Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Directed by James Gunn
It shouldn’t have taken us this long to get here as the last Guardians movie came out in 2017, but with James Gunn’s erroneous firing and the subsequent pandemic (one that’s still going on by the way), we’re rather lucky to have gotten this film at all. Oh sure, we would have gotten some sort of Guardians movie either way as Disney has invested a lot in this franchise, but to have everything fall back into place after all the shakeups seems almost too good to be true. With such a big story behind the camera, however, it does put added pressure on James Gunn and crew to deliver a proper capstone to this series which is easier said than done. Can they give us one last fantastic ride with the beloved Guardians, or was all the drama behind the scenes ultimately for a mediocre conclusion? Let’s find out!!
A lot has happened since Thanos snapped have the world and The Avengers snapped them all back, but The Guardians of the Galaxy are trucking along as best they can. Their new base of operations is thriving with a community of what I can only assume are outcasts and bounty hunters, and they’ve had at least one confirmed concert by Kevin Bacon. Still, Peter “Star Lord” Quill (Chris Pratt) is still struggling after the loss and confusing return of Gamora (Zoe Saldaña), and the rest of the Guardians have to pick up the slack with Rocket (Bradley Cooper) taking charge. Not exactly a perfect situation but one that they are dealing with, at least until Adam Warlock (Will Poulter) bursts in, kicks everyone’s butt, and nearly kills Rocket before getting booted back into outer space. With Rocket in critical condition, Peter along with Nebula, Mantis, Drax, and Groot (Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Dave Bautista, and Vin Diesel) have to uncover Rocket’s past and his unique biology if they have any hopes of healing him, and in order to do this they will need the help of the Ravagers who have recruited Gamora in the time since she arrived to this dimension during the events of Endgame. It won’t be easy however as Rocket’s creator, The High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji), gets wind that Rocket has been found and is hell-bent on taking what he believes to be his and will destroy anything in his path to get it. Can the Guardians outwit this evil scientist and work together as a team, even with the awkwardness between Peter and Gamora? What role did the High Evolutionary play in Rocket’s past, and what could that mean for this final adventure? Oh hey, is it finally a Guardians movie that doesn’t focus on Peter? Sounds like a nice change of pace to me!
Shazam! Fury of the Gods and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Directed by David F Sandberg
The announcement of James Gunn taking over the DCEU has certainly put this and a few of their other recent projects in an awkward position. Sure, there are questions of continuity and whatnot which I’m sure will be hashed out eventually, but these are projects that were built from the ground up under a regime that is no longer in charge, and it’s still a huge question mark as to how much Gunn is willing to carry over from the years that can be charitably called misguided. Still, the future is a concern for another day and the first Shazam movie was definitely a bright spot in the DCEU’s darkest days and perhaps it’s better suited than most to make the leap from old DCEU to Gunn’s DCEU. Does this movie prove that this is a viable character and film series going forward, or will this be a depressing reminder as to why they handed it over to Gunn in the first place? Let’s find out!!
A few years after the events of the first film, we find Billy Batson (Asher Angel) and his family (Ian Chen, Jovan Armand, Grace Caroline Currey, and Faithe Herman) are still protecting Philadelphia from whatever crimes and random disaster befalls their city using their Shazam powers that turn them into super hunky adult superheroes (Zachary Levi, Ross Butler, DJ Cotrona, and Megan Good). Still, the one thing their powers cannot overcome is the ceaseless march of time and Billy is already seventeen which means he’s going to age out of the foster system soon and doesn’t know what to do with his life if he’s no longer with his family who will also one day go their separate ways. Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer) in particular seems ready to fly the coop and start a solo act with his superhero persona (Adam Brody), but when he gets caught up in a plot by three Gods (Helen Mirren, Lucy Liu, and Rachel Zegler) who steal his powers and want to do… something nefarious, Billy and the rest must find a way to save him and stop these Gods before Philly is destroyed. Will Freddy find a way to be heroic even without the superpowers gifted to him? Will Billy be able to stop these Gods and come to terms with growing up and moving forward with his life? Will the other Shazam heroes also find something to do in this movie, or are they just kinda there for emotional support?
The Suicide Squad and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros
Directed by James Gunn
I was more positive than not about the first Suicide Squad movie, but there was absolutely a ceiling to how much I could appreciate it and frankly, I don’t think David Ayers getting his own AYERS CUT would end up improving things. It was a lot of good ideas and solid performances wrapped up in a script that felt half-baked at best and an editing job that struggled mightily to wrangle it all into something coherent. Fortunately, Warner Bros and the DCEU are in a much better position now as they’ve toned down the excessive budgets and improved the overall quality and tone of the films. Best of all, they got James Gunn to direct it who’s made some of the best movies in the genre with his Guardians of the Galaxy films! Sounds like the makings of a darn good movie to me, but are we looking at a perfect storm of awesomeness or are we just setting ourselves up for disappointment? Let’s find out!!
Task Force X is a secret government program that is the brainchild of Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) and uses dangerous criminals to take on missions that are too dangerous for anyone else. When there’s a regime change in a South American country to a government that is not so US friendly, Waller needs a crack team of weirdos to go in there and destroy a secret project known only as Starfish that is hidden below a research facility in the center of the country’s capital, and while some of them like Bloodsport Peacemaker, and arguably even Harley Quinn (Idris Elba, John Cena, and Margot Robbie), some of the others just seem to be there to either be cannon fodder or to just get them out of the prison system’s hair. I mean seriously what are you supposed to do with a guy like King Shark (Sylvester Stallone) and some dude named THE POLKA-DOT MAN (Davis Dastmalchian)? There are several others assigned to this mission such as Ratcatcher 2 (Daniela Melchior) and the always dependable Rick Flag as the leader (Joel Kinnaman), but it doesn’t take long for things to go sideways and for the team to have to more or less wing it as they try to find a way into the city undetected so they can kidnap the country’s super-scientist known as The Thinker (Peter Capaldi) to get them inside the research base and just figure it out from there. Can this rag-tag group of super-losers save America from whatever this Project Starfish is and secure their freedom in the process? What isn’t Amanda Waller telling them about the mission and just how much is at stake if they end up failing? I mean whatever happens it can’t be as bad as having one of your own team members take over a city and turn everyone into her zombie servants. Sure it’s a low bar to clear, but you’ve got to start somewhere!
Brightburn and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing
Directed by David Yarovesky
I’ve only had this movie vaguely on my radar for some time now (which frankly is a lot more than MOST movies but that’s another discussion) and I was certainly interested to see what it was, but more importantly I wasn’t quite sure what it was ultimately ABOUT which piqued my interest more than anything else. Was it truly just a kid with super powers killing people? Would there be some sort of They Live or even Frailty kind of twist at the end to explain his actions? It’s a fascinating premise to basically take the Superman origin story and turn it into that of a villain, but evil kid movies aren’t the easiest thing to pull off well and we’ve had at least ONE example this year of Hollywood screwing that up spectacularly. Is this the dark and twisted superhero horror movie we’ve all been waiting for, or is this just more horror tripe with a trendy coat of paint on it? Let’s find out!!
Brandon Breyer (Jackson Dunn) is your typical Midwest tween. He works on his parents’ farm, he goes to school every day, and oh yeah he’s an alien who crash landed when he was a baby and has been raised by his parents Tori and Kyle (Elizabeth Banks and David Denman) since then. He’s not aware of that though, but it’s also something that’s not TOO easy to hide; especially since Space Puberty is turning out to be quite a bit more INTENSE than the Earthling variety! Brandon begins to pick up on the fact that he’s a little bit different from others, what with his invulnerability and eye lasers, and eventually things come to a head as Tori and Kyle have to figure out the best way to handle the fact that their adopted son has UNSPEAKABLE COSMIC POWERS. You know, sending him to his room without dinner isn’t gonna work all that well when he can rip your heart out with his bare hands and then fly to the arcade. Brandon seems to understand this little power differential as well, not to mention that his alien side might not be from the most humble and good natured parts of the universe which can only spell trouble as he gets more and more proficient with his powers. Can Tori and Kyle instill enough self-control and empathy into this brat before he starts burning Pepe memes into the corn fields? Just how powerful can Brandon get, and is there any way to stop him if he goes too far? See, this is why everyone needs an Uncle Ben. Neither Tori nor Kyle have a brother named Ben, and that’s why this is all happening in the first place!!