Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Weekend Movies: Galaxy Questing

After sitting at the top of the charts for nearly a month, the latest ‘Fast and Furious’ flick is about to meet its fate. With $154 million already tucked under its belt from an early international opening, Marvel Studios’ new sequel is storming more than 4,300 screens this weekend and is on track to best the $94 million opening of the first installment by more than $60 million. With a prediction like that, it’s no wonder that only one notable indie release dares open against it.

As Disney has taken us deeper into Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, I’ve become more critical of its over-inflated and under-qualified box office smashes. For me, the studio’s formula feels more like quantity over quality. (With each movie bringing in over a billion dollars in ticket, Blu-ray and merch sales, can you really blame them?) But as disenchanted as I am and as flawed as it may be, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit how much fun I had with the new ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ sequel.

Guardian of the Galaxy Vol. 2‘ kicks off with an intro sequence that’s nearly identical in story to last year’s ‘Star Trek: Beyond’. Our heroes are about to conclude a crazy mission that puts them in a wild predicament. Once resolved, another conflict begins that feels like it should occur at the end of a movie rather than the beginning. It randomly ends with seemingly no consequences, and after that, nothing much happens to our central characters for over an hour. Like the original ‘Iron Man’, the final act finally brings the meandering and aimless movie a flat villain. As bad as this glaring issue sounds, ‘Vol. 2’ is at least chock full of humor and enjoyable content. Plus, Kurt Russell can basically do no wrong.

This weekend’s only notable new movie in limited release is yet another title that Harvey Weinstein has used to create controversy with the MPAA. ‘3 Generations‘, the tale of teenager who identifies as a boy rather than his birth gender, was originally rated R for strong language, but Weinstein contended that it received the restricted rating because of its transgender subject matter. After self-inflicted media drama and recutting, the movie now carries a PG-13 for “Mature thematic content, some sexual references and language.” Originally slated to open in September 2015, it sounds like Weinstein stirred the pot because his two-year-delayed and heavily re-edited picture isn’t good enough to draw audiences on its own. Elle Fanning, Naomi Watts and Susan Sarandon star.

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