Tag Archives: Shane Black

Guardians of the Galaxy Review, A Space Opera though the eyes of Marvel


Guardians of the Galaxy

Directed by: James Gunn

Starring: Chris PrattZoe SaldanaDave BautistaVin DieselBradley CooperLee PaceMichael RookerKaren GillanDjimon HounsouJohn C. ReillyGlenn CloseBenicio del Toro, and Josh Brolin

Recently Marvel’s track record has been less than enjoyable for me. Ever since Iron Man they’ve turned into a production company that reuses the same format that worked the first time but not so much with their other movies. Since The Avengers, Marvel has become the leading studio for successful movies. Even if it is considered to be a risk for the studio it is anything short of a risk. Marvel is such a hot property right now that it is unlikely that they will fail. Guardians of the Galaxy is technically a risk since they are stepping away from the main four heroes and focused on a group of renegades in space. The tropes that do follow their movies are there but it is so vastly different from anything else that they have done. Weirdly enough I enjoyed the studio stepping away from what they are used to and making something truly entertaining and unique.

The movie starts us off at Earth and Peter Quill is witnessing the death of his mother. Not long after he encounters a space ship outside of the hospital that eventually takes him aboard. Since then he become partners in crime with the ship’s captain Yondu (Michael Rooker). Flash forward 20 years, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is now an outlaw going by the name of Star Lord and he is on a mission to acquire an orb that holds great power. Soon he learns that he isn’t the only on looking for it. After failing to sell the orb on the Nova Corps home world Xandar, Gamora (Zoe Saldana), adopted daughter of Thanos the Mad Titan (Josh Brolin), attacks Star Lord in an attempt to steal the orb for her self. Also at the same time Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel), receive a bounty on Quill. After a street brawl between the four, they are captured and imprisoned in the Kyln.

Meanwhile Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) is plotting to destroy Xandar, with the help of Thanos. To do so he needs to get a hold of the orb that Star Lord possesses. In prison, Star Lord and his would be assassins decide to team up and escape the prison with the help of Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), a maniac with a vendetta against Ronan and Thanos. After escaping prison the five unlikely heroes team up to stop Ronan from getting his hands on the orb and stopping his plans to destroy the galaxy.

To say that this movie is completely different than any Marvel movie is an understatement. Instead this movie feels like a standalone movie, only with slight hints at the other movies. The characters are interesting and play well off of one another. It’s completely odd to see the star of a movie be a raccoon who talks like a gangster and is tough for his size. The best character is by far Groot. He speaks very little and when he does it’s all just “I am Groot” but it seems Rocket can understand everything he is trying to say. These two characters have an interesting chemistry and it is weird to find sympathy with characters that are trees and raccoons. That’s where the risk really comes from. You don’t ever have characters as such as these nor having them headline a big blockbuster. The rest of the characters are also fascinating and really work well with the story. Driven by rage, Drax will stop at nothing to take vengeance on Ronan even if it screws the others over. These characters are much different than what other Marvel characters because they are superheroes but rather renegades just trying to make it by.

The acting is pretty great all around. Chris Pratt makes for a great leading man and really uses his comedic timing to provide laughs just as much as Robert Downey Jr. did in the first Iron Man. Zoe Saldana is great as the assassin who starts coming around to working as a group. She has really become the go to actress for science fiction space operas and she has excelled at playing the tough yet fragile female lead. Dave Bautista does a good job with his character but he is the weakest lead by far. He provides a lot of laughs with his characters inept understanding of metaphors but he always feels wooden.

Lee Pace does a good job as Ronan but considering that the villain is the weakest part of any Marvel movie. All of Marvels movies fail to even make an interesting villain and they always have the same motivations, they wanna destroy some kind of planet but they are never convincing in their motivations. They take more time focusing inaction than making a good villain and that’s the movies biggest downfall. He could have been an interesting character if he stayed true to his intentions in the first place. He is essentially Nero (Eric Bana) from 2009s Star Trek. Nebula (Karen Gillian) is interesting only in the fact that she had a little more character development and a backstory that makes her intentions a little bit more plausible.

I found the movie extremely entertaining and well done. The special effects are well done and so is the action. I found the comedy to hit the mark each time and really made it more enjoyable. I also like that the final fight didn’t involve to super powered people beating the hell out of each other.

Though it had some problems it ended up being one of the most enjoyable film of the summer and it comes high recommended.

Grade: A



Iron Man 3, the flawed return to the marvel universe

Iron Man 3

Directed By: Shane Black

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, and Ben Kingsley

It surprises me that the Marvel Cinematic Universe became as successful as it did, two separate billion dollar grossing movies and nearly ten movies either out or in the works. With every new entry I start disliking the series even more, they are producing far too many movies in a short period of time and it is starting to get redundant. Iron Man 3 looked as if they were going with a much more serious tone with a villain that actually looks threatening compared to every other villain that was in the movies so far. What they did instead was make a movie that relied more on the comedy aspect than actually making a good story and you wanna know what that is the biggest flaw that Marvel is doing now a days is that they are making these movies appeal to the younger audience and they choose to make it light hearted instead of focusing on the characters journey.

Marvel Studios’ “Iron Man 3″ pits brash-but-brilliant industrialist Tony Stark/Iron Man against an enemy whose reach knows no bounds. When Stark finds his personal world destroyed at his enemy’s hands, he embarks on a harrowing quest to find those responsible. This journey, at every turn, will test his mettle. With his back against the wall, Stark is left to survive by his own devices, relying on his ingenuity and instincts to protect those closest to him. As he fights his way back, Stark discovers the answer to the question that has secretly haunted him: does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man?

I have deep admiration for the road that Shane Black wanted to take but I think in the end the final product is by far the weakest the series has to offer and doesn’t live up to first one or even The Avengers, which I am starting to dislike as a movie. I had feeling that Mandarin could have finally brought in a villain that poses a threat for Iron Man instead of machine on machine but boy was I wrong. Spoilers Ahead So Beware. The Mandarin is actually an actor hired by Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) so that he could be the scape goat and Aldrich can get aware with the crime. I can’t think of a worse way of including a villain in the movie, he is just reduced to some bland actor who doesn’t pose any threat to the main character. The studio decided to reduce Iron Man’s prime villain to a stupid twist like this movie. This is my biggest problem because he was marketed to extremes, making him seem like the Joker or Bane of this series but once again the villain in these movies don’t live up to expectations. It also doesn’t help that the real villain is a terrible excuse for one. At one point he breaths fire at one of the characters and that is when I was done with this movie. First you ruin what could have been a great villain and then you add something as ridiculous as someone who has healing abilities and fire breathing abilities that you would never coming from a movie like this. Then you include the Iron Patriot, another departure from the comics, and you give him absolutely nothing to do. This movie is not what it could have been at all. About halfway through the movie really falls apart and ends with a less than stellar fight sequence that could have been truly awesome.

There were definitely moments in the movie that I really enjoyed such as the barrel of monkeys catch seen that used real stunt actors falling in mid air and Iron Man catching them. I also liked the small diversion in Tennessee which shows that Tony Stark is just a man who needs help from even the smallest person. There were moments that I was entertained by but ultimately this has to be the biggest disappoint of the year so far and a very poor way for marvel to start their Phase Two of their Cinematic Universe I hope the likes of Thor Dark World, Captain America Winter Solider, and Guardians of the Galaxy don’t suffer from the same troubles.

5.5 out of 10