Reel Reviews: ‘Guardians’ & ‘The Circle’

By on May 10, 2017

The future is now

As expected, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” lit up the box office over the weekend, hauling in more than $145 million nationwide. The new Marvel Universe installment beat the weekend sequel total of “Iron Man 2” and topped the first installment of the sci-fi superhero flick by more than $50 million. The “trash cat” is out of the bag: people love outer space superheroes.

Built around some of the lesser known heroes in Marvel’s character arsenal, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” follows the adventures of Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper), Gamora (Zoe Saldana from the new Star Trek series), Drax (Dave Bautista, “Spectre”), Groot (this time in baby form and voiced by Vin Diesel) and their seemingly hapless leader Peter Quill, a.k.a Star-Lord (Chris Pratt). We catch the team cashing in on their reputation as universe savers by slaying a fantastic beast set on stealing priceless batteries from people ruled by a golden woman named Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki). From the looks of it, Ayesha is set up to be an arch nemesis for our heroes. Fine with me, the French-Aussie Debicki did an awesome job and reminded me a lot of Tilda Swinton. I look forward to her in Vol. 3!

But, back in Vol. 2 the squad must contend with Ego (Kurt Russell), an all-powerful being bent on taking over the universe who also turns out to be Star-Lord’s father. The reunion is not all hugs and kisses.

With special guest appearances by Sylvester Stallone, David Hasselhoff, and Howard the Duck, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” lives up to its nostalgic hype. Even Miley Cyrus, Rob Zombie, and Jeff Goldblum get in on the action. But, the second is not as good as the first, which is often the fact in franchises. There are plenty of good bits to laugh at and a heaping ton of action, but I thought the story was just weak. Rocket gets a little sappy. Spoiler … Yondu dies (Michael Rooker). And three post picture “reveals” are just a bit too much. All that said, the film is a must see if you are a Marvel fan; so, here’s a special “I am Groot!” shout out to you!

Work on a Vol. 3 has not reached the rumor mill, but I’m sure it will happen. Until then, fans will have to wait for “Avengers: Infinity War” in 2018 when the Guardians and others in the Marvel Universe meet in an epic, culminating crossover movie.


Also in theaters: “The Circle”

Emma, Emma, Emma, what did they do to you? Hot off your portrayal of a Disney heroine you get this: “The Circle.” Being bested by “The Boss Baby” is bad enough by opening at number five at the box office (weekend of April 28-30), but “The Circle” couldn’t even hang with foreign releases “How to be a Latin Lover” and “Baahubali 2: The Conclusion.” (Technically, 3Pas Studios, which produced “How to be a Latin Lover,” is based out of California but is operated by Mexican comedian Eugenio Derbez who relocated his company to the U.S. in 2016.)

This modern era sci-fi of a super-Facebook social sharing platform couldn’t even be saved by Tom Hanks. There’s a reason why this film was pushed under the rug and left to rot right before summer blockbuster season: it stinks. If you’re thinking of going to see this save yourself some time and blow the dust off a copy of “The Net” if you can find one.

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