Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2

Potty Mouth Perils in Passage

‘Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2’ was more of an introspective movie than the first one. We get further back story and context in regards to the relationship of Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Yondu (Michael Rooker), and Ego the Living Planet (Kurt Russell). This is a majority Peter Quill storyline, a development on his character and backstory residual from the previous movie. Granted, this gives the other characters less time to develop as the movie goes on, but what was lacking in screen time was made up in the amount of levity and emotion concerning the scenes of the other Guardians (although Rocket does get a considerable amount of screen time with Yondu, but more on that later). Also the movie felt less cluttered given the absence of the Federation and space politics that can bog down a movie like this with exposition dumps if used improperly. The one gleaming example of this practice was when Ego was explaining his origins and the overall drive of the narrative, bringing light to what Peter’s true potential holds as a hybrid being. Granted, this was all set up at the end of the first movie with Yondu giving a closing quip regarding Ego, but there had to be a way to present the information outside of an expository dump and a flashback to when Peter’s mom and Ego were driving across Missouri.

Speaking of set ups, there were several instances where characters and groups were introduced and not given the light of day to fully develop. The Sovereign and Stakar (Sylvester Stallone) are too big of entities in this movie to be relegated as plot devices. They come in at the precise points to cause friction for the Guardians and immediately leave when business is done. They will for sure make a return in the third movie, and be a part of the overall plot, but we as the audience are given little regarding their place in the universe outside of the dealings they have had with Yondu and the Guardians. Aside from that it was sweet experiencing the Easter eggs in the background of specific scenes. Examples being Howard the Duck in the space city and Stan Lee conversing with the Watchers, the audience does not need backstory on these instances, they are more like fun surprises that happen to be within the universe and may pop up at any given point during the Guardians’ adventures; like a wandering thread that is omnipresent.

One aspect of the movie that resonated with me was the amount of emotional growth and expansion upon the characters. Drax for example, despite not having as much screen time as the other Guardians might have, made great strides when conversing with Mantis (Pom Klementieff). Rocket and Yondu have moments where they reveal their true nature to one another and bond over the fact that in their lives they were screwed and squandered opportunities which would have led to deeper meaning. Yondu relates to Rocket, he sees the actions and emotions Rocket goes through when confronted on how he holds himself. Gomorrah (Zoe Saldana) and Nebula (Karen Gillan) reach a point of reconciliation regarding their upbringing and the chaos Thanos wrecked upon their lives. Peter comes to his own conclusion in reference to his lineage and not scrapping the entire universe on the whim of Ego, who, in all seriousness will never be satisfied.

Baby Groot, was not as bad and overused as I thought he would be in comparison to other movie franchise characters *cough cough* minions *cough*. Sure, the baby-fication of characters is a cheap ploy to reinvest audience interest in a character or set of characters, however in the narrative thread it makes sense that Groot would go through a death and rebirth stage at some point in time of the Guardians’ adventures. Plus, it is not as if Baby Groot was helpless and super annoying at any specific point in the movie or used to the point where it would have ruined the entire experience.

All in all, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2’ is the quintessential sequel the first movie deserved, it is more of a personal journey for the gang, they tackle one of the biggest entities in the universe whilst discovering where Peter and by proxy the rest of the crew fits in the universe. Plus, we get more potty humor, the scene that had me cracking up the hardest was when Rocket, Yondu, and Baby Groot were going through all the wormholes and getting warped in the best of psychedelic experiences shot on film with Baby Groot puking in a way that reminded me of something out of a Judd Apatow movie. That part in particular built upon the weird of the world that was shown in past movies like ‘Ant Man’ and ‘Dr. Strange’.

You’re Unforgettable.. Wait: Unforgettable (2017)

This review will be spoiled rotten!

Where to begin? First off, I do not have an economics degree and only know what I have read and heard from sources outside of my school studies, but how can someone afford to “semi-retire” as a blogger in San Francisco? At the age of thirty-four on top of all of that. Granted, she is moving in with new boo David to his valley home, and even then he runs a small brewery and cannot afford to pay his lawyer. Unless I missed something regarding that last bit about the lawyer, there is no way a situation like that could work, where is this extra cash coming from? As superfluous as this may be to knit-pick, it was something I caught immediately and had to bring up to my homie.

The story, a by the books erotic thriller which harkens back to ‘Obsessed’ or ‘Fatal Attraction’, had enough going on to play with manipulating the conventional formula, which could have given levity to the scenes that happened between the spicy scenes. The back and forth between Julia and David having sex, and Tessa sex-chatting with Matt was I would say the first intriguing scene in the movie. The manipulation and the naiveté intertwined that reminded me of a tactic straight out of Game of Thrones. Not all battles are fought with words or physical weapons, sex can be a driving force when it comes to manipulating others to benefit the individual. She releases her frustration and fear of being obsolete by fucking a younger guy and throwing him out of the car like it was nothing. It is the first time we see Tessa put out emotions, and drive, that are not relegated to arch intentions, she loses herself within the sabotage.

Either someone is a saint, or someone is an asshole, the lack of nuance and intrigue makes for some arch and predictable antagonists. Of course, Katherine Heigl (Tessa) would be the Machiavellian, vindictive ex-wife whose point of control is usurped by Rosario Dawson (Julia); as Dawson is clearly more flexible and understanding in a period of her life where she has every right to be as cold and manipulative as Heigl. Dawson’s demeanor and sanity is put through the ringer, having been through a traumatic experience only to land in a scenario where the ex-wife is as crazy as the ex-boyfriend. It does not help that Heigl’s mom in the movie referred to as ‘Lovey’ by the daughter, is anything but; hey I see what they did there. The arch on the grandma makes Heigl look infinitely tamer; it comes off as easy brownie points for added drama and backstory inferring that Heigl’s mom has been doing this to her since cognation. The relationship of Lucille Bluth and Lindsay Funke from ‘Arrested Development’ comes to mind as an example of inverting the cringe into a roast battle. The perspective of the situation never reaches David until it is too late; it is like watching ‘The X-Files’ during a scene where Mulder has everything he needs to convince Scully that aliens are in fact real only to discover that everything is exactly the way it was and Scully gives him that look like “really”?

Which kind of describes my reaction and face when this movie ended. I do not have a problem with characters having a distinct arch in their demeanor, speech, and intentions; but when it takes itself unbelievably seriously the flaws show doubly and create chasms in which movie riffing is at its peak ripening. And I understand that there are movies that are made for specific audiences and that there are movies that I genuinely love that some would consider horseshit and rip on what makes the movies I might like terrible. At the end of the day, having the terrible movies illuminate the pristine movies as well as make for some heavy riff time. As for ‘Unforgettable’, I hope that it hasn’t been by the time I post this piece.