Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

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It’s been three years since Guardians of the Galaxy was released and became a huge hit for Marvel, and finally the Guardians have returned to the big screen in Vol. 2. This time, the Guardians travel throughout the cosmos as they help Peter Quill learn more about his true parentage. Thankfully, James Gunn knows how to make a standout superhero film for the second time. Vol. 2 doesn’t lose the charm, heart, and humor that made the first one so great. Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, and Vin Diesel are all still so brilliant and hilarious as the dysfunctional family who must save the galaxy for the second time. There’s something so refreshing about their characters that brings a smile to my face. Michael Rooker, Sean Gunn, and Karen Gillan also return from the first film, and their characters are explored much more interestingly this time. I was also impressed by newcomer Pom Klementieff as Mantis, a charming new member of the Guardians.

With a great visual style, script, and action sequences, James Gunn shows he can make a Marvel film that’s special and heartfelt. Guardians Vol. 2 feels somewhat distinct from the classic MCU formula, and isn’t too caught up with setting up a universe, but with bringing the best out of its characters and visuals. If you loved Awesome Mix Vol. 1, prepare for another great soundtrack in Awesome Mix Vol. 2, which includes some great songs that are used very well in the film. It’s been a while since the first film came out, and the first one felt so fresh and new when it was released, but by now the visuals and humorous style don’t feel as new and special as they did back then, but I can’t really blame the film for that. There are a few characters that are useless and I wish did more, and there’s a twist thrown in that was foreshadowed a little too much, but it feels different than what Marvel has done before. However, Gunn’s creative style makes this movie as entertaining and awesome as it should be. He knows how to make a great soundtrack and shoot action sequences very well, and he even pays homage to Hitchcock’s North by Northwest in a certain scene. Also, stay during the credits for not one, but five post-credit scenes after the film.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is another great Marvel feature with a terrific cast, an excellent soundtrack, great action and visuals, and a script that doesn’t feel as well-realized and fresh as the first film, but this movie still demonstrates James Gunn’s great talent when it comes to making huge blockbusters, and leaves you excited for Vol. 3.

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The Magnificent Seven (2016)

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The past few years have been packed with remakes and reboots of all sorts of classics, and not many of them have turned out to be very original. The Magnificent Seven, unfortunately, is lacking of the originality I expected from a similar yet distinct remake. This film feels a lot more like a re-imagination than a remake, as the only thing kept from the original is the concept. In The Magnificent Seven, a group of seven men (as the title suggests) are hired by a woman to avenge her husband’s death, so they set out against a corrupt industrialist and his ruthless army. Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, and Ethan Hawke lead the cast as mercenaries fighting for righteousness. Having seen the original Magnificent Seven starring Yul Brynner, I can say I am satisfied in terms of a remake like this one. The directing is mostly on-point, with impressive cinematography and entertaining action. The score from the late James Horner, who was tragically killed last year in a plane crash, is a great one for his last. My main problem with the film is that despite the film’s efforts to take its concept to a new place, new isn’t the right word to describe this film. Everything feels to familiar and tacked on. The story feels cliched but it also loses itself in the third act. One thing I noticed was how over-the-top everything was, from the dialogue to the story to the performances. The dialogue is too obvious and the humor unsuccessful, and none of the jokes seem to hit their mark. Denzel Washington doesn’t get much to work with besides a handful of guns loaded with bullets. Chris Pratt delivers an underwhelming performance as a constantly joking character who seems to be the most over-the-top of the cast, as well as Vincent D’Onofrio and Ethan Hawke who make jokes out of their performances. Some of the characters could have been more interesting, if only they had more development. One thing that isn’t surprising, as a film released in the 21st century, is that everything is too over-dramatized and it doesn’t flow as well as it did in the ’60s when it was directed by John Sturges. The final battle is an epic shootout between armies of heroes and villains but ultimately drags for too long. I’ve come to love the Western genre more every time I watch a Western film. Get a good story and script, and you can even make a perfect one today (see True Grit, Django Unchained, and The Hateful Eight). However, it’s difficult to work with one that lacks originality and reliability on anything but lengthy action sequences. Perhaps this film would have been better if it wasn’t limited to a strong PG-13 rating, and was written by someone more reliable in the world of Hollywood (yes, I’m thinking about Tarantino, even though he wouldn’t ever sign up for something even twice as original as this).

The Magnificent Seven is a fun Western action film directed solidly by Antoine Fuqua, but not much more. It tends to slow down, the attempts at comedy always miss, and everything feels way too over-the-top and out of place. I wouldn’t recommend this one for a watch in theaters, but I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it for most of its runtime, despite its major problems.

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Jurassic World

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Twenty-two years after the events of Jurassic Park, Isla Nublar now features a fully functioning dinosaur theme park, Jurassic World, as originally envisioned by John Hammond. After 10 years of operation and visitor rates declining, in order to fulfill a corporate mandate, a new attraction is created to re-spark visitor’s interest, which backfires horribly.

Jurassic World is a very exciting and entertaining blockbuster, visually. The action is very intense, and I found myself highly enjoying the movie. There is a lot of suspense, great use of sound, intensity, and fright. I was intrigued by the movie’s setting, especially the way they depicted Jurassic World and these people’s plans to revive dinosaurs. I also loved the score, especially because they brought back the theme from the original movie, and how they unexpectedly revive things or moments from the original movie.

Chris Pratt is great in the lead role. His character is engaging and he does great performance wise. None of the other actors did a good job at all, Bryce Dallas Howard was a fun female lead but not as good as Laura Dern’s role in the first film. The two children in the film are also bland and had way too much screen-time, and despite the director’s efforts to make his main character’s intriguing, they instead come out as overused and practically annoying. There is a human character in the film that the movie tries to make look like the villain, and this is the part where the movie fails the most. This “villain”‘s plot was completely bland, familiar, and unnecessary.

The movie is able to remind you well of the original film with the score and visuals, but often the visual effects feel out of place. They’re often done well but not impressive like before. The first one did it well because not only was it something we had never seen before, but they were not overused, and were in the right place. Here, almost everything is CGI, it feels less realistic but you can still sit back and have a great time with the amazing action that’s offered.

Jurassic World manages to entertain, but fails to live up to Jurassic Park’s incredible story, characters, and use of visual effects. I would recommend the film for fans of the saga who simply want to have fun at the movies.

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Guardians of the Galaxy

My rating: ratings5

Intergalactic adventurer Peter Quill finds himself the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by Ronan, a powerful villain with ambitions that threaten the entire universe. To evade Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of disparate misfits – Rocket, a gun-toting raccoon, Groot, a tree-like humanoid, the deadly and enigmatic Gamora and the revenge-driven Drax the Destroyer. But when Quill discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he and his team must find a way to stop Ronan’s madness and save the galaxy.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is improving as it goes. And this movie is definitely it’s best yet. I have to admit, it’s even better than The Avengers! It’s smart, funny, entertaining, and full of heart. The pace is good (it’s never too slow), the characters are all very funny, and best of all, the action scenes are extremely fun to sit through. It really has a Star Wars feel to it, with all the spaceship battles, the fact that the Guardians keep traveling from planet to planet, and I sort of felt that Ronan was sort of like Darth Vader, with a helmet, a low voice, and an ugly face.

One thing that didn’t turn out like I thought it would be but didn’t really bother me was that Thanos (a god-like figure who works with Ronan and is Gamora’s adoptive father) had a smaller role than I expected (just a one minute cameo), but that’s OK. Maybe he’ll have a bigger role in the Avengers 2!

My two favorite characters to see onscreen were Rocket and Groot, the hilarious duo who know how to kick ass. Lots of the other characters were also very charming and funny, especially Quill (the space outlaw who calls himself “Star-Lord”).

In conclusion, Guardians of the Galaxy is brilliant, smart, wonderfully silly, and is as entertaining, awesome, and fun, as any other Marvel movie. I would recommend it for any Marvel movie fans!

The five Guardians, sporting various weapons, arrayed in front of a backdrop of a planet in space.