There’s the thing about rap – rap; not the inaudible ramblings that pass for it these days – it has power. Power; in that words that may or may not hold much significance individually become a pledge, an oath, a promise, a threat – whatever the wordsmith intended the listener to feel, when strung together in a witty and interesting way.
And, in the immortal words of Uncle Ben, or Stan Lee, as the case may be –
With great power –
You know the rest.
Psalmurai is a rapper cut from the same cloth that birthed folks like Nas, Killah Priest, Mode9, KRS ONE and a few others. An understanding that words hold power, and therefore wordsmiths hold a responsibility to their listeners. If you’ve ever listened to anything this MC put out, the first thing that strikes you is how serious he takes his craft.
Starting out as a member of The Kalifate; now rebranded as The Brand, Psalmurai has been putting out solo work for a minute. From the critically acclaimed mixtape Grind Finale to the consistent yearly Wrap Up series (dropping since 2006) listeners have come to expect pure rhymes from this young MC.
And he’s yet to disappoint.
Continuing the pattern of consistency is the latest entry in his catalogue; BLTN an acronym which stands for Better Late Than Never. Seven tracks long, tanking at twenty-six minutes, the tape is produced by MHP, a South-Africa based producer. On the first two tracks, MHP’s XYZ (super-producer, best known for his collaborative album with the great Mode9) influence is apparent – but MHP takes it a notch higher by taking the sound and making it distinctively his. Psalmurai’s bars are sharp and nimble as ever, as he spits on the opening track Dusk To Dawn;
Now do I gotta say I’m from the projects?
Or the ghetto in the beast like the Loch Ness?
Chick in stilettos selling sex for a lot less
Sex-working or walking around jobless
But God bless
Not my defense but offence
I’m breaking down the metal gates and the tall fence
Got nothing but smart men in my circumference
And I got what it takes to excite your girlfriend
The feel of the project is introspective; he’s getting on the title track BLTN he goes;
My resolve; praise the Lord God daily
RIP to the late great Marcus Garvey
Who gave you the right, the robe and gravel to judge
We all equal under God and gravel nigga that’s deep
Six feet precisely
And then….he goes on further:
Better late than sorry
I’ll rather say never
Instead of sounding stupid
I’d rather sound clever
But if I sound stupid to make a point
The wise can play the fool but –
Not vice versa
He aight – what is missing is the essence
The new school cool – what is missing is the lessons
I want Kalifa high, DJ Khaled blessings
But before God bless us – first He gon’ test us
There’s a confidence in Psalmurai’s delivery; he’s basically a ronin walking down a familiar path. For old listeners, it’s a known journey, for new listeners it’s a proper introduction. On Django, he’s does a bit of battling – all the time reminding his audience of his authenticity. And then, the tape kind of switches to the b-side, which has Psalmurai dabbling with some issues and storytelling.
On Single, he balances rhyming with objectivity about the pressure the sexes go through:
She got it, yeah yeah she got it
Front to back she got – she a goddess
Mulatto got me hooked to be honest
She fine you cannot be fine beyond this
More stairs no; skyscraper
Oh boy! She’s been single for the longest
Like a thousand men, trying to date her
Makes it hard to pick and choose who the one is
She fine; ah-yeah yeah she the finest
Broke niggas too broke for her highness
Rich not rich enough for her highness
That is not the facts now let me digress
Rhymes like that is what is missing from rap these days; thought-provoking, challenging and memorable words. Words that create pictures that linger in the mind – long after the record has stopped spinning.
NHICT (No Heroes In Capetown) is the story of the search for greener pastures; a story that ends sourly for our lead character, Johnny who falls victim to Xenophobia.
Traveler is a chronicle of Psalm’s journey; how far he’s come and how he moves in his mind. Maka drops a stirring hook that makes me feel as though they need to collaborate more. Posse Cut has a number of rappers dropping bars that, while lackluster in points, are strong enough to round off the project.
BLTN is a strong entry into a genre that is going through an evolution; recreating itself for an audience with less and less of an attention span. I believe in Psalmurai.
And if you enjoy rap, you should too.
Visit: https://soundcloud.com/psalmurai to listen to and download BLTN.
There’s a reason I don’t read reviews before seeing the movie.
At the end of the day, a critic is still human. And even though he/she is a human supposedly tempered by years of experience, personal bias still comes to play sometimes. However, someone with contrary views should still be able to agree with the critic – because criticism is not art. It is – or should be science – to a certain extent.
For example, we all agree that Beyonce is a beautiful woman. I don’t have to be Jay – Z to know that. What we may disagree on, is how beautiful she is. But to call Beyonce ugly is to talk out of your ass.
I said all of that to say this; Justice League is a solid film.
After four mostly tepid films (Wonder Woman was/is seriously overrated), DCU had to pull out all the stops – including hiring Avengers/MCU alumni Joss Whedon to finish the film and direct some reshoots after Snyder had to step away due to a family tragedy. Though, I honestly cannot say they actually ‘pulled out all the stops’, this movie is a huge leap forward for the franchise.
We know the story. ‘Inspired by Superman’s selfless sacrifice (yada yada yada) Batman decides to recruit a team to protect a humanity he suddenly has restored hope in’.
Very boring premise if you ask me – but it was somewhat justified.
The opening sequences were taken adapted from the animated movie Justice League War which in turn was inspired by Jim Lee’s New 52 Justice League comic. Batman stops a criminal and is interrupted by a parademon, one of Steppenwolf’s (or Darkseid, depending on who you ask) minions who can smell fear. Batman stops said minion who then self-destructs. The criminal then asks Batman, ‘The world is going crazy. It’s because of him, right? Because he’s gone? Where does that leave us?’ or words to that effect. It’s a sentence that hits Batman enough to make him leave the criminal he stopped and swing off.
From then, we see Wonder Woman stop a terrorist attack – and here is my first, personal issue with the movie; Wonder Woman is suddenly super-fast. Speed has never been one of Wonder Woman’s strengths – though it only makes sense since she’s fast enough to catch/deflect bullets. But her doing things that are best left for Flash – well.
Speaking of, Ezra Miller couldn’t have been better cast. His awkwardness and eagerness rounds off the team perfectly, though he came across as overdoing it sometimes. But he owns several high points of the movie.
Cyborg was mostly a tepid character; he looked good until he stepped out of the hoodie and into his metal shell. For a movie that cost so much to make, you would expect them to get his armor right. I mean, they could have built him rubber suits kinda like Iron Man, no? But no. They had to go full CGI.
That is the same thing that ruined the villain, Uncle Steppenwolf. He would have totally rocked as a bad guy but for the complete CGI thing that ruined him visually. He looked like a prop and talked like a dummy. Ugh.
Superman was brought in as the deux ex machina – but somehow it works. I hated the fact that they killed Supes in his second movie, something we had to wait for 50 years to actually happen in the comics, and then, they brought him back before we had a chance to catch our breaths. But somehow, it works.
The best part however, is the Superman who came back. The character has gone through some growth since we met him in Man of Steel nine years ago (time flies don’t it?), and is starting to look and sound more like the Superman we know and love (or not; depending on who you ask). Though with Henry Cavill’s wooden face, I don’t have a lot of hope there. Still. Also, if you notice there’s something wrong with Cavill’s mouth, it’s because there’s something wrong with Cavill’s mouth. He’s on Mission Impossible 6, and apparently his character has a beard there and he could not shave. Guess what they did?
They CGI’d a mouth and nose on him. GROSS.
Gal Gadot rocked. And despite the intentional toning down of Batman’s awesomeness to accommodate the other guys, there was still enough of him to make me want to see the stand alone Batman film – and to see Affleck play him some more. There was just enough to show why Bats is still the greatest hero ever – simply because he is always ten steps ahead.
Don’t take my word for it. Watch the damn movie.
Jason Mamoa is a pretty sweet Aquaman. Amber Heard is a formidable Mera – and I honestly look forward to the solo fish-man film. I’m not so sure Ezra Miller’s strong enough to hold down a solo Flash movie – but I’ve been wrong before.
We’ll just have to wait and see.
By all means, watch Justice League in the cinemas – and see to it that you sit through the credits. There are two post credit scenes just like Marvel – and one of them involves my second-favorite DC character; a certain mercenary. DOPE.
Also, watch for the Green Lantern cameos.
The first Thor movie was only monumental because of certain circumstances that surround(ed) my seeing the movie – a personal story. Mostly I floated through it.
The second movie was worse. I went to the cinema twice to see it – and fell asleep midway through both viewings. What made the second time worse was; I was there on invitation from one of my closest friends. He wanted me to meet his fiancé.
However, I couldn’t help myself. That movie was a snorefest; and its dark themes and shadows didn’t allow it fit too convincingly into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Permit me to say now; Thor Ragnarok is Thor’s Terminator II: Judgement Day.
If you don’t know what that is, Google is your friend.
While you’re at it, you might also want to check out Ragnarok – the actual Norse mythology version. In that tale, Loki is the one who brings about the ruination of Asgard by way of his alliance with the frost giants and Fenrir (Hela’s giant wolf in this movie) and Sutr the giant with a flaming sword.
However, the whole story was reworked by Stan Lee and others for the comics – and then reworked for the movie version. For example, Hela is Loki’s daughter in the comics; she was promoted to be Odin’s for this movie. She and him were conquerors who started out to rule the universe. After conquering nine realms, Odin grew uncomfortable with her ambition and bloodlust and sealed her off in a prison with his life force.
As long as he (Odin) lives…
Thor: Ragnarok begins with Thor in chains and in a cage, soliloquizing about how he got there and what the next thing for him is (hold your breath for who his cellmate is) and then, he gets into a sharp quick battle with giant –
And then, he returns to Asgard where Odin has become a wine-drinking, grape swallowing, massage-enduring buffoon (watch for Matt Damon’s cameo). He plays a game of Catch-The-Hammer mostly with himself – and then exposes the fraud.
In a lot of ways, Thor has been reconstructed to better fit into the MCU; better and more regular jokes, colorful scenes and finally, a movie in which Thor gets to show his physicality. He is a better match for Hulk in this round, and the battle is exciting. There’s a scene in which Hulk grabs Thor and wipes the floor with him the exact same way he did with Loki in the first Avengers movie – and Loki, unable to help himself, jumps up in the bleachers and yells ‘THAT’S HOW THAT FELT!’ and effectively blowing his own cover.
A star-studded supporting cast do well in this turn also. Tessa Thompson shines well as Scrapper 142 or the last surviving Valkyrie, Marvel’s answer for DC’s Amazons. She holds her own well – which makes all the ‘feminist’ equality speech by Hemsworth at some point moot. Jeff Goldblum is the stellar Grandmaster, and with the co-opting and retconning of the War World storyline into Ragnarok and making the Grandmaster king instead of The Red King, and making the gladiatorial battles The Contest of Champions (another Marvel storyline) the arena is set for the ultimate smackdown: Hulk VS Thor.
Karl Urban plays Skurge, the original Executioner – who appears here without his usual boss The Enchantress. Instead, he’s a disgraced Asgardian who believes he is destined for greater things and mans the Bifrost Bridge in Heimdahl’s self-exile. Totting two AK-47s which he calls ‘Dis’ and ‘Troy’ he ends up in a way quite similar to his comic namesake’s end. Watch for spoilers. Mark Ruffalo is a great Hulk but an even greater Banner – or maybe vice versa – depending on who you ask, but his presence is felt every time he shows up on screen, either as the puny human who hasn’t ‘come out’ in two years – or his Hulking counterpart.
A few plot holes slow this movie down – but none more than the following; when Thor lands on Sakar he is ‘injected’ with an ‘obedience disk’ which also doubles as a Taser of sorts. He enters the arena armed with double swords which makes sense because years of depending on Mijolnir, but after being pounded well by Hulk, he is able to summon his thunder in spite of being without his hammer. I mean, this man’s eyes were literally white, lightning was running up and down his arms – and yet, he was tazed into unconsciousness. AGAIN.
In a surprising turn of events Loki doesn’t outshine Thor much this outing – even though Hiddlestone remains sharp as ever. Instead, it would seem Thor has been built up and made more compelling – and his character growth is something interesting to watch.
All in all – Ragnarok is a fun watch. Go see this in the cinemas, and wait patiently; there are two post credit scenes. This is no Winter Soldier, neither is it Avengers 1 – but it is a worthy entry into the Marvel box-office successes.
I’d gladly watch it again.
Is there any such thing as a ‘perfect Nollywood movie’?
I, along with a lot other people don’t expect a lot from Nollywood. I’m used to substandard work, movies with plots that make little sense, acting that means something else entirely, dialogue that sounds like it was inspired by Martians – and a billion other flaws.
But every now and then, a movie comes along and makes me want to jump for joy.
I hardly go to the cinemas to watch a Nollywood film. This one, I stumbled into by accident. I was at the cinema to pretend-watch the latest Ape Planet something. I changed my mind last minute – but then, I still wanted to watch a movie.
Against my judgment, I chose Picture Perfect. And I can tell you, I didn’t feel as fulfilled watching Spiderman: Homecoming.
And that is saying a lot.
It is written and produced by Biodun Stephen and directed by Tope Alake. The premise is simple: a tailor/fashion designer gets stuck in a notorious neighborhood and is about to be assaulted by a couple of touts. She’s saved by another tout who pretends to know her from somewhere – just to save her from the other ‘undesirable elements’. A bunch of funny things happen – along with a major plot twist – or not so much a twist, depending on what side of the camera you’re usually on.
I saw it coming tho.
It’s a simple movie; it isn’t trying to fix humanity or the government for that matter. It isn’t trying to make us see the value (or lack thereof) of marriage; it’s not trying to sell us the glam and flimflam of how the other half lives. It’s just trying to be a fun movie; sweet and entertaining.
And that; it manages quite well.
Picture Perfect works best because the cast completely inhabits their characters. Bisola Aiyeola smoked as Kiksy, the lead female’s best friend. She’s completely natural – though she does come across as overacting in a couple of scenes. But she is the voice of reason (as the lead’s best friend usually is) and she’s sweet and kind and fun and real and will marry me by force or…
I’m just kidding.
The women in the movie represent a class of oft-ignored Nigerian woman – strong, independent, capable, and caring, don’t exactly need men but want them nonetheless. The women in this movie are not weak, neither do they have an agenda or feel a need to shove the gender argument in your face. They are just women who love life and are living it on their own terms. I gotta get behind that.
Bolanle Ninalowo also rocked as Jobe aka Jobsy Jor-Jor, the tout who rescues Kumbi (Mary Njoku) from his less-than-gentlemanly associates. I would like to meet this young man, because his accent is spot on, and he cannot seem to stop saying ‘philanderer’ in all its forms. He’s the quintessential tout; rough, strong, respected, honorable, kind, thoughtful, considerate…Jobsy is a character to love and root for.
Mary Njoku, the female lead is also a pot of discovery. The way she switches between fluent English and Yoruba is noteworthy. She, just like Bisola is also completely natural, inhabits the character with grace and feeling. She is believable in all of her scenes, from the dissenting friend to the spurned lover to the consensual lover to the protective mother. The cast had a lot of fun creating this movie – and I’m sure the viewers will too.
The movie is not without its flaws tho, as a couple of scenes/incidents defy explanation, and in some cases, reason. Nothing major, however, the couple plot holes do not dim the fun to be had even slightly.
Is there any such thing as a ‘perfect Nollywood movie’?
Maybe not yet; and I stand corrected, but Picture Perfect comes close.
Now showing in a cinema near you.
For the most part, the premise of the Fast and Furious movie franchise can be summed up in one sentence:
‘Watch; don’t think’.
It’s hard to knock a franchise that has grossed over five billion dollars and is eight movies deep. However, it is what it is. The Fast and The Furious franchise has been around for seventeen years and have collectively grossed over five billion dollars. When you consider, however that the last one (Furious 7) single-handedly grossed 1.6 billion dollars, more than the first five installments of the franchise combined, you know they (Universal) know they’re onto a good thing – and as is usual, will ride it till it can be ridden no more.
For the most part, The Fast and The Furious requires suspension of belief from the audience in spades – but never more than in the latest installment; The Fate of The Furious.
While honeymooning somewhere ‘off the grid’, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) is approached by a mysterious woman who coerces him into working for her against his ‘family’.
I’m serious. That’s as far as ‘plot’ for this particular movie goes.
Fate (as I will be calling this movie from here on) opens with; (wait for it)…a street race. I mean, of all the openings F. Gary Gray, fresh off the huge success of Straight Outta Compton could have gone with, it had to be the cliché of all clichés – as far as this particular movie franchise is concerned?!
An alluring, mysterious woman; Cipher (Charlize Theron) shows up at Dom’s honeymoon destination (you get nothing for guessing where this destination is) and shows him something on a mobile phone screen, ‘something’ she believes is powerful enough to make him come and work for her – even though she’s a terrorist and he knows. Almost immediately, Dom gets a call from Agent Hobbs, asking for his help. The usual suspects (the family) are quickly rounded up again by Agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson; The Rock) to go steal some EMP to stop it from falling into some terrorists hands – same piece of machinery Cipher needs for her ‘grand plan’. The mission is successful – only for Dom to sabotage it, steal the EMP and dump Hobbs into police hands.
Somehow, he ends up in the same prison Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) is in…
One of the biggest issues I have with this particular outing is how short on memory everyone seems to be. Wasn’t Deckard the same dude who killed Han (Sung Kang) as revenge for his brother’s ‘death’ in the sixth film? All too suddenly, they’re forced to work together and when the team is given news of Deckard’s death, they’re actually sad.
Trust me; moments like the one I just described abound. Cipher, played with amazing detachment by Charlize Theron is another misnomer in her role. She’s the big bad in this movie, and unfortunately, she has nothing different to offer from the other ‘big bads’ in the other Fast and Furious movies. She’s a boring antagonist; it isn’t clear what she wants, she rambles a lot about nothing or pointless rhetoric, and is passionless. Her ‘kissing scene’ with Dom was just that; a bland uninspired lip-lock.
Exhale for a bit – and then, wonder with me how human hands can be used to redirect the path of a torpedo. Or how a submarine dives and resurfaces effortlessly as though it is a dolphin. Moments like those are why the description ‘mindless action’ exists.
The ‘family’ was interestingly inept in this venture; it was as though they couldn’t find any use for themselves individually. That diversity that made us love As an aside, be prepared to hate that word ‘family’. It is thrown around like so much confetti at a wedding, as though the characters need to remind themselves in their many ‘why are we doing this again?’ moments.
Roman’s (Tyrese Gibson) humor was responsible for quite a number of the laughs in the movie – and frankly, it begins to be annoying at some point. I would have loved to see more Helen Mirren who played Magdalene Shaw, and the partnership between the Shaw brothers was another good one.
All in all, for all my issues with this installment, I acknowledge the truth that Fate isn’t a bad movie. For all my knocking it, I don’t go to cinemas for ‘intellectual, life-changing’ movie experiences. I do that shit in my house.
No; I go to the cinema to be entertained and refreshed. And on that score, Fate delivers EXCELLENTLY.
This Took Longer Than It Should Have. I Apologize.
Maybe it has to do with the type of comics I grew up with.
Maybe it was the idea that heroes stood for more than themselves; heroes were a voice for people who couldn’t speak.
Maybe it was the escape it offered such that; whenever I was having a bad day, I could just reach for a comic – and like that, I’m gone away like so much magic dust. Maybe it is the realization that comics; like X-Men for instance, showed me a world where people were feared and hated just because they are different. A world freakishly like the one I live in.
Maybe it was the fact that I learnt the difference between a phrase and a clause; thanks to an Incredible Hulk comic.
Whatever the reason, I am a proud comic book lover.
Long before DC started to drop box office bombs with the frequency of a radio broadcast, I was discussing with a number of friends and wondering what it would be like when these guys came on to the screen. As a result, we/I watched EVERY on-screen adaptation of comic books, just to see if they lived up to the image the owners have consistently created in our/my head(s) for years.
Usually, there’s stuff to complain about. Very few movies have nailed it down – even the most ‘critically acclaimed’ of these movies get a whole lot wrong. And even judging them on their own merit; at worst they created a hot, fudgy mess (Dawn of Justice, any of the CW series), at best they create amazing stories (Netflix Daredevil, Batman Begins and so on).
Logan is one of the latter moments.
There was cause for concern; obviously. The first two Wolverine films were (even now I am shaking my head as I write this) just something to pass the time. I doubt I saw either of them more than twice, definitely not up to five time collectively. There just wasn’t anything to see – apart from a train roof fight sequence from the second one. Nothing.
Then Hugh Jackman teased this:
I wrote a piece then, talking about how I suspected they were going to adapt the Old Man Logan storyline from the comics, or at least come pretty close. The biggest issue with adapting that would be the fact that it was a universe-wide event; even though it happened in a Wolverine story, it affected multiple characters; characters 20th Century Fox do not have rights to. I really wanted to see how they would play that.
I mean considering what they did with Civil War…
I saw Logan twice before attempting to put anything down about it, and this was the first and only post I made concerning that film:
I will not be writing a review of Logan – simply because I don’t have anything new to bring to the conversation. I will, however be writing a treatise on why it’s one of the most important superhero films ever made.
There was only one scene that made me unable to control the waterworks from my eyes; even though there was a girl I was trying to impress present.
No, it wasn’t the fact that Logan was dying; anybody who’s watched more than five movies should have seen that coming. People like Wolverine don’t get to retire peacefully. Their deaths have to be as violent as their lives (you’d understand better if you’ve seen Shane or actually listened to that part in the hotel room scene).
He had to die.
What made me cry; what shook me to my fibre was when the not-so-little little girl said, “Daddy…”
Forget that she was built in a lab. Forget that she’s killed more people than you’ve had orgasms (wellllllllllll). Forget that she’s a violent, half-animal, I-can-talk-but-would-rather-stay-mute-cos-that’s-way-cooler, murdering mutant. In that moment, she was just a child about to lose her father.
And that, is the type of pain no healing factor, no matter how heightened, can heal.
One of the pieces I read after the second viewing said ‘Logan is the Batman Begins of the Marvel Universe’ and I agree completely. What both films have in common is that they brought superheroes to our level. ‘Begins and Logan were not ‘superhero’ films, they were films that had a couple of superheroes in them. In other words, the story/plot/progression wasn’t based on superpowers, these are stories that could happen to anyone; the characters just happened to be heroes.
Take away Christian Bale’s costume and gadgets. Remove Logan and Laura’s claws and healing factors. Would we still have stories? Yes; with minor adjustments. For example, in Logan, we wouldn’t have Reavers chasing Laura and the other kids because they were mutants, they might just be child-traffickers trying to catch some runaway kids some high-end clientele have paid for. Bruce Wayne could just have been some guy who wants to clean his city, a well-trained martial artist. The crime had a human face; Falcone, even the ‘super villain’ Scarecrow was just an insane doctor.
Ordinary people in extra-ordinary circumstances. Just like you and me.
Logan is a fitting end to Jackman’s run as Wolverine; he has never been better and I doubt he can ever be. Patrick Stewart was at his telepathic finest even with his mind ravaged by Alzheimer’s (see the irony?) and the new girl, Laura aka X-23 was just…
In all the many, many mortalities in all the X Men films, none of them hit me like the death of Logan. Not because he’s my favorite X Man (well, till they find a perfect Gambit) but because it was human. This was not a superhero, mutant, claw-popping, accelerated healing factor rocking guy dying; this was just an old man who happened to have lived too long.
In fact, I was kinda happy for Logan.
Finally, he’s going to rest. I mean, he has the burden of outliving EVERYONE he’s ever cared about. He’s lost his one excuse for sticking around; Professor Xavier, so his life pretty much had no purpose from then on. Finally, this lonely and grumpy old man will have peace.
But, he had a daughter.
Someone who knows she was built in a lab finds out she has some kind of tie to humanity; she has a father. A father who denies paternity – but a father nonetheless. And when, just when he’s finally accepted she’s a part of him –
They kill him.
Even now, putting down these words that have been hovering in my head for almost two months, my eyes still smart. Finally, an X Men movie I can not only enjoy; but relate to. Themes of friendship, responsibility, purpose, destiny keep going on, over and over.
And then, when you consider I have a little girl of mine…
As far as I’m concerned, Logan is a movie that belongs in the ‘How To Make A Superhero Movie’ corner of libraries, film schools – and whoever else archives stuff like that. Me?
I’m just thankful I’m alive to see stuff like this.
Now, who has some tissue?
Warning: Major spoilers ahead.
With Marvel these days, a sequel is a certainty.
Scratch that. With ANY high grossing movie, a sequel is ALMOST a certainty. Why, word dropped only some time ago about a sequel to The Wedding Party. Who can blame them? The biggest reason (or the second-biggest) anyone puts money down to support almost anything is to make more money, no?
Therefore, a Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 is a no-brainer.
When I heard in 2013 that a movie adaptation of these characters was being made, my first question was ‘Which Guardians?’ I know I keep harping on this fact – but you should read a freaking comic.
There are two teams known as Guardians of the Galaxy. The original team created in 1969 by Gene Colan (don’t quote me) comprises different characters, some of who you saw/will see at the end of the second movie; Charlie 27 (Ving Rhames), Stakar Ogord (Sylvester Stallone), Aleta Ogord (Michelle Yeoh), Yondu (Michael Rooker; appears in both films), Adam Warlock (mentioned at the end of two) and so on. But as is usual, the whole thing was retconned for the movie(s). The Guardian team the movies are mostly about is the 2008 version.
In this sequel, the Guardians get in trouble because Rocket Raccoon (if he catches you calling him that, don’t say you read it here o) decides to steal a bunch of batteries they (the Guardians) were hired to protect by The Sovereign. On their way from the planet, they are attacked by their erstwhile employers, The Sovereign – but are protected by a mysterious man who calls himself Ego (Kurt Russell) (after the living planet in the comics) and turns out to be Star-Lord Peter Quill’s (Chris Pratt) father.
That pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the film – that; and further exploration of the relationship between Yondu and Quill. We get to understand why Yondu has a soft spot for Quill and, more importantly, why Yondu decided to keep Quill for himself instead of delivering him to – as per his employment at the time.
The sequel is a good movie; refreshing humor and emotionally satisfying moments well put together. It is not as good as the first one, however, and a number of head-scratching moments further take away from the shine of this outing.
Head-Scratching Moment 1 – why did The Sovereign hire The Guardians in the first place? As seen further into the movie, The Sovereign are quite capable and vicious in their own right. Ayesha (also known as Her and Kismet from the comics) explained it as ‘each of the Sovereign are created to specific genetic codes. We are all special and therefore must be protected’ or words to that effect – but still.
Head-Scratching Moment 2 – why did Ego tell Peter Quill about killing Quill’s mom Meredith? I know, the ‘good guy’ needs inspiration; usually delivered via rousing speech to remember what he is fighting for – but that?
Made no sense. AT ALL.
Look out for the coming of Adam Warlock, one of the original Guardians! Well, it’s an Easter Egg so pay close attention or you’ll miss it. And The Watchers…!
The sibling rivalry between Nebula and Gamora came to a quite disappointing end – and some of that doesn’t make sense either. Nebula attacks Gamora with a jet, crashes the jet and is trapped. Gamora carries a big-ass canon, shoots the jet into a hole, ‘has a change of heart’, climbs into the hole and rescues Nebula. WTF?
Call that Head-Scratching Moment 3.
The movie had some slow parts; dialogue that seemed irrelevant and went on and on – but lends to the overall shape of the movie. James Gunn’s strength as writer/director remains the ability to not take any of the on-screen happenings too seriously – and that translates well for the characters. Quill remains as fun as ever, Drax the unintentional/well-meaning brute and loudmouth, Gamora who looks and fights nothing like her comic counterpart, Raccoon who remains as annoying as ever –
And Baby Groot who steals every scene he’s in with childlike charm and baby cuteness.
A good movie; definitely worth watching.
Guardians of the Galaxy is now showing in cinemas across the country.