Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

Marvel are now deep into phase 3 of their cinematic universe, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is the first of three being released this year. The other two are Spider-Man: Homecoming and Thor: Ragnarok, both of which look epic! A few years back, I declared the first Guardians of the Galaxy as my favourite Marvel film, and it still is (tied with Civil War). Vol. 2 wasn’t as slick as the first, but it sure was still a fun-filled ride packed with the same level of action, charm and comedy we’re used to from Star Lord and the gang.

Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) and his fellow Guardians are hired by Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki), high priestess of the Sovereign, to protect their precious batteries from invaders. When it is discovered that Rocket (Bradley Cooper) has stolen some of the items they were meant to guard, the Sovereign search for vengeance. As the Guardians try to escape, the mystery of Peter’s parentage is revealed.

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Guardians Vol. 2, for the most part, focused on Peter, his “unorthodox” heritage and his father, Ego (played by Kurt Russell). During these bonding times on Ego’s planet, although beautiful and colourful, the pacing was a little slow and the “plot” got a bit lost on me. It never gave me a chance to really engage or care about Ego and Peter’s relationship, but at least Ego’s planet was an incredible sight to behold. And, at least, the audience and Guardians with him were introduced to Mantis (the brilliant Pom Klementieff).

Left behind are Rocket and Groot (Vin Diesel), who team up with Yandu (Michael Rooker) and this is where the fun begins. As always, Rocket shines and was given some of the best lines from interpreting Baby Groot (who was the most adorable yet hilarious thing). Casual and everyday dialogue between characters is Guardians’ strongest feature and I’m glad they’ve kept this formula for the sequel.

Marvel take care of their characters well, taking the appropriate time to develop important ones. This time, the misunderstood daughter-of-Thanos got a turn and we saw Nebula (Karen Gillan) come into her own. Something that excited me, also, was gaining an insight into Yandu and the Ravagers. Yandu is a fascinating character, with the oddest ability, and his scenes were truly quite touching. My only gripe with Guardians 2 was that Sylvester Stallone as Starhawk could’ve been in it more, but, an after credit scene hints this isn’t the last we’ll see of him.

Speaking of after credit scenes, you need to wait out for five. Yep, five! A couple may seem redundant, but all hint to near and distant future plans in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. One of which confirms Marvel fans suspicions surrounding hero Adam Warlock…

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As always, the music was spot on (‘The Chain’ is one my favourite songs and I’m currently listening to ‘Wham Bam’ as I’m writing this). Introducing older 20th Century music into a modern film that brings in a young audience is something I always champion.

Wacky, weird and wonderful, the Guardians of the Galaxy still remain my favourite heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Yes, they are made up of talking trees and enhanced raccoons etc, but as the “odd ones out” in the whole galaxy, they are the closest I’ll come to being able to relate to a superhero.

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Civil War – Predictions and Speculations

Today is a good old-fashioned speculation post. With Captain America: Civil War right around the corner, it’s looking like the biggest Marvel film ever in terms of cast, plot and marketing scheme, (which I didn’t think was even possible after Avengers 2). The reason for this post, is from overhearing a few conversations and it seems many people are “betting” on which character(s) is going to die. Harsh yes, but I’d like to join the discussion so, here are my thoughts… (Warning: Potential spoilers if you haven’t seen the other movies!)

Bucky Barnes / Winter Soldier: 

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Bucky, or the Winter Soldier, has only just redeemed himself and become a “good guy.” He’s not yet fully established in this universe and there is a big reason why he can’t die at the start of his Marvel career. Also, the only person who would be upset at this point is Cap who seems to go to great lengths to protect his man. There is more to see of this character.

Hawkeye:

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Hawkeye is ranking top of the polls right now from what I’ve heard. But here is why I don’t think he can or should die: he is the only member of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or any superhero movie, to have a functional family. This character came into his own in Avengers: Age of Ultron and it would be heart breaking if he died, which is the reaction Marvel crave, so perhaps it would make sense. Hawkeye’s appeared in enough movies after all. But again, he is the only Marvel Superhero to have a working, FUNCTIONAL family. Audiences often need characters to set good examples particularly in times of stress, war and economic trouble (cinema is practically propaganda, but sometimes in a kind of nice nurturing way). Being a cool guy and having a FUNCTIONAL family sets a good example to audiences, enforcing that marriage still works and isn’t dying off, that a career and kids can still happen, that people can have both. Marvel struck the balance right with this guy. Hawkeye, or Agent Barton, counteracts the bad examples of Tony Stark’s play boy life, Scott Lang’s criminal lifestyle or Peter Quill’s lack of commitment to anything/anyone (even though these hero’s do “clean up their act”). All this aside, Hawkeye is an underdog type character and I think he’s great, so I hope he’s here to stay.

Scarlet Witch or Ant Man or Falcon or Vision:

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Marvel would be idiotic to kill off any of these characters. They are not established enough yet. Scarlet Witch’s brother Quicksilver was killed off pretty quickly granted, but, next to Black Widow and until Captain Marvel and The Wasp join, she is the only female hero in this franchise (I exclude Gamora as she isn’t part of this timeline yet). Also, she has the potential to be the strongest Avenger! Ant Man has a sequel scheduled so he’s sticking around. Vision plays host to the mind stone that is in his head, so he needs to be kept on until the Infinity Wars. The most expendable here is Falcon, but Marvel will then fall under scrutiny for a lack of diversity if he’s killed off. Plus, he’s friggin’ awesome.

Black Widow:

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Black Widow is also high ranking, next to Hawkeye. Natasha has been in many many movies after all and is still a secondary character. But with the introduction of Spider-Man and Black Panther, two more male superheroes, and Marvel shying away from giving her her own movie, it will be one huge kick in the face and will further anger/alienate audiences if she is killed off. We NEED Black Widow.

Spider-Man or Black Panther:

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Don’t be silly, they haven’t even made their debut yet. And I can’t wait to see them in action!

War Machine:

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Rhodey has been in it from the very beginning of the MCU in Iron Man (remember Terrence Howard?), so he’s been in enough movies that he could be killed off. He was shown to be unconscious in the trailer, but I’m sure it’s a classic misdirect on Marvel’s part. Being initiated into the new Avengers team has added weight to the character, so I don’t think they would get rid of him yet. We also have the lack of diversity problem that we have with Falcon. Plus, I don’t believe people will care too much if he was killed off… or I won’t… I’m sorry, I can’t stand Don Cheadle and his new characterisation since replacing Terrence Howard. Overall, I think he could outlive Iron Man…

Captain America or Iron Man:

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The two protagonists, almost joint leaders of the Avengers, but now the leaders of their own sides locked in a Civil War. It’s no spoiler that both Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans’ contracts are coming to an end. The impact needed here, the heart break, the tears and the crushing pain of losing a much loved character… I believe it will be either Tony Stark or Steve Rogers. Or both. So just prepare yourselves.

OVERALL VERDICT: Brace yourself for a devastating loss in Iron Man or Captain America’s deaths. But of course, I could be completely wrong.

What do you guys think? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

M x

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