Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017): WE ARE GROOT!

Check Marvel site for the movie here.

When I first saw Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014, I see it as an ease after bloated and heavy superheroes era of Marvel (except Iron Man series). An orphan boy raised and being disciple of the universe, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), is teamed up by destiny with Thanos’ fierce daughter Gamora (Zoe Saldana), broken-hearted Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), a savage raccoon made on laboratory Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and a moving tree that must take inspiration from Tolkien’s Ent Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel). Quill and his team were both entertaining with their humorous actions and much explosions, and the music mix somehow completes the whole movie into a fresh and adorable superhero movie.

Then Marvel realizes that this fresh and adorable movie has potential to be a new franchise that can help building the background before creating the battle of the universe on Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and of course, generating some more cash. So they created Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (to be coherent with the music mix that always accompanies Quill through his Walkman) with a little additional emotion and Star Wars theme of family issues through galaxies. 

While the guardians are being chased by the Sovereign ships after Rocket steals their Annular Batteries, they are helped by a man named Ego (who could be fitter to be a sexy daddy other than Kurt Russell? Oh maybe Sylvester Stallone could be a candidate too since he is also a cameo here). Quill learns that Ego is actually his father, a celestial thingy that wandered across the universe to “seek life”, fell in love with Quill’s mother. This movie is quite easy to be guessed, as it runs well with Gamora’s feeling. When Gamora suddenly feels that there’s something wrong with Ego, we have no other option but to agree with her. Besides, a deity named Ego sounds more like a villain rather than a graceful god.

Meanwhile, the Sovereign’s High Priestess Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) hires Yondu Udonta (Michael Rooker) to find the guardians and take the batteries. Yondu’s Ravagers find Rocket, Baby Groot and Nebula (Karen Gillan), Gamora’s sister, and abduct them. A little coup within Yondu’s Ravagers by the heavily salivating Taserface (Chris Sullivan) teams up Yondu and Rocket, and creates the most enjoyable scenes of the movie when Baby Groot adorably tries to help. From Yondu too, Rocket realizes that Ego is a bad guy, and the music starts again, and they escape the ship trying to reach Quill and the others by doing more than 700 leaps that make their face looks like old Looney Tunes cartoons.

On Ego’s planet, Quill has learned that Ego killed his mother by putting tumor on her brain and Ego is trying to create the world of his own by activating all the seeds he planted on many planets he visited (and mating and having children) using Quill’s energy. Ego’s servant Mantis (Pom Klementieff) tells Gamora, Nebula and Drax that this is not the first time Ego tries to activate the seeds by using his children as batteries. This is where we’ve lost the feeling we got on the first Guardians movie. We lost the fun. The music stays on, there’s still explosions everywhere and the humors is still giving us grimace, but somehow the fun is lost. We know that the grand theme of this Guardians movie is about family, but we don’t need more “I am your Father!” scenes without the idea of “father and son ruling together”. The Gamora-Nebula relationship is somehow weirder that we can even see Gamora looks like a girl on her period who yells at literally everything and Nebula feels more soften within her steady built. 

The best thing in this movie is still Baby Groot. His cute built and adorable innocent really feel like he is just a little child among those adult guardians. His round innocent eyes, cute dances, until his wave that can soften Gamora to say “Hi” really stole the show, and even funnier than every humors in this movie told by the “really speaking actors”.

This movie is rated PG-13 for its sarcastic humors so be careful to bring your children watching this. And please don’t leave your seat before the Marvel logo appears. There were 5 after-credit scenes. I give this movie 8.7/10. 0.7 points are from Baby Groot himself haha.

The Fate of The Furious (2017): Family Means Nobody Gets Left Behind, or Forgotten

See the franchise’s original website here.

What do you expect when you are about to see the latest movie from Fast and Furious franchise? This franchise has been morphing itself from movies about sexy girls and sport racing cars into action heroes who want to save the world movie that involves drama, and still, expensive sport cars. The latest movie of this franchise opens with the honeymoon session between Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Leticia “Letty” Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez) in Havana, Cuba. Their honeymoon was disrupted by a mysterious woman called Cipher (not Furiosa unfortunately, played by our Empress Furiosa herself, Charlize Theron) who wants Toretto to join her team. 

For his first job, Toretto has to steal a machine from Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and the rest of his team. Feel betrayed by Toretto, the team: ex-criminal Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson), tech savvy Tej Parker (Ludacris) and Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) and of course Letty, try to figure out the motive behind Toretto betrayal. Meanwhile, they were hired by Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) and Little Nobody (Scott Eastwood) to stop Cipher from triggering the third world war. In order to do so, they have to cooperate with their ex-enemy, Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) who has been released from the prison.

This movie has released with the same formula as the prequels, with more humors somehow. The big theme is contrast with the movie poster: “Family No More” instead, family is the great background in this movie. Family, in this case his ex-girlfriend Elena Navas (Elsa Pataky) and her Toretto son , also the reason behind Toretto’s betrayal to his said-to-be-family team. Family then becomes the reason Toretto meets Mrs. Shaw (Helen Mirren, whose appearance really made my day), mother of both Deckard and Owen Shaw (Luke Evans), and ask for her help to free his son from Cipher. And since I quote the legendary Lilo and Stitch (2002) quotes on the title of this review, the name Toretto gives to his son at the end of this movie explains why there’s no one left behind (except those who are made dead on the prequels) on this franchise.

However this star studded movie still feels a little hollow, compared to the prequel FF7. Theron, though she plays her role with sophistication as always, could be more ruthless and tactical as the most fearsome IT expert in this world (told to be “even Anonymous scares of her”) than just a women with braided hair and bluetooth headset on her ears. Her character, Cipher, is also lack of reasoning to become a truly good villain. So instead of being the most extraordinary hacker in the world, Theron’s Cipher looks more like a marketing agent with sarcastic face. The consolidation with criminals Shaw Brothers is also confusing, and feels like the agency is now creating their own Suicide Squad. The return of both Jason Statham and Luke Evans can make this movie richer, but a little bit out of context. 

So if you like movie about cars and action, this movie can be your options to spend your weekend. I give this movie 7.7/10.

The Boss Baby (2017): Don’t Think, Just Watch 

If you want to know more, Here’s the boss’ official website.

While a lot of animations nowadays inspired by fairy tales or children books, and it gets heavier with so many messages inserted so you have to explain the moral of the movie to your children, The Boss Baby comes releasing you from that tension. The Boss Baby is 2017 Dreamworks computer animation directed by Tom McGrath. It casted Alec Baldwin as the titular character, along with Steve Buscemi as the main antagonist, Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow, and Miles Bakshi as Ted, Janice and Tim Templetons, and not to mention our beloved ex-Spiderman Tobey Maguire as the narrator.

What seems to be a perfect life for the imaginative and lively Tim Leslie Templeton (Miles Bakshi) has been ruined by the coming of baby no. 2, The Boss Baby (Alec Baldwin). All the attentions and cares of his parents, Ted (Jimmy Kimmel) and Janice (Lisa Kudrow), now belong to the baby. Frustrated and jealous, Tim figures out that the baby, that has been weird enough to always wears suits, golden watch and Trump-like haircut, actually can talk and plan something. Tim’s effort to reveal the baby’s secret is failed, but somehow the baby manages to ask Tim’s assistance to complete his mission.

The baby is actually a high executive member of helpless Baby Corp, a company where all the babies have made and sorted, as if the idea of babies being made on factory wasn’t feel strange enough for you. Those babies who’s sensitive to tickles are sorted to be sent to families, and those who aren’t sensitive enough are sent to be the management trainee of Baby Corp. The Boss Baby, for short, is sent to investigate the reason behind the declining market, or in this version LOVE, share for babies. The demand of babies are being declined since the demand of puppies are raising, and Baby Corp is getting lose to Puppy Co, company where Ted and Janice work as marketing. Since Baby Corp finds out that Puppy Co. is going to release their new product, that can claim more market shares, they send The Boss Baby to investigate what puppy they’re going to launch.

The Boss Baby and Tim then manage to work together as a team, with all the goofiness that colors this movie and makes it feels like a cartoon we’ve been missed this day. Though in the end, The Boss Baby realizes that family worth more than his prestigious executive position, it still feels like the message is clear to anyone without felt like it was intended. Some jokes might be more suitable for adults, but still, it’s hilarious. You can also recall some memorable scenes from Mary Poppins (1964) or Raiders of The Lost Ark (1981) on Tim’s imaginations, along with familiar songs from The Beatles and the arrangement of Hans Zimmer. Alec Baldwin voices The Boss Baby brilliantly, almost feels like he’s returning his role of ferocious sales executive on Glengarry Glen Ross (1992), especially with the suits and the golden watch. Tobey Maguire feels recognizable, as Adult Tim or the narrator, and it gives us the feeling of familiarity in this movie. 

Unfortunately, this movie is boring on some spots, and it almost felt like it can be simplified onto a 30-mins short movie but they decided to lengthen the movie with a sticky bubble gums that don’t feel fit too much. However, it still enjoyable to be watch. Pssstt… I even suggest you to watch this movie rather than Smurfs: The Lost Village. 7.8/10.