MMT Quick Review of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 by contributor Darryl King

Saving the universe one time was luck, saving it a second time requires some skill. Thus by summoning our heroes, the Guardians of the Galaxy, they return with new adventures designed at winning our hearts… again. All of the lovable band of misfits return – Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel) as the family we didn’t know we wanted, but are quite thankful for being the one we needed.

 

Back in 2014, the original “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.1” was the surprise movie hit of that year, foretold with strange characters who were completely out of the norm, and with a beautifully crafted story that resonated with modern-day audiences.  G.O.T.G. provided Marvel fans a healthy dose of the wildly delightful expansion of the MCU mythos – the worlds beyond the earth as our introduction into the cosmic universe.

 

Now three years later, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” starts off the blockbuster movie season and the question arises – can this movie spark that special flame again and take us on that magical carpet ride through the galaxy? 

 

The answer is yes! “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2” is a wonderfully delivered movie which will satisfy all of your senses with timely action scenes filled with plenty of Marvel’s formulaic, comedic dialog, along with a veritable cornucopia of vivid colors as this film’s visual palette – and a heartwarming storyline based upon the common theme of what constitutes a family.

 

A family that grows exponentially with characters Yondu & Nebula, originally antagonists in Vol. 1, who join the Guardians along with some quite obscure beings to fabricate this remarkable story. If you thought the Guardians of the Galaxy members were notable, wait until you meet Mantis (Pom Klementieff) and Ego the Living Planet (Kurt Russell) – one of whom answers the “Star-Lord dad” question from the first movie, thus amplifying the emotional baggage of our heroes.

 

Emotions that highlight the sensitive yet distinct personalities of our G.O.T.G. members. Star-Lord is even more cool and swash buckling but becomes even more gullible. Gamora continues to be the illustrious warrior but her rough exterior is softened while Drax, whose dry wit paves the comedic undertones for the entire film, grows in wisdom. No one has more brashness without a filter than Rocket, but his journey is the most dynamic as his heart becomes bigger than his body. And lastly, who can resist the adorability of Baby Groot!

 

The strength of director James Gunn is the ability to weave an intricate story line with visual sensibilities based on camera angles and shots that draw the viewer into the action.  The original G.O.T.G. relied heavily on action but, in Vol. 2, Gunn is somewhat shackled during the first two acts because this distinctive narrative requires a fully laid out back story of the Ravagers and Ego the Living Planet. 

 

Some may feel that the film lags because of that, but I would describe the film as intentional. Gunn needed to be deliberate with his storytelling, so as to not lose his audience with these very weird concepts – plot points that allow for a better payoff once we arrive at the 3rd act of the film.

 

Like any Marvel movie, remember to stay after the credits because there are five post-credit scenes. If you know your Marvel comics, these sequences will have you ready to jump out of your seat! I felt just like I did after the post-credit scene from the first Avengers, that revealed my favorite Marvel villain Thanos.  Similarly, I felt alone clapping with excitement, as these scenes finally announce something that I have been waiting for years to come to this Marvel Universe. 

 

I’m not sure if 3D is the best way to experience this film though. James Gunn is such a great filmmaker, who dabbles well within the margins of the frame, showering the backgrounds with so much beauty, details and Easter eggs, that the 3D framework can distract and may overshadow the film’s stylization.

 

In the end, GOTG Vol.2 does not disappoint. It’s like biting into a fresh and juicy piece of fruit, a flavor filled experience, all the way down to its succulent core. With plenty of special nods and plot points from the Marvel universe, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” achieves what it set out to do… save the universe… once more.

Darryl King is a video director, film writer and avid Marvel/DC comic book/movie lover. Check out his reviews of Iron FistLuke Cage, and Dr. Strange right here on MMT.

MMT Quick Review: THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS by contributor Darryl King

I don’t know how they do it but the Fast & the Furious franchise has done it again! Just when you thought it was safe and that this franchise was running out of gas… the movies that cry out about family… continues at record speed.

“The Fate of the Furious” is an explosive movie filled with the usual large action set pieces, corny one liners, fight scenes that capture your imagination and at its core, a heartfelt storyline of family.

This time the family must face its biggest challenge to date… Dominic Loretto (Vin Diesel). For some reason, revealed within the movie, Dominic must turn his back on the one thing to him that matters most… family. “Fast 8” then goes upon a journey to find out why he betrays his friends and how they must deal with him, while saving the world. His turn is a common subplot within the action genre yet this provides an interesting twist upon this series, opening the door for some new characters to be introduced to help balance the scales.

What the Fast & Furious series has always done very well has been the introduction of new characters into the mythos, villains and heroes, who are germane to the storyline without severely diminishing screen time for others. All your favorites from the franchise return, Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), Tej (Ludacris), and Roman (Tyrese) along with a few forgotten characters which help soothe the void of the loss of Paul Walker (O’Conner).

The villain from the last movie, Ian Shaw (Jason Statham) similarly turns sides like Dominic and joins our “Fast” team. His inclusion on the team creates an intriguing dynamic and a wonderful chemistry between Statham and the Rock. The energy between them is special and adds a much-needed spice for this movie.

But Charlize Theron as the evil technological spy known as “Cipher” grounds this film with a dark reality which we haven’t witnessed within this franchise. She is calculated and cruel with a purpose that serves the story.

Helen Mirren also fits so well in this “Fast” world, especially for those who loved her role in the movie “Red.” The only addition that doesn’t work is Scott Eastwood who plays an agent under Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell). It is obvious that they planted his character as a potential replacement for Paul Walker, but he becomes annoying while ciphering screen time from Russell.

Perhaps what makes us love Fast & Furious series, the characters, their stories, and the unbelievable, over the top action is that ever since Fast & Furious 4, this franchise has done a wonderful job at concealing a storyline/twist that changes the outcome of the movie. To that end, this alliteration doesn’t disappoint by tying in the plots from the other movies in this franchise.

Mainly this ploy has been to show that Dominic is much smarter that we realize, so that he is more than a racer/mechanic/leader of the pack of car racers, but this other view always shows our heroes always had another plan. This discovery by us the viewers attempts to make the unbelievable… believable but what it does is it manufactures an even more ridiculous story but ironically allows the film to feel more real.

So, in the end, the movie asks the rhetorical question… what is the Fate of the Furious? The fate is that we will get at least another 2 more movies in this franchise, with millions of enduring fans who can suspend disbelief, buy a big bucket of popcorn and put our faith again… in family.

Darryl King is a video director, film writer and avid Marvel/DC comic book/movie lover. Check out his reviews of Logan, John Wick: Chapter 2 and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story right here on MMT.

GIVEAWAY: advanced screening for THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS Tuesday, April 11 (Philly, Pa area)

Happy Sunday MMT Fam! I know many of you have been waiting for this one and are ready to enter, so let’s get to it! We’re giving away 25 pairs of advanced screening passes to THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS, screening April 11 in King of Prussia.

The film is the eight installment in the wildly popular Fast and the Furious franchise, and finds lead character Dom (Vin Diesel) being seduced by a mysterious woman (Charlize Theron) and betraying those closest to him.

This a subscribers-only contest, but if you’re reading this and haven’t done so already what are you waiting for? To enter, send an email to contests@musicmoviesthoughts.com with the subject line “Fate” and your full name in the body. Winners will be selected at random and notified on Sunday, April 9. And remember: those who follow MMT on Facebook, in addition to the website, always increase their chances of winning!

You can watch the trailer below and get additional info at the official website here. THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS opens in theaters nationwide on April 14.

Good luck!

 

GIVEAWAY: advance screening of ‘Furious 7’ Wednesday, April 1 (Philly, PA)

Furious 7 (photo: Universal Studios)

Happy Friday Night MMT Philly Fam!  Remember last November when MMT gave that quick look at Furious 7? Well, we’ve partnered with Allied-THA for a special advance screening of the film next Wednesday night, April 1. I know all the Furious fans have been waiting for this one, especially since it’s the final franchise appearance of the late Paul Walker.

The first 15 MMT website followers to send an email to thinkmusicmovies@gmail.com, with the subject line “Furious” and their full name in the body, will receive an admit-two pass for the screening. Winners will be notified by Monday, March 30.

You can check out the official trailer for Furious 7 below and get additional information at the website here.

Good luck family!  Until next thought, Thomasena

A Quick Review of Fast & Furious 6 (featuring guest reviewer Brian Henderson)

Fast & Furious 6 (photo: Universal Studios)

Hey Family,

Today marks a MusicMoviesThoughts first!  For the first time in almost two years, I am turning over the quick review of a movie, in this instance Fast & Furious 6, to trusted movie fan and MMT follower Brian Henderson.  Brian has been a long time supporter and is a HUGE movie fan.  Since I could not make the screening, I asked him if he would share his thoughts (minus spoilers of course) and he kindly obliged.

Here is Brian’s synopsis of Fast & Furious 6:

“OMG!  First off, Fast & Furious 6 was so action-packed, I didn’t go to the bathroom!  It’s definitely a great movie; (the kind) when you don’t want to get up and miss anything.  I was so excited to see the whole crew (cast) back again.  The acting was awesome, and I really liked the intense connections that everybody seemed to have with each other; if they weren’t in a movie together you could still imagine them all hanging out.  

Tyrese was funnier to me this time around.  Ludicris had several funny parts, where Tyrese and him (joked) back and forth with each other.  The action scenes  were done perfectly and will have you on the edge of your seat.  Michelle Rodriguez had the best fight scene in this movie, and it was so amazing the audience jumped up and down.  Vin Diesel did a great job, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was excellent as usual.  My son, Taj, couldn’t keep still and neither could my friend (and long time MMT supporter) Carolee.  It almost felt like we were on a rollercoaster ride!

The film wasn’t too long, as some movies are, so I didn’t feel sleepy when I got home. We constantly talked and compared notes on the car ride home.  I definitely will go to see this movie again this weekend when it comes out. If you want an action-packed movie that will keep you jumping up and down ,and  have you screaming with excitement, go see this movie!  Two thumbs up!”

Well family, I think Brian gave a great synopsis of what to expect from Fast & Furious 6.  I will give the disclaimer that Brian is a fan of the series and I know he enjoys action films; so if you are more on the tame side of movie viewing, and constant action isn’t your thing, this may not be the film for you. But if you enjoy thrills and edge of your seat excitement, I think Brian has given you a great movie choice for this weekend. 🙂
Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson lead an all star-cast in Fast & Furious 6, which opens today 5/24/13 nationwide.  You can check out the trailer below and visit the official website for more info at www.thefastandthefurious.com.
A big thanks to Brian Henderson for sharing his vivid thoughts and excitement about this film!  I’m looking forward to MMT’s next guest review…will it be you?
Until next thought family, Thomasena

GIVEAWAY: Win passes to screen Fast & Furious 6 on Tuesday, May 21st (Philly, PA)

Fast & Furious 6 (photo: Universal Studios)

Music Movie family, I know we’ve had a lot of giveaways as of late; but hey, who in his or her right mind would complain about “too many” free movies?  That’s what I thought, certainly not anyone who follows this site! 🙂  With that being said, Music Movies Thoughts, in conjunction with Allied-THA, is giving away passes to screen Universal’s Fast & Furious 6 on Tuesday, May 21.  This highly anticipated sequel has an all-star cast that includes leads Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

For your chance to win, you must be a follower of this site and send an email to thinkmusicmovies@aol.com, with “FAST & FURIOUS 6” in the subject line and your full name in the body of the text.   Anyone who follows me on Twitter, @ledfarr, has a double chance of winning!

You can read a synopsis of the movie below, and go to the official website at www.thefastandthefurious.com to view trailer and get additional info.  Winners will be announced by Sunday, May 19.

Good luck family, Thomasena

FAST & FURIOUS 6 Synopsis

Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Dwayne Johnson lead the returning cast of all-stars as the global blockbuster franchise built on speed races to its next continent in Fast & Furious 6. Reuniting for their most high-stakes adventure yet, fan favorites Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges and Elsa Pataky are joined by series newcomers Luke Evans and Gina Carano. 

Since Dom (Diesel) and Brian’s (Walker) Rio heist toppled a kingpin’s empire and left their crew with $100 million, our heroes have scattered across the globe. But their inability to return home and living forever on the lam have left their lives incomplete. 

Meanwhile, Hobbs (Johnson) has been tracking an organization of lethally skilled mercenary drivers across 12 countries, whose mastermind (Evans) is aided by a ruthless second-in-command revealed to be the love Dom thought was dead, Letty (Rodriguez). The only way to stop the criminal outfit is to outmatch them at street level, so Hobbs asks Dom to assemble his élite team in London. Payment? Full pardons for all of them so they can return home and make their families whole again. 

Building on the worldwide blockbuster success of Fast Five and taking the action, stunts and narrative to even greater heights, Fast & Furious 6 sees director Justin Lin back behind the camera for the fourth time. He is supported by longtime producers Neal H. Moritz and Vin Diesel, who welcome producer Clayton Townsend back to the series.