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Is it as good as the first? No. Is is still an incredibly fun and visually stunning space adventure film to seal the series fate as this generation’s Star Wars. Yes!

The crass and lovable Guardians return in a more self aware and cartoonish sequel that delivers big laughs and surprising character moments. The cast as a whole has some fantastic chemistry, with each main character dishing up some incredibly memorable moments of snappy comedy (Yondu makes the most quotable line in the movie) as well as some heartfelt moments that balance the adventure nicely. Baby Groot again steals the show and makes us question how many effects had to be added to Vin Diesel’s gruff voice to make it work. The main man himself, Chris Pratt as Starlord, seemed to take a back seat allowing his co-stars to shine.

I’m not as big of a fan of the decidedly more cartoonish humor, as it really feels somewhat bizarre despite how irreverent GotG already is at times. I can appreciate, however, the times when Guardians gets weird with it’s world-building as it still features some of the strangest and creative fiction visually – its neon soaked landscapes and bizarre alien cultures/species make it a feast for the eyes.

The plot revolves around Starlord and the gang meeting Peter’s Dad, discover more about Peter’s past, shake up the ravager fleet, and once again save the galaxy. It’s a decidedly less focused plot as compared to the first, and it has some juicy twists in the latter half (along with some comedy gold as well). It’s also way weirder as compared to the almost grounded original.

And what of the “Awesome Mix Vol. 2” music selection? I didn’t feel that it was as strong and as perfectly integrated into the film as the first, but man are there some excellent picks throughout. The parents that have no interest in comics will appreciate the music when they take their kids. 

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a great example of a strong sequel. While not as fresh or as captivating as the original installment, it adds upon the lore of the Guardians, as well as the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

I went to CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR for Spider-Man. I left very satisfied.

In the newest installment to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Avengers find themselves toe to toe against one another. And if you don’t know more about the plot than that, you’ve clearly been living in the DC Universe and have no desire to see this movie, so I’ll get right into what I liked and didn’t like about it.

If you’re on the way to the theater right now, go. It’s a very fun movie and you will enjoy it. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with its fair share of flaws (all of the MCU movies do), but it succeeds in being a fun night out at the movies. As you may have already read, CIVIL WAR kind of plays out like an excellent episode of a TV show. This is very accurate and makes perfect sense considering the MCU has become an intertwining TV series of its own. Unfortunately, this newest episode fails to wrap up and conclude even a single issue it creates. Gosh darn it! I guess we’ll just have to see the next one.

My other main complaint is the weak main villain. In a film called CIVIL WAR, you wouldn’t think there would need to be a stereotypical bad guy. After all, they should just be fighting each other. But for some reason, the filmmakers felt it was necessary to shoehorn in another bad guy to put everyone against each other. It didn’t feel natural and it was definitely unnecessary. He was easily the weakest part of the movie. Along with that, the movie takes quite some time to get going. At a runtime of just under 2 and a half hours this movie goes into some sections that felt much too long and dragged out. I kept asking myself when people were going to start beating each other up. Politics, conversations, and drama kept getting in the way. That’s not what I want! I want Captain America beating up Iron Man! AND I WANT SPIDER-MAN!

Thankfully I got all of those things, and they were amazing. When Team Iron Man and Team Captain America finally square off, it’s pure bliss. Honestly, it was the most fun action scene I’ve seen in years. There were so many superheroes running around, doing fun things, it was difficult not to forgive the movie for all of its faults. Spider-Man was everything 6 year old me could have asked for. He was so much fun and hysterical. He wasn’t whiny or a total rehash of previous Spider-Man incarnations. He felt new and unique and actually made me excited for SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING. The same is true for Black Panther. He was revealed in a very uncharacteristic way, but quickly became one of the most intriguing aspects of the film. However (and this is where the whole TV show argument comes in), we learn almost nothing about this character. We know who he is and why he’s upset, but if you want to know more show up to your theater in 2018! And of course, everyone else was as much fun as always. Ant-Man was better here than he was in his own movie, Scarlett Witch is starting to prove she’s the most powerful Avenger, and we even get a surprise return from a “classic” Avenger. But Tony Stark was more unlikable than ever. This harkens back to the fact that they had a weak and unnecessary villain. It felt like they were trying to make up for that and decided to have Stark be the source of some much-needed tension. I won’t go into further detail, but it’s very clear whose side the filmmakers expect you to be on.

So, all in all, CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR is an incredibly fun film that fails to resolve anything whatsoever. It introduces characters, young and old, that will bring a smile to your face but no peace to your mind. Spider-Man was everything I could have asked for and Black Panther was everything I never knew I wanted. If anything, the Civil War is pretty one-sided in regards to who is right and who is wrong, but really you’re just there to watch all of them beat each other up and boy is that fun.

4 out of 5 Stars

CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR – Dir. The Russo Brothers

Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johannson,

Run Time: 2h 27m

DEADPOOL – Movie Review – Having already broken numerous opening weekend records, DEADPOOL is on its way to revolutionizing the way superheroes are presented on the big screen. The fact is, hard-edged, R-rated superhero movies generally don’t work. THE PUNISHER, DREDD, WATCHMEN; all of which are fun (sometimes excellent) movies, but they simply didn’t make the money necessary to change anything. Fans of these stories like going to the theater and seeing their favorite “heroes” the way they were meant to be seen. The problem is, not many people other than the die-hard fans were paying for their ticket. That is, until this weekend.

Deadpool is about as much fun from a superhero movie as you can get. It’s action packed, violent, hilarious, and even sexy. All of this is tightly bundled up in a nice R-rating. That means you actually get to see the violence, the jokes aren’t dumbed down for kids, and the sexy stuff is… what it is. If you’re not into blood and cursing, perhaps you can rent the new Fantastic Four movie from the Redbox.

That being said, it is an origin story. Sure, they’re always necessary, but usually they’re drawn out and boring because who doesn’t know that Peter was bitten by a radioactive spider?! However, Deadpool switches it up a little bit. We’re fed the back story of how he came to be this mutant anti-hero through clever fourth wall breaks and intermissions from the current narrative. It was really fun actually and kept the pacing tight and interesting. My only problem is that the origin out did the narrative. What I mean is, the movie as a whole was really interesting, but when looking back at it, I didn’t really care about the villain or Deadpool’s fight for revenge. I think it did its job in setting up subsequent movies and crossovers, but as a single story I thought it lacked the stakes I wanted to see.

Of course the entire movie pokes fun at itself and realizes that his plight is incredibly self-centered and ridiculous. These fourth wall breaks and self-conscious jokes are what made this movie so memorable and authentic. Deadpool knows he’s in a movie. He references characters from other movies, he talks about the studio, he even comments on Ryan Reynolds and his unfavorable past work. This is exactly in line with the comic book character so many people have grown to love. That’s exactly why Deadpool is breaking so many records. Finally, fans were given a movie that felt like the comic book it’s based on. It’s rated R because that’s what the source material called for. It’s edgy and over the top because Deadpool as a character is edgy and over the top.  And it acts as a sentient work of art because that’s how the comics became popular enough to make a movie in the first place!

So, if you enjoy action movies that aren’t watered down with quick cuts and mild swear words, check Deadpool out. You don’t need to be a fan of the character to enjoy the movie. It’s probably the most purely fun superhero movie that’s been released since GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY.

 

4 out of 5 Stars

 

DEADPOOL – Dir. Tim Miller

Run Time: 108 Minutes

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Ed Skrein, T.J. Miller, and Morena Boccarin

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