I am Groot Vol. 2

All reviews are my personal opinion and do not reflect the views of any person or organization.

Here be Spoilers. Enter at your own risk.

Peter and gang return for more cosmic comedy in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

In this sequel, the Guardians discover who Peter’s father is while on the run from gold-skinned aliens.

I found the make-up and character designs to be better than the first. But in some close ups of Gamora, I could see places where they missed a spot. However, in the comics (and the Telltale Games Guardians series), Gamora is seen with flesh colored circles around her eyes, so I could give this a pass…though it got weird that in one scene the rings were there and in others they weren’t.

I did find the make-up work for the golden aliens to be amazing: gold skin, gold hair, and gold eyes. It didn’t look like they just slapped in some gold colored contact lens, even the whites of their eyes had a golden tint.

I found the swearing, crude humor, and sexual innuendos to be a big much for a comic book superhero movie. All the killing scenes were also a bit much: the bodies floating in space, people being sucked out airlocks, and bodies falling in slow motion. But, they weren’t out of place. It wasn’t like it was Batman going around killing people. It made sense to have villains shoving people into space or Yondu killing people with his arrow; he’d done it in the first movie so there was no big surprise.

Guardians still had plenty of sarcasm, jokes, and “they’re all idiots” moments. For instance, Yondu uses his arrow to lower himself to the ground. Peter tells him he looks like Mary Poppins. Yondu asks if she is cool and Peter replies, “Yes.” At this point, Yondu then boasts, “I’m Mary Poppins, yo!” Only Guardians characters could deliver a line like this seriously.

The delivery of the line showed the skill of the actors. The person playing Yondu knew who Mary Poppins was and understood the joke, but he delivered it as if he didn’t. It wasn’t done with a twinge of “I really know what’s going on because I’m an actor.” He sounded like he really believed it.

The cosmic craziness that is the Guardians of the Galaxy continues with a giant 8-bit Pac-Man appearing during the final battle. I won’t tell you how or why it happened (you’ll just have to watch the movie).

During the battle with the golden aliens, the Guardians discover that the ships coming after them are drones. The scene than shows the pilots controlling the drones while video arcade sound effects play; they even include the death sound effect.  Once a pilot was defeated, they would rage quit. At one point there is only one pilot left and the others have gathered around him cheering him on to get a high score. Who knew advanced alien races like video games?

I found the graphics to be great but for the most part the same as the original, except for Yondu’s arrow. The blur trail effect was much better. The coloring and glow made it stand out and added some flair to the movie. It seemed to match Yondu’s personality too. This effect made the arrow seem more high-tech and more like an object you’d see in a sci-fi or comic book movie instead of being completely realistic.

I enjoyed the character development moments. I enjoyed the fact that we got to see more of Rocket’s character. He wasn’t just an angry, greedy, thieving genetically modified raccoon. You could see that he had feelings and cared about other people. Also, it was awesome to watch Rocket take out squads of Ravagers on his own.

I missed Rocket’s orange outfit from the first movie. The outfit for this movie made him look like he was naked. It made him look more like a wild animal, but to be fair, he acted like one for most of the movie.

I had a problem with Nebula’s character change because in the last movie she was portrayed as this crazy, murdering, sadist (and she still was to a point), but then she’s like “I just want a sister.” It seemed like a strange switch, but her “mellowing” out doesn’t come till near the end of the movie. It wasn’t like one second she was a psychopath and the next doling out hugs. It was still believable that she could change. It was nice to see that she could be more than just stab, stab, kill and we got a peak into why she is the way she is.

The characters seemed to be more mature in this movie. They still made jokes and teased each other, like when Peter calls Rocket a “trash panda,” but it seems like their personalities were more flushed out. They had become more than just jokes, eye rolls, and sarcasm.

Like from Peter. I got the sense that he’s been the leader of the Guardians for awhile. He has grown into the role and is a bit more responsible. He even tells Rocket not to play music during a battle, while in the first movie Peter constantly played music whenever he did anything.

This maturity could be said about the rest of the Guardians. Though they continued to bicker, they still seemed to acknowledge Peter as the leader. They also seemed to function more as a team.

My biggest problem with the movie was Peter’s father being a Celestial. It seemed over the top or out of place. It made Peter seem too important. I felt like the movie would have the same theme and plot even if Peter was still the prince of Spartax instead of a god. It made it seem like Marvel was trying too hard to make the movie like other movies; they fell into a trope instead of breaking tropes.

What I mean by breaking tropes can be seen at the beginning of the movie. The Guardians are getting ready for a battle with a cosmic beast. This amazing and frightening monster alien shows up and you’re expecting to see this epic battle, but instead you watch Baby Groot dance while the Guardians battle in the background.

Another example of trope-breaking is during the final battle. The Guardians strike a pose and epic hero music plays as there are explosions and such behind them…and then one character gets hit in the head.

They also make fun of the “characters walking slowly towards the camera” trope.

But having Peter be the son of a god seemed like they were giving in or they thought, “We need some kind of twist that’s going to shock all the comic fans.”

But all in all, I still say Guardians of the Galaxy is one of Marvel’s best series. Mainly because of the credits. Every now and then the credits read “I am Groot” and then switch to the English translation. Not to mention seeing the various character dance. And finally, the during and after credit scenes; you get multiple ones. You also get to see teenage Groot who stays in his room all day playing video games and leaves his vines all over the floor.

I have to give Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 a 4 out of 5 Groots. I enjoyed it and most issues were forgettable annoyances. But it was the fact that they made Peter’s father a god when they really didn’t need to really lowered the score. Also, they should have had more Cosmo the Dog and Howard the Duck.

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Thor will Ragnarok you

All reviews are my personal opinion and do not reflect the views of any person or organization.

Thor: Ragnarok from Marvel Studios is set to release Nov. 3. In the meantime, I got to watch the trailer, thanks to the iTunes Trailers app.

The trailer starts out with Thor chained in a pit or cave. This seems pretty standard for superhero trailers anymore: the hero is chained or tortured or is climbing out of some dungeon. But I have to say the graphics and set design were impressive. I really felt like I was in some other world.

Speaking of other worlds, it was nice to see a Thor movie (or even show) with Thor on a more high-tech planet. Usually the places you see Thor are very…Norse (obviously). It was nice to see futuristic vehicles and weapons instead of dwarves and elves. It really showed that in this movie Thor is out of his element; he isn’t just visiting the 9 realms where he can beat up anything in his way. It’s going to be a challenge.

I also enjoyed the look of the aliens and other creatures. They looked alien. The makeup and costume work was amazing. They looked like they were alien creatures and not just some person in a suit or CGI. Just like with the sets, I felt like I was in another place. I really felt like I was there and not just watching.

I did get a very Guardians of the Galaxy vibe to the trailer. The soundtrack, the 70s/80s psychedelic/rainbow title transition, and the pacing of jokes and shots seemed a lot like trailers for the Guardians movies. If I hadn’t known better, I would have thought it was a trailer for Guardians. But I can see why it was done like this. Thor: Ragnarok is a space adventure. It needs the craziness and wow of space. You should feel like it is this epic thing. And maybe this trailer format hints at the Guardians making a cameo or there is a reference to them.

My real big problem with the trailer was that when they showed the villain, it wasn’t clear who it was. I probably missed them saying her name, but I kind of felt like the trailer was saying, “If you were a true fan, you’d know who this was.” If they did mention Hela by name, I didn’t hear it over the loud music and action.

I have to admit that when Thor showed up in the gladiator ring with short hair, I did a double take. I liked that they cut his hair; it shows that he’s in trouble. He’s not a prince of Asgard—he’s a slave/gladiator. He’s also been there for a while, at least long enough for a haircut. This was no pit stop for Thor.

And of course, I loved the moment when Hulk arrives and Thor laughs and says that they’re friends from work.

This trailer made me want to see the movie. I was kind of iffy; I’m starting to get tired of all the superhero movies, and when I saw the opening with Thor in the cave, I thought, “Here we go again. It’s just like all the rest.” But by the end of the trailer, I was getting more and more interested. The ones who edited the trailer sure knew which scenes to stick at the end.

I have to say the trailer was well done. The movie, on the other hand…we’ll just have to wait till November.

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