a replay to show the audience what they missed and a little more. So you won’t miss anything, even if you do. 😛 I did like how they wove in a lot of people and history from the other films back into the plot.

No real surprises in the plot, but still fun. Just watching all the insane destruction is half the entertainment. Add in some lovely fights, and voila!

4) Stunts – Total Thumbs Up: There are a ton of gags! Between the fire, the ice, the bullets, the car and people chases, the hand-to-hand and the close weapons combat, the department was kept incredibly busy. Add in a little CGI, and the bar got raised a ton!

I have to mention that the fight at the prison was all levels of fun. A chase within a breakout, within a free for all. Nice!

5) Locations/Cinematography – Total Thumbs Up: Lots of interesting sites in the film. Iceland, Cuba, Ohio, Georgia, New York, Germany, even a glacier! And the way they incorporate the names into the landscape is a nice trick. Some lovely spanning views of all the exotic places.

Conclusion: The Fate of the Furious is fast and crazy and full of more cars and stunts than ever. It’s enough to fill any action junkie’s want list. 🙂 Leave the laws of physics at the door, and strap in for a wild ride.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)