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Movie Review – Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol 2

Movie Grade: A-

Dan says: The first GotG is, I think, the very best of the Marvel movies. While GotGv2 isn’t quite as good, it certainly didn’t disappoint.

The theme of the story (father/son reunion) isn’t anything new, but writer/director James Gunn weaves a thread into the story that makes it uniquely his own.

In a larger context, I think this is why Marvel has been so successful: the movies have plenty of action and spectacle, but are ultimately about relationships and sacrifice. (Note to DC: this is how you do it.)

The humor of GotGv2 is abundant, although I don’t think it has quite as many memorable lines as the original.

Jill says: To start with – I am a worshipper of the original GotG. It is not only my favorite Marvel movie, but my favorite superhero movie, and one of my all-time favorite EVER films. I can’t count how many times I watched Guardians, danced along to Peter’s mix tape, and laughed myself silly at pretty much anything Rocket did. I want to soar through space with these guys on the Milano. Three years I’ve waited to see this team of strangely competent wackos return. I saw the opening day 3D RPX Guardians double feature, and handily won a trivia prize during the intermission. I’m listening to Awesome Mix, Vol 1, right now. Clearly, I’m not a casual fan.

So here’s the thing about the sequel: the main plot is the sticking point of the film. I honestly found the Kurt Russel scenes a bit tedious (though certainly very pretty). Without spoiling anything, boo on the big reveal. And blah to the Sovereign. Even Taserface didn’t do much for me – didn’t we see him in Pirates of the Caribbean 2? (Good through-joke on his ‘outlaw’ name, though. Ha!) There’s a reason why everything in the trailers are about the team and not the plot – the storyline is merely meh. I missed Rhomann Dey, and all the pink people and The Collector, wanted another prison sequence, and even wondered where dumb old Thanos had gotten himself to.

What I really wanted were more ensemble moments with the Guardians. Those moments shined. I was over the moon to have more Yondu and Nebula. Bring it on! I look forward to seeing Baby Groot grow up. I was pleasantly surprised that little Groot, though still deadly, was not just a small version of his old self. This tree is definitely now an infant, and the group understands this. There were some very sweet, intimate little moments with our ‘family’ and their baby.

My feeling is that this film will grow on me. It does deepen one or two of the characters’ back stories, even if it doesn’t further anything. Or, well, much…without giving away a very sad thing.

James Gunn reports he is helming this as a trilogy; perhaps this will be the quiet one of the three. It was a smaller story – which normally I appreciate – but in this tale, I wanted more connection to the larger MCU tale. I know I need to have a re-watch or three, and I probably sound a little petulant. The movie is good! I just have a high bar set. GotGv2 will assuredly grow on me. And now I am listening to Awesome Mix Vol 2…not AS fun as the first, but I can feel it growing on me already.

Movie Review – Passengers

Grade: A+

I am exhausted from a long, late night movie, so I will be short and sweet tonite. Mainly, I want to say: SEE THIS FILM. I never give an A+ rating, and this movie deserves it.

Chris Pratt is a treasure; Jennifer Lawrence brings her A-game, and this movie is a pure delightful mix of romance, science fiction, adventure, and just…beauty. It was hard to find Peetimes, since each moment was a pleasure and a joy.

I saw this film in a rear corner, in a mediocre room, with a small screen and tinny sounds, and it still knocked my socks off. I swear; I cannot find my socks. See this in a great theater, with 3D, with good sound…I will get out to see this properly again as soon as possible. FANTASTIC.

UPDATE: I just saw this film again, in 3D. I recommend the 3D version, even though it wasn’t filmed with that in mind, simply because this movie is so beautiful. On a 3D screen, the space scenes really made me feel like I was there, which is a sort of wish-fulfillment for my geeky soul. The glasses didn’t make anything noticeably darker. It just made everything in space prettier.

NEW NOTE: It seems that if you loved Gravity, you may not like Passengers. And vice-versa. You can tell where I fall on this spectrum. To those berating Jim’s big decision, I ask you – what would YOU have done in his situation? Sometimes I think the critics judge too harshly, without taking human nature into account. In any case, this film is a lot more like The Martian than Gravity, or any of those other uber-serious sci fi films.

Jurassic World – movie review

jurrasic-worldGrade: B+

I have mixed feelings about the movie. The story, and most of the characters, drag the movie down. I’d give that part of the movie a C-, at best.

Chris Pratt is definitely a bright spot. He’s perfectly cast for the roll of Owen — the raptor wrangler. He can be funny when he’s serious and likable when he wants to be.

Claire, played by Bryce Howard (Ron Howard’s daughter), was surprisingly good. I don’t want to give away anything so I’ll just say that I like what they did with her character.

I thought the least likable part of the movie was the two young brothers. Clearly the writers were trying to echo the characters of Timmy and Lex from the original Jurassic Park, but they came up way, way, short. Their entire story arc was useless.

The dinosaur action, which is what everyone is going to see, I’d give an A+. (Or should that be a Yay+?) It started awesome and got better as the movie went on. In my theater the audience applauded after two separate action scenes and again at the end of the movie.

What was lacking was good tension. Too often the story leaps into action without sufficient buildup. Thinking back to Jurassic Park, the tension was palpable because of the pauses between the action, not the action itself. They didn’t really capture that in this version.

I saw it in 2D, but the rest of the RunPee family saw it in IMAX 3D and thought it was worth every cent. After opening night there are 53 votes from RunPee users who saw the movie in 3D. 83% recommend seeing it in 3D.

If the story was better this could easily have been better than the original, but it certainly didn’t disappoint.