Is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 better than the original?

Looking at Marvel’s previous track record of their sequels have either been vast improvements from the first one or absolute garbage. Like most of the world, I was a huge fan of the first Guardians of the Galaxy and was stoked for the sequel that came out last weekend. The problem I had going into it was that I had no clue what it even was about. From the marketing, all I knew was that Peter/Star Lord’s father was going to be introduced. I had a fun time with Vol. 2 and was excited to see the team again; but was it better than the first one?

 

The main improvement from the first one is the story. Vol. 2 is heavily a character driven film, and the cast has real chemistry. The core theme is family and what family is to each of us. It takes place a few months after the first film, and the team has formed their own little family. Front and center we see the relationship between Peter, his father Ego, and Peter’s adopted father Yondu. After Ego finds Peter, he promises him answers, such as why he was able to survive holding an infinity stone and why he didn’t die when he was in space. The team gets separated, and we discover that Ego is a Celestial, a god-like entity. Ego tells Peter if he stays with him he will teach him to control the universe. As expected, it’s a trap, and Peter’s father turns on him. In the first film we saw Ego had a deal with Yondu to deliver Peter to him once his mother died. This time we learn Yondu knew what he would do with him, so he kidnapped Peter and raised himself with the Ravagers. In the final battle, Peter learns all of this and the team kills Ego. In the process, Yondu dies in order to save Peter. At his funeral, Peter admits that while growing up, he created in his mind what he wanted his father to be like. Though that was directly based on his childhood hero, David Hasselhoff, it also describes his true father Yondu.

 

In the opening scene, the Guardians protect batteries from an interdimensional monster in exchange for Gamora’s sister, Nebula. After the events of the first film, Nebula is dead set on going after everyone who has ever hurt her. This includes Gamora, who their adopted father, Thanos, forced to fight every day. Whenever Gamora won, Thanos would remove part of Nebula’s body and replace it with cybernetics. Multiple times in the film, Nebula tries to kill her sister, but by the end, Nebula comes to terms with everything that had happened because Thanos made her do it. Nebula makes up with her sister and leaves her, while the Guardians head out to find and kill Thanos.

 

The first film introduced us to the group of misfits and established the intergalactic realm in the cinematic universe. From a storytelling point of view, Vol. 2 is a better narrative. The plot isn’t trying to set up the Infinity War films either. Personally, I feel like these franchises are trying to shoehorn the next film into these kind of movies so they can set up the next one. If done properly, it can be an Easter egg to the fans, but most of the time it can takeover the film.

 

This time around it has a far superior and complex villain that has a clear motive. This has been an issue that has been showing up in a lot of Marvel films. As the Marvel universe roster continues to expand, it has become important to balance the characters. What I mean by this is that in team films such as the X-Men and Avengers films you sometimes don’t get balanced screen time between the characters. Vol. 2 does this perfectly, like when the team is split up, and their subplots all come together in the end. One of my favorite characters in the first film was Drax. Actor Dave Bautista gives the best comedic performances out of the team this time and gets a lot more screen time. I really fear with the 20+ heroes that are going to be in Infinity War that it’s going to feel crowded.

 

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’s style is different too. Though the first film was colorful, this film sticks to a neon-based palette for the majority of the time. When they travel to different planets, it changes too. Once again director James Gunn kills it with the soundtrack. The first movie’s songs are more mainstream 70s and 80s classics, but I think I prefer the new soundtrack more. Vol. 2 also has Fleetwood Mac, and you can’t go wrong with Fleetwood Mac.  

 

The only reason why I wouldn’t rank Vol. 2 higher than the first one is that it can’t be a standalone movie. You need to watch the first one before you watch this one. Below, I’ll put my current rankings for all the MCU films just to show you where it stands compared to the rest.

 

  1. Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier
  2. Captain America 3: Civil War
  3. Guardians of the Galaxy
  4. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2.
  5. Iron Man
  6. The Avengers
  7. Ant Man
  8. Captain America: The First Avenger
  9. Avengers 2: Age of Ultron
  10. Doctor Strange
  11. Iron Man 3
  12. Thor
  13. The Incredible Hulk
  14. Iron Man 2
  15. Thor 2: The Dark World

13 Reasons Why You Should Watch 13 Reasons Why

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past week and a half, you’ve most likely heard about Netflix’s new series 13 Reasons Why by now. Based on the novel of the same name, the show follows a high schooler named Clay who receives 13 audio tapes after a classmate’s death. Whoever receives the tapes is one of the 13 reasons why Hannah Baker took her own life. In no way shape or form is this a fun show to watch, but it is informative on the effects of bullying and features great overall performances from its cast.
1.) It doesn’t sugarcoat the life and death of Hannah Baker

2.) The extremely talented young & diverse cast

3.) Amazing editing and cinematography that seamlessly transitions between the present, the past, and Clay’s imagination

4.) Shows what high school really looks like today 

5.) The characters that aren’t all one note or follow stereotypes

6.) There isn’t really a clear villain of the show until the end of the tapes 

7.) Tony’s mixtapes are BOMB

8.) Clay is played by one of my favorite up and coming actors: Dylan Minnette

9. )It’s a cautionary tale that I think will start up conversations about bullying between viewers

10.) Also, it’s kind of a mystery because we slowly discover why Hannah did what she did  

11.) It brings awareness to the signs of suicide

12.) Due to it’s format and having all the episodes released on the same day, you can choose to binge-watch it or take your time. This is a really smart idea because in the show the teens have to decide if they are going to listen to the tapes in one sitting or over a longer span of time.

13.) More than likely you will just end up hating yourself afterwards, but 13 Reasons Why brings to life the reality that some teens are facing today.

March Favorites

Just when you think it’s spring, mother nature continues to give you winter weather. Surprisingly, this month wasn’t as busy as I expected which has allowed me to go out and find new things.

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California Map Scarf- Old Navy

http://oldnavy.gap.com/browse/product.do?pid=507936022&vid=1&locale=en_US&kwid=1&sem=false&sdkw=printed-linear-scarf-P507936&brandCvoSid=Z2SCCJFPAD23&sdReferer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.oldnavy.com%2Fproducts%2Fwomens-scarves.jsp

Hands down my favorite store is Old Navy, but recently they only restock new clothes like every three months. On a limb, I ran in there and found a few new pieces for spring. Though paired with the right outfit it’s cute, this scarf works better as a tapestry.

 

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Lemon Bag- Forever 21

http://www.forever21.com/Product/Product.aspxbr=F21&category=ACC&productid=1000056077
I actually bought this bag to save back for the summer, but I couldn’t resist using it right now. It’s clearly inspired by the infamous grapefruit bag that all of the beauty YouTubers had a few years ago. For the price, the bag is really well made and the vinyl outside is easy to wipe off.


Logan

One of my goals of 2017 was to go see more movies in theaters. I’m kind of proud of myself because I’ve seen at least one new movie each week this past month. Logan is a masterpiece that I hope will rejuvenate the X-Men franchise. The series has been using Wolverine as their safeguard for years and have been shoehorning him into every film. This isn’t a fun film to watch at all, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t shed a tear at the end.


Riverdale

Based on the Archie comics, Riverdale has quickly become my guilty pleasure. The first season is similar to other CW shows of the past, as it follows a group of teens during their day to day lives in a small town. The show pulls viewers in with its constant plot twists and a murder mystery storyline.

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Stacked iPhone Case

https://www.amazon.com/iPhone-Stack-Pack-Black-Removeable/dp/B018VK9IOO

My phone is always dead. Sure, I could carry around my charger and portable chargers, but they take up too much space in my bag. This case includes a battery pack that attaches to it and comes with a charging base that makes my phone charge wirelessly. Originally I bought this case from Forever 21, but my mom ended up falling in love with it and took it. So I reordered another case for myself from Amazon.

 

Kong: Skull Island Is Actually An Anti-War Film

Somehow I was dragged into seeing Kong: Skull Island last weekend, and I’ve got to say it’s pretty good. I was expecting to see a basic explosion-filled action blockbuster, but unlike its predecessor, Kong is actually an anti-war film.

Based off of the end credit scene, it’s confirmed that Kong takes place in the same universe as 2014’s Godzilla. Personally, I didn’t enjoy Godzilla and kind of forgot about it. Both the acting and use of action was bland, and the little plot it did have was just the military chasing down Godzilla.

Kong takes place sometime after Paris Peace Accords were signed in 1973. The US government is leading an expedition to an unknown island called Skull Island, although it’s later revealed to be a government plot to get rid of these ancient monsters.

In order to reach the island, the expedition requires a helicopter squadron to escort them. This is when we first meet Lieutenant Colonel Preston Packard (Samuel L Jackson) and the Sky Devils. Before they head out, we get a brief scene that takes place on a military base, where the drafted soldiers are sitting around and chatting about their plans when they return home. This scene is added to humanize the men, as later they are the ones who are out to kill Kong.

Other members of the group are Bill Randa (Tom Hiddleston) and Mason Weaver (Brie Larson). Randa was contracted by the government to guide the group in the uncharted jungle. Weaver is a pacifist photographer whose plan is to expose whatever is on the island; she believes the island is a secret government base.

The anti-war themes start when Packard stops Weaver at the dock before their departure. Packard explains that people like Weaver were why the military didn’t have public support while in Vietnam. She replies that if the military did their job, they wouldn’t have lost the war. He then said,

“We didn’t lose the war. We abandoned it.”

Before landing on the island, they drop explosives on the ground to determine if the island is hollow on the inside. This can represent the Napalm bombs that were dropped on Vietnam and Korea. In the film, they are what draw out Kong and the skull crawler.

Later on, the group meets Hank Marlow (John C. Reilly), a man who crashed on the island during WW2 with a Japanese soldier. The two put aside their differences in order to survive and later become best friends. Marlow asks the group what he missed in the last 20+ years.

Marlow: “Who’s winning the war?”

Conrad: “Which one?”

Marlow: “…That makes sense, I guess.”

Most believed that WW2 was supposed to be the war to end all wars, but little did they know it was just the beginning.

Another scene shows a soldier carrying a Vietnamese gun instead of his military issued one. When asked about it, he states that he believes that the farmer he took it from probably had never seen a gun before the Americans came. This makes you wonder if some enemies don’t really exist until you create them. Some see the Americans entering the war to stop communism, but not the North Vietnamese.

Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts found influence for the film in other Vietnam era based films such as Platoon, Apocalypse Now, and Full Metal Jacket. The film used a warm color pallet for the action scenes, while scenes that displayed calmness switched to a cooler pallet. This is all topped off with a fantastic soundtrack filled with Vietnam era songs from Creedence Clearwater Revival, Black Sabbath, and David Bowie. (I made a playlist below)

 

 

 

Thoughts on Yoga Hosers

Have you ever seen a movie so bad that you had to tell everyone about it? For me, that would be Yoga Hosers – the 2016 “attempt” at making a teen action comedy by Kevin Smith. Over the holiday break, I watched this movie for the first time. It must have been VERY late at night, because the only thing I remember about it was that it was terrible. Yoga Hosers is the textbook definition of nepotism, as Smith cast his daughter, Harley Quinn Smith, and her best friend, Lily Rose Depp, as the two leads. This movie is like driving past a car crash because you just can’t look away.

  1. Do you think Kevin Smith wrote all of the songs in this movie?
  2. I don’t think that many people would want to come to a mini-mart within a span of ten minutes.
  3. When will Austin Butler stop being cast as a teenager?
  4. These people’s Canadian accents are almost worse than their acting.
  5. Why would anyone trust a guy named Yogi to teach you yoga?
  6. Don’t you hate it when you have to pause a movie just to read the title cards?
  7. Where did the idea for this movie even come from? Smith says the idea for Tusk and Yoga Hosers came to him during a podcast. I think he has a deep-seeded hatred for Canada.
  8. Harley Quinn and Lily Rose aren’t too bad singers, but they keep making awkward eye contact with the camera.
  9. Wiener dogs aren’t evil.
  10. Movies like this give millennials a bad name.
  11. Much like Yogi Bear, I don’t think Kevin Smith understands how copyrights work.
  12. Ladies and gentlemen, this is why you always bring a weapon.
  13. These special effects are borderline Syfy Channel level of bad.
  14. STAN LEE CAMEO
  15. When one of your villains is a foot tall Nazi sausage, I expect to have more sausage jokes.
  16. Yoga isn’t going to help you here.
  17. Why is the Bratzi’s insides bright orange?
  18. As an American, I have no clue how the Canadian justice system works. This is a complete guess, but I don’t think that they have suspects share the same police interrogation room.
  19. If I had a secret lab, I probably would put it in the bathroom too.
  20. This guy’s accents are very bad – like an annoying theater kid trying to do a British accent level of bad.
  21. After reading some reviews, I’m surprised that no one brought up how Yoga Hosers blatantly ripped off countless other movies.

 

In many ways, this was just a remake of Smith’s cult classic film Clerks. The only difference was that this time, it was teenage girls in Canada with Nazis. One thing I truly liked about the film was the graphics, but that was about it. Like with most Kevin Smith films, it seemed like the film was just one big inside joke that no one understood. I get that artists should take risks, but most of Smith’s career has been a risk that has had no payoff.

As I start to enter adulthood, I’m starting to realize that these kinds of movies aren’t designed for me. This was made for pre-teen girls, and I know that I probably would have loved it seven years ago. That doesn’t give it a pass though, because the plot was still trash. Leads Harley Quinn Smith and Lily Rose Depp weren’t terrible in their roles and had chemistry, but their acting still felt kind of stiff in front of the camera. Kevin Smith has both directing and writing talent, but he needs to start making content that isn’t just for his small fan base. I think Smith needs to work on projects that he doesn’t have full control on. When someone has too much power, things always fall apart. Currently, Smith has been killing it on the CW. He directed my favorite episode of The Flash, “The Runaway Dinosaur”. Smith is currently working on the final film in the True North Trilogy, with the kind-of-sequel to Tusk and Yoga Hoser called Moose Jaws.

January Favorites

Hello February! This month I thought a lot about the future: the future of my schooling, my relationships with others, and of course, this blog. I enrolled in summer classes, booked a trip, bought my prom dress, had my final color guard performance, and cooked my heart. What you don’t see here on my blog is that some of the recipes I attempt just don’t turn out well. I start the week off by cooking my first choice recipe. If it turns out good, it gets photographed, typed up, and posted on Saturday. About half of the time the recipe is a fail, so I either have to remake it or start from scratch with a new idea. Don’t worry… no food goes to waste, because someone always ends up eating it!
The Magicians (Netflix)

About a year ago, I heard about this series from Black Nerd Comedy, aka Andre Meadows on YouTube, who describes it as a grown-up version of Harry Potter. Unlike my friends, I wasn’t a huge Potterhead. I thought that since it was just some random SyFy channel show, it would be canceled after one season. This series is a fresh take on what I feel like is the typical fantasy based story. I find The Magicians is more like the Percy Jackson books than Harry Potter. As it takes place in both New York and a fantasy realm, the people are divided into houses based on what they can do. The best way to think about it is taking the overall idea of Camp Half-Blood and replacing the demigods with the wizards from Harry Potter.


Salt Lamp

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001892AX2/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I’m a sucker for anything that claims to help with seasonal allergies. In the past, I’ve tried nose strips, vapor rub on my feet, Neti Pots, and even drinking salt water. Supposedly salt lamps can help with congestion by purifying the air. I got one for Christmas from my mom, but I’m still skeptical if it actually works or not. Still, it makes a cool lamp and has an adjusted knob that’s great for at night.

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Beats Solo 3 Wireless

From the moment I get up, I have my headphones in and listening to something. I decided to upgrade my old Beats Solo 2 to the Solo 3 wireless because I like being able to control my phone with ease without having it in my hands. The sound quality hasn’t changed much, but the wireless feature is more convenient for me. For a full battery, it takes about an hour and a half to charge. That by itself usually lasts me a week.

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Split

January is kind of a dead month for movies, and the ones that did come out were garbage. I saw Split on its opening night, and I was really enjoying it until the “beast” came into the story. It’s already better than 90% of any other horror movie that’s going to come out this year, but it tries to make sense of a weird ending with a M. Night Shyamalan signature plot twist. Until the third act, it was set in a believable reality; then out of nowhere a guy is climbing up a wall. Up-and-comer Anya Taylor-Joy did a good job, but James McAvoy carried the story.


Instant Oatmeal 
This month I found three big boxes of oatmeal that I forgot I bought a while back. Most mornings, I add in granola, such as Bear Naked V’nilla Almond Fit, and maybe a tablespoon of peanut butter if it’s too thin. It takes about two minutes to make and keeps me full until I get home.

 

Recent Watch History

From about Thanksgiving to Valentine’s Day, I go through a period where I binge-watch shows like crazy. I’ve compiled a list of what I’ve enjoyed so far in no particular order. One of my weird habits is that I’ll watch a few different shows at the same time. This happens because I’ll start a show and get bored of it, then end up coming back to it later. This isn’t even close to everything I’ve streamed, but on average, about half of the things I watch ends up being utter garbage.

 

What I’m watching now
The Magicians- Netflix ( Currently on Episode 6)

Harry Potter meets Percy Jackson in this Sci-Fi channel original television show.

Conspiracy- Netflix ( Currently on Episode 2)

Your paranoid uncle’s favorite theories about Nazis and the Royal Family, all wrapped up in 12 hour-long episodes.

Luke Cage- Netflix ( Currently on Episode 3)

This third Marvel Netflix series revolves around a man with extraordinary powers who is trying to restore his quiet life by taking down the New York underground.

 

 

Series of Unfortunate Events- Netflix

The acclaimed children’s book series by Lemony Snicket finally gets the adaptation it deserves. The first season revolves around the Baudelaire orphans jumping from guardian to guardian and the mystery behind their parents’ deaths.

The Crown- Netflix

A young Queen Elizabeth struggles between balancing being Queen and a wife. I wouldn’t be surprised if Matt Smith and Claire Foy both won Emmys for their roles in the show.

Yoga Hosers- Netflix

Kevin Smith’s attempt at making a teen film based in Canada. (That’s all you need to know.)

Barry- Netflix

A biopic that explores Barack Obama’s time at Columbia University in the early 1980s.

Degrassi Next Class- Netflix

A guilty pleasure of mine that’s the newest version of the Degree series. It goes through the everyday lives of students at Degrassi Community School.

Red Oaks- Amazon

This was hands down my most favorite new show of 2016. Red Oaks centers around a young man who works as a tennis pro at an exclusive country club during the summer.

Buffy The Vampire Slayer – Netflix

Buffy Summer hunts and kills supernatural creatures.

Supernatural- Netflix

Sam and Dan Winchester hunts and kills supernatural creatures.

The Man in the High Castle- Amazon
Set in an alternate timeline where the Allies never won WW2 and the Nazi party and Japan control the United States. In this world, a series of short films depict the Axis losing the war, causing a young women to try to figure out where the films came from.

Fuller House- Netflix

The Tanner family is back in the follow-up series to Full House, featuring the same catchphrases and wacky scenarios they’ve been using since the 1990s.