More Meh for Your Moola

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is...okay. It's not bad. In fact there's nothing wrong with it. I enjoyed it, I laughed, it was fun, I'd suggest seeing it in the theater, but...it's just okay. It's not an achievement of dynamic storytelling like the first one. It relies too heavily on jokes from the first one, now winking so knowingly at the audience it feels like it has some grapefruit in its eye. It's vanilla, when the first one was triple chocolate fudge with brownie chunks. It's a good movie, I don't want to make anyone think otherwise, it's just not great.

Marvel Studios can't win all the time, I know that, I get that. There's some movies that stand above the rest and others that just move the pieces on the chess board around. GotGV2 is one of those that incrementally moves things around, and not so much forward. Without spoiling, it's main conceit is to deal with, and do away with, a major McGuffin from the first film. That in itself is actually kind of refreshing, "Here, we're going to answer this question, explore, and deal with the consequences, and then tie a bow on that shit and be done with it." The major problem with this admittedly great achievement, is that the heart and soul of the matter just didn't have any heart and soul. There were far-reaching stakes, growth opportunities, and a threat to the galaxy that required the team's guardianship...but that's all secondary to the jokes and sight-gags. It tries too hard to be a comedy instead of just being funny.

Maybe it'll be like the first Thor or Age of Ultron and age like a fine wine, better upon repeated viewings in a home environment. But, if you've yet to see it, temper your expectations. I can recommend it, see it in the theater, go have fun, but just know, the wow-factor of the first one is lacking. This is a funny movie that does have good effects, answers some questions, and has fun bits, but it plays it safe.

More and more it seems like Hollywood in general is determined to be maliciously milquetoast. The last Bond movie was just okay. The Force Awakens is just okay. And now, a few weeks out, the reviews are coming in for Alien: Covenant and they seem to be...just okay. That's a slight better than the abomination of Prometheus, but being okay at this point in such storied franchises just isn't okay. Hollywood is stuck in its formulas and not seeking to push the envelope. A new Blade Runner? Looks meh. Finally coming out with a movie for the Dark Tower? Looks meh. We're going to reboot the Crow with Jason Momoa and it's going to be rated R! So what?

Hot dogs are okay. Let's put cornbread on it! Great, that's fine for a change...now what? Mustard! Okay, now, you're talking...but...it's still just a corndog. You can't just keep putting another layer of flavor on the same old dog, you've gotta change it up sometimes. Sausage in a pancake! Lil'smokies in crescent rolls, mmm'mm! Hamburger in the form of a hot dog? Bratwurst corndog? Change that shit up! Look, I know everything is just Hamlet, but take some risks, be weird, cast oddballs, have a soundtrack counter to the genre, shoot from new angles on counter-intuitive equipment; try!

Safe is going to become boring, and boring is worse than bad; at least bad took risks.

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