Dave Bautista

Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 – Review #74

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images.jpgGuardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2, directed by James Gunn, is the sequel to the smash hit Guardians of the Galaxy from 2014, and stars a cavalcade of actors and actresses. Peter Quill and his fellow Guardians are hired by a powerful alien race, the Sovereign, to protect their precious batteries from invaders. When it is discovered that Rocket has stolen the items they were sent to guard, the Sovereign dispatch their armada to search for vengeance. As the Guardians try to escape, the mystery of Peter’s parentage is revealed.

I, like so many other people, were blown away and subsequently loved the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie. Heh, do you remember when we weren’t sure if this was gonna score? Foresight, huh?

Needless to say, I was amazingly hyped for this movie. It just appealed to me on a basic level; it was probably the music. I’ll say right now tried to be objective as I could whilst watching, to little effect. Because hell yeah, this is a good sequel.

The movie is going the Sam Raimi Spider-Man route in the sense that its more personal and introspective than the first movie. It’s expanding on the characters, and most of them get development that I found to be very intriguing and actually pretty interesting. I cared for these characters, and it made me feel emotions that the current MCU hasn’t at all.

The cast is the same as it was last movie, so it’s great. The main Guardians work off of each other very well. Starlord and Gamora get the most depth in this, which gives Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana some actual leeway to act, and it works. Down the line is Yondu and Rocket, whom also both work very well off each other. Bautista’s Drax and Baby Groot get the least development and mostly serve as comic relief, but I’ll be damned if they don’t work.

We got a few new characters too, and for the most part they work. Pom Klementiff as Mantis, Elizabeth Debicki as Ayesha and Sean Gunn as Kraglin are at the very least memorable and harmless. We’ll probably get more from them in later films.

And then we have motherfucking Jack Burton himself, Kurt Russell as the villain Ego. A memorable villain that’s not Loki? Who sacrificed a goat for this miracle because I wanna thank them. He absolutely ruled in this movie. Thumbs way up for me here.

Of course, the 70’s music is one of this franchise’s most distinct and unique features, and here it does not disappoint. The “songs-I-knew-before-watching” number may have dropped from 4 to 2, but it just works. The fact that most of those songs are in my phone now prove that.

I really am trying to find some flaws here. I suppose some of the jokes don’t hit, and there’s one particular joke that they dragged probably a bit too much, but for the most part it flows fine. The funny scenes are funny, and the sad scenes actually strike. This a a good movie and a damn good sequel.

So yeah, in conclusion, if you liked the first movie, then you will have no problems watching this one. This is this generation’s Star Wars, I tell you. Some kids are gonna grow up with Rocket Raccoon and Groot instead of R2-D2 and C3PO, and that’s completely fine by me.


Spectre – Review #52

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Good God the opening shot felt so good. No, not the tracking shot, the one before that. That shot.

SpectreSpectre, directed by Sam Mendes, is the 24th official film in the James Bond franchise. Daniel Craig once again plays Bond, this time doing a more personal assignment in Mexico. When things get out of hand, and by out of hand I mean demolished a building, Bond is grounded by M. And speaking of M, he’s having a power struggle with C, the head of the new Joint Intelligence Service. The JIS is planning to make an agreement between nine countries called the ‘Nine Eyes’ agreement, which would render the ’00’ section of the MI6 useless. So you can see why M doesn’t want that. Bond, disobeying M’s orders, travels to Rome. I won’t spoil much else, because frankly, the storyline’s way too thick to describe quickly in one paragraph.

This movie, being the 4th Bond movie in the Craig-era, and following after the great Skyfall, has a lot to live up to. Is it better than Skyfall? Well, it depends on how you want your Bond. Skyfall was a grittier Bond film, with the movie having more focus on the issues with the characters. It’s not that there’s no wit and charm, it’s just that it’s severely under-played to fit the darker story, if I recall correctly. Spectre, on the other hand, is a more traditional Bond film, just with a darker coating. It’s Goldfinger wearing Casino Royale, and it wears it pretty well for the most part. Hearing ‘gritty grunty’ Daniel Craig Bond say flirty one-liners can be pretty strange, but you get used to it. Heck it even has some of the more ‘out there’ cliches concerning Bond films. Car with numerous gadgets and gizmos? Check. An near unstoppable mini-boss for Bond and Bond girl to defeat? Batista says hello. Outrageous villain with a love for domestic animals? All hail Christoph Waltz. While the cliches themselves are nonsensical if you think about it too much, director Sam Mendes is able to downplay it not too much as to become boring, but not too little as to retain its goofiness.

Speaking of Sam Mendes, this is his second Bond film, and it is one of the best Bond films I’ve ever seen, from a visual standpoint. Then again, I’ve only watched 4 Bond films, including this one, but I digress. This movie is the freaking dictionary definition of the word ‘slick’. Everything about it is just…slick. The way the camera ‘glides’ with its shot setting, the yellow hues from the lighting, all of it just works. It looks like those car commercials you see with a night time setting and a very expensive car. Imagine that, but with James Bond.

The cast is still great as always. Daniel Craig is again great as Bond. He’s still the grittier Bond that we see from Casino Royale onwards, but this time his humor is amped up just a bit. Ben Whishaw is Q, the gadget guy and the source of most of the comic relief. His chemistry with Craig is great, with them exchanging witty dialogue when they meet every time. Ralph Fiennes is the new M, following the great Judi Dench, and while I’m sure he’ll grow into the role with subsequent films, here he’s a bit vanilla. Léa Seydoux is Madeleine, our resident Bond girl for the movie. She’s one of the few Bond girls I remember that actually helps Bond when he gets in a kerfuffle, and I really hope that the relationship that they have doesn’t end à la On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. My poor heart-and Bond’s- will break. Dave Bautista is our Oddjob, and yeah, I can buy that he’s this grizzly bear of a man. Nothing else to add. Christoph Waltz is our main villain Blofeld, and good God does he eat every scene he’s in, all 3 of them. Yes, people have criticized the movie in that Blofeld isn’t in it much, but I think that’s a good thing. Yes. he’s only in 3 scenes, or set pieces to be more precise, but those scenes are long enough for him to establish himself, and not too long for him to out-stay his welcome. Who DOES out-stay his welcome though is Andrew Scott as C. It’s less about the actor and more about the part, really, although his acting in this does feel like he’s rehashing Moriarty. His character’s entire sub-plot felt rushed, and you could see the ‘twist’ from a mile away. Overall though, the cast is well rounded.

And before I conclude, special mention goes to Thomas Newman for the music throughout the movie. I don’t have much to say about him, just wanted to compliment his work. The strings that accompany most of the movie’s sound just fit. Oh, and Sam Smith sang a song I think whatever.

All in all, Spectre is like Goldfinger remade with the stylings of today. Grit with cheese, dirt with sprinkles. This might turn some people away as it deviates slightly from the much more serious Craig-era Bond films like Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, but I personally really liked it. Maybe if the script was re-worked a bit more, it may have been better, but I still enjoyed what I got.

So I guess I should watch Casino Royale now to ease the wrath of Bond fans.