Tag Archives: Zoe Saldana

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2

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Its predecessor was an action packed, laugh a minute, wonderful surprise that threw Marvel universe into space. Of course a sequel was inevitable and hopes are high with director James Gunn returning to oversee the madness. But can lightening strike twice?

Set two months after the events of the last movie, we catch up with the Guardians who have managed to upset the Sovereign race due to Rocket’s thieving impulses. Their escape eventually leads them to an unexpected reunion between Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) and his father, a living planet called Ego (Kurt Russell). However it’s not long before the Guardians find themselves in trouble again and have to fight to keep the gang together.

It was always going to be an uphill battle to match the same rebellious, unexpected spirit that Guardians of the Galaxy gave us. While Volume 2 doesn’t quite hit those highs dues to the lack of element of surprised it’s still a rollercoaster of fun and laughter. Humour was a strong part of the first movie’s success and Volume 2 delivers on many funny one liners and great sight gags.

The Guardians themselves are still a loveable ragtag group of misfits with Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) often being a scene stealer. We also gets more development on the sisterly rivalry between Gimora (Zoe Saldana) and Nebula (Karen Gillan) which more often than not spills into violence. New characters Mantis (Pom Klementieff) is also introduced and fits in seamlessly with the other Guardians and has a funny odd couple friendship with the blunt and tactless Drax (Dave Bautisa).

The film’s excitable energy does starts to waver towards its last act and while Michael Rooker is great as returning character Yondu (“I’m Mary Poppins”– it makes sense in context), I didn’t quite buy his redemptive arch or the film trying to make out he was a good guy all along. Didn’t he still beat Peter as a kid? However these quibbles aside Volume 2 shows that there’s still life in these loveable rogues yet and there encounter with the more professional Avengers in next years Infinity Wars movie should make for an entertaining encounter.

(As an aside note this film rivals the last Fast and Furious Movie with the amount of time the word ‘family’ is mentioned. Does Vin Diesel have some kind of contract where the word must always be referenced?)

Rating 4/5 – a less surprising but still a riveting ride with Marvel’s funniest heroes

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Top 5 Female Marvel Characters Who Need Their Own Movie

I love Marvel, I really do, but it’s flabbergasting that we’ve had to wait so long for the first Marvel female superhero flick to hit the big screen. The DC films may have their issues (a lot of issues) but they’ve still managed to get Wonder Woman to our screens this year. We’ll have to look to 2018 for Evangeline Lily to share joint billing with Paul Rudd in Ant-Man and The Wasp, and then another year for the first solo Marvel female to lead the big screen in Captain Marvel. So who should be in Marvel’s lineup for Phase 4?

5. Scarlet Witch

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With Doctor Strange allowing the MCU to go to psychedelic new places surely the world is ready for a completly bonkers Scarlet Witch movie? Considering Scarlet Witch is a powerful character who lacks control over said abilities she’s ripe for potentially great plotlines.

In the comic Scarlet Witch used her powers to depower 90% of the mutants, now imagine her having accidentily depowered the Avengers and having to go on a quest to restore their powers before the next big bad attacks. It could have the Avengers living without powers and some comedy with Hawkeye and Black Widow feeling like the superior ones for once, having to train the avengers on physical fighting while Scarlet Witch goes to right her wrongs.

Or we could have her finding outthat members of her family are alive, now in the comics her father was Magneto but due to studio conflict her father could be remade into a different villain with Scarlet Witch being torn between family ties and her loyalties to the Avengers. If Marvel really wanted to break the moulds and try something different then Scarlet Witch could be a great way to bring some inventive into the mix.

4. Gamora

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When you think of memorable characters from Guardians of the Galaxy Gamora may not be the first to spring to mind. Having to keep playing the straight man to Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper and co means Zoe Saldana wasn’t able to showcase her full range. However while the rest of the characters would work best in a wacky ensemble Gamora is maybe one of the few strong enough characters to lead her own movie.

Think about it, she’s a strong fighter with a tragic back story and a need to make up for her misdeeds under Ronan. She could split for the other Guardians for an intergalactic adventure, maybe teaming up/ running away from her sister Nebula and the movie can explore their complicated relationship. While also dealing in kick-ass fights of course. Maybe if a bit of broad humour is needed then Rocket can come along for the ride. With Saldana playing second fiddle in an array of blockbusters (Guardians, Star Trek, Avatar) isn’t it about time Saldana leads her own movie?

3. Spider-Gwen

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Now that Spider-Man has been rebooted (again!) and with the MCU having a hand in precedings this time around maybe it’s time to introduce another character from the Spidey-Verse. While there’s a lot of love out there for a Miles Morales feature (and I would love it if the Donald Glover rumours turn out to be true) another character I’d want to see is Spider-Gwen.

Yes in the Spidey-Verse where different Spider-Men, er people, come together we discover in one verse that Gwen Stacey lives! Not just that but she is bitten by that pesky spider instead of Peter Parker. The character became so popular she got her own comic series and she is a delight. She’s a smart, funny and likeable character that male and female fans enjoy. A blonde teenager who juggles friendship, family life and battling evil guys? This film has ‘directed by Joss Whedon’ all over it, and with less pressure than with The Avengers sequel maybe he can be persuaded to make a return to the MCU.

2. Ms Marvel

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Like Spider-Gwen the all new Ms Marvel Kamala Khan has been a big hit since her comic series debuted in 2010. Kamala is an Inhuman Superhero who protects her home of Jersey City with her shapeshifting abilities. What marks Kamala out from the other teenage superheroes is her strong belief in her faith, trying to be good Muslim daughter while fighting the big bads. It would be easy to see Kamala as a box ticking exercise or expect her religious beliefs to be treated as a bad stereotype. However Kamala, and by extension her family and friends are treated with respect, sensitively and also they are asll made to be three dimensional characters in their own rights.

The series is also hilarious with Kamala attempting to quip her way through fights and her delight in being a superhero is great to see. Of course there’s teen angst and romantic entanglements but nothing feels cliche and Kamala is the freshest superhero Marvel has had in a long time. As her character has had interactions with Captain Marvel, Spiderman and even Wolverine it would be easy to throw her into the Marvel mix and the potential for crossover gold would be high. Come on Marvel make it happen!

1. Black Widow

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Making her debuted all the way back in 2010’s Iron Man 2 Natasha Romanov has been waiting a long time for her own solo movie. Having also featured in two Avengers movies as well as the last two Captain America films Black Widow has long put in the work for the MCU. Fans are calling out for her to have her own movie, audiences are familiar with her character and Scarlet Johansson is a big movie star, so what’s the hold up? Surely the stars are aligning for Natasha to get own movie.

So what could a Black Widow movie look like? Considering her past as a spy maybe one of her old missions come back to haunt her or she’s attempting a path of redemption? Her mysterious past could offer a wealth of ideas. As for supporting characters, as much as I like her relationships with Captain America and Iron Man, anything more than a cameo from either of these two would threaten to overshadow Black Widow in her own movie. A more natural companion would be Hawkeye, as the two already have a confirmed on screen friendship but I would like to see Black Widow take Scarlet Witch under her wing. Black Widow is all about control and logic whereas we’ve seen Scarlet Witch struggle with her powers and her emotions. They would make an interesting pair and a kick-ass buddy movie (imagine the scrapes they would get into). It would also give fellow Avenger Elisabeth Olsen a chance to shine (if she fails to get own solo film) and give Johansson new dimensions for her character, allowing her to focus on female friendships which we haven’t seen from Black Widow or Marvel yet. The film could also follow a mentor/student route rather than putting Black Widow with a male character just to force a romantic subplot down our throats (here’s looking at you Age of Ultron).

So what’s it going to be Marvel? Hopefully they’ve got a few big ideas up their sleeves and I can’t wait to hear them.

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Guardians of the Galaxy

So we’ve had Iron Man, Thor and co in their solo films and together in the mighty Avengers movie, now Marvel brings out the newcomers. But as one of their lesser-known properties can Marvel work their magic on this band of heroes.

Abducted from Earth as boy Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), otherwise known as Star-Lord was brought up among thieves. As an adult he finds himself in trouble when he steals a sphere shaped artifact with unknown powers, which everyone seems to want. He soon crosses the path of an array of aliens including Gamora (Zoe Saldana) a remorseful assassin, Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) whose looking for revenge, Groot (Vin Diesel) a tree-like humanoid who can only say “I am Groot”, and Rocket (Bradley Cooper) a genetically engineered talking raccoon. These strangers soon have to work together when an enemy bigger then themselves start looking for the artifact, hoping to use it to cause as much death and destruction as possible.

The basic plot may not be original-a ragtag bunch of misfits must overcome their differences to work together against a common enemy. It could basically be the Avengers-in space! But what marks out Guardians of the Galaxy is the sense of pure fun and weirdness that ensures that this superhero movie is anything but a bog standard adventure.

James Gunn was considered quite the risk as a director having directed mostly indie films such as the body-alien horror Slither. But just like Joss Whedon before him Marvel have proven that the risk has payed off. Gunn clearly enjoys the sense of anarchy and wackiness that is embodied in this film. When your main characters include a talking raccoon you must have a director that has the balls to run with the weirdness and make it into something that is funny, exciting and at times quite touching without diluting all the oddness that comes with it.

It helps that our guardians are all equally as engaging as each other. There is no weak link here and everyone has a chance to shine. Chris Pratt has had quite the year being the lead in the mega hit The Lego Movie (another film that was a lot better than everyone expected it to be), and as Peter he’s the everyman that the audience can identify with. He’s not a squeaky clean goodie-goodie and is all the better for it. Peter is funny, likeable and probably gone a bit mad having listen to the same music (Awesome Mixtape 1) for the past 26 years. Saldana gets a lot of excellent fight scenes as the remorseful Gamora and has good chemistry with Pratt. Burista is surprisingly funny and has a sad back story that drives his anger. Vin Diesel as Groot is sweet and conveys a lot for someone whose character has a limited vocabulary. Rocket will probably be a lot of people’s favourite character and Cooper manages to make this talking raccoon as twisted and hilarious as you imagine he would be but also more than just a one joke character that could have been very annoying.

As for the villains we get Lee Pace as the main baddie, the psychotic Ronan The Accuser, and former Doctor Who assistant Karen Gillian as Nebula his right hand woman. Between them they don’t make things easy for the Guardians and get lots of good fight scenes and plenty of boo-hiss moments to get you rooting for their comeuppance. Also one of my favourite bits of the movie is Ronan’s reaction to Peter’s interesting attempts at distraction. How Pace did not crack up during filming I don’t know.

It’s a movie which on paper probably looks mad, and it is but that doesn’t make Guardians any less enjoyable. In fact it’s to be commended for being a bit different to its other Marvel siblings. Plus any film that mentions the awesomeness of Footloose and Kevin Bacon has my vote.

Rating 4/5 – give the crazy lesser known heroes a try and I guarantee you’ll be hooked, and if nothing else it’s the best movie featuring a talking raccoon this year!

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