Last week I talked about how Ant-Man and Civil War began a time of transition for The MCU, they we’re sort of still in. Doctor Strange and Guardians Of The Galaxy: Volume 2 cement that, one of them making me very wary of leaving behind the world we know, and the other pushing a place we’d glimpsed and enjoyed to it’s borders and succeeding beyond belief.
I do not like Doctor Strange. I remember watching it and receiving it with a hearty “meh,” thinking I might like it on rewatch, but not remembering my reaction to it, and as I watched it finally allowing myself to accept, “I do not like this movie.” It’s overly long, unfocused, and Benedict Cumberbatch doesn’t pull off asshole the way that other actors in this series have managed to. I’m also not crazy about Cumberbatch as an actor in general, so that doesn’t help my assesment of this movie.
But what annoys me the most about Doctor Strange is the way it squanders it’s really excellent supporting cast. If Rachel McAdams had been given a bit more to do, like say, Natalie Portman or Gwyneth Paltrow had, maybe this movie would have been better. If Benedict Wong and Chiowetel Edjiofort had gotten to rise above scowling at Strange as Wong and Mordo, perhaps the movie could have shone. Tilda Swinton and Mads Mikkelson are appropriately ethereal and menacing but still, underwritten.
It’s a poorly executed movie, that looks great, it gets credit for that, and the resolution of repeating the negotiation with Dormammu is a clever ploy, but until that climax, the movie just sits there.
Guardians 2, on the other hand is magical and wonderful and don’t you dare say a bad word against it, you monster. Seriously, I love this movie. I think it’s one of the best scripts for this kind of movie ever. I prefer this soundtrack to the first. (I prefer anything with Fleetwood Mac and Cat Stevens to anything without Fleetwood Mac and Cat Stevens.)
Guardians 2 is heartfelt, intelligent, beautiful and so well acted I watch it slack jawed every time that I watch it. (Which is frequently, I should note.) Kurt Russell is perfect as Ego, and really, my favorite thing about both Guardians movies is that they’re kind of about a bunch of people having temper tantrums on a cosmic scale. It’s super fun to watch.
But mainly, what I love about Guardians 2 is that it’s about family. I like stories about family, because mine is weirdly intertwined with each other. Rocket’s realization that he’s not alone in this crazy world, he has a family now, are so heart wrenchingly good that you’d be insane to not give the guy who made these movies whatever he wants for…oh…yeah…that…
I guess we have to talk about James Gunn, huh? I ranted my feelings about what happened with Gunn when it happened. I think it stinks. HARD. I think it may be impossible for Guardians 3 to bounce back from that setback. (Although they are apparently using his script, which is something.)
But we have two really wonderful movies that Gunn did get to make, by some miracle. (And we’re also apparently getting his take on Suicide Squad!) We live in a world were we all talk about how that space raccoon and the talking tree make us cry, and you know, what, that’s pretty amazing.
Next Week, we’ll talk about the real fun, though, we’ve got Spider-Man: Homecoming and Thor: Ragnaork, and wow, that might be the most fun double feature in the Universe!