Chris Pratt

Ranking Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

That’s right! We’re back again with another installment of ranking the MCU films. It’s become an HPN tradition to bitterly fight behind closed doors about where the new films rank. We almost look forward to destroying our friendship each time Marvel releases a new film.  With that said, we are placing the newest film: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. We’ve already done a super-spoiler podcast on it, so if you want to give that a listen first, feel free to check that out here.

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Before we get too deep, let’s remind you what the line up was previous to the film.

14. Iron Man 2
13. Incredible Hulk
12. Iron Man 3
11. Thor: The Dark World
10. Captain America: The First Avenger
9. Doctor Strange
8. Thor
7. Avengers: Age of Ultron
6. Ant-Man
5. Iron Man
4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
3. Guardians of the Galaxy
2. Avengers
1. Captain America: Civil War

Where does Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 fall?

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How it Succeeds

I will say that we all decided Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was overall a fun movie. It does quite a few things really well, being one of the better sequels that the MCU has produced. One thing that really impressed all of us at the HPN is the additional characters this time around, particularly Mantis and Ego.  Both were well developed and blended into the created universe seamlessly.  It’s easy to tell that director James Gunn did not want to shove new characters into the film just for the sake of having new faces around. He wanted to make them just as beloved as the returning characters.  Newcomers Kurt Russell and Pom Klementieff were easily some of the highlights of the film.

Speaking of characters, the most compelling story of all had to have been Yondu.  His role in the first film was a fun antagonistic one that lead us to think he’d be flying in and out of films to come. With this latest venture into the Guardians world, his role isn’t necessarily expanded but a heavier importance is put on him.  He proves to be more than just another alien, with back story revealed, confirmation of his Kree heritage, and a suitable ending for any hero.  We may not see Yondu again, but his effect on the MCU will be felt for multiple films to come.

The easter eggs and the name drops were great. Bringing back both Cosmo and Howard the Duck was an absolute riot to see on screen. I’m convinced James Gunn does whatever James Gunn wants. He brought in an Adam Warlock reference (hope you stayed for all the follow-up scenes) even though the MCU has come out multiple times against his character joining. He even referenced the original Guardians, tapping Sylvester Stallone, Michelle Yeoh, and Ving Rhames for some star power, leading everyone to believe they’ll appear in Guardians 3.

How it lets us down

While he’s a huge bright spot, Ego is also a huge sore spot for the film too. This time, though, it’s more with the writing behind him and not the acting. Ego is presented as a formidable foe, but one that is just a little too EGOtistical to pull off his plan (see…. see what I did there?). He was so perfect up until the very last half hour. He monologued! If he hadn’t, he would have been just fine! He would have won! It seems too convenient a plot point to have the entire ending hinging on Ego revealing he killed Starlord’s mom.  Absolutely ridiculous.

Also, what’s the deal with Gamora? The comics portray her as the most deadly woman in the galaxy, being in the top 5 fighters of the entire Marvel cast of characters and we’ve seen very little proof that she’s any better than the rest of the Guardians. Not only does she not get her due when it comes to how she’s written, but she also isn’t allowed to have a personality. Zoe Saldana is a great actress, reigning as the current queen of the nerds, and yet, none of her vivaciousness and sass get to show through.  Gamora isn’t just the serious one in this goofy boy band, but she’s dry wall. She’s written as if she exists to be lusted after and nothing else. I do appreciate the attempt to have Nebula bring out some of her goodness, but it was for naught.

So, where is it already?

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After very little deliberation on this one (I know, we actually agree), we have decided that the film was a solid follow up to a great movie and deserves to rank in the upper half of the 15 MCU films.

15. Iron Man 2
14. Incredible Hulk
13. Iron Man 3
12. Thor: The Dark World
11. Captain America: The First Avenger
10. Doctor Strange
9. Thor
8. Avengers: Age of Ultron
7. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
6. Ant-Man
5. Iron Man
4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
3. Guardians of the Galaxy
2. Avengers
1. Captain America: Civil War

Do you agree? Do you disagree? Would you rearrange everything? Yeah, so would we. But this is where we are and we’ll be happy to reevaluate in July when Spider-Man: Homecoming releases.

Ranking Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

SH S3E16: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

(updated 2018-04-23 to repair broken link)

Hellboy is getting an R-Rated reboot, Justice League Dark has a director and script, plus we make our own Awesome Mix! This plus a spoiler-filled look at Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 including discussion on soundtrack, score, story, characters, special effects, all five post-credit scenes, and whether we thought the film held up to the first one.

Oh and we promise the dog noise situation is resolved 5 minutes into the episode. Sorry about that but life happens sometimes.

So, join us for this massive 93 minute episode where we discuss Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 in great detail and finish things off by providing our own Awesome Mix playlists. Be sure to check out our Facebook page for the public list and join our Patreon to see the full deluxe Guardians Heroes Awesome Mix playlist!

Also, go to Screen-Heroes.com right now to subscribe to us on iTunes and drop us a review. If you do, we’ll be sure to give you a shout-out in a future episode!

Want to join the conversation? Join us live every Tuesday night at 9PM EST on Twitch to chat with us! We’ll answer questions and note comments live on the broadcast! Follow at: twitch.tv/heroespodcasts

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Screen Heroes Podcast Credits

Hosts
Derreck Mayer
Rachel Stewart
Ryan Couture

Special Guest
Robert McCullagh

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

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SH S3E16: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Our Most Anticipated Movies of 2017

As the host of a movie-centric podcast, I’m constantly looking toward the horizon. I am capable of anticipating movies with more vigor than I do food. Food! Sustenance. The stuff that keeps me alive is less appealing to me than films. That’s how much I look forward to films. As such, 2017 is packing a huge punch that has me salivating! Here is my list of the Top 10 Most Anticipated Movies of 2017!

10. Kong: Skull Island

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It’s a great year when I get to see exaggerated monsters kill puny humans. Morbid, I know, but what are ya gonna do? Throw in industry favorites like Samuel L. Jackson and John Goodman and you have me hooked. The trailer is stunning from start to finish, using a combination of adventure and horror imagery to create what looks like it’s going to be a great film. And if it’s not, fingers crossed puny humans still die.

9. Kingsman: The Golden Circle

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The first film in this franchise exploded, shattering all kinds of records and expectations.  Featuring the talent of Colin Firth and Michael Caine in all of their Britishy goodness, the film oozed charm and gore.  It even introduced us to the likes of Sofia Boutella and Taron Egerton, both of whom had a fantastic 2016.  The second installment is likely to bring us the same unexpected viewing pleasures, bringing the cast to America  and adding in Channing Tatum and Jeff Bridges to the mix.

8. Coco
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Cars 3 may be the obvious money maker for Pixar in 2017, but it’s Coco that has me excited. Featuring a young Latin boy with a guitar and the sweetest looking grandma ever, the film will draw attention to the beloved Dia de los Muertos. While Book of Life did a magnificent job showcasing the beauty of the aforementioned holiday, it has been often looked over or lumped in with Halloween movies. One can only hope that Coco can achieve the recognition the holiday deserves as well as give me the Pixar treatment of entertainment and soul.

7. Thor: Ragnarok
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There are a lot of reasons to look forward to the MCU next year, the very worthy Thor being one of them. The super hottie with the sexy accent is finally back, fulfilling that blackening void that’s eaten away at us since Avengers: Age of Ultron. Seriously, there’s been three other movies in the timeline since we last saw Thor. But I digress. The title of Ragnarok promises epic war across multiple realms, a cast that includes both the Hulk and Hel, and explanations to Thor’s mystery bath time in Avengers: AoU. Fingers crossed there’s more shirtless scenes.

6. Beauty and the Beast
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Disney is just killing this list! While lightsabers and capes can excite anyone, fairy tales are near and dear to me too. This being my favorite Disney film of all time, you just know I’ll be first in the metaphorical line to see this film. The live action adaptation has been a massive undertaking, creating visual spectacles never seen before and featuring one of the most talented casts in a musical to date. That’s right; it’s a musical. I guess Christopher Walken didn’t ruin it for everyone with The Jungle Book.

5. Star Wars Episode VIII
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It’s difficult not to be excited about this next Star Wars installment. The Force Awakens managed to both wrap up loose ends and create a plethora of questions that we are just dying to have answered. Who are Rey’s parents? Will Luke train her? Who is Snoke? Will Kylo ever find true love? So. Many. Questions! I can’t promise I won’t shed a tear when I see General Organa on the screen for what may be the last time. The passing of Carrie Fisher was painful for many and this should serve as a tribute to the beautiful legacy she left behind.

4. Justice League
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2016 was a rough year for DC. Fans everywhere hit them hard with criticisms, ranging from completely justified to grossly asinine. But this is what it’s all been building toward and we’re gonna see the payoff so soon, I can feel it. The pressure has been on Warner Bros and DC from the beginning and they sure are feeling it. I believe, though, that they’ve taken their hits, they’ve fixed what’s broken, highlighted what’s amazing, and will make 2017 their year. Remember, boys and girls, there’s enough fandom love for all superheroes.

3. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
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Speaking of fandom love, this franchise can do no wrong. This film seemed to up the cuteness factor by giving everyone more of what they wanted: EFFING BABY GROOT. We were all dying for cute tree time and we got it. You could sit there and literally forget the awesome introduction of Mantis, the inclusion of Yondu on the team, the awkward exchanges between Drax and Star-Lord, and focus solely on Groot pushing the doom button and still think it’s the best movie to ever exist. And it will probably get very close. That’s not hyperbole. That’s fact.

2. Power Rangers
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I know, an odd choice for number 2. But I can’t help it. Power Rangers has been one of my favorite franchises since I was super teeny tiny kid child thing.  I loved everything about it and the trailers for the new film make me love it even more. I do not care one bit that the redesigns are weird looking or that it’s basically The Breakfast Club with super powers. Those things make it awesome. I’m so eager to see where they’re able to take this that I don’t care one bit if it bombs or doesn’t live up to the hype. Go back, watch the original film and tell me it’s a great representation of American cinema. Great representation of color-coordinated jammies, sure. But film? Hell no. This movie is going to be pure fun and if you’re expecting more, then you should probably re-prioritize before viewing.

1.Wonder Woman
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What else could number 1 be? Every time I see this trailer, I tear up a little. Do you know what it’s like to see your childhood hero come to life for the first time in your lifetime? It’s exhilarating.  It’s a warm, glowing feeling that starts in your stomach and catches in your throat. It’s the feeling of your hopes and dreams realized. To some, this is going to be an epic cinematic feature. To others, it will be a necessary stepping stone to get to the Justice LeagueTo me, this will be an emotional 2 hours where I’ll be moved beyond measure. This is a film featuring a woman I’ve always looked up to, always emulated, always dreamed of being.

We left a lot off our list. What movies are you looking forward to? Did we leave your favorite movies off the list? Yell at me in the comments. You know you want to!

Our Most Anticipated Movies of 2017

Jurassic World – Review

Overview:

Disregarding the events of The Lost World and Jurassic Park III, Jurassic World is a film that takes place over 20 years after the Jurassic Park incident. During this time period, InGen Corporation has regained control of the island and has now opened the park to the public. Despite the success of the park, InGen has tasked their geneticists with creating a bigger, scarier, “cooler” dinosaur called the Indominous Rex. It is believed that this dinosaur will increase park attendance and gain worldwide acclaim.

 

 

 

The Good:

Dr. Wu & Dr. Malcolm in Jurassic Park

  1. The previous sequels unfortunately relied on characters from the first film to sort of be a “root” for the film. What would happen instead is that that character, or characters, would overshadow the new characters and make the viewer not care about the new characters. In Jurassic World, there are no main characters from the original movie, save for the head geneticist who had only a minor role in Park. This allowed the plot and the new cast of characters to breathe and become their own.
  2. Since Park, every single film has featured animatronic dinosaurs in addition CGI ones. This has most certainly helped the actors give better performances, as well as made the films have a more realistic look. World is no exception, also using animatronics. That being said, CGI has come a long way in the past 20 years. The marriage of CGI and animatronics is nearly flawless, making this one of the best looking Jurassic Park films to date.Injured dinosaur in Jurassic World
  3. Michael Giacchino does a fine job with the musical score, not overly relying on the previous themes established by the legendary John Williams. The original themes are used sparingly and in a meaningful fashion. One particular music cue is used very well toward the beginning of the film.
  4. With a good look and a good sound, this film also proves to have a pretty good plot as well. Coming up with a new dinosaur might seem trite, but it is actually handled quite well and draws the viewers into the movie. In addition to the plot, the characters and their relationships with each other come across as fluid and realistic. You actually care when you see them being chased down by dinosaurs, which is a testament to creating likable characters.Owen and his Raptor gang.
  5. As demonstrated in Guardians of the Galaxy, Chris Pratt proves that he is a fine fit for action flicks. Pratt plays Owen, a raptor trainer who imprints on the raptors when they are born and serves as the “alpha” raptor. This relationship with the raptors (named Blue, Echo, Delta, and Charlie) is both intriguing and fun, as each raptor seems to have a personality of its own like a dog or a cat.

The Bad:

Jurassic World actually has a couple of plot holes that are fairly minor. In one instance, an InGen head honcho executes a plan that he most likely knew would fail. Then again, corporate executives are rarely portrayed as being very bright. So it is possible that the film was merely reflecting that aspect. In another instance, the two boys’ parents are undergoing a divorce. The film emphasizes the divorce throughout. However, it never really resolves, though it did serve as a decent way for developing the relationship between the two brothers.

Zach and his little brother Gray in Jurassic World.

Conclusion:

It seems the years have been kind in allowing the Jurassic Park franchise to simmer. World has pretty good plot with a good cast. There is plenty of humor, which is surprisingly not too reliant on Chris Pratt. All in all, Jurassic World serves as an entertaining and fun summer blockbuster.

Jurassic World – Review