New Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Teaser Trailer

The latest teaser trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (embedded below) is glorious. It has elements of what people loved about the original movie, but with several new twists. Since we’re still in the “teaser trailer” stage, you don’t have to worry about spoilers or clips that give away too much (the latter of which is a concern of several RPadholics). The new Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a fun video that doesn’t give away the farm. Now it’s time for some random thoughts on teaser trailer two!

Batista Brings It: It pains me to say it, but Dave Batista shines in this clip as Drax the Destroyer. As much as I hated his WWE career, he’s been utterly delightful in Guardians of the Galaxy. From cursing the skies to his hilarious comedic bit at the end, Batista was my favorite part of the new teaser trailer. Considering how much I disliked him as pro-wrestler, I never imagined Batista being my favorite part of anything. Well done, Sir.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 Teaser Trailer

After a supremely successful cinematic debut, the Guardians of the Galaxy will return to the big screen next year. Slated for a May 5, 2017 release date, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 brings the lovable intergalactic rogues back together for an all-new adventure. As you can see from the trailer below, it looks like Peter Quill’s crew will be teaming up with some old friends (frenemies?) this time around. I’m super-psyched for the Guardians sequel and it’s most definitely on my must-watch list for next year. For those of you that aren’t averse to trailers, kindly check out the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 teaser trailer and let me know what you think (please!).

Coffee Talk #650: The Best Nerd Movies of 2014

2014 was a busy year for nerd movies. Some were excellent (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), some were uneven (X-Men: Days of Future Past), and some were crap (The Amazing Spider-Man 2). Out of all the nerd movies released this year, one surprised and delighted me more than any other — Guardians of the Galaxy.

The surprise was on a couple of levels. While I’m a fan of the recent Guardians of the Galaxy comics (Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, Brian Michael Bendis), I didn’t think these characters were mainstream enough for a mass hit. Despite the monosyllabic talking tree and the haughty talking raccoon, that’s exactly what happened. Guardians slaughtered the box office and was generally well reviewed by mainstream media outlets.

The other surprise was Dave Bautista. As a longtime pro-wrestling fan that prefers skilled technicians over musclebound oafs, I’ve loathed Bautista for more than a decade. He sucked in the ring and on the mic for the WWE. I was certain that he’d suck in Guardians of the Galaxy. His performance was…shocking. Obviously Big Dave was made for action scenes, but I was astounded by his comedic timing. He delivered some great lines in the movie and I’m still astounded that his acting was entertaining.

As I’ve written a few times in the past, I believe that Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a superior movie from technical and writing standpoints. That said, Guardians is way more fun and re-watchable. Since their digital releases, I’ve seen Captain America: The Winter Soldier twice and…you know, I’m not actually sure how many times I’ve watched Guardians, but it’s definitely more than 10.

With its fantastic special effects, outstanding use of music, and fun performances, Guardians of the Galaxy gets my pick as nerd movie of the year.

LEGO Movie

Honorable Mentions

The LEGO Movie — This one was a surprise. I was expecting a saccharine movie for kids, but got a clever and heartfelt film. LEGO Batman ruled. “Everything is Awesome” ruled. The LEGO Movie was a smart and funny movie that’s great for children of all ages, and one of the most charming movies I’ve seen in years.

Birdman — I need to watch this movie again…several times. The writing and performances were great, but the camerawork was mesmerizing. The way the movie was filmed, it looks like a couple of really long tracking shots. Some have argued that it appears to be one tracking shot. Birdman is strange, powerful, and dazzling…but I’m still not sure what I saw. This movie definitely needs repeat viewings.

Birdman

Your Turn — As always, I want to hear about your favorite movies of 2014. Fire away in the comments section (please!).

Ooh Child: A Comparison (Guardians of the Galaxy)

The Star Lord vs. Ronan the Accuser dance-off showdown in Guardians of the Galaxy is an adorably ridiculous scene. On the verge of defeat, Peter Quill (Star Lord) decides to distract Ronan with some singing and dancing. On paper, it doesn’t make any sense, but actor Chris Pratt pulls it off with such charm that you can’t help but enjoy the scene. Of course it helps that it’s see to the fantastic “Ooh Child” by the Five Stairsteps. A classic soul song from 1970, “Ooh Child” is a tender and uplifting tune…that’s a brilliant precursor for a laser rifle blast.

Since I’ve watched the movie several times this week, “Ooh Child” has been stuck in my head. Let’s take a look at several versions of this excellent song, starting with the original from the Five Stairsteps. The live performance below is taken from Soul Train and is all kinds of awesome. The ’70s outfits are…spectacular.

Although the Five Stairsteps originally recorded the song, some people are more familiar with the Nina Simone version. I’m not going to argue with anyone that thinks of “Ooh Child” as a Nina Simone song since Nina Simone is awesome. Personally, I prefer the original, but totally understand people that prefer the Simone version.

Next up is a pair of covers featuring Cyndi Lauper. I’m a huge fan of her songs (especially “Time After Time” and “True Colors”) and adore her voice. First up, Cyndi teams up with Destiny’s Child for some lovely harmonizing accompanied by an excellent keyboard tone. That version of “Ooh Child” is followed by an a capella (mostly) clip of Cyndi and her backing artists.

As a big fan of Hall & Oates, I really enjoyed their take on the song musically, if not lyrically. Featuring Hall’s soulful voice, some pleasantly subtle guitar playing by Oates, and dreamy keyboards, this version is distinct. The lyrics were rewritten for this arrangement, which I wasn’t really big on. I prefer the simplicity of the original.

The Valerie Carter version below features some nice vocals, but I’m not too sure about the slide guitar solo. It kind of “rednecks” (yes, I’m using that word as a verb) a very soulful song.

Lastly, as a fan of acoustic jams on a porch and an even bigger fan of sandwiches, I’m high on this “Ooh Child” cover by Danielle Ate the Sandwich.

Random Thoughts on Guardians of the Galaxy

Following successful runs with Captain America, Spider-Man, and the X-Men, Marvel’s fourth comic-book movie of 2014 features the lesser-known Guardians of the Galaxy. While the film’s characters aren’t iconic like the other heroes featured this year, their relative (un)popularity and distinct setting (outer space!) were assets to the director and writers of the Guardians of the Galaxy film. They weren’t trapped by decades of history and millions of fanboys, weren’t limited by the quaint setting of Earth, and were free to create a movie that’s much more fun than its sister titles. While it’s certainly not the best Marvel movie of 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy is arguably the most entertaining.

To maximize your enjoyment of Guardians of the Galaxy, there are a few things you need to realize going into it. First and foremost, it’s much more of a sci-fi space-opera than a superhero flick. It has more in common with Star Wars and Star Trek than it does The Avengers and Iron Man. If you’re a fan of the source material (this iteration of the Guardians was made popular by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, and currently penned by Brian Michael Bendis) then you’ll notice a lot of changes. Some of them are small (and seemingly unnecessary), while others are a huge departure from the comics. If you’re unfamiliar with the source material then you’ll like enjoy the movie on its own, but if you love the comics then some of the changes will bother you.

While there were many things I loved about Guardians of the Galaxy, there were a few things that bugged me. Here are some binary thoughts on Marvel’s summer space opera. [Turn your spoiler shields on, please!]

Guardians of the Galaxy movie review Gamora Quill

Fantastic Pacing (Good): Guardians of the Galaxy has a runtime of 122 minutes, but it doesn’t feel like a two hour movie. Director James Gunn did a superior job of mixing action, comedy, and characterization, while maintaining a zippy flow. The pace is brisk and unlike some fast-paced movies, doesn’t cause viewer fatigue.

Non-Threatening Gamora (Bad): In the comics, Gamora is often referred to as “the most dangerous woman in the universe.” While she’s certainly fierce in the movie, she doesn’t quite live up to that lofty title. The movie version of Gamora is too vulnerable and pigeonholed as a “damsel in distress” in a few scenes. Her sister, Nebula, comes off as more of a bad-ass.

Guardians of the Galaxy movie review Rocket

Incredible Special Effects (Good): While the spaceship and alien locations were expectedly dazzling, I was floored by the CG used for Groot and Rocket. They looked appropriately otherworldly, while still being believable in the context of the movie. Physically, the characters never felt forced. Oddly enough, some of Glenn Close’s scenes felt jarring because her character looked out of place.

(On a side note, I was half-expecting a cameo by Mike Myers. In my head, Austin Powers comes out, grabs Glenn Close’s hair, and exclaims, “It’s a man, baby!”)

Redneck Yondu (Bad): Man, I hated this version of Yondu. I’ve always been a fan of the character ever since I encountered the original Guardians of the Galaxy in “The Korvac Saga” storyline of The Avengers. For those of you unfamiliar with the character, Yondu is kind of like an outer-space Native American. He’s spiritual and mystic (and yes, he wears a loin cloth and shoots arrows in deep space). Save for controlling a magical arrow, movie Yondu is nothing like comics Yondu. Movie Yondu is an outer-space redneck scavenger. I would totally hate the movie version of the character, but the awesome Michael Rooker plays him. You gotta give it up for anyone that was part of Mallrats.

Excellent Soundtrack (Good): Guardians of the Galaxy makes stellar use of ’70s pop songs. Blue Swede, David Bowie, The Runaways, The Five Stairsteps, and more are heard throughout the film. The songs add to the movie’s fun vibe. More than any other Marvel movie, the soundtrack for Guardians of the Galaxy will sell.

Guardians of the Galaxy movie review Groot

Rewritten Origin (Bad): I didn’t care for Peter Quill’s origin story in the movie. Having his mother die in a hospital (movie) isn’t nearly as powerful as having her slaughtered by aliens (comics). While the hospital death sets up a sappy scene towards the end of the film, it detracts from Quill’s tragedy. In the comics, his mother is killed by aliens that want revenge on Peter’s dad, J’Son of Spartax. It sets the tone for what a bastard J’Son is and gives the comics a recurring theme (Quill’s daddy-abandonment issues). While Quill’s dad is mentioned in passing, it looks like the sequels won’t have this important launching point to play off of (unless they write that J’Son infected Meredith Quill with space cancer or something stupid like that).

Wrong About Quill (Good): One of my fears going into the movie was that Chris Pratt would be too goofy to play Peter Quill. In the trailers, he seems more comedic than anything else — kind of like Han Solo’s far less competent younger brother. I was relieved that Pratt didn’t go too far with the comedy in the movie. Yes, he has his funny moments, but he also kicks ass, gets the ladies, and is cool. He definitely fits into that “scoundrel” mold established by Harrison Ford.

Ronan the Dickhead (Bad): Sometimes a hero and sometimes a villain (depending on your point of view), Ronan the Accuser is a complex and layered character in the comics. He can be unrelentingly brutal, but he has a nobility about him and an undeniable love for the Kree people. Movie Ronan is just a dick. He’s a radical extremist that’s 100-percent villain. His characterization in the movie was lazy and shallow.

Batista Didn’t Suck! (Shockingly Good): As many of you know, I loathe WWE Batista. He’s mediocre in the ring and terrible on the mic. To my surprise, Dave Bautista the actor was entertaining in Guardians of the Galaxy. His portrayal of Drax the Destroyer was shockingly good. Obviously, he excelled in the physical scenes, but his deadpan humor was fantastic. While I didn’t like the rewritten origin of movie Drax, Dave Bautista’s performance was surprisingly strong — so much so that I’m going to have to think of him as two different people. I will always hate WWE Batista, but I wouldn’t mind seeing Dave Bautista in more roles that combine physicality and comedy.

Bottom Line: I was very much entertained by Guardians of the Galaxy. Objectively comparing it to the other Marvel 2014 movies, Captain America: The Winter Soldier was a much better film. Subjectively, Guardians of the Galaxy was way more fun. Even though some of the changes from the source material bothered me, I know that I’ll watch this movie again and again in the future. When it comes down to the cable TV test, I can see myself watching Captain America: The Winter Soldier a handful of times over the next five years. In that same five-year period, I’m certain that I’ll watch Guardians of the Galaxy dozens of times.

Peter Quill Has a Plan (Guardians of the Galaxy)

Here’s an extended clip of the “I have a plan” scene from the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy. In the last trailer, the clip was spliced up. This video shows more of it and gives you a better idea of the team’s dynamics. Aside from (the glorious) Groot, everyone gets more time to shine in this video. More context is added too. To my surprise, Dave Batista had more lines without sucking more. Considering his penchant for sucking at everything that doesn’t involve being big and muscular, that’s just…shocking. Anyway, check out the clip when you have a chance and let me know what you think. Are any of you excited for the Guardians of the Galaxy movie?

Guardians of the Galaxy Extended Trailer (UK)

The latest Guardians of the Galaxy trailer is my favorite yet. It has more dialogue, more action, and (most importantly) more Groot! There are lots of things I love about this clip. There are a several excellent Rocket moments (love the bit with his “fake” laugh). Ronan the Accuser looks like a bad-ass. And (as much as it pains me to admit it), Dave Batista wasn’t as crappy as I’d thought he’d be (though I’m sure he’ll be crappy overall). That said, the more clips I see of Guardians, the less convinced I am of Chris Pratt’s portrayal of Star Lord/Peter Quill. Pratt is being a bit too goofy for my tastes. The Star Lord that I dig is a fun combination of competent, snarky, and cool. Going off of the trailers, Pratt’s Star Lord seems like one of those silly characters that gets by on sheer luck. Hopefully that’s not the case, but the vibe I’m getting doesn’t have enough of the cool and capable characteristics of the comic book character.

Anyway, check out the Guardians of the Galaxy UK extended trailer when you have a chance and let me know what you think (please!).

Guardians of the Galaxy Movie