Tag Archives: Guardians of the Galaxy

Countdown to INFINITY… Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2


Related Content from And There Came A Day


ONE A WEEK UNTIL Avengers Infinity War opens in May!

Captain America: The First Avenger | Iron Man | The Incredible Hulk| Iron Man II Thor | The Avengers | Iron Man 3 | Thor: The Dark World | Captain America: The Winter Soldier | Guardians of the Galaxy | Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 | Avengers: Age of Ultron | Ant-Man | Captain America: Civil War | Doctor Strange | Spider-Man: Homecoming | Thor: Ragnarok | Black Panther

Week Eleven: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2

GotG2

 

Upon viewing the movie again for this countdown, I immediately started smiling when the first moment of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 unspooled. The prologue is great and the opening scene is perfect.

Most of the movie is perfect, actually. My complaint (and it feels nitpicking about a movie I enjoy as much as I do this one) is that it is a little over-packed. There is simply TOO MUCH. There are so many characters and subplots. It is as though writer/director James Gunn decided to give us everything we loved in Guardians of the Galaxy but, you know, more!

It works because the characters are so very appealing. Spending almost two and a half hours with them is a ton of fun. The film also gives the audience not one, not two, but a ridiculous five mid-to-end credit sequences. As mentioned earlier, the movie is terrific, if a bit indulgent,.

It also features the best Stan Lee cameo of them all – the one that explains ALL the other Stan Lee cameos. And, for what it is worth, there are homages here to The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Knight Rider, Star Trek V and, believe it or not, Mary Poppins!

And, another quick note,i n the overall sequence of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this is the only Marvel movie that comes right after its original. Vol. 2 takes place about 2 months after Vol. 1. At this time period in the Marvel movies, the Avengers have yet to encounter Ultron and the destruction of Sokovia is months away.

When I reviewed Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 last summer when it was released, I gave it FOUR AND A HALF MIXTAPES out of a possible FIVE. Perhaps my expectations were too high, but the movie is a bit overpacked.


KEY INTRODUCTIONS:

  • Ego (the Living Planet)
  • Mantis
  • Stakar
  • Taser Face
  • Ayesha
  • The Watchers
  • Adam (Warlock)

CONNECTION(S) TO INFINITY WAR:

  • The audience is reminded that Peter Quill can hold an Infinity Stone in his hand and not die. That may well be critical to the plot of Infinity War.
  • There is much talk about the Kree. If rumors are true, Captain Marvel, a Kree, will be in Infinity War. She certainly stars in her own movie soon.
  • Drax and Nebula are still searching for Thanos to have vengeance on him. One can bet that will play into Infinity War.
Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Avengers: Infinity War, Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel Movies, Movies

Countdown to INFINITY… Guardians of the Galaxy


Related Content from And There Came A Day


ONE A WEEK UNTIL Avengers Infinity War opens in May!

Captain America: The First Avenger | Iron Man | The Incredible Hulk| Iron Man II Thor | The Avengers | Iron Man 3 | Thor: The Dark World | Captain America: The Winter Soldier | Guardians of the Galaxy | Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 | Avengers: Age of Ultron | Ant-Man | Captain America: Civil War | Doctor Strange | Spider-Man: Homecoming | Thor: Ragnarok | Black Panther

Week Ten: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY

 

Untitled

Guardians of the Galaxy was a CRAZY risk for Marvel Studios. Not only were the characters that make up the “team” C Listers, they had little to no name recognition, they did not have a place in the cultural lexicon and they had not been set up or name dropped in any other Marvel movie. If this one worked, look out. Marvel would rule the cinematic world.

This just in: Marvel rules the cinematic world.

Oddly, of the 18 movies in this countdown, I think (after – WAY after – last week’s Thor: The Dark World) I was looking forward to re-watching Guardians the least because I have seen it so very many times. That is a measure of how much I love it, of course, but I wondered what surprises it would still hold or if it would keep my interest.

I need not have worried.

This thing holds up, holds interest and holds a audience captive with its humor, action and audacity.

What a terrific movie.

When I reviewed Guardians of the Galaxy when it was released, I gave it FIVE DANCING GROOTS out of a possible FIVE because that is as high as the scale goes, friends.


KEY INTRODUCTIONS:

  • Peter Quill (Star Lord)
  • Gamora
  • Rocket
  • Groot
  • Drax the Destroyer
  • Yondu
  • The Nova Corps
  • The Ravagers
  • The Kree race
  • The Power Stone (this is orb that Thanos seeks in the film)
  • Ronan
  • The Celestial race (the giant head called Knowhere)
  • Nebula

CONNECTION(S) TO INFINITY WAR:

  • The race to find the Infinity Stones is on as Thanos is after the Power Stone in this movie.
  • The Guardians of the Galaxy are set up as a force to be reckoned with in the film.
  • Thanos’ motivations and roles as expanded.
  • The Collector’s importance to the quest for the Infinity Stones is further explained.

Leave a comment

Filed under Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Avengers: Infinity War, Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel Movies, Movie Review, Movies

And There Came A Countdown To INFINITY…

Avengers Infinity War will open on May 4. Let me go out on a limb here: it will be one of the most successful movies of all time. I cannot wait for it.

You are among the millions who have watched the trailer, right? No? Take a moment. Click below. I will wait.

Okay, the question is: how do you get ready for Avengers Infinity War? What should you do and how should you do it?

We here at And There Came A Day are here for you. Last week, I saw a a tweet that suggested that, if you watch one Marvel movie a week beginning in the first week of 2018 and screen a subsequent Marvel film weekly, you will complete your preparations the very week Infinity War opens.

I intend to follow the schedule below (which in NOT the order in which the movies were released, but the order in which they took place) and post my reviews weekly.

We will see how it goes… I suspect it will go very well.

Get ready, world, for the Avengers to assemble again!

January 1 – 7:  Captain America: The First Avenger

January 8 – 14:  Iron Man

January 15 – 21:  The Incredible Hulk

January 22 – 28:  Iron Man 2

January 29 – February 4:  Thor

February 5 – 11:  The Avengers

February 12 – 18:   Iron Man 3

February 19 – 25:  Thor: The Dark World

February 26 – March 4:  Captain America: The Winter Soldier

March 5 – 11:  Guardians of the Galaxy

March 12 – 18:  Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

March 19 – 25:  Avengers: Age of Ultron

March 26 – April 1:  Ant-Man

April 2 – 8:  Captain America: Civil War

April 9 – 15:  Doctor Strange

April 16 – 22:  Spider-Man: Homecoming

April 23 – 29:  Thor: Ragnarok

April 30 – May 6:  Black Panther

Leave a comment

Filed under Ant-Man, Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Avengers: Infinity War, Black Panther, Captain America, Captain America: Civil War, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Doctor Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy, Iron Man, Marvel, Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Comics, Marvel Films, Marvel Movies, Marvel Studios, Movies, Spider-Man, Thor

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – A Movie Review


Related Content from And There Came A Day


GotG2Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is not perfect.

But it is damn close.

Marvel Studios continues its run of fun, thrilling and engaging movies with this sequel to the surprise hit of the late summer of 2014. With Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel took a risk and put B and C List characters with little to no name recognition front-and-center in a film and it worked better than anyone could have anticipated.

Could lightening strike twice with this second volume?

It is a very near miss. The original film has almost no missteps. The sequel has but one.

There is a little too much going on. It is not that the movie is impossible to follow or that there are so many characters, the audience does not care about them. It is not that more means less. It is simply that Vol. 2 feels like too much of a good thing, like it is about to burst its seams.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 feels a bit bloated but, to be clear, it is bloated with more good things so is that really a bad thing? This is a minor quibble, to be sure, but the movie perhaps could have been edited a little tighter.

Thought I do not know what I would recommend cutting out.

The whole engaging gang from the first installment is back and it is terrific to spend another couple hours with Chris Pratt (Peter Quill), Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Dave Bausita (Drax) and the voices of Vin Diesel (Baby Groot) and Bradley Cooper (Rocket), not to mention the always worth watching Michael Rooker (Yondu) and the savagely fun Karen Gillen (Nebula). Much like the creators of last summer’s Star Trek Beyond, writer/director James Gunn makes a decision that serves his movie very, very well: he splits up the team.

Peter, Gamora and Drax go off on their own A story adventure (connecting with new character Mantis played by Pom Clementieff and with Kurt Russell – more below) leaving Rocket and Groot on their own to hook up with Yondu on a B story of their own.

It does not matter that much if you know all the characters by name. By the end of the film, you’ll know them as family. That is the key here: the Guardians function as a family and this movie brings that theme home.

Gamora’s sister Nebula is back. A new character (played with gusto by welcome addition Kurt Russell who seems to be having as much fun as anyone) who may or may not be Peter’s father is introduced. Rocket learns he wants to be a part of something (like a family) and Baby Groot begins to grow up. Could Gamora and Peter even acknowledge what has gone unacknowledged between them?

There is tremendous fun to be had in all of this and a surprising amount of character development for a summer action movie. That might be the greatest trick that Gunn pulls off. Though Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 sometimes plays like a television show in terms of its plot structure, the proceedings supremely bananas but in the most pleasant way imaginable.

Chris Pratt was born to play this role and he steals focus in every scene – well, almost every scene. Kurt Russell gives Star Lord a run for his money. But it is Pratt’s movie and he carries it very, very well. He has said he would play this character for 10 more movies and I say “more power to him.”

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is not afraid to break new ground and, while it cannot possibly hope to match the shock that was the original film, it does at least one thing better than most Marvel movies: it gives the audience a concluding battle to care about and an antagonist who is out for something more than destruction for destruction’s sake. It also manages to give audiences the most aptly named protagonist, perhaps of all time.

The soundtrack of Guardians of the Galaxy was spectacular and an integral part of that film. It was so influential that Vol. 2 is a play on the title of the mixtape Peter received at the end of the first movie. Therefore, the soundtrack of the second installment was hotly anticipated. Rest assured, it does not disappoint. From Fleetwood Mac to Cat Stevens to The Electric Light Orchestra, this one works. Track-for-track, Gunn turns the volume up to 11 on the tunes and on the emotions of the audience.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is terrific fun. It is the perfect summer movie and an almost perfect sequel. That it is bigger than its predecessor is obvious. That is it better is debatable.

But it is very damn good.

Be sure to stay in your seats for the FIVE beginning, mid and post credit sequences!

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 receives FOUR AND A HALF MIXTAPES out of a possible FIVE.

Leave a comment

Filed under Comic Book Movies, Movie Review, Movies

Link’n’Blogs – 5.5.17 – What You Need to Know for GotG Vol. 2


Related Content from And There Came A Day


I loved Lincoln Logs when I was a kid. Though I never entertained the idea that I would be a designer, engineer or architect, something about putting together these wooden and plastic pieces was simply simple fun. Connecting to ideas through the blogosphere seems similar to this pursuit, hence the title of this weekly post. Each Friday, I intend to post something interesting I’ve read out there on the internets. Hopefully others will find these posts as thought provoking as I have.

Are you ready for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2? You should get there if you are not! The film (which many are, of course, calling “the best Marvel movie yet!” opens today. Click the banner below! NO SPOILERS HERE!

Guardians-Galaxy-Vol-2-New-Logo.jpg

Leave a comment

Filed under Link'n'Blog, Movies

Ant-Man A Movie Review

Ant-Man


Related content from And There Came A Day:


For the duration of this review, I am going to try to resist making any kind of size pun. We’ll see how successful I am.

Last summer, Marvel Studios seemed to learn with the late summer blockbuster success of Guardians of the Galaxy which followed the blockbuster success late spring of Captain America: The Winter Soldier is that releasing a smaller movie following a big one might be a very good way to continue to build the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Next summer they will try it again with Captain America: Civil War in May and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 in August. Will they strike the same kind of gold this summer with Ant-Man? Maybe not as much gold as they minted with GotG, but surely enough.

Ant-Man is the second Marvel Studios release this summer following the blockbuster Avengers: Age of Ultron. As such, it has existed in the shadow of that extravaganza and that has been both a blessing and a curse. It’s been a blessing in that expectations for Ant-Man are nothing like the expectations for Avengers: Age of Ultron. It’s been a curse in that people seeing Marvel Studios’ movies have come to expect a grandiose, intricately connected film that references Captain America and the Avengers and Tony Stark and plays into the tapestry of that universe.

Ant-Man doesn’t set up that way. With a sharp focus on two primary characters, Michael Douglas’ Hank Pym and Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang, Ant-Man is more a passing-of-the-torch legacy story than anything else. The trick here is that, before the movie, there was no torch to pass. That Douglas’ Hank Pym was hero-ing around in the Ant-Man suit in the 1970s and 1980s was a revelation. Before this movie began, one might have thought Bruce Banner’s Hulk or Tony Stark’s Iron Man were the “first” superheroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not so fast. As it turns out, SHIELD had been associated with at least two heroes prior to Banner’s experiments and Stark’s suit, prior to Nick Fury becoming the Director. Those two heroes are Ant-Man and… well, no spoilers here.

Michael Douglas is wonderful as Hank Pym, an aging scientist desperate to see his creation – the Pym Particle – not used for evil. Douglas balances the right amount of gravitas with a certain sprinkling of twinkle in his eye to make Pym far more than a secondary character and a simple plot device. Douglas shines in his scenes with Paul Rudd and also has great chemistry with the underused Evangeline Lilly, who plays Hope Van Dyne, his somewhat estranged daughter. Much like Robert Redford who was in last year’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Douglas plays the entire movie straight with no knowing winks to the audience or no air of superiority over the material. This is a credit to Douglas as he spends a lot of time shoveling exposition and talking about things like communicating with ants. He’s a great addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The opening sequence of the film is, in-and-of-itself, proof of that.

Lilly’s Hope Van Dyne isn’t served nearly as well. Though she is very good in the movie, Ant-Man continues a somewhat troubling trend for Marvel Studios’ films, namely that they don’t know what to do with a strong female character. Much has been written about this and I won’t delve too deeply into it here. Suffice it to say that, while Lilly is a welcome addition to the movie, has great rapport with Rudd and is a nice addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, she is all but superfluous to the goings on here. One can easily envision a version of this movie without her character appearing at all from strictly a plot perspective, and that’s a shame, Marvel Studios has to do better with its women.

What Marvel Studios has done with its casting is truly remarkable. They have found almost perfect actors to inhabit their lead roles. Ant-Man is no exception. Paul Rudd makes a fine superhero, at least a fine superhero of the Ant-Man variety. The characterization written here (and Rudd did a polish on the script) is completely in the actor’s wheelhouse. Witty, intelligent and down-on-his-luck, Rudd’s Scott Lang is a modern-day Robin Hood trying to listen to the angels of his better nature to work his way back into his daughter’s life. Rudd makes the scenes with his daughter work. The audience never questions the relationship. He also displays the appropriate amount of “WTF?” as he learns about the Ant-Man suit, about the ability to communicate with insects and about Hank Pym’s plan.

His plan, simply, is a heist and Ant-Man is very much a well executed heist movie. It hits all the heist-movie plot points, including pulling together a rag-tag band of professionals to assist in the final gambit. Of these, Michael Pena’s Luis really stands out and has the most heroic moment of the film – if not of any Marvel film. Watch for it near the end of the movie. Give me more Pena, please. Find a way, Marvel. You’re smart folks.

Ant-Man is at its best when it plays as an action-comedy. Rudd is, primarily, a comedic actor and seeing Douglas run through some of the same paces reminded me of his Romancing the Stone and War of the Roses days. There are laugh-out-loud moments to be found here and the action, especially the sometimes jaw-dropping “micro-world” action, is very much up-to-snuff.

As I wind down the review, I note that I’ve not mentioned Ant-Man’s antagonist in the movie one time. The reliable Corey Stoll plays Darren Cross, a former protegee of Hank Pym’s, who is ready to unleash terror on the world… yeah, yeah, yeah. We get it. White guy, corporate power broker wants to make some money in despicable ways. We’ve seen this before and, while the two-dimensional Cross, who eventually puts on a “Yellow-Jacket” suit with very similar powers to the Ant-Man suit, is fine as a villain, he is absolutely no more than that. Hey, Marvel, while you’re fixing your problem with women in your movies, take a look at your villains, too. Giving Stoll some interesting character ticks doesn’t make him a fully developed character.

Peyton Reed directs the film and he had the unenviable task of replacing genre fan guru Edgar Wright, who had developed the movie over a number of years. Wright has a unique voice. Marvel Studios is obviously looking for a more “house” voice and Wright apparently chafed against those constraints. Reed stepped in with little prep time and with a lot of Wright’s material at his disposal. He manages to be true to Wright – there is some really crazy stuff happening here and some moments and lines that are so bizarre they must be left over from Wright’s development – while slotting Ant-Man nicely into the pantheon of Marvel Studios’ films. That’s something of an impressive high-wire act.

Though there is A LOT at stake in the movie (Hank Pym reminds Lang and the audience of that any number of times), director Reed keeps the audience centered on what’s really going on: Scott Lang taking a shot at redemption and trying to become a better parent. That these very themes also spill over to Hank Pym’s character arc is very nice symmetry, indeed.

ANT-MAN receives FOUR AND A HALF SUGAR CUBES out of a possible five.

6 Comments

Filed under Marvel Comics, Marvel Films, Marvel Studios, Movie Review, Movies

Jurassic World – A Movie Review

Jurassic World Poster


Related Content from And There Came A Day:

Did the world need another iteration of Jurassic Park? Did audiences need to see more terrified people running away from more ridiculous dinosaurs? Did movie-goers want to watch another set of children running from rampaging beasts? Did we need an additional wise-cracking Chris Pratt action hero?

As it has turned out, we did.

How do we know? Jurassic World is now the third highest grossing movie of all time. It lags behind only Titanic and Avatar as a money-maker and, while it’s not likely to catch either of those James Cameron juggernauts, the fact that the fourth movie in a dormant franchise can reach these heights is very impressive indeed. No other sequel has come close to making this kind of money. But is the movie any good?

It is some good. It might even be mostly good. It is not great.

Jurassic World shares the DNA (forgive the pun) of the first film in the franchise, Steven Spielberg’s rightly beloved Jurassic Park. This movie, in fact, serves as a more direct sequel to that one than even Spielberg’s The Lost World: Jurassic Park did. The massive failures of planning for the first amusement park worked out, the dinosaurs better tamed and controlled, and the infrastructure of the facilities refined to almost perfection, Jurassic World is an interactive wonderland with a high-tech rides, dino-petting zoos and luxury hotels on site.  No longer run by Wayne Knight and Samuel L. Jackson from a dark computer bunker, Jurassic World is maintained from a NORAD-like control center peopled by dozens of high-tech nerds under the direction of Bryce Dallas Howard’s Claire Dearing, a Jurassic World power-player who can barely be bothered to look away from her cell phone when her two nephews arrive for a weekend visit. It should also be pointed out that all of these computer geeks are terrible at their jobs. Jurassic World exists because its vision of humanity is that people are dumber than the dinos and even armed with technology and weaponry, they will be lucky to survive their interactions with creatures from the Jurassic Era.

Sound familiar?

It should. Jurassic World doesn’t actually try to cover much new ground. It is almost beat-for-beat a copy of Jurassic Park and knowingly so. It’s homages to the original film are nice to see, but remind the audience that Spielberg and Michael Crichton did this a whole lot better with a whole lot less money 25 years ago.

What’s the same? We have a profit hungry CEO. We have kids in danger. We have dinosaurs on the loose. We have company employees with secret agendas. We have Velociraptors. We have our returning hero (Sam Neill? No – the Tyrannosaurus Rex).

What’s different? No much, just take all the original components and set the dials to “11.”

  • Why have one employee working to subvert the amusement park when you can have 2? Vincent D’Onofrio (so very good in Netflix’s Daredevil) comes off as a one-note, mustache-twirling villain and BD Wong takes a wholly odd turn to the dark side not at all suggested by his original appearance in the series 25 years back.
  • Why have Velociraptors that are one the loose and wild when you can put them in captivity and train them to be heroes? Hello, Terminator II.
  • Why have “real” dinosaurs when you can have genetically spliced together super-dinosaurs like Indominus Rex?
  • Why have an island where fewer than a dozen people can be terrorized by rampaging dinos when you can have an island of tens of thousands at the mercy of said rampage?
  • Why have anyone in authority with the slightest sense or ability to learn from past mistakes?

Okay, so sequels are designed to give the audience the same beats of the original film but with, you know, more. I get it and Jurassic World does, too.

This doesn’t mean it doesn’t try to also give us something new. The closest the original films came to Chris Pratt’s Owen Grady was Jeff Goldblum’s Ian Malcolm in terms of the wise-cracking hero and, though Pratt is pretty much held in check throughout the film and not as engaging as he was in last summer’s Guardians of the Galaxy, he’s very watchable here. Affable and comedic, Pratt is making a career out of these types of characters and there’s nothing wrong with that. While the script doesn’t give him much to work with, Pratt makes the most of the role. My guess is the recently announced sequel will take of Owen’s training wheels and we’ll get the full Pratt.

Bryce Dallas Howard has a much less rewarding role as Claire, the Julie McCoy of Jurassic World. As things fall apart around her, Claire is taught the true meaning of Christmas as she realizes she’s placed her nephews in mortal danger, placed the guests in Jurassic World at similar risk, placed herself at the hands of the corporate monster. It’s too bad so many people had to die for her to learn the lesson John Hammond learned two decades earlier. Howard is good, but it’s hard to overcome the ridiculous sight of her running around Jurassic World in high heels. As a role model for women and as a woman action hero, Claire Dearing is given a few moments, but she leaves something to be desired.

The audience is expected to understand that Pratt’s Grady and Howard’s Dearing have some sort of history because of a throwaway line about a date that went awry but that shared past means absolutely nothing in the larger context of the film and is pretty lazy screenwriting. When the fit hits the shan, it matters very little whether these two characters are meeting for the first time or are star-crossed lovers, what matters is that they can run from dinosaurs, scream really loud and look cool doing so. Pratt and Howard acquit themselves well on these counts.

The movie is meant to be a thrill ride and director Colin Trevorrow delivers. The computer graphics are top-notch, the tension is engaging and the dinosaurs (especially the ones that Spielberg and company didn’t have the tech to deliver in the earlier films) are very cool. The questionable decision to revisit the original movie at various points throughout Jurassic World – both in terms of plot, locations and set pieces – actually takes away from this film. It makes the audience familiar with the first movie wish they were actually watching it.

There is a dubious flirtation with themes here – don’t mess with Mother Nature, don’t trust the para-military, don’t prostitute yourself to the almighty dollar, etc. – but they are so obvious and so broadly written that they seem like they came from a piece of creative writing from a high school freshman. That’s okay because that’s not why we’re coming to Jurassic World.

We’re coming to be entertained. We’re coming to be amazed. We’re coming to see dinosaurs eat some people.

Well, as Maximus once said at a similar gathering: “are you not entertained?”

I am, thank you. Just enough.

JURASSIC WORLD receives THREE AND A HALF MOTORCYCLE RIDING CHRIS PRATTS out of a possible FIVE.

3 Comments

Filed under Jurassic World, Movie Review, Movies