Advertisements

Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) — The Most Fun You Can Possibly Have Watching A Movie, All Thanks To Marvel’s Unlikely Cosmic Heroes

The popular cosmic team from Marvel Studios is back, but can they replicate the surprise success from 2014? Luke Miksa finds out.

Guardians-of-the-Galaxy-vol

In 2014, we were introduced to Guardians of the Galaxy; a ragtag combination of obscure characters seemingly plucked from the most obscure Marvel comics title. That was then. Now, the Guardians of the Galaxy are a big deal. With characters like Rocket and Groot leading the way, beyond all expectations the Guardians became cultural icons and some of the most recognisable and popular characters in the Marvel Universe.

With the surprise factor no longer an option, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 now has the burden of high expectations. But is this a sequel that squanders the possibilities presented in the first instalment? Thankfully the answer is no: Guardians 2 is just as hilarious, just as exciting, and just as heartfelt the second time around.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2

The gang is back!

After the adventures of the first film, Peter Quill aka Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper), and the newly pint-sized Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) are now known throughout the cosmos as the Guardians of the Galaxy. In exchange for their services, the dysfunctional team acquires Nebula (Karen Gillan), sister and rival of Gamora. With Nebula secured on board their spacecraft, the team now has to not only deal with the pursuing Yondu Udonta (Michael Rooker) and his team of exiled Ravagers, but the sudden appearance of Quill’s estranged father Ego (Kurt Russell) threatens the dynamic of our new favourite team.

(more…)

Advertisements

The Best Films of 2014

Luke Miksa's: The Negative Space Bar

It’s time to list my favourite films from 2014, a year that was… actually not quite as disappointing as previous years. 2014 was a year where a larger than usual percentage of blockbusters were above average, and some were even great! Of course, it wasn’t all terrific, but I definitely enjoyed more movies than I hated this year, and that makes me one happy film-going guy!

Obvious caveat: I’m a human, and being a human means that I can’t see every movie, so this list features only movies I saw last year. If I saw Whiplash, maybe Whiplash would be on this list. Same goes for Boyhood and Under the Skin. I did see Birdman (it was great), but Birdman didn’t come out in Australia until 2015, so it saw the bin on a technicality.

You got really close: Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The LEGO Movie, Jodorowsky’s Dune, The Skeleton Twins, 22 Jump Street, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Blue Ruin.

Let’s start at 10 with a controversial choice:

They-Came-Together-banner-m

10. They Came Together

The funniest comedy of the year. Director David Wain‘s style is not for everybody, but this was undoubtedly the one movie that made me laugh more than any other. The joke-per-minute ratio is outstanding, but They Came Together makes the cut for being a hilariously clever spoof of the romantic comedy genre. While I was certainly a fan of how much fun 22 Jump Street had with subverting cinematic tropes (Plainview Red Herrings is my favourite gag of the year), and 22 Jump Street was close to taking this spot, but I give the nod to They Came Together simply for the audacity to be as silly as it is.

John-Wick-banner-mini

9. John Wick

May I follow up a controversial choice with another? On paper, John Wick does not deserve to be on any ‘Best Of’ lists. The logline basically reads, ‘Top hitman Keanu Reeves comes out of retirement to avenge the death of his beloved dog.’ That is a silly premise, but the film is so visually kinetic and self-aware that it was a pure, genuine joy to watch. Against the grain of similar films of previous years, the action is grounded in reality, featuring a lot of close-quarters combat (so many head-shots!), mixed martial arts, and inventive gunplay. First time director Chad Stahelski — a former stunt-man by trade — successfully transforms Keanu Reeves a legitimate badass for the first time in his career, and man, it’s a thing of beauty.

(more…)

Review: Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) — Marvel’s Weirdest Team in Marvel’s Strongest Movie

Guardians-of-the-Galaxy-banner

Space Avengers.

Space Avengers.

Guardians of the Galaxy is the tenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it is directed by James Gunn (Slither, Super) and co-written by Gunn and Nicole Perlman. In a departure from the highly interconnected, Earth-bound Marvel Universe, Guardians of the Galaxy takes place in a galaxy far, far away (hmmm). Peter Quill (Chris Pratt, a massive departure from Parks and Recreation) aka Star-Lord, was abducted as a child by a group of inter-galactic marauders and has since grown up as a thief and rogue. When Quill discovers an ancient orb on a desolate planet, he finds himself in the crosshairs of Kree warrior Ronan (Lee Pace), who is also after the artefact. In his journey Quill encounters Gamora (Zoe Saldana), an assassin who looks to redeem her nefarious past; Drax (former WWE Champion Dave Bautista), looking to avenge the death of his family at the hands of Thanos (that big guy at the end of The Avengers!); Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), a genetically engineered raccoon with a penchant for weaponry; and Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), a hulking, anthropomorphic tree and companion of Rocket. Quill must tag with this renegade group of extraterrestrial fugitives to outrun Ronan and his subordinates who are in pursuit of the orb, which holds one of the powerful Infinity Stones and the capability to destroy the galaxy.

The strong point of this film is the outlandish cast of characters. Each character has different backgrounds and different motivations, and the greatest moments come when they are interacting with each other — both clashing and bonding. The humour is never cheap either; there is never a moment where you are laughing at Rocket just because he’s a raccoon. On the contrary, Rocket is initially established as a no-nonsense, sarcastic badass, and the humour comes from the fact that he actually doesn’t realise he’s a raccoon. That’s great scripting, because the character of Rocket is established without a mention of raccoon, that point comes up naturally in the dialogue. Another great character trait belongs to Drax, as his people do not understanding metaphors, this creates some great comic banter between himself and the sassy Quill. GOTG has a level of entertaining character interactions and dialogue on par with The Avengers.

(more…)

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: