Movie Review: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Solo: A Star Wars Story is a space western set sometime after the events of Revenge of the Sith. As the title implies, it focuses on Han Solo, originally a supporting character in A New Hope.

Han (Alden Ehrenreich) and his lover Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) are “scrumrats” on the planet Corellia gathering resources for the slumlord, Lady Proxima (Linda Hunt). Han’s botched attempt to broker a deal with another gang leaves him with a powerful resource: the hyperspace fuel Coaxium. He and Qi’ra escape from Lady Proxima’s henchmen and attempt to get off the planet, only for Qi’ra to be apprehended before she can leave. Han swears to come back for her, but without any assets, commits to joining the Empire as a pilot. Without a surname, the imperial recruiter registers him as Han Solo.

Three years later, Han finds himself kicked out of the flight academy for insubordination and is now an infantryman on Mimban. When he approaches a gang posing as soldiers, he’s thrown into a pit with the intention of being fed to “the beast,” a Wookie named Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo). Han reveals he can speak Wookie and they conspire to escape, narrowly making it onto a ship with the gang. After introducing themselves as Rio (Jon Favreau), Val (Thandie Newton), and leader Tobias (Woody Harrelson), they recruit Han and Chewbacca to steal Coaxium from an imperial convoy so all involved can get rich and part ways.

Plot

This part was my biggest concern with the whole film. It starts out just fine: the film is chasing a MacGuffin in the form of hyperspace fuel. But the execution takes the depth of the chase into confusion more than clarity. An opening title crawl (that’s unlike the traditional title crawl for Star Wars films) doesn’t seem entirely necessary, though I suppose an argument can be made that putting it there would be better than the characters explaining something they already know to each other for the benefit of the audience. Finally and most importantly is the flow of the traditional plot structure. Significant details are left out when they’re most necessary, particularly that Tobias and his crew are stealing for a high-ranking official of the crime syndicate Crimson Dawn. Instead of adding depth to the intent of the story, which is what I feel the production team was going for, the story becomes needlessly complicated and forgets what it was set out to do.

5/10

Characters

The development for most of the characters was actually my favorite part about this film. The introduction of new characters was exciting, despite knowing that only a few of them would go on to be a part of the bigger Star Wars universe. Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover), gets much-needed development from The Empire Strikes Back as a Bespin administrator and former owner of the Millenium Falcon. He’s revealed to be a smuggler in his own right, with a personality that rivals Han’s but more of a reputation. Tobias Beckett and his wife Val are two of the new characters, working together to be free of their criminal ties and lead a simpler life. Enfys Nest (Erin Kellyman) is the leader of a group called the Cloud Riders, who is similarly after coaxium fuel.

My favorite character out of the movie was one I wasn’t expecting. L3-37 (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) is Lando’s co-pilot on the Millenium Falcon with a keen sense of navigation. She also has more sass and determination for the rights for droids, which I’ll cover later. She quips with the best of them, and is much more interesting that the trailers give her credit for.

Perhaps one of my biggest concerns is that of Han Solo himself. In the original film, A New Hope, we find Han to be largely selfish and only wants to get out of the mess he’s in. It takes a good chunk of time for him to help the Rebels as a form of altruism instead of self-benefit. But by the end of this film, he’s going over the same beats of character. It forces the question of whether or not he actively forgets all of the good he’s capable of doing for others between this film and when he meets Luke and Obi-Wan on Tattooine.

8/10

Language

One of the interesting things about Han Solo is his proficiency is speaking Wookie’s native language. This is briefly explored when Han and Chewbacca first meet. For that one scene, Han’s half of the conversation is translated for the benefit of the audience. Everything else in the movie with Chewbacca speaking will have Han as the mouthpiece repeating his statement. And as with other movies from the franchise, most other alien languages are picked up through context or droids used as translators. In a more toned down but consistent example, Lando Calrissian refers to Han as he does in The Empire Strikes Back.

And as a small bonus for the internet-dwelling geeks and nerds, L3’s full name of L3-37 is a deliberate reference to 1337-5p34k (Leet-speak) and it’s many iterations.

10/10

Themes

Despite the grand scope of the galaxy and everyone’s seemingly easy access to it, most of the characters yearn for a simpler life. Han and Qi’ra both mused about getting away from the slums and living comfortably before both are torn from each other and make compromises to get back where they were instead of where they want to be. Val and Tobias hold on to each other despite their profession of stealing important material for others. Tobias has a pet the dog moment of wanting to learn to play an instrument once he’s done with his last mission.

Betrayal and chronic back-stabbing is also prevalent in this movie. In a galaxy filled with criminals, it’s not that difficult to find someone you think you trust only to have them turn on you later. There are very few honest people in Han Solo’s line of work.

The last is a significant but short plot point about the treatment of droids which expands to the Star Wars canon as a whole. Think about all of the droids in the franchise and you’ll come to realize that a lot of them are treated horribly despite having sentience. C-3PO is treated as the butt monkey of almost every situation he’s in, including his head being replaced by an imperial droid in Attack of the Clones. If droids are needed to do work, don’t design them with personalities and ambitions. L3 exclusively fights for equal treatment of droids, which is something I never thought would come up in a film in the franchise because it’s been going on without much question for about 40 years.

10/10

Music

Like Rogue One, the soundtrack and score mimic a lot of the core franchise but manages to keep things unique to the world. Lots of moments are built up with tension and has the music to back it up. Character themes are pretty prevalent as well.

9/10

Spectacle

As with the other Star Wars movies, a significant part of the movie takes place with space travel. The movie computer-generated and practical effects blend pretty well in universe, mostly in the form of practical costumes where necessary and computer generated when the aliens are non-humanoid. It’s everything I expected it to be.

9/10

Star Power

There are plenty of high-profile actors in this movie. Emilia Clarke, best known for her role in Game of Thrones, is the supporting female character Qi’ra. Woody Harrelson, who’s been in genres spanning through action dramas and comedy horrors, plays the supporting role of Tobias. Donny Glover, who’s recently garnered a lot of attention for his newest single, plays the high-profile smuggler Lando Calrissian. There are several minor characters that have higher profile actors behind them, as well. Warwick Davis, who plays Wickett in Return of the Jedi, makes an appearance in this film. Enough to be noticed, but not so blatant that it distracts from the scene.

Many people were concerned that Alden Ehrenreich would not pass for a good Han Solo, with so many people exclusively thinking of Harrison Ford and what he brought the the character. While I don’t completely agree with the character, I found the acting to be excellent.

9/10

Audience Demographic

The direct demographic for this movie are those who’ve seen Han Solo in the original films and want to know more about his background. The movie is accessible to all with the war themes cut back severely in comparison to the other stand-alone story, Rogue One.

10/10

Post-movie Thoughts

I enjoyed this movie, despite its bungled plot. It was a bigger character examination than it was a story.

7/10

Sequel Opportunity

With the amount of time between this film and the original and prequel stories (approximately in the middle of the 20 year gap between Revenge and A New Hope), there’s a good opportunity for this to branch into its own set of movies. This may be the case, with a Lando Calrissian movie already in talks. I don’t know quite how I feel about that, because as interesting as it would be, I don’t want more stuff to be thrown in the Star Wars franchise in fear of diminishing returns.

7/10

Overall: 84/100

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Movie Review: Avengers Infinity War

A quick disclaimer before I start. I understand that almost everyone who wants to watch this movie wants to come in without any significant plot details explained or spoiled. As with my previous movie reviews for the past few years, I’ll do my best to stay away from spoilers while marking them or putting it in white text where it can’t be avoided. That being said, I’m going to assume that readers will have at least seen the other movies and will leave plot details of previous movies unmarked. 

Avengers: Infinity War is an epic superhero film distributed by Walt Disney Studios and produced by Kevin Feige. It is the second sequel to 2012’s Avengers and nineteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 

Coming right off the heels of the Thor Ragnarok stinger, Thanos’s ship intercepts the vessel carrying the surviving Asgardians. A distress signal is sent out and a member of the Children of Thanos, later revealed to be named Ebony Maw (Tom Vaughan-Lawler) addresses the crew that are still alive. Thanos (Josh Brolin) coerces Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), and Heimdall (Idris Elba) to reveal the location of the Tesseract, which houses the Space Stone. There is a brief fight with the Hulk (Mark Rufallo). (Spoiler: Thanos makes quick work of Hulk with the Power Stone already embedded into the Infinity Gauntlet. Heimdall summons the Bifrost to take Hulk back to Earth. Thanos takes the Space Stone from the Tesseract, kills Loki, and blows up the ship with an incapacitated Thor still on board.)

Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), now the Master of the Sanctum in New York, has a brief discussion with Wong (Benedict Wong) about materialism before receiving a warning of Thanos’s arrival. Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) and his fiancee Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) are discussing their future before they’re interrupted by Doctor Strange. An attack on New York courtesy of Ebony Maw and musclebound Cull Obsidian (Terry Notary) is briefly thwarted by Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and the other heroes.

The Guardians of the Galaxy, which includes Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Mantis (Pom Klementieff), Rocket (Bradley Cooper), and Groot (Vin Diesel) receive a distress signal while romping around in space to find the remains of the Asgardian spacecraft. When they learn it was Thanos’s doing, they vow to find and stop him. (Spoiler: Thor is found among the wreckage and ventures to have another weapon forged while Gamora reveals that she knows something that Thanos desperately wants)

Vision (Paul Bettany) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olson) have escaped to Scotland to have a few moments to themselves. Vision receives a message of warning from the Mind Stone embedded in his forehead. He and Scarlet Witch contemplate staying off the grid when they are attacked by the final members of the Children of Thanos: Corvus Glaive (Michael James Shaw) and Proxima Midnight (Carrie Coon). 

Plot

There is a lot of stuff going on in a relatively small space of time. Fortunately, the splintered plot makes its way to get groups to cross paths with each other and eventually settle into a more tightly-structured story. The scope of the movie demands that it be structured that way and does require a bit of effort to follow. This isn’t a typical movie blockbuster where the audience can just turn their mind off to it.

8/10

Characters

There are dozens of characters in this movie, almost all of them having been established in previous films. Least developed among them would be Thanos, who has only appeared for a collected 5 minutes across 3 movies. He obviously gets a lot more backstory and establishing character moments throughout the film, ensuring there’s a vested interest in the film’s antagonist. Unfortunately the newest characters get only a small amount of development. The Children of Thanos, while important to the movie, don’t get much development outside of “henchman of Thanos tasked with retrieving Infinity Stones.” In fact, only one of them is directly named in the movie. A handful of established characters do get more development, however. Vision and Scarlet Witch have a more direct romantic relationship, Tony brings up the deep divide that started in Captain America: Civil War with Steve Rogers, and Wakanda’s defenders have been updated following the events of Black Panther.

8/10

Language

Tony Stark is given a crash course on the Infinity Stones at the top of the movie, knowing only that the Mind Stone was used to create Vision prior to the film. Tony Stark’s upgrades to his suit are in the form of nanotechnology, which he and Bruce Banner have no problem discussing. Groot still speaks in Groot, however the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy have a working knowledge on what he’s saying instead of exclusively Rocket (Mild spoiler: Thor also understands Groot through an elective class he took on Asgard). A mild but disappointing moment came in Wakanda, where the natives there go back and forth between English and an Xhosan. In the movie, only 2 moments have any sort of Xhosan exchange (Mild spoiler: T’Challa thanking M’Baku for bringing the Jobari warriors, and T’Challa yelling “Yibambe!” to his army, which means “Hold the line.” The line isn’t translated.)

9/10

Theme

Close, personal relationships and sacrifice are the bigger themes of the movie. Gamora hasn’t forgotten where she came from and how she became an adopted daughter of Thanos. Vision and Scarlet Witch have moved passed an implied relationship and spend more time together in more intimate settings. Tony and Pepper talk about their future together.

***Spoilers in the following section, read at your discretion***

 

Sacrifice is the next big theme of the movie and is often joined tightly with close relationships. Thanos recognizes that his ultimate goal after acquiring the Infinity Stones will come at the cost of his relationship with Gamora. Throughout the film he states that he knows what it’s like to lose, material and personal. Gamora, on the other hand, recognizes that her past with him puts her at great risk, and asks Peter if he’s willing to kill her should she be taken by Thanos. Thor is full of sadness and anger following the death of his family and the rest of his people, and has great empathy when he encounters others who have lost loved ones. And the rumors are true. Not everyone is coming out of this movie alive.

 

***End of spoilers***

10/10

Music

Several character themes return in this movie, more often than not marking a grand entrance or big reveal of a significant character. The film also blends some themes together to signify a team-up or big confrontation.

As the Guardians of the Galaxy make their way to the distress signal at the top of the movie, the group is singing “Rubberband Man” by The Spinners.

The most obvious and recurring theme is the main Avengers theme established in the first movie back in 2012. The theme has been expanded to reflect the stakes and scope of the movie.

10/10

Spectacle

The epic sense of the movie can rarely be overstated. The movie spans galaxies and the battles rarely give the audience a moment to breathe. Of the 60 or so named characters in the movie, more than 30 of them are together for a big fight scene. Bright, distinct colors to show off abilities of the Infinity Gauntlet and the fast-paced movement of characters like Spider-Man keeps the flow of the movie from stagnating.

10/10

Star Power

On top of the actors already introduced in previous films, Infinity War includes Peter Dinklage as the forgemaster Eitri, tasked with helping Thor develop a new weapon. Actors who have made it big since their work in the MCU have changed up the title cards. Josh Brolin brings Thanos to life with an intimidating growl while stars like Mark Rufallo and Tom Holland bring a bit more levity into the movie.

10/10

Audience Demographic

Being a culmination of almost 20 other movies, this movie is particularly catered to the audiences that have seen the other movies. While possible to come in with only a little knowledge of the previous films, several things are going to be lost on those who are too young or not well-versed in character interactions or other big revelations. This really hampers the movie because it requires a large investment of the audience before they even buy their tickets. But with its reputation, I think most are willing to put in that effort.

7/10

Post-movie Thoughts

Without giving anything away, instead I will just briefly touch on what has already been covered by the crew behind the movie. Ultimately, the film will be split into 2 parts, with the title for the second movie being withheld because that would disclose important plot details of this movie. This movie almost paradoxically leaves enough open to justify a second movie while also having enough resolution to stand on its own.

9/10

Marvel Cinematic Universe

The whole thing started with Iron Man back in May of 2008. 10 years of Marvel movies later leads up to this, one of the most ambitious movie projects I’ve ever seen. Kevin Feige’s vision and plans for this new cinematic universe has been largely successful, despite a few alleged mistakes or inconsistencies. Despite several online theories predicting how things would happen, the movie left me walking away very satisfied with the end product.

10/10

Overall: 91/100

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Movie Review: Black Panther

Black Panther is the eighteenth installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It stars Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o, and Michael B. Jordan.

A folk tale about the birth of Wakanda, an Afrofuturist city, starts the film. A group of African tribes fight and eventually come together for the benefit of their prosperity. Actively staying out of the rest of the world’s affairs, they are able to prosper with technology and medicine not seen anywhere else in the world, thanks to the material Vibranium.

In 1992, a Wakandan spy named N’Jobu (Sterling Brown) became disillusioned to the isolationist policy of his home country, planning to use their technology to gain power for more influence. He is confronted by T’Chaka, N’Jobu’s older brother and then-king of Wakanda and sentenced to stand trial in Wakanda. City kids look on as cloaked ships leave the scene.

Now in modern day, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) is the current Black Panther and set on a mission with the general of his army Okoye (Danai Gurira) to find another Wakandan spy Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), who also happens to be T’Challa’s ex-girlfriend. They gather to crown the new king of Wakanda following the events of Captain America: Civil War. With the crowning comes the challenge to be a new Black Panther. Each tribe has an opportunity to challenge the current title holder in combat, with the winner earning the title and powers of the Black Panther.

Meanwhile, at an art museum, an elaborate heist is conducted by Erik Stevens (Michael B. Jordan), given the nickname Kilmonger, and Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) to steal a Vibranium-based weapon. Ultimately, Klaue and Kilmonger plan to make elaborate weapons and expose Wakanda for keeping advanced technology for their own use.

Plot

The plot for the movie ended up being much more elaborate than I had anticipated. Standard hero-fighting-villain plot aside, the movie makes great use of Chekov’s Gun, a plot device that introduces an item early in the movie and makes use of it by the third act. And with the exception of a lousy but ultimately necessary plot convenience, the movie is kept at an exciting pace.

8/10

Characters

Black Panther was previously introduced in the third Captain America movie, Civil War, wanting revenge for his father’s death. His character is further established by considering the responsibilities of a king and how he needs to lead his people. In addition to being a kick-butt superhero, he also displays his more normal side by interacting with his ex-girlfriend, banter with his sister, and relationship with his royal guards. Other important Wakandans include Shuri (Letitia Wright), T’Challa’s sister and technology innovator, Nakia the Wakandan spy and War Dog on a mission to rescue women gathered by terrorists. Zuri (Forest Whittaker) is Wakand’s shaman and keeper of several rituals.

Other characters outside of Wakanda include Kilmonger, whose character unravels more and more as the film progresses, and Ulysses Klaue, who was previously introduced in Avengers: Age of Ultron as an African smuggler determined to gather and exploit the advances of Vibranium. Finally, there’s Everett Ross (Martin Freeman), who was also introduced in Civil War. His involvement in the film is roughly quadruple that of his previous appearance, this time being involved in the action instead of just interrogations.

Overall, though not all are mentioned, these characters have motivations and reasons for the audience to care about them.

8/10

Language

The film includes more languages than just English. African dialects like Hausa are used throughout the film and are typically translated. Martin Freeman and Chadwick Boseman go to great lengths to mask their natural accents, the former instead opting for an American accent and the latter African. For Boseman, the reasoning comes down to the lore before the movie even really begins; with Wakanda not being involved with colonization, the slave trade, or really any relationship with other countries, there’s no opportunity to adopt those kinds of accents.

10/10

Theme

Loyalty and morality are put to the front of the movie on several occasions, testing promises and duties of several characters. During the challenge in the first act of the movie, T’Challa mentions that, while not as noble, it’s important for his challenger to stay alive to help his people instead of fighting to the death. The film also explores the responsibilities of a leader, particularly a king. With an example set before him, T’Challa is tasked with deciding what is best when there’s more than one correct answer. Nakia, on the other hand, is more concerned with assisting people outside of Wakanda and thinks more can be done if their technology is made available to the world; an idea that’s adamantly avoided by the tribe elders and previous kings.

To further that point, the movie touches on the idea of fascism, ruling through power and takeovers. With the ability to do so, Wakanda could overwhelm other governments and nations and have the opportunity to enforce their laws on others. They can be governed “the right way,” as it’s called more than once. With Wakanda being a peaceful nation (outside of the Challenges, there seems to be no threat of violence anywhere within the city), it brings about a lot of questions.

10/10

Music

The film’s soundtrack is produced by rapper Kendrick Lamar, whom the director of the film thought could best portray the thematic elements of the film. There’s plenty of high-intensity moments in the film’s score, and a surprisingly entertaining, albeit short, cover of “What Is Love?” sung by Andy Serkis.

8/10

Spectacle

Wakanda is perhaps the best definition of Afrofuturism, a futuristic depiction of African society. The buildings are tall and shiny, and the fields are vast. There are a few moments that involve CGI animals and it’s painfully obvious, despite the detail of those animals. However, the biggest thing about it are the fashion choices for the citizens and warriors of Wakanda. Several outfits are based off of actual African styles and traditions, ranging from Ndebele neck rings to Mursi lip plates. Some of these I was only vaguely familiar of but really helped with the immersion of an African setting, albeit futuristic.

9/10

Star Power

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Movie Review: Thor Ragnarok

Thor Ragnarok is a superhero film. It is the third of the Thor movies and seventeenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Set two years after Age of Ultron, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) finds himself captured by the fire demon Surtur (voiced by Clancy Brown). Surtur is eager to start Ragnarök, an end-of-times prophecy for Asgard when he puts his crown in Asgard’s Eternal Fire. Thor assures that his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) will prevent the calamity from happening, only for Surtur to reveal that Odin is not on Asgard at all. Thor handily defeats him and his army before returning through the Bifröst. The bridge is being guarded by Skurge (Karl Urban) instead of Heimdall (Idris Elba). Thor confronts Odin, only to reveal that it’s Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in disguise. After some help, Loki and Thor find Odin on the cliffside of Norway. Odin warns that his death is imminent and his prisoner Hela (Cate Blanchett) will be released and threaten Asgard. Sure enough, Odin disappears and Hela displays her power by destroying Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir. Loki makes a call so he and Thor can return to Asgard, but Hela cuts them off and throws them into space. Hela recruits Skurge to conquer Asgard, believing herself to the be rightful heir to the realm.

Thor finds himself on the planet Sakaar. After a brief altercation, he is captured by Scrapper 142 (Tessa Thompson) and forced to compete in the Contest of Champions. Thor is prepped by the organizer of the contest Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) and former contender Korg (Taika Waititi, who also directs the movie). Thor is forced to compete, but is happily surprised to see his competition is his “friend from work” Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). Together they endeavor to leave Sakaar.

Plot

The main narrative of the movie is put out right away but still leaves a lot to be desired. It quickly glosses over the time lost between previous Thor/MCU movies and only spends about 10 seconds on how the Hulk managed to land on an alien planet. Besides those two points that connects this movie to the universe it’s in, the plot as a whole is paced at an acceptable rate.

7/10

Characters

Despite being a sequel with several already established characters, this movie introduces a lot of characters with varying levels of interest. Skurge, for example, is present throughout and presents to have ambitions but doesn’t have the opportunity to fulfill them. Hela, on the other hand, is the primary antagonist and is fully fleshed out with a plan, abilities, and motivation. Finally, Grandmaster makes his presence known in every scene, either in the way he’s dressed or the mannerisms of his speech.

As for some of the established characters, I’m sad to say that some of them are absent or have so little screen time they’re hardly considered to be in the movie at all. Thor’s allies on Earth, such as Jane Foster, aren’t in the film. Since the film only touches down on Earth in two scenes, it’s understandable that there’s not screen time, but the characters aren’t even mentioned despite being so important in the previous films. A few significant Asgardian characters are done away with so quickly it’s tantamount to character assassination.

Still haven’t quite gotten over the last one.

7/10

Language

The film builds off of previously established vernacular and Norse pronunciations. The character that sticks out the most when it comes to his words is Grandmaster, whose speech patterns always gets attention; nevermind that it’s literally broadcast throughout the planet. In an attempt to connect with Hulk, Thor tries to apply the same patterns that Black Widow uses in the Age of Ultron movie.

Aww, a bromance!

8/10

Theme

While most of the movie is very straightforward with its presentation of “stop the villain,” it briefly touches on one theme on three occasions. Distorting the past to make it more palatable is shown off by Loki (disguised as Odin) and corrected by Hela, who is revealed to be Thor’s older sister but hidden away by Odin. Hela seems that their past accomplishments should be celebrated, while Odin kept them hidden to seem more benevolent. I don’t know if this is supposed to be a reflection on society past or present, but it was definitely something that could have been fleshed out more.

8/10

Music

“Immigrant Song” is present in one of the trailers and carries over into the film. Superhero themes for Hulk and Thor are sprinkled in the film, but the only other piece of licensed music comes from a certain confectionary manufacturer to comedic effect. While this movie seems to borrow a lot from the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, it draws the line at using nostalgic music as part of its narrative, which I’m actually thankful for. Still, the lack of music overall seems to be the lowest point of the movie.

7/10

Spectacle

Taking place in space seems to be a big challenge in terms of the graphics department, but I feel that they’ve pulled it off well. Loki uses his visual tricks as he did in the previous films. Interestingly, the only unbelievable scene in the movie was in the first act in Norway. Thor, Loki, and Odin are all on a cliffside that was poorly rendered on the greenscreen it was shot on. But for everything else; the trash-laden planet of Sakaar, the royal halls of Asgard, and the Rainbow Bridge connecting the realms, are all finely set in the movie.

9/10

Star Power

Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston return to the franchise as Thor and Loki respectively, as well as Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/Hulk and Anthony Hopkins as Odin. Newcomers include Cate Blanchett, Karl Urban, Jeff Goldblum, and Tessa Thompson. Idris Elba returns as Heimdall, and Clancy Brown has a voice role as the fire demon Surtur. Plenty of high profile stars and–holy smokes, cameos!

9/10

Audience Demographic

As with the previous films, Thor Ragnarok caters to the superhero film-goers. Honestly, the film doesn’t build much further to reach more demographics, and it this point it doesn’t have to; the film can just build off of the reputation of the previous films in the franchise.

8/10

Post-movie thoughts

As fun as this movie is, it seems more like a stepping stone to the upcoming Infinity War than its own movie. It doesn’t stand up on its own in the greater MCU, and just satisfactory when compared to the previous Thor films. I’ve mentioned before that much of the secondary cast is absent or put to a quick end, which is a shame. I would have liked to see a little bit more elaborate of a resolution for the characters if they aren’t important for this particular story.

6/10

Universe Building

The film takes several things from the comic book source material, particularly the titular story arc Ragnarok and elements of Planet Hulk, where Bruce Banner finds himself on an alien planet. The cosmic films of the MCU, like Guardians of the Galaxy, are going to be a bit difficult to connect to the traditional MCU movies like Iron Man or Captain America. As I’ve mentioned before, this seems as more of a connecting story to bring space and Earth together for the big event in May than a concluding story for Thor, if it indeed ends up being a concluding story for the franchise (film contracts are a funny thing).

8/10

Overall: 77/100

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Movie Review: Dunkirk

Dunkirk is a war film based off of World War II’s “Operation Dynamo,” which has also been called “The Miracle at Dunkirk.” The film was written and directed by Christopher Nolan.

Tommy (Fionn Whitehead) and a small group of soldiers walk through the empty streets of Dunkirk, which propaganda posters fluttering in the space above them. The team is attacked and only Tommy makes it through English lines and on the beaches, ready to be picked up by military ships. He comes across Gibson (Aneurin Barnard), who is burying a fellow soldier. After being attacked in the air, a ship prepares to leave for Dover, England with the wounded but living soldiers of the war. Tommy and Gibson realize a wounded soldier is still on the beach and they rush to get him on board. They narrowly deliver him in time but are not allowed to board themselves, leaving them desperately waiting for the next ship to come by. Colonol Winnant (James D’arcy) and Commander Bolton (Kenneth Branagh) look on trying to organize who boards the ships and hope that the Operation to evacuate goes according to plan.

In England, small civilian ships are being commandeered by the Royal Navy so they can be driven to Dunkirk to get as many men off the beach as possible. Mr. Dawson (Mark Rylance) and his son Peter (Tom Glynn-Carney) get ahead of the Navy by emptying their pleasure yacht and refilling it with blankets and life jackets. George (Barry Keoghan), a friend of Peter and deck hand, insists on going with them to join in the war effort and make something of himself. The first person they come across is a shivering 2nd Lieutenant (Cillian Murphy), the sole survivor of a U-boat attack on his vessel. George and Peter do their best to accommodate him, but he is more occupied with staying as far away from Dunkirk as possible. Mr. Dawson insists that getting the other soldiers home is the right thing to do.

Three Supermarine Spitfire pilots do their best to provide air support for the evacuation. After one of their planes go down, Collins (Jack Lowden) and Farrier (Tom Hardy) are left to distract and destroy the German Luftwaffe planes.

Plot

The movie focuses on three parts of the evacuation; The Mole (the beach and pier where the soldiers wait for evacuation, “One Week”), The Sea (Mr. Dawson’s boat, “One Day”) and The Air (The Spitfire pilots, “One Hour”). Each are focused on for a few minutes at a time in that order for the first half of the movie. As the plot moves forward, it becomes clear that the narratives don’t immediately align. However, this is not as much of a chore to keep track of as Nolan’s earlier narrative-vs.-plot film Memento. Each story is well-paced and keeps the audience engaged in the moment.

9/10

Characters

The film follows about a dozen characters, most of whom are introduced in the first 20 minutes of the film. The motivations behind the characters are almost unanimously straightforward: the soldiers are tired and want to go home. Commander Bolton and Colonol Winnant are in charge of keeping the soldiers’ morale high enough to see the evacuation through while hiding the fact that there are little options to get them home. Mr. Dawson, with his son and crew, want to be a part of the war effort and save whoever they can. The key differences are how they go about expressing their wants. The shivering soldier (his actual name is never given) is desperate to go home because he’s the only person left alive from his ship and suffers from Shellshock (now known as post-traumatic stress disorder). George, one of the deck hands, wants to make something of himself.

What’s noticeably absent is the face of an antagonist. While the German forces were the catalyzing force of WWII, no German soldiers get any screen time.  This led to think that the Germans aren’t exactly the enemies of this film, but the Dunkirk shore. If the soldiers don’t get off the shore, there’s no reason to keep fighting; the losses would have been too great. Putting the film in this context almost makes the location itself a character worth considering.

10/10

Language

What was most surprising in this film was the lack of regular dialogue. There are perhaps two sentences spoken in the first ten minutes of the film. Conversations were kept minimal throughout the film and things were explained through context, not words. One descriptor that stood out was the use of “shell shock,” reflecting the sign of the time before it was identified as PTSD.

Another brief and important moment was the use of French in one scene. French soldiers are among the English-speaking when they are lined up ready to board the ship. A guard prevents the French soldiers from boarding, insisting on “English-only” and raising tensions for those who don’t speak the language. The soldiers start arguing with the guard, again in French, which only makes everyone angry because of the language barrier.

Nolan’s exposition through limited dialogue allows the audience to immerse themselves into what’s shown, which I think is a very nice touch.

10/10

Theme

Hope is a weapon. Survival is victory.

That is the main tagline for the film and is present throughout. Hope is a fleeting feeling that things will work out in the end and has to be grasped constantly by the protagonists of the film. With each attack, the hope is momentarily lost. The soldiers convey, “Will I survive? How do I get out of here? Will I make it home?” and is encapsulated by the fact that their destination is so close.

“You can practically see it from here…Home.” – Bolton

Weather played an interesting part in the film. The misty atmosphere of the beach magnifies the gloom and overwhelming sense of dread that the soldiers on the beach need to get away from. Light coming from the sun or bouncing off the moon is in short supply and you’ll notice when it happens.

Another framing device I’ve considered while watching this movie is the speech given by Winston Churchill following the evacuation (which was used in at least one of the trailers for this movie):

We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.

What I caught in particular are Churchill’s mentions of fighting them on the ground, the water, and the air; the exact framing for the narrative. Even when Nolan’s film is grounded in reality, I’ve come to realize there more to be examined than what’s just showing on-screen.

10/10

Music

Hans Zimmer returns as the composer for the movie’s score. As I think back on his other works with Christopher Nolan, I’ve come to realize that identifying Zimmer’s patterns for music has become easy to do. With the fantastical story elements come orchestral sweeps and climactic notes. For this film however, these are tied to the plot in a different way. The first piece of music you hear combines the ticking of a pocket watch with a heartbeat, slowly but noticeably getting faster as the scene progresses. Time is running out and the audience feels it through the music. This quickening in the music is present all over the movie as hope is lost an restored, as I’ve mentioned before. Everyone is engaged through the music until the denouement of the movie where things finally slow down.

9/10

Spectacle

During the credits I noticed that a special dedication is given to the organization that restored planes and ships for use in the movie. A majority of the film is practical effects and that makes me enjoy this movie so much. While Nolan is famous for the mind-bending special effects of films like Inception and the Dark Knight films, he makes it a point to be practical where possible and only use CGI if it can’t be worked around.

Another thing is minor because it seems there was no intention behind it but something I couldn’t help but notice: sea foam. All of the movies I’ve seen never show any foam building up on the shore but makes itself present in the film. This shoreline isn’t polished and primed for aesthetics, it’s as down to earth as the events taking place in the film.

9/10

Star Power

Christopher Nolan has a habit of rehiring actors for his movies. Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy have worked with Nolan in the past with the Dark Knight movies and Inception. Michael Caine, pretty much a Nolan staple since 2006, place the radio operator for the Royal Air Force and is not seen on-screen. Fionn Whitehead, who plays Tommy, is relatively obscure, having only done one other major acting project before being selected for this film. Harry Styles, who plays Alex in the film, isn’t introduced until the second act but is instantly recognizable as a member of the pop band One Direction. Apparently, Nolan wasn’t aware of Styles as a singer when he was chosen to play his role, which will Styles’s first foray into acting. Mark Rylance, who plays Mr. Dawson, was the actor and character model for The BFG released a year ago.

9/10

Audience Demographic

The film is set to attract lots of history buffs, curious to know how the fantastical Christopher Nolan will tackle a real-world event. Fans of Nolan’s previous films will also want to see how Nolan will pull this off.

7/10

Post-movie Thoughts

This movie made me care a lot more about the progression of the story than Nolan’s previous films. It doesn’t let up and allow the audience to relax. There’s always something happening on screen instead of a breather discussion providing exposition; it’s shown instead of told. As a result, the film is shorter than Nolan’s other films, stopping at about an hour and 45 minutes. Everything is packed into a short, digestable movie that you can get away with watching only once, unlike most of his other films.

9/10

Foregone Conclusion

This film has the unusual opportunity to have the audience care about an event that they already know the ending to, such as All The President’s Men or Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith. The framing has the audience, for the most part, know that Operation Dynamo was a success and the soldiers went on to continue the war to eventually win. Although the characters were ultimately fictitious, it gives the audience a sense of what it was like on the beach of Dunkirk, waiting and hoping that they will get a reprieve from the terror of war.

9/10

Overall: 91/100

 

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Movie Review: Spider-Man Homecoming

Spider-Man Homecoming is a superhero movie and second reboot of Sony’s Spider-Man franchise. This film is introduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe after an agreement was made with Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios.

Immediately after “The Incident” of The Avengers, Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) and his crew received a contract to clean up and salvage the materials left behind. Toomes’s excitement gets derailed by the U.S. Department of Damage Control gaining jurisdiction over the contract and, more importantly, any revenue from cleaning up the Chitauri rubble. It is revealed that Tony Stark, also known as Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), has controlling interest in the USDoDC. Adrian and his crew relate this to Tony Stark getting paid for the mess he helped make. With little options left, they decide to utilize the Chitauri weaponry they’ve already salvaged to make and sell weapons.

Eight years later, a homemade film by Peter Parker (Tom Holland) chronicles his time with Tony Stark and Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) as he suits up as Spider-Man against the Anti-Accords team as depicted in Captain America: Civil War. Sometime after, he’s told to keep in touch with Happy as big events happen and to stay low to the ground as Spider-Man. Peter masquerades as Spider-Man under the cover of “working on the Stark Internship,” much to the chagrin of his Aunt May (Marissa Tomei) and negatively affecting his school activities.

Plot

As a superhero movie, this one hits all of the beats as I expected it to; exposition, conflict, rising action, fateful hour, climax, and resolution. The stakes are raised at a consistent level, but at different points for Spider-Man than the villain Vulture (who isn’t directly named that). The points of focus are Peter growing into his powers and prioritizing his responsibilities. Yes, Peter Parker still has the underlying theme of “with great power comes great responsibility.”

Fortunately for the audience, the best part of the plot is the element that’s missing; the origin. The spider bite and Uncle Ben’s death are absent in the film, the latter only vaguely mentioned in a scene where Peter remarks about all that his aunt has been through. Despite being another reboot for Spider-Man, the audience members that don’t know the origin is limited to the people that deliberately avoided it or the children that have yet to be introduced to the character. This allows for the plot to focus on the interactions with the hero and villain instead of the hero and a character absent for the majority of the film.

8/10

Characters

Peter Parker is established early as an awkward sophomore and maintains throughout the film. His alter ego of Spider-Man reflects that as a hero growing into his own powers. The villain, Adrian Toomes, is figuratively more grounded than other superhero movie villains in the sense that he has no delusion of grandeur or lust for supremacy. He’s pushed into making weapons with the alien artifacts salvaged by his contracting company. His contempt is on a personal level, but not such a way that garners a revenge plot like Whiplash from Iron Man 2. The auxiliary characters seem to have one distinct personality and seem to be less compelling as the movie goes on. Flash (Tony Revolori) is openly antagonistic to Peter Parker and acts as a bully in public settings. It’s revealed he is in competition with Peter on an academic level, and Peter’s intelligence fuels Flash’s negative behavior. Liz (Laura Harrier) is Peter Parker’s love interest and head of the academics decathlon team of which Peter is a member. Ned (Jacob Batalon) is Peter’s best friend and confidant in the movie, always wanting to be Peter’s “guy in the chair,” helping him from a base of operations. Ned also bombards Peter with questions regarding his abilities as Spider-Man, which gets old pretty fast. Michelle (Zendaya) is the last of Peter’s classmates, which acts as the Allison Reynolds (The Breakfast Club) of the movie. While of equal intelligence to Peter’s group of classmates, she’s set apart by her nonconformist attitude and chiming in at the strangest times in the film.

Along with Vulture we also have his henchmen. The non-action henchman spends his time in the base building a Chekov’s Gun like ability for the Vulture suit. The other two main henchmen have a bit more ambition and use some of the gadgets that they invent and sell.

Tony Stark acts as a mentor at a few points in the film and discourages Peter from being a full-fledged hero despite his abilities. Happy Hogan has the most to prove in this film aside from Peter Parker, having to look after Peter and asset protection in Stark Tower. Aunt May is perhaps the least developed and has few scenes. Her main objective is basically adjusting to taking care of her adolescent nephew and his sneaking about.

6/10

Language

The film calls back to technology and language established in earlier films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For the most part, it refers to the alien batteries left behind by the Chitauri and technology found in the Spider-Man suit. In a brief and humorous exchange, Peter shows off that he knows more than English when a store owner makes a comment about Aunt May.

For those that were curious (like I was) the subtitle Homecoming seems to stem from the fact that the movie takes place at the week of the Homecoming dance for Peter’s school.

8/10

Theme

The movie touches on the balance of power and responsibility. Tony Stark insists that Peter be a “low to the ground” hero and act locally, leaving the heavier stuff to local authorities or, worst case scenario, the Avengers. Peter pushes against this boundary and ends up neglecting the responsibilities expected of him as a student; dropping out of band and the academic decathlon. When one gives way to another, Peter is left picking up the pieces and making more important decisions.

On more personal levels, Peter also goes through the trials of puberty and transition in the context of high school and his powers. Not only does he have to make adjustments being a hero, he also has trouble with social interactions and romantic interests in school. The other and I feel more important theme affects Adrian Toomes and his motivations. He grows to despise government influence on his ability to earn an honest living, taking over the cleaning and reconstruction contract that he put a large personal and financial investment. He ends up targeting Tony Stark because he ends up getting the revenue from the contract that was taken away, leaving Toomes out of a contract and out of legitimate ways to conduct business. Toomes reflects the anger of the middle and lower class when their concerns are pushed out of the way in favor of the rich getting richer.

9/10

Music

The film bookends itself with the use of “Blitzkrieg Bop” by The Ramones. Other licensed songs include “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin'” by the Rolling Stones and “Space Age Love Song” by Flock of Seagulls. The score was composed by Michael Giacchino and builds the mood of chase scenes and dramatic moments. If you listen closely, you’ll also be treated by the original theme of the Spider-Man TV series during the Marvel Studios logo.

8/10

Spectacle

There’s plenty of high-flying moments in the movie, which is to be expected if the main character is Spider-Man. My favorite parts come from the interface of the Spider-Man suit. Whether it be from the focus of the eyes in the suit (solving years of wondering how he emotes with a full-face mask) or the scenario analysis of the computer programmed into the suit. The complexities of the Vulture suit also deserve some mention here; showing off more skills or gadgets as the film progresses.

9/10

Star Power

Tom Holland is the title star who’s made his first appearance in the MCU in Captain America: Civil War. Holland has also starred in the stage performance of Billy Elliot and The Impossible. Jacob Batalon, who plays Ned, is a newcomer to movie acting. Laura Harrier, playing Liz, is known for her role in the rebooted soap opera One Life to Live. Tony Revolori who plays “Flash” Thompson, is most famous for his role as Zero Moustafah in The Grand Budapest Hotel. Zendaya is a well-established actress in several Disney shows. More adult actors include MCU veterans Robert Downey, Jr. and Jon Favreau (who also gets directorial credit for the first two Iron Man films) as well as Marissa Tomei as Aunt May. Michael Keaton plays Adrian Toomes, is no stranger to being in superhero films (starring in the Tim Burton Batman films as the titular character) nor playing an aven-based character (playing as the titular Birdman) Other brief appearances include comedian Hannibal Burress as the coach, Donald Glover as Aaron Davis, Jennifer Connelly as Karen, and Chris Evans as Captain America.

9/10

Audience Demographic

Spider-Man is perhaps the most iconic Marvel superhero of all time, resonating with kids when his comics first came around and being on TV during Saturday morning cartoon blocks in the 90s. This coupled with the fact that this iteration of the character is completely tied into the Marvel Cinematic Universe gives is a lot of attention to get movie-goers in seats.

10/10

Post-movie Thoughts

I really enjoyed this film. I’m excited to see where this goes for the rest of its involvement with the MCU and how it will stand on its own. There were plenty of moments that reminded me what I liked about Spider-Man and what I missed from his previous iterations. However, there was a moment that called back to the Tobey Maguire films that was perhaps the stand-out moment of Spider-Man 2. The image shows that Sony, who’s partnering with Marvel for this film, remembers its roots and implying that it’s raising the stakes.

10/10

Continuity Snarl

There are a couple of concerns I have with the timing of this movie and a bit of it at the beginning of the film. The film opens more or less after the events of the first Avengers movie, which takes place in 2012. There’s a cut title saying 8 years have passed before the proper start of the movie, which should put it in 2020, but actually takes place shortly after Civil War. Also, and just as a minor detail, Peter’s homemade film excludes an exchange between him and Iron Man (“Underoos!” and “Hey, everyone”) as well as Peter’s reaction to *SPOILER ALERT*Ant-Man’s transformation to Giant-Man. *END OF SPOILER ALERT*

But on the plus side, there’s a retroactive continuity addition to the film with the relationship between Peter Parker and Iron Man. During the post-production of the movie, it was decided that the child wearing the Iron Man mask in Iron Man 2 was a young Peter Parker. This connection could not have been officially before because of the separation between the movie properties.

8/10

Overall: 85/100

 

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Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2

Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 is a superhero space movie and the third installment of Marvel Phase 3.

Back in the early 80s, Meredith Quill (Laura Haddock) drives with her boyfriend (Kurt Russell) to a secluded place. She is shown a special plant by her boyfriend as they confess their love for each other. The film then cuts to the Guardians of the Galaxy a few months after the events of the first movie. Peter “Star-Lord” Quill (Chris Pratt) leads the group as they defend high-quality batteries from some eldritch monster. Peter and Gamora (Zoe Saldana) approach their employers, the Soveriegn, for their reward: the captured Nebula (Karen Gillan), Gamora’s sister through adoption. Rocket (Bradley Cooper) steals some of the Sovereign’s batteries in an attempt to make more money. Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki), leader of the Sovereign, is made aware of the theft and orders they be captured. Their attempts are foiled by a lone spaceship piloted by Peter’s father, who reveals himself as Ego.

Meanwhile, Yondu (Michael Rooker) and his band of Ravagers are confronted by the high-ranking Ravager Stakar Ogord (Sylvester Stallone) for trafficking children, a call-back to Yondu taking Peter Quill in the previous film, ultimately sowing discontent among Yondu’s team. Ayesha approaches Yondu to capture the Guardians of the Galaxy. The Ravagers are able to capture half the crew, but the crew ultimately mutinies and throws Yondu in a holding cell with the captured Guardians.

Plot

The movie has a main plot and a smaller plot that converge together in the middle of the second act. The film sets up for a generic hero plot of the heroes being pursued by the villains until unlikely allies team up and save the day, but this movie takes a different and much appreciated approach. The pacing is well done, making it so the film does not get too dramatic or over-the-top comedic. It pushes against the edge of absurd and realistically sad, but pulls back at the right times.

8/10

Characters

With this being a sequel, much of the broad character development is already known to the audience, leaving time to finely tune their personalities or to introduce new characters. The movie does well to do both with the interactions of new characters to the already established, such as Ego with Peter Quill or Drax (Dave Bautista) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff). The relationship between Nebula and Gamora is also expanded, detailing their troubled childhood adopted and raised by Thanos. Among the new characters is Mantis, an empath working with Ego that channels emotions but largely unable to feel any by herself. She ends up spending a lot of time with the Guardians and discovers her own personality through them.

9/10

Language

Keeping with space and planets largely unfamiliar with the audience, the movie will reference places and aliens without much context, though they do reference previous places like Xandar from the previous film. Also, though not as prevalent as I would have hoped, Groot (Vin Diesel) has spoken lines in the film, but have to be derived from the context of the situation or translated by Rocket.

7/10

Theme

The primary theme of the movie revolves around family, genetic or found. Star Lord is immediately questioned about his genealogy after speaking with the Sovereign. A moment later, Gamora is questioned about her relationship with Nebula, to which Gamora says that she’s more interested in Nebula’s bounty instead of being sisters. Ego is eager to reunite with Peter and Peter needs to adjust to meeting his father and catching up for lost time.  The idea of family is touched on almost every level: those who are missing, those who are present, those we don’t want present, and making a family out of our closest associates.

9/10

Music

The music is easily my favorite part about the movie. Much like the previous installment, the soundtrack features songs from the 70s and 80s. The songs not only help with the pacing of the movie, some of them are addressed directly in the film. Ego and Peter discuss the lyrics of “Brandy,” the song Ego and Meredith listen to at the top of the movie. Peter also has the opportunity to listen to “Father and Son” at one of the most emotionally invested moments of the film.

However, my absolute favorite use of  music comes during the opening title crawl. While the rest of the Guardians fight the giant space squid, Groot takes advantage of the speaker system Rocket set up to dance to Electric Light Orchestra’s “Mr. Blue Sky.” The song itself has a way to make people happy, but mixed with baby Groot and his interactions with his environment, I found it impossible to be sad during that scene.

10/10

Spectacle

Since the majority of the movie takes place on alien planets, extravagant scenes and makeup were used to capture the setting of the moment. The Sovereign’s intense presence of opulence is capped off by their skin and their world covered in gold. Ego’s planet is bright and colorful, with the only limits being his imagination. Contained sets, like taking place on spaceships, gave a claustrophobic feeling of everything closing in on the characters. The worlds built and rebuilt in this film are something to admire.

10/10

Star Power

All of the previous main cast return for the movie, while the special guest stars are big 80s icons. Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Dave Bautista, and Michael Rooker return for their roles, while Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell each play significant roles throughout the film.

9/10

Audience Demographic

As a sequel, it’s very hard to get people interested halfway through the film franchise without the context of the previous film, or perhaps a general understanding of the 2008 run of the Guardians of the Galaxy comic books. Also, being the 15th film overall in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a lot of it is counting on the momentum of returning fans and audience members instead of new ones.

6/10

Post-movie Thoughts

As with the rest of the MCU films, this movie has extra footage during and after the credits. This movie is special, having 5 post-film scenes throughout the credits instead of one or two as is the norm. These scenes prep the audience for future interactions with the Guardians of the Galaxy (a third movie has been confirmed and the Guardians are planned on being involved with the Infinity War). My biggest take-aways from the film on its own is the message about family and Groot dancing to Mr. Blue Sky, now being one of the most memorable movie openings that I’ve ever seen.

8/10

Universe Galaxy Building

One of the most difficult parts of the film is carrying the momentum of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This film is set off of Earth, separating it from the Avengers. It’s also not tied with Thor, who also resides off of Earth, making their connection to the rest of the MCU very tenuous. The previous film briefly features Thanos, giving it a connection to the Phase 3 villain of the franchise. The connection is much less secure in this film, as Thanos’s presence isn’t at the capacity that it was for the previous film.

5/10

Overall: 81/100

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