GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY – VOL. 3 – Review by Susan Granger

If you’ve been an avid follower of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and writer/director James Gunn’s fun-loving band of intergalactic outcasts, you may be intrigued by Rocket Raccoon’s origin story. In previous installments of the Guardians sci-fi action-comedy concept, there’s been good-natured, space-pirate humor but, here, they’re just babbling nonsense for a bloated two hours, 30 minutes. The best sequences are poignant flashbacks showing how young Rocket gains sentience and bonds with other genetically-altered species, like an otter, rabbit and walrus. The worst sequences involve gross ‘n’ gruesome, heavy-handed destruction. And it’s curious that James Gunn seems to be connecting with the currently controversial ‘trans’ experience.

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GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL 3 – Review by Susan Kamyab

I know I have been saying that since Endgame and Spiderman: No Way Home, Marvel has cranked out some underwhelming sequels. So, that put a lot of pressure on the third installment of the beloved Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. Well, I am so happy to say that Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3 is a hit and a solid ending to a fantastic trilogy.

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GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY – Review by Valerie Kalfrin

Nine years after entering the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the lovably flawed Guardians of the Galaxy say goodbye with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, an eclectic and affectionate mixtape that’s funny, thrilling, shattering, and bittersweet. The satisfying ending is a sendoff that lands just right, emphasizing how the unlikely heroes have been saving each other all along.

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SHAZAM! FURY OF THE GODS – Review by Susan Kamyab

DC has always struggled to make solid, coherent superhero movies. One of the few times they got it right was with the first Shazam. Sadly, lightening fails to strike twice in Shazam! Fury of the Gods. The first 45 minutes starts off strong, but as usual, DC doesn’t seem to learn that less is more. They quickly try to jam so much action and detail into the last half that the storylines get muddled, so you lose interest in the characters, and worst of all, the movie begins to drag.

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SHAZAM! FURY OF THE GODS – Review by Nadine Whitney

David F. Sandberg’s 2019 Shazam! felt like a breath of fresh air in the grim, dark world of the DC Extended Universe. The tale is about Billy Batson (Asher Angel/Zachary Levi), a kid rejected by his family, the foster system, and the world in general. He finds a family and gets superpowers from a mysterious wizard (Djimon Hounsou) who gives him a quick rundown on what to do and then disappears into dust. It was rife with humour and pathos. Sandberg described the projects as Big with superpowers, and to an extent it was, but it was also about Billy coming to terms with his past and seeing how he had an opportunity to shape his future.

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THE GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY HOLIDAY SPECIAL – Review by Susan Granger

An animated flashback that shows how, years ago, Yondu (Michael Rooker) ruined Christmas for young Peter Quill by trashing his tree, throwing out his gifts and scolding him for his sentimentality. Listening to this recollection in outer space and realizing how much now-grown Peter – a.k.a. Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) – misses Earth’s holiday customs and traditions, his Guardian friends, Mantis (Pom Klementieff) and Drax (Dave Bautista), embark on a quest to find him the perfect Christmas gift.

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THE SUICIDE SQUAD – Review by Susan Granger

The action/adventure/comedy The Suicide Squad is perhaps a quasi-sequel to 2016’s Suicide Squad, as writer/director James Gunn ventures into the DC Extended Universe, totally re-envisioning the super-villain franchise. Problem is: with little exposition and no character development, there’s no emotional resonance, making it more of a grotesque, R-rated comic-book-turned-video game than a movie.

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, July 28-Aug. 3: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY

Opening Aug. 1, AWFJ’s Movie of the Week is Guardians of the Galaxy, the Marvel Studios franchise, with its 2017 sequel recently announced at Comic-Con. Directed by James Gunn and co-written by Nicole Perlman, the film is filled with eye-popping CGI and spectacle. It has just the right mix of action, comedy and heart that makes for a super successful superhero movie. The cast is led by Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Lee Pace, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, and Benicio del Toro, and features the voice talents of Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper. Read on…

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