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Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2

Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 2017

The first Guardians of the Galaxy was a semi-surprise hit. I say semi because even at that point, anything with “Marvel Studios” plastered in front of it would be in for a certain amount of success. And as for James Gunn, I enjoyed his previous film Super but still haven’t gotten around to his quirky horror movie Slither. And as much as I loved the first movie, I expected this second one to be more of the same. Following in the footsteps with the same level of chemistry and humor and for the most part, that’s what I got. But more than that, I got a level of heart that I wasn’t quite expecting, and some major themes of family that I imagine must be present in the later Fast and the Furious movies, though I also haven’t seen any of those just yet. And finally, as with most of my new release reviews, I will be discussing the film as a whole including any potential spoilers.
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Red 2

Red 2 2013

I’ve almost completed my recent goal of watching and reviewing the last few major comic book films I have yet to cover here. This film came out during the second year of this site and it was the first summer where I started to realize how many comic book films were actually coming out and how difficult it was for me to keep up with all of them. And since this was a sequel to a film that I had yet to see, it was one of those that fell through the cracks until now. I hadn’t really heard much about this film, and what little I did hear was generally mixed. But since I did enjoy the first one so much, I though I would enjoy this one as well. There is definitely a different tone to this film, and while the plot still isn’t much to speak of, I did laugh more often and harder than I did in the first film, so it’s got that going for it at least.
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Robocop 3

Robocop 3 1993

I’ve been feeling rather indecisive as to what direction I wanted to take next on this site. I still have a small handful of relatively good, or at least mediocre and well known comic book movies that I still need to get around to and a whole lot of dreck. So I decided to make a little Twitter poll with a couple good movies, a bad movie, and an oddity to see what won out. It shouldn’t have come to much surprise that this is the film that won. And despite the fact that I have yet to see Robocop 2, I was certain that it didn’t matter. It also helped that I had the DVD sitting in front of me from a clearance bin I picked up months ago. I am a big fan of the original Robocop, but I’ve never really given much thought to the sequels. I was a little surprised to see that this was rated PG-13, and even more surprised considering it still had a fair amount of blood and swearing, just toned down from the levels seen in the original. It had a scant few impressive moments, and notably more laughably bad moments. It really just lost sight of what made Robocop an interesting property in the first place in return for a failed attempt at marketing towards a younger audience. But one of the more interesting things about this film, especially coming from this site, is that comic book writer Frank Miller co-wrote this film (as well as the second).
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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows 2016

Now that October and Halloween is over it’s time for me to catch up with the last few superhero and comic book movies of 2016, although I don’t think it’ll be possible for me to catch Max Steel now that it’s already pretty much out of theaters and won’t likely be available on home video until early next year. But that’s all besides the point of the film I’m actually discussing today. I did watch the first (technically fifth) one when it came out in theaters and while most people really disliked the film, I thought it was ok. It wasn’t the best thing ever, but I had fun with it. And when the trailers came out for the sequel, I had high hopes. There were plenty of references to the 80’s cartoon which I was familiar with and it brought in Arrow’s Stephen Amell as Casey Jones. But for whatever reason, I ended up skipping it in theaters, and have put it off once it hit home video until now. Without getting too deep into it just yet, I did enjoy it more than the first, but it still had some issues with some annoying tropes and character traits.
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Captain America: Civil War

Captain America: Civil War 2016

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is back with its latest installment of their ongoing franchise. And even though I watched this movie on opening night, I feel like everyone and their mother has already voiced their adoration upon this film, probably just because it was released in many other countries a week early. As a whole, Marvel films have been pretty high on my radar starting off with Avengers as the first MCU that was released since starting this site and most of the Phase 2 sequels were much better than the originals until they hit a bit of a snag with Age of Ultron that felt like they were too focused on setting up future films to worry about focusing on the current one. On that front, I felt like Civil War was a success, while it greatly helped to have knowledge of past films, Civil War felt much more self-contained than Age of Ultron. It has the fun aspect that permeates all of the Marvel films as well as some incredible action and some thought provoking themes, but it just didn’t quite knock it out of the park for me this time. And fair warning since this has just opened in the US, there may be spoilers ahead.
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Ultimate Avengers 2

Ultimate Avengers 2 2006

While I’m still moving at a bit slower pace than I planned to, I’m still moving through the animated Avengers movies before writing down a full fledged review for Age of Ultron, though if you can’t wait to hear my thoughts I was on a recent Lambcast where I discussed it with several other Lamb members. The sequel to the animated Ultimate Avengers brings back the entire cast along with newcomer Black Panther. The sequel tries to amp up the action, the danger, and the consequences but it’s difficult to do with the way this cast of characters is portrayed. It doesn’t help that the Chitauri aliens aren’t any more interesting than they were in the first film. The result it a lot of the same old same old that just doesn’t have a big payoff at the end. There’s nothing terribly wrong with this film, but it doesn’t do anything new, fresh, or exciting throughout its entire runtime.
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Tiger and Bunny: The Rising

Tiger and Bunny: The Rising 2014

Once again finishing up my quest to have watched every single 2014 comic book and superhero movie with this anime film that came out during the early part of this year. It’s a spin-off of the Tiger and Bunny anime TV series which I have yet to watch, though I did watch the first movie, Tiger and Bunny: The Beginning. It came out after the show, but encapsulated the beginning of what happened in the show, as mentioned in the title. This movie takes place after all of the events of the show, but there weren’t too many things that I wasn’t able to follow having not seen anything other than the first film. I would recommend at least watching either “The Beginning” or the first couple episodes of the show to get a better introduction to all of the characters. That said, I really enjoyed getting back into the world of this film where superheroes are both TV stars and methods of advertising, where each hero has their own sponsorship, and usually several. It adds a unique element to the story where we get to see not just the heroes and villains, but the challenge of filming the fights and the people who are watching the events at home. The overall story of the film wasn’t anything special, but it was great to get back to these characters I’m familiar with within this fascinating world. And I did end up watching this in the original Japanese with subtitles.
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Men in Black 3

Men in Black 3 2012

And now it’s time to finish up this alien crime-fighting trilogy with the third installment. Though of course in this day and age it’s doubtful that this franchise will settle with a mere three films though there’s no telling if the next one will end up being a sequel or a reboot. Of course, with the way the film universe is situated, it would be easy to create a sequel with all new characters, but still within the same continuity but I’m getting way off track here. While I did watch this film back when it came out in 2012, that was during my first year of writing for this site and I had a bit more narrow definition of what I was going to be covering. But even if I didn’t think of these films as being superhero films, they are still based off of comics as inspiration if not directly source material. While the first two films had five years in between them, the next two had a ten year gap. And yet, with a larger gap came a fresher outlook on the characters and the setting. Instead of rehashing the plot of the first two films, it went in a different direction and brought up a tried and true sci-fi concept with time travel, brought in Josh Brolin doing a spot on young Tommy Lee Jones impression, and Jermaine Clement doing a spot on young Tim Curry impression. It was just as much fun as the original, and brought in some nice callbacks without feeling rehashed.
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The Return of Swamp Thing

The Return of Swamp Thing 1989

I knew very little about the first Swamp Thing movie, and I knew even less about the sequel which came out 7 years later and the only connection between the two movies are the actor that plays Swamp Thing in the suit and the villain Arcane who supposedly died in the first movie. I would have thought that they would have used the Dick Durock’s voice once again for the Swamp Thing, but for some reason* they chose to hire a voice actor do ADR all of his lines. The tone of this movie is also much more light and comedic. Unfortunately this makes the campy comedy feel much more forced than in the first movie where everyone was taking things seriously. There’s still some cheesy fun to be had, but it’s not nearly as good of a movie overall than the first one.
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Timecop: The Berlin Decision

Timecop: The Berlin Decision 2003

I don’t think I even knew that there was a sequel to Timecop until I started looking up information about the Jean Claude Van Damme version. It’s not surprising because it came out several years later, direct to video, with none of the same stars. Instead of Van Damme, we’re given Jason Scott Lee as yet another foreign lead and Timecop. And the villain this time around is also a member of a group trying to eliminate the Timecop program as a member of the Society for Historical Accuracy, or something like that. There is a bit of a problem with plot clarity, but there is quite a bit more questioning of the possibilities of time travel, including the beginning and titular scene where Brandon Miller seeks to kill Hitler while timecop Ryan Chan stops him in order to preserve the timeline in spite of any possibly positive repurcussions. I also noticed a surprisingly improved fight choreography, as Van Damme is a noted martial artist himself, though there are a few fight scenes that were better than anything from the first one.
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