Directed by: James Gunn
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker
I think Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 bares many similarities to Avengers: Age of Ultron. Both films had a lot to live up to, both tried valiantly to outdo their predecessor in every aspect, both are very entertaining movies. Both don’t quite live up to the impossible expectations.
How does one outdo Guardians 1? Apparently the answer is take the aspect most praised and play them up tenfold. As a result, the soundtrack is back and more prominent than ever. The humorous tone was praised, so the sequel was given many more jokes. To be perfectly clear, each of these aspects taken individually make for a really good time. The issue is balance. The first film worked so well because it managed to balance its own quirky style with the typical marvel movie formula. Guardians 2 feels overloaded, unbalanced.
Not helping in the slightest is the story, which I feel is Guardians 2’s biggest shortcoming. Instead of one story, the film opts to tell about three or four, and none of them are really all that original. Honestly, they’re all pretty predictable. The first film wasn’t really anything all that special when it came to story, but what I can give it is that it was one thing, it was pretty tight.
All this said, I really enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. I’m still working on my ability to communicate my feelings towards movies, especially while criticising them. To be as clear as I can: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 isn’t even a bad movie that I enjoyed bits of à la Batman V Superman or Suicide Squad. It’s a good movie, that entertained me thoroughly, but I couldn’t help but feel a tad let down. My expectations were a bit too high, and I criticise because I care.
The film did better its predecessor in a few respects, however. Depictions of much of the peripheral cast was much better. I really enjoyed spending more time with Drax, Yandu, and Rocket. Also, in its attempts to out-scope the previous film, it actually succeeded in setting up some awesome scenarios. Overall, the cinematography was also better, some really beautiful shots. The movie was really colourful and was overall really enjoyable to look at.
If you were planning on see Guardians 2, I say go right ahead, you’ll enjoy yourself.
Directed by: James Mangold
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen
Logan was fucking fantastic. Emphasis on the word fuck, the film certainly loves to use it.
And there really is a certain catharsis to finally see the character actually acting the way you imagine he would, no longer bound to a single ‘fuck’ per film, to conform to the American Rating system’s version of ‘M for mature audiences’ (PG-13). I’ve been hoping to see a no-holds-barred Wolverine movie for years, and now in a post-Deadpool world, Fox finally has the guts to pull it off. If you’ve ever wished to see Wolverine drunkenly slash someone’s head in half, this movie was made for you.
Beyond the rating, the film does a good job of sticking to the grim, personal tone and themes presented to us in the trailer. Barring a few clichés, this is a very different comic book movie, and in contrast to last year’s very derivative X-Men Apocalypse, I found that very refreshing. Even Deadpool thrived on the very tropes that it incessantly mocked, so I applaud the producers for allowing this movie to happen.
The story is good, the new characters are memorable, and the cinematography did it’s job more than adequately. The best aspects of Logan, however, were Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart and the action scenes. These actors own their characters, and have done for the last 17 years. I have little more to say than they totally nailed it. The action really steals the show though, it’s what fans of the character have been waiting years for. It’s unapologetically brutal, well shot and doesn’t feel choreographed, it feels raw. It’s awesome.
I’m slightly hesitant to call this the best X-Men film. It’s so distinct from the rest of the franchise in its themes and characters. It is, however, probably the best film in the franchise.
It’s a little long, at 2 hours 21 minutes, but I don’t really see that as too bad of a criticism as I loved every second. I know I tend to go nuts over comic book/ superhero flicks, so if you feel like taking this all with a grain of salt, feel free, but this is definitely one of the better ones out there. Go see it.
Directed by: Gareth Edwards
Starring: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Review:
Recently I’ve been getting more and more behind the idea of spin-offs; they allow for more creative freedom than main-series franchise films while simultaneously giving us a new perspective on a world which we’ve grown to know and love, the most notable recent example being Fantastic Beasts.
Rogue One, I feel, struggles in that it tries to have its cake and eat it too. It clearly wants to be its own story with its own interesting and original characters, but it’s weighed down by tonnes of fan service, references to the other films and too many of the admittedly likeable characters. Before anyone jumps to conclusions; this is not a negative review, I quite enjoyed it and think it’s worth seeing, but it is lacking in a number areas.
The story had a very simple goal to accomplish: tell the story of how the Death Star plans were retrieved prior to episode IV. It got too convoluted. For example, the first five or so scenes all took place on different planets with different characters and I got so lost so fast. That said, like I mentioned earlier, I really liked all of the new characters, my favourite being K2-SO, (he’s so snarky I love it), with a really good design, good animation and excellent writing. The cast all did a great job and I’m sure that among these characters will be some people’s favourite Star Wars characters overall.
Speaking of animation, they computer generate a couple of characters to make them look the age they would have back in ’79 and they just don’t quite pull it off. I can’t put my finger on what exactly makes it unconvincing, but it’s there, and it’s distracting. Also, Vader looks wrong too. Hard to put my finger on it, but it just looks like some dude wearing a Vader costume, as opposed to the badass villain we all love making his triumphant return to screen. The visual style overall is phenomenal however, closely following the composition and attention to detail in the world’s exemplified in The Force Awakens.
Ultimately, this looks and feels like a Star Wars spin-off, but it simply doesn’t have the expert construction and care that the likes of The Force Awakens had for me to call it great. It’s fine, with moments of true greatness sprinkled about, and with very memorable and likeable characters and a couple of really grand and epic scenes. It was clearly made to be seen on the big screen, so if you’re going to see it, do it right.
It’s not the best Star movie of the year (Arrival)
It’s not the best Wars movie of the year (Hacksaw Ridge)
It’s not even the best Star Wars movie shown this year (TFA)
But it was certainly entertaining and if you like Star Wars I’m sure you’ll love it.
Directed by: Denis Villeneuve
Starring: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker
Arrival stars Amy Adams as a linguist who must come in contact with extraterrestrial visitors to earth and interpret the reason for their ‘arrival.’ I’m super late to the game on this one, it came out while I was in exams and I just never ended up getting around to it ’till now, but I can’t say I regret it. Arrival was great.
The biggest criticism I had heard of the film going in is that it’s slow, which irks me slightly, yet I completely understand. Almost every shot seems to linger, a technique I’ve criticised before in films such as Hunger Games: Mockingjay. The difference is that there is a rhythm to the cinematography of Arrival; each shot seems exactly as long as it should be, and the camera was quite dynamic so every second gave something to the audience that the previous didn’t. Additionally, the camerawork was quite beautifully done, so it didn’t bother me at all. I do understand, however, that most mainstream movies don’t do this anymore, favouring very quick editing, so a typical moviegoing audience may not be used to it. I think, however, if you know that going in, you’ll be able to appreciate just how well done it was.
The premise was really excellent, definitely something I haven’t quite seen before and the plot was more than satisfying. The thing I actually wish to praise the film the most for is unfortunately a spoiler, so I won’t be explicitly stating it here, but I will say that the story went in a particular direction that I wasn’t expecting, and that I thought was really clever. It was really fantastic and creative storytelling. I also really liked the subtleness of how the film conveyed the world falling apart due to this event.
I’m running late to go see Rogue One, so I’m going to cut this slightly short, but I really liked Arrival, I don’t have any major criticisms, and if you’re a Sci-Fi fan or a fan of good cinema, you’re bound to enjoy it!
Directed by: Roland Emmerich
Starring: Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman
Independence Day: Resurgence is what dreams are made of. It’s great and terrible for all the same reasons as the original independence day, to varying degrees. It lacks the charm Will Smith brought to the table, which is sorely missed, but I couldn’t help but enjoy the ridiculous scope that the sequel provided.
“It’s landing over the atlantic ocean”
“All of it”
This one is only to be watched as a comedy. It’s the kind of movie that a drinking game should be made for. The sheer number of cliches is staggering and wonderful.
If you struggle to laugh at bad movies, I’d give this one a miss. I, however, can’t wait for Independence Day 3.
Directed by: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson
To be 100% honest, I’ll have to see it again in order to be able to properly judge it. I loved it so much that I don’t quite believe it. This movie is actually fanboying me so hard. Regardless, I will give my opinions. No spoilers.
The movie starts out as a Cap movie, calling back strongly the tone that was present in The Winter Soldier, but quickly evolves into something much bigger. This is essentially Avengers 2.5, with Cap and Iron Man as the main players of the story. The story is very flowing, and you never find yourself questioning what’s going on, one of many things aspects that Batman V Superman failed to achieve, where this one triumphed. What’s more, despite the enormous cast, every character’s motivations are developed, relatable, and rooted in what comes before in the franchise (with the exception of the new players, but more on them later). As a result, it is very easy to care about the fact that all our favourite heroes are fighting. The heart of the movie is definitely down to the two main players though, whose conflicting ideologies and characterisation will have you legitimately struggling to decide who to root for.
The action is perfect, and none of it feels gratuitous. Right on the cusp of an action scene going too long, it will wrap up. Also, unlike previous films, the destruction here doesn’t feel like it’s without consequence. The film’s subject matter allows for casualties, both civilian and superhero, to be at risk and be important, which adds a lot of weight.
One of the biggest criticisms for Age of Ultron I (and many others) had, was the insistence of ‘setting up the universe’. Pointless scenes which serve no other purpose. In Civil War, those scenes are substituted for characters: Spider-Man and Black Panther. Both of them are excellent, which brings me so much joy to say. This is the definitive version of Spider-Man, he’s just perfect. He is undeniably a teenager, and this is a huge part of his character, which I feel we’ve never quite seen before in film. He’s also not just a quick cameo, he’s minor but prominent. Black Panther is a lot more prominent to the story and I while I feel his character was probably the weakest overall, we see enough good stuff from him that I’m excited to see him again in his upcoming solo film.
The movie is also super funny, it had me laughing out loud in all varieties of scenes, especially where Paul Rudd as Ant-Man was involved. There aren’t as many quips/one liners as there usually are in the Avengers films, which is welcome, and the humour is a bit more diverse in nature.
At this stage, the only criticism I can think of is that it’s paced a little strangely and dragged a bit in the middle, but even that can be attributed to the fact that I was watching it at a midnight screening. So I’m going to see it again soon, and I feel you should go see it too. I really loved it.