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Peter T Chattaway

Guardians of the Galaxy 2

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Links to our threads on Iron Man (2008), The Incredible Hulk (2008), Iron Man 2 (2010), Thor (2011), Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), The Avengers (2012), Iron Man 3 (2013), Thor: The Dark World (2013), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Ant-Man (2015), Captain America: Civil War (2016), Doctor Strange (2016), Thor: Ragnarok (2017), Black Panther (2017), Avengers: Infinity War Part I (2018), Captain Marvel (2018), Inhumans (2018) and Avengers: Infinity War Part II (2019).

 

Coming July 28, 2017.

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

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Now coming May 5, 2017. The film's previous release date of July 28, 2017 is now going to Thor 3.

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James Gunn defends superhero movies:

 

I've made B-movies, independent films, children's movies, horror films, and gigantic spectacles. I find there are plenty of people everywhere making movies for a buck or to feed their own vanity. And then there are people who do what they do because they love story-telling, they love cinema, and they want to add back to the world some of the same magic they've taken from the works of others. In all honesty, I do no find a strikingly different percentage of those with integrity and those without working within any of these fields of film.
 
If you think people who make superhero movies are dumb, come out and say we're dumb. But if you, as an independent filmmaker or a "serious" filmmaker, think you put more love into your characters than the Russo Brothers do Captain America, or Joss Whedon does the Hulk, or I do a talking raccoon, you are simply mistaken.

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So, James Gunn's tweet says the new film will be called Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (I guess to tie in with "Awesome Mix  Vol. 2").  Not sure if this is totally real, but if it is, you saw it here first... or maybe you didn't...

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10 hours ago, Peter T Chattaway said:

I am very OK with this casting decision.

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Posted (edited)

I really disliked this. 

Well "dislike" is probably not the right word. It is a well executed version of what it is, but that "what it is" is something which I mind increasingly numbing rather than engaging. 

I suppose, in order, my complaints are:
--nothing is ever really at stake, even though everything is always at stake.  The escalation of consequences with the lack of any real consequences makes me hyper aware that MCU films are in a fictional universe and whatever damage is done or good things that happen is not happening to anyone or anything "real." Yeah, almost all fiction is imaginary, but much of it is posited in worlds/universe enough like my own that I can relate by analogy. This is just video game stuff.

--Philosophically (religiously) this universe sure seems nihilistic to me. I suppose there is a bravura in the face of man's inconsequential meaninglessness, but one can get that in 10 minutes without the $20 price tag by reading Hemingway's "A Clean Well Lighted Place."
 

--The mix of humor and attempts at grave, graver, gravest seriousness just grates on me after awhile. It's like the thing one can most aspire to being in the universe is an emotionally stunted juvenile adolescent. There's a relationship to humor here that goes all the way back to Ghostbusters for me -- when someone I knew said he "wished" something like what happened in the movie would happen in real life? Why? Because the essence of cool is the wisecrack and the end of the universe allows opportunities for great quips.

-- The over-reliance on music. Don't get me wrong. I love the music. But isn't film supposed to be a visual medium at least in addition to a soundtrack delivery system? All the real emotion here comes from the music and at some point you realize you'd be better off dusting off that ELO or Cat Stevens album. 

I make no claims for this being bad. It will probably make a quintazillion gazillion dollars. And judging by Rotten Tomatoes, it's fans are being well serviced. But didn't Michael Todd once say of one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies that it hurt his soul? I get that. I walked out of the movie depressed, not by anything that happened in the movie but by the increasingly desperate feeling that I'm on an endless treadmill of 2 1/2 hour ads for more MCU movies, all bigger, none better, all the same. I have counted out my life in coffee spoons.

Edited by kenmorefield

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Thanks, Ken. I'm increasingly indifferent to these films. I'm debating whether I even bother going to see it in the theatre. Probably won't.

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I really disliked it as well. (The Pirates of the Caribbean analogy is spot on.) I felt like a cranky old man watching this. It's too loud! There's too much happening on screen! What planet are they on? Are they even on a planet? Does it even freaking matter? Wait, was that actually David Hasselhoff? Never have I been so glad to emerge from a dark theater and re-enter the real world.

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My review. It's about as negative of a "positive" review as I've ever written. I suppose I had fun, when the film wasn't being nihilistic or unnecessarily violent. Lots of laughter in my theater, but that proved to be one of the problems for me--it's okay to laugh at "trash panda" or Drax's social improprieties, but it's not really okay to laugh at the violent slaughter of living beings or at brain cancer (folks in my theater chuckled at a moment when Quill talks about his mother's brain tumor).

SDG's very thorough review goes into more details about the underlying misogyny in the film.

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I must have a higher threshold for nihilism or something, because I enjoyed the heck out of this movie and didn't find it troublingly nihilistic at all. 

I did find the climax underwhelming. This movie has a lot of stuff in common with Ang Lee's Hulk movie. But where the older flick went for something visually striking and a little abstract in terms of resolving its thematic issues, this movie resorts to...people punching each other. So yeah. That was disappointing, considering the much more obviously interesting alternative. 

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Posted (edited)

2 hours ago, NBooth said:

That was disappointing, considering the much more obviously interesting alternative. 

You mentioned this on Facebook too, and at the risk of my having an "oh, DUH!" moment, what was the obvious alternative you saw for the film's resolution?

It crossed my mind today how these two Guardians films parallel Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back as an adventure film featuring an unlikely team coming together to save the universe from a planet-destroying evil empire (the former) and a character-driven film splitting up that original team in order to address intimacy and daddy issues, ultimately ending in a father-son standoff (the latter). Whether these parallels are intentional or not remains unclear to me, but I don't think I'm stretching to make the connections.

Edited by Joel Mayward

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19 minutes ago, Joel Mayward said:

You mentioned this on Facebook too, and at the risk of my having an "oh, DUH!" moment, what was the obvious alternative you saw for the film's resolution?

It seemed clear to me that the movie would have been better served with 

Quill harnessing his nascent control over the planet-core-light-thing and using it against Ego. Which 

kind of happens in the movie, but--Pac-Man aside--in the current film it boils down to punching Ego really hard. But what if, instead, the movie had focused on Quill wresting the creative power (which ties into the Freudian stuff SDG mentions) away from Ego and the two of them remaking the planet competitively? Or, better, the thing could have gone psychedelic and internal, conveyed in--I dunno, abstract images, washes of color, what have you. 

What I really mean here--and I can't formulate it precisely--is that the struggle with the father/Father is internal and some mode of conveying that, outside of just hitting the guy, seems to me to be the obvious direction to take in a movie that's interested in these sorts of Oedipal themes.

Again, Hulk tackles similar issues and what we get there--though it's definitely a brawl--seems more elemental and heartfelt than the climax of this movie.

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(A dumber, though possibly more accurate, way to say it is that this movie needs a wizard battle, not a burly brawl, at its climax)

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Posted (edited)

Not to stack comments, but it just occurred to me that there's another work this movie has some thematic relationship with, perhaps even more directly--so directly that I'll spoiler it (and it's a double-edged spoiler):

 

American Gods. Which also stumbles badly in its last act, though not in quite the way GotGv2 does. Plot: man who's half-god is recruited by his father to help said father execute a plot that winds up being a kind of power-grab. American Gods does it better, mostly because Gaiman lets the real conflict occur inside the protagonist's mind, or wherever it's occurring when he's on the tree. Again, the cleverest thing GotGv2 can think of is a Pac-Man joke.

Edited by NBooth

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Aha! Yes, to all of the above, Dr. Booth. Those alternative conflicts from different stories are much more interesting. Yet to be honest, such abstract and self-aware constructs wouldn't really fit into Vol. 2 very well, as it's a very external, concrete, middle-school-boy sort of movie. Quill just doesn't seem smart enough to me to come up with such a plan--brawling as Pac-Man is about as creative as he gets. But your suggestions and parallels are MUCH more interesting to me.

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Posted (edited)

On 5/7/2017 at 10:00 AM, Joel Mayward said:

 Yet to be honest, such abstract and self-aware constructs wouldn't really fit into Vol. 2 very well, as it's a very external, concrete, middle-school-boy sort of movie. Quill just doesn't seem smart enough to me to come up with such a plan--brawling as Pac-Man is about as creative as he gets. 

Because I have a brother who has children, I wound up seeing this again over the weekend. And I kept your comments here in mind. I think you're right, though I don't think it's a good thing you're right--by which I mean, something more creative could have been an element of character-growth, which this movie carefully avoids--at least, as far as Quill is concerned.

Other points:

1. This movie has the best villain I've seen in a Marvel film--he's connected to the emotional journey of the protagonists, he's genuinely fascinating in his own right (and even a little emotionally complex!). Indiewire has a piece on this that I discovered after coming to this conclusion, and it makes the case far more expansively than I was inclined to.

2. Related--I've seen criticisms of the songtrack, saying that what we have here is a stale repetition of [part of] what made the first movie so unexpected: the use of old radio hits. And that's arguable, but there's one song I wouldn't count in that criticism: "Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)". Part of this is quasi-autobiographical, but growing up pretty much all we listened to was the Golden Oldies channel (my mother, like Quill's, knew the words to every song on the station), and "Brandy" was impressed on my mind early on. But always as a radio hit, you know--no real reflection on it, outside of the occasional titter about how over-the-top it can seem. But what this movie does is expose the essential darkness of that radio hit, in a way I can remember few other movie needle-drops doing. By tying it to these characters and this story, the movie suggests something about how essentially scummy much of our pop culture really is. (I also think that the song is actually better in the context of the movie than it is otherwise, but that's another story). The movie doesn't really do anything with that, but it's fascinating to me.

3. The end-battle is more unending and disappointing than on first viewing.

Edited by NBooth

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