Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 Film Review

In just two films, the GotG franchise has achieved what The Fast and the Furious has lazily attempted in eight: showcasing the value of family.

PHi3FGAu4Fkdlm_1_l

Director James Gunn attempts to recapture the surprising success of the first GotG film.  Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, and Dave Bautista return as the core members, while Kurt Russell, Sylvester Stallone, and Pom Klementieff join in on the action.

After their victory against Ronan the Accuser, the Guardians of the Galaxy gained fame all around the…galaxy. After a conflict against the Sovereign, the Guardians meets the father of Peter Quill (Pratt), Ego the Living Planet (Russell), who has Mantis (Klementieff) as servant/company. As father and son bond for the first time in three decades, the rest of the Guardians discover something sinister in the shadows…

The very first scene of the film reminded me of the unsung character of the previous film: the soundtrack. As expected, the soundtrack of the film is fantastic. Most of the time, it is very retro, but very emotional in a few (more to that later).

James Gunn managed to juggle an ensemble of characters again. Each character had a time to shine (much more in a positive light compared to the first one). Further backstories were given to Gamora (Saldana), Nebula (Karen Gillan), Drax (Bautista), and Rocket (Cooper). I personally like the Drax-Mantis chemistry in the film. Most of the jokes I like were from scenes harnessing the energy of that tandem.

But without a doubt, the scene stealer of the film is Yondu Udonta (Michael Rooker). The character went such a huge development that his very first scene immediately made me watch him intensely. His relationship with Peter went deeper in this film.

Visually, GotG2 is one of the most colorful in the MCU franchise. It is vibrant to watch, and each world/ environment is designed well.

Also, the typical Marvel humor is present. I mean, if you need to show someone the typical Marvel humor, show GotG.

SPOILER ALERT

As written in the intro, GotG2 managed to tug at my heartstrings with the theme on fatherhood. Quill explores his relationship with his two dads: the biological (Ego) and the father figure (Yondu). And each relationship is both tragic when you think about it.

For me, this is the most emotionally gripping film in the entire MCU franchise…A surprise considering the negative comment I have for it…

However, it seems that the film sacrificed simple story structure to make room for the Marvel humor. The film had no BIG conflict until its last 30 minutes. Everything is just a series of unfortunate events that leads to the Guardians meeting Ego. Most of the action sequences are caused by the sub-plots that are scattered in the film. Let me be clear. It is funny and entertaining! But looking at it in an objective perspective takes a lot away…

Also, it infuriates me to see a few scenes with obvious green screen use. This is a BIG budget film, by the way.

Though the space/sky battles are good, the hand-to-hand action scenes are still too choppy. Every piece of movement gets cut! It makes it so hard to follow the action. HOLLYWOOD, learn from your Eastern brothers!

And another (though it’s super nitpick), the character of Adam Warlock is teased in a post-credit scene, but it totally ignores a former tease of the same character in Thor: The Dark World.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a fun and emotional ride but lacks the decent structure of its predecessor. Add the same problems it had in its first run (fight scenes). This film is…

GREAT GOOD BAD UGLY

The Fate of the Furious Film Review

A Russian submarine vs five cars… This franchise has truly went 180 degrees!

ff8-poster

Directed by F. Gary Gray (Straight Outta Compton), The Fate of the Furious (AKA The Fast and the Furious 8) is the latest installment to the FF movie franchise. At this point, having 8 movies in the span of 16 years might be too exhausting. But the latest addition to the franchise proves it still has a lot of fuel to burn.

During his honeymoon with his wife Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), Dom (Vin Diesel) gets recruited by top cyberterrorist Cipher (Charlize Theron), who has leverage against Dom. This causes Dom to betray his team. In a desperate attempt, intelligence operative Letty (Kurt Russell) recruits Luke (Dwayne Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) to join the FF team.

I’m going to state the obvious (and the expected). The car scenes/chases/sequences in this film is beautiful. After 8 films,  it is heavily expected that it would be poetry in motion…like a perfect blend of demolition derby and ballet.

It is also amazing to see Vin Diesel grow as an actor. I am not saying he turned into Denzel Washington, but this is the most layered portrayal he has made so far.

Hearing Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham banter each other apart is cool to watch. Filled with much testosterone, their scenes together are well-executed.

The chemistry between Scott Eastwood and Tyrese Gibson provides the comic relief in the film. Their interactions are similar to those buddy cop movies.

The cameos from past characters and new ones are also a welcome sight.

The entertainment value of this film is still surprisingly high. This is just visceral entertainment for you (much to the same effect as Schwarzenegger’s Commando). At first, I was extremely skeptical to FF’s turn to the action genre. Then, I found myself deeply questioning their physics-defying sequences, but the franchise has grown on me. The FF movies know what they are, and if you still demand a life-changing experience after watching this…then sorry for you.

However, the film still has problems that other FF movies have. The last act of the film wraps too conveniently…as if all the trouble and problems given were nothing all this time.

Also, though I admire the genre change, the FF movies as of late portray Dom similarly to another character of Vin Diesel: XXX. Just like the third XXX movie, this film portrays Dom as this one-man wrecking crew/army. Dom’s team repeatedly tells us how badass or how unstoppable he is. He is a racer! Add the fact that Dom is slowly being overshadowed by Luke Hobbs (and Deckard Shaw in the film’s climax), and you got “Red Ranger vs Green Ranger Effect”.

The Fate of the Furious only shows us that The Fast and the Furious franchise still has a lot of fuel left, but it still has the same problems. Only time will tell if the filmmakers will finally learn from this (two sequels and rumored spin-off movies are on the way). This film is…

GREAT GOOD BAD UGLY

Can’t Help Falling in Love Movie Review

The new movie of KathNiel is directed by the person who directed 2014’s Bride for Rent. I am very nervous……

Cant-Help-Poster-3-415x600

Directed by Mae Czarina Cruz-Alviar, Can’t Help Falling in Love is the latest addition to the KathNiel movie list.

Gab (Kathryn Bernardo) just got engaged from her boyfriend of six years, Jason (Matteo Guidicelli). Everything seems to be peachy until a letter claiming she is legally married to a stranger flips her world around. She decides to meet the stranger, Dos (Daniel Padilla), and persuades him to file for separation. But as they attempt to end their “marriage”, a relationship blossoms along the way.

First of all, what I like about the movie is that there truly is great chemistry between Kathryn and Daniel. It is to be expected from a showbiz couple with 5 previous movies and numerous shows in their history. Each kilig moment feels genuine and organic.

The filmmakers obviously utilized drones to take establishing shots, and it looks great. However, the quality of the video is obviously lower.

Most of the humor in the movie work well. However, some of them were cringy given how cliche and predictable the scenes/lines are.

And that brings me to one of my biggest problems with the movie. It is just predictable and cliched.

SPOILER ALERT

Of course, Dos and Gab being together is the desirable and predictable outcome, but I’m talking how the scenes would go and the lines would be delivered. Also, the filmmakers need to learn about subtlety. The movie went the A Walk to Remember route, but fails to deliver the plot twist well. It was so on the nose!

In line with this, there are key moments/scenes in the movie that could have benefited if there were no background music (ex. the parking lot scene).

Also, there was a sub-plot with a transgender character that is totally unnecessary.

Lastly, my biggest problem with the movie is the ultra unrealistic reaction of Dos when he learns about the marriage and his actions later on. Though the movie tried to justify it in a very half-baked manner (with only 15 minutes left), it is simply too hard to buy it. Then again, that one might just be me….

Can’t Help Falling in Love is a rom-com movie with genuine chemistry between its co-stars, but even that will not save it from its cliche story and worn out scenes. This is…

GREAT GOOD BAD UGLY