Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2


Viewed – 02 May 2017  Cinema

The first movie was my favourite of 2014, so the prospect of a sequel was very exciting.  This time around we find the unorthodox gang of heroes causing strife with a race of beings after Rocket the Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) gets a little light-fingered with some batteries.  However following a space battle that could cause the guardian’s lives to end abruptly, a mysterious stranger saves the day.  Turns out Star Lord (Chris Pratt) has a Dad who just so happens to be a pretty powerful guy himself, played with charismatic flair by the ever dependable Kurt Russell.

guardians-of-the-galaxy-2

This fills in a few gaps left over from the last movie, especially the question surrounding Chris Pratt’s father and it was great being back in the company of these very likable characters again.  The dialogue is especially sharp throughout, something that was a highlight of the last movie and the jokes & references come thick and fast to make this a ton of fun.  Pratt’s character constantly makes quips about eighties pop-culture such as TV shows like Cheers and characters such as Skelator and Pac-Man, and makes him a very relatable and refreshing presence in this sort of movie.  I was also glad to see that, despite the trailers, Baby Groot isn’t over-used but damn is he cute and very funny every second he’s on screen.

Kurt RussellThe soundtrack, another highlight last time around isn’t quite as memorable (apart from a great use of Mister Blue Sky by ELO) and a left-over side plot involving sisters Nebula (Karen Gillen) and Morgana (Zoe Saldana) felt unnecessary.  I also did not get much out of the gold-painted race that turn up at the beginning and chase after our heroes.  That being said Michael Rooker’s Yondu was again a joy and I’ve always liked the actor and we get some great moments with him here.  The same can be said for scene-stealing Dave Bautista as Drax.  Action generally is top-notch but the plot didn’t grab me as much or feel as layered this time, with the whole Kurt Russell’s planet sequence stopping the movie dead at one stage.

As it stands though this was a solid sequel and I can’t wait to see what comes next.  The Guardians of the Galaxy will return!

Verdict:  4 /5

Captain America: The First Avenger


Viewed – 05 October 2012  Blu-ray

There was a time when I really didn’t think the newly formed Marvel Studios would pull it off.  A grand concept, 4 origin stories, leading to a big ensemble smack down with this year’s highly entertaining Avengers Assemble.  Yet I have to give it where it’s due, until now in  my opinion these have all been polished and well made movies … with this being no exception.

Set during World War II, a wimpy but gutsy guy (Chris Evans) dreams of joining the army and following in the footsteps of his soldier friend.  Yet being small and skinny, he continually fails every medical, and soon begins to believe he’ll never get to fight for his country.  That is until a scientist (Stanley Tucci) see’s potential and signs him up, leading to him becoming the first human test subject for an experimental formula that apparently creates super soldiers.  At the same time a power-hungry Nazi meglomaniac dreams of conquering the world, and as you can imagine – it’s going to take that exact super solider to save the day.  Step forward Captain America!

This wasn’t the Captain America I remember.  Wasn’t he something to do with American Football?  But this follows the early comics of the character more closely and makes for a fun, often amusing and very slick action thriller.  Chris Evans like in The Avengers, made for a more complex, conflicted ‘hero’ than some of his contemporaries, and in this zero to hero story carries the film well (with quite incredible skinny guy effect).  Hugo Weaving is on hand as villain The Red Skull, and always makes for a great boo-hiss baddie (see: The Matrix Trilogy), and along with decent support from Tommy Lee Jones and the aforementioned Mr Tucci this is a movie that’s very difficult not to enjoy.  Special effects, action sequences and story are all delivered with style and energy.  For an origin story it makes for absorbing if lightweight material, with more of a glossy, propaganda themed image of the war than how it really was (think 1940’s comics), and some of the earlier Captain America poster-boy stuff seemed to mock the character, sitting uneasily alongside all the cool action and drama.

Still this was easy viewing and made for my preferred origin tale of the saga.

Verdict:  4 /5