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Live Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Just over a year ago, the entire future of the Spider-Man franchise was mapped out. After The Amazing Spider-Man 3 in 2016, the franchise would launch a whole glut of spin-offs including Sinister SixVenom and Black Cat, turning Spider-Man into a massive cinematic universe to rival Marvel’s. 14 months later, and a new Spider-Man has just been cast; 19 year old Tom Holland will play the third iteration of the webslinger on-screen. This time, Spider Man’s finally in the Marvel Cinematic Universe after Marvel and Sony struck a deal, with Holland debuting briefly in next year’s Captain America: Civil War. 

What changed everything? Simple answer: The Amazing Spider-Man 2. The foundation on which the entire franchise would be built, the movie was stuffed with Easter eggs and hints for sequels and spin-offs aplenty. However, it ended up being the movie that gave Sony’s plans a solid kick in the nutsack, with extremely mixed reviews and lukewarm box office returns, leading Sony to eventually press the reboot button yet again and team up with Marvel. With a new Spidey on the way, I decided to take a look back at the movie that ended it all, via the medium of desperately trying to type up bad jokes and keep up with the story at the same time. Yep, it’s another one of these things – my notes and thoughts on The Amazing Spider-Man 2 as I watched it.

Spoilers, of course, lie below.

7.48pm – It’s cute how the movie, right off the bat, expects us to care and invest in the story of Peter Parker’s parents with a major opening flashback, as if they’re actually interesting and engaging characters (haha).

7.53pm – The first action scene is a plane rash, which works decently as a metaphor for this movie.

7.55pm – Meet Rhino, the cartoon man. Got to hand it to Paul Giamatti for staying committed, and matching the dreadful script he’s given with an equally dreadful performance.

7.59pm – There’s many things to dislike about this movie, but Peter and Gwen’s relationship is not one of them; Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone are excellent actors, and they really manage to be convincing as an actual couple.

8.01pm – Gwen is giving a speech about the preciousness of life. This could be foreshadowing something, but the writing is so subtle that it’s really hard to tell.

8.08pm – It’s nice to see Spider-Man’s minor acts of kindness, such as saving vulnerable kids from bullies. For all its faults, this movie really gets Spider-Man’s character in places.

8.12pm – This introduction to Max Dillon aka Electro’s character is awful in every way. It’s so violently cringeworthy that I had to go to hospital for cringing so hard. Uh… yeah. You know. Not a good scene.

8.16pm – The first appearance of the Magical Convenience Elevator, in which only major characters are allowed to ride in (everyone else is rejected) so they can chat about important plot details. This time, it’s Gwen and Max!

8.20pm – Uh, why is Harry Osborn already dying of a disease that took like 30 years to kill Norman Osborn? I know it’s just for plot convenience, but in my head it’s because Harry existed for two years solely on a diet of Burger King, and now has various medical conditions, which exacerbates genetic diseases. They should pay me to write the script.

8.25pm – It’s Oscar nominee Felicity Jones, entirely wasted in a minor role that exists mainly to set up a future Black Cat spin-off! I suppose that makes the first dead Spider-Man universe project that’s set up here. This count could end up getting quite high.

8.33pm – Peter walking through traffic without looking to get to Gwen is portrayed as cute, but to be honest, with his reckless behaviour he really deserved to be run over. It would have been quite funny in a dark way, and it would also have ended this movie early, so it’s almost a pity that he survived.

8.37pm – As this movie shows through Peter, stalking’s fine is it’s just once a day (sometimes more) and you like the person you’re stalking. This movie teaches morals, too!

8.40pm – Electro may be a villain, but as this movie shows, he’s also bringing sick dubstep (listen to the soundtrack) to Times Square, which is technically public service if you think about it.

8.44pm – The writers actually do a decent job of making Electro look like a sympathetic and reasonable villain initially. However, Electro then goes and tries to murder a shit-ton of innocent civilians because Spider-Man took his place on the Times Square cameras and one police sniper took a pot-shot at him. Oh.

8.46pm – ‘It’s my birthday. Now it’s time for me to light my candles!’ This is both a terrible one-liner and an actual line of dialogue worked on and rewritten by several writers who are paid to do this for a living.

8.51pm – Aw yeah, paranoid and obsessive evidence gathering about dead parents montage! I love these kinds of montages!

9.02pm – The Magical Convenience Elevator strikes again. This time, it’s bringing Gwen and Harry together in its plot-specific magnetic field. What a helpful elevator.

9.04pm – Ah, ja, ze eevel German doktor! Another of The Amazing Spider-Man 2‘s one-scene-abominations is Dr Kofka, a cackling mad German scientist who probably belongs in a black and white silent comedy movie.

9.08pm – The movie has lost almost all momentum, parked its main villain in captivity and has barely set up the Green Goblin. But we’re learning more about Peter’s parents, so all is forgiven!

9.11pm – A lot of people online have complained about Spider-Man’s refusal to give Harry his blood, but to me, it actually makes some sense (it could create a horrible mutant creature). So I’m actually giving a free pass to what people call the movie’s biggest plot hole. I am a maverick.

9.14pm – Andrew Garfield is demonstrating limited knowledge of England. Andrew Garfield was brought up in England. Does not compute.

9.19pm – Colm Feore, who plays Menken, was also in Gotham, proving that he has horrible taste in superhero adaptations.

9.22pm – I’ve complained about the subplot about Peter’s parents earlier, but, to its credit, it was kind of the filmmakers to give the viewer an ideal chance to catch up on some sleep at the halfway point.

9.29pm – Electro has now brought his sick beats to Oscorp. I love typing sentences like these and knowing that they actually make sense in context.

9.31pm – Harry now only speaks in villainous one-liners, which is a somewhat jarring character shift. Still, it’s worth it for the chance to see Dane deHaan saying ‘Welcome to the bonus round!’ to a guy who just got brought back from the dead.

9.35pm – About 25 minutes before the end of the movie, and Harry’s just become the Green Goblin. His transformation is quite effective, but oh dear.

9.40pm – Gwen accidentally calling out Peter’s name is genuinely funny; the sort of thing superhero adaptations should do more of.

9.43pm – The moment where Electro literally pukes electricity onto Spider-Man is comedy gold. Hang on, that’s not meant to be funny?

9.45pm – Electro update: now composing sick nursery rhyme beats. These sentences still make sense.

9.50pm – It was kind of Green Goblin to wait in the queue until Electro was done, and then move in. What a polite and courteous homicidal maniac.

9.54pm – Okay, so Gwen’s death, for all the crap surrounding it, is almost perfectly done; Andrew Garfield’s performance and the scene’s tragic direction combine to create something genuinely effective and moving; a brave, bold and unique storytelling choice, even if it was ripped from the comics.

9.57pm – Ah, yes, the Sinister Six set-up scene. It was kind of exciting on release, but with the franchise now dead, it’s a bit of sequel bait that’s kind of adorable in its eagerness, like a dog convinced he’s about to be taken out on a walk.

10.05pm – The last we see of this franchise is Spider-Man swinging into battle against Rhino – but as the franchise isn’t continuing, we’re free to invent out own continuation. Here’s mine; Spider-Man fought valiantly for a few seconds, before being blown to pieces by a rocket in front of a large crowd.

So, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – a muddled, messy sequel that fails to set up a franchise stylishly, and fails to effectively tell its own story. There’s plenty of good things in there, some of which I didn’t mention, but it’s an unfortunate misfire of a sequel that was actively worse on this viewing.

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The Park is Open: Unoriginal Thoughts on Jurassic World

June is usually a quiet month for blockbusters – and as I journeyed to the cinema yesterday, the only actual films playing were small, art-house indie movies. Therefore, I decided to go see perhaps the smallest and least known movie playing. I don’t really think I can sustain that ‘joke’ (jokes are meant to be funny, right?) for much longer, so it’s worth pointing out that Jurassic World is pretty much the polar opposite of an indie movie, in both box office gross and content. I’ve never been much of a Jurassic Park fan (I’ve only watched the first one, and it was about 10 years ago), but the movie’s staggering box office success (just like a good dinosaur, it’s eating all the records) and the presence of Our Lord and Saviour Chris Pratt drew me in to see World the other day. Did it live up to the hype?

I had admittedly measured expectations for Jurassic World – the good-but-not-great reviews and the slightly mixed reactions on Twitter being a factor in that. So when I sat down, I was pretty much just looking for an enjoyable, noisy dinosaur movie in which lots of red shirts were eaten (it’s okay, these unnamed people never had families or friends who would mourn for them, so it’s fine to not really care when they die oh hang on). Even taking those expectations into account, half an hour into the movie, I was feeling confused. A lot of movies start up with an opening action sequence that places the characters in place for a main conflict to come – I enjoy that kind of opening, because it allows the movie to hit the ground running and compensate for scripting shortcomings from the get-go with plenty of pretty explosions. If the script’s okay and the characters are engaging, then the absence of an opening action sequence is fine. Jurassic World does not have an opening action sequence. The script is poor at best.

The first act is a conga-line of storytelling errors. It introduces swathes of characters, most of which are incidental at best to the plot – but perhaps the worst thing about Jurassic World‘s insipid opening act is how these characters are introduced. Establishing character moments are a bread-and-butter trope, allowing the viewer to get a handle on the character’s personality immediately – but World‘s establishing character moments are pretty much all terrible, filled with clichés and moments of on the nose writing that have the subtlety of an elephant attempting stealth. It’s like there’s a big red arrow pointing at the characters saying ‘This woman does not care about the dinosaurs’, ‘This guy is a quirky analyst’, ‘This guy likes war’. It’s a lazy, insulting way of spoon-feeding character traits to the audience instead of naturally introducing it (there are some six year olds in the audience, but generally speaking it’s best not to write as if the audience is entirely six years old), and it’s made worse by the fact that almost every character is introduced in this manner. Cardboard cut-out characters are hardly uncommon in blockbusters, but spending half an hour on these lazy, one-dimensional caricatures before the real dinosaur action was a really misinformed way to start the movie. It’s a little like being forced to spend time in a waiting room before stepping on the rollercoaster, only the waiting room is filled with bored theme park employees who have terrible conversational skills. It’s not really like that, but you may get the point. If you have no idea what I’m talking about by this point, please move on.

Then the Indominus Rex escapes, and things finally begin to click. Granted, the movie doesn’t really improve on the uninspiring character work of the first act, and the moments where it slows down for what it calls ‘character development’ are still completely dull, but as Jurassic World slowly removes the worst characters from the picture, the movie vastly improves. The dinosaur action that I came to see is generally terrific – with solid CGI, a fun variation of action sequences and a healthy dollop of PG-13 horror (including one particularly sadistic death that still doesn’t spill a drop of blood), Jurassic World more than delivers on the fun and enjoyable action the trailers promised. In addition, plenty more of the movie’s strengths eventually come to the fore – placing the mostly annoying two kids at the centre of the movie gives Jurassic World a clear emotional focus and heart, and prevents it from just becoming a generic disaster movie in which thousands of unnamed civilians are slaughtered by dinosaurs. And speaking of focus, keeping the action entirely confined to Isla Nublar (rather than letting, say, a flock of pterodactyls flap over to the mainland for the third act) is a smart move, allowing the movie to flow a little better (rather than Avengers: Age of Ultron‘s momentum-breaking trips to the next exotic tax break location). It’s also impressive how Jurassic World works on two levels – it’s both an effective standalone action movie that requires little-to-no knowledge of the franchise’s continuity, and a genuine sequel to Jurassic Park  (the two sequels are completely ignored, continuing Hollywood’s strange tradition of sequels to franchises that ignore half the actual franchise’s output, just like Terminator Genisys) that takes place in the same location and references that movie’s events frequently – late on in the movie, there’s a couple of more concrete call-backs to the 1993 original, one of which is pretty damn great on its own, and the other is an egregiously cynical example of trying to extract maximum amounts nostalgia from audiences. Nevertheless, it’s a sequel that plays to both franchise newbies and veterans, and offers an experience that isn’t compromised if you don’t have an in-depth knowledge of the previous movies, and in a continuity-laden marketplace, that’s a little refreshing.

Once Jurassic World hits the final battle, everything has pretty much clicked – there’s some actual character growth (one character has an arc, but it’s baby steps), most of the annoying characters are dinosaur food and the movie starts throwing out a few strong narrative twists and turns. By the time the Indominus Rex was slugging it out with *SPOILER* (see, I’m nice like that), I was pretty much internally cheering (you should hear my internal cheers, seriously) – it takes an awfully long time, but by the end Jurassic World becomes a thrilling, first-rate movie that succeeds at most things it sets out to do. It’s just a bit of a pity that it truly hits its groove so late, meaning that World‘s third-act success isn’t truly reflected in the quality of the entire movie.

Jurassic World, at the end of the day, is an enjoyable way to pass two hours – it breaks very little new ground, features some genuinely appalling scripting and begins like an arthritic tortoise with no limbs (I’m working on my similes), but the final two acts breeze by with consistently strong action sequences, solid direction that delivers surprisingly strong horror and an outright fantastic final sequence. It’s as if they pieced together a meticulously rewritten script with the first draft, or as if the entire writing team was fired early on. Neither scenario actually happened, but as SpongeBob once told us, imagination is important.

Also, if nothing else, Chris Pratt is in this movie, which certainly makes it worth the price of admission.

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Is Traditional TV Dying?

Recently, you may have heard the story that traditional live TV is slowly dying, being replaced by catch-up, Netflix, torrents and YouTube. But is it true? Is regular TV on the way out? To try and sort of provide an answer, I went ahead and wrote a proper think-piece on the matter:

NOTE: This essay was actually written for another purpose, so it’s a great deal more formal than the usual fun array of bad jokes in my posts.

For almost as long as TV in its current form has been around, the dominant method of viewing the hundreds of programmes produced across the globe has been traditional viewing – watching the programmes live on TV in a scheduled timeslot. It’s an activity that has been a key facet of Western culture in the past half-century – yet, with technological innovations creating exponentially smaller devices such as smartphones and tablets, many analysts believe that the traditional method of TV viewing is antiquated, and will soon become secondary to the wide variety of alternate options that have become available.

There is a compelling amount of evidence to suggest that traditional viewing may indeed be declining. Online streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video have popularised ‘binge-watching’ – this method of viewing, introduced into the common lexicon, is the practice of watching several episodes of a TV show in one sitting. This method has been actively encouraged by Netflix, for example, who release entire seasons of their original shows such as House of Cards and Daredevil in one go, clearly favouring the rapid consumption of the episodes rather than a more measured, weekly consumption. Netflix has had enormous success with this experimental idea, creating a flurry of conversation on social media on the release weekends (Netflix’s practice of releasing seasons on Friday, giving viewers a chance to binge-watch at the weekend, is further evidence of their encouragement of binge-watching), and even garnering awards success, with House of Cards having won several Emmys and Golden Globes. Even shows not produced by Netflix have garnered popularity via binge watching – a famous example is Breaking Bad, which recorded a 113% rise year-on-year in the ratings after the show gained unprecedented popularity through new fans discovering and binge watching the show on Netflix between seasons. Based on this evidence, it is clear that binge watching has become a popular, common method of viewing TV, with a more intensive, briefer watching schedule replacing the more leisurely weekly scheduling of traditional TV. In addition to this, binge watching has become a powerful tool even for traditional television networks, with Netflix providing a perfectly legal, lucrative (due to the licensing deals Netflix strike with networks for the rights to stream their shows) way of potentially increasing a show’s fanbase while it is on hiatus.

It’s not just Netflix’s original shows, either – almost all traditional networks both in the UK and US have introduced online catch-up services, such as BBC iPlayer and Sky Go, where the channel’s shows are free to watch for a period of time. Factoring in the reliably popular method of recording shows, the trend towards a more varied array of alternate options for people who may not have time to watch a show in its scheduled timeslot is clear – with Netflix pioneering the practice of binge watching, services such as iPlayer are successfully promoting catch up TV, allowing viewers to watch the latest episode of their favourite shows at a time that suits their potentially busy schedule, rather than being forced to adhere to an often rigorous schedule enforced by the traditional TV channels. Of course, when talking about online viewing, illegal downloading and streaming must be mentioned. It is by far the most popular method of online TV viewing, often actually making up the majority of viewers for a show – this is partially due to the appeal of a method that lacks the inconveniences of legal methods, such as the subscription fee for Netflix or adverts on legal catch-up services. Torrenting is free and convenient, ensuring its widespread popularity – while the latest seasons of shows may take several months to appear on Netflix, and episodes may be removed from a catch-up service after a certain point in time, torrents of shows are uploaded just hours after the first broadcast on TV, and are permanently stored online unless the site itself is taken down via a court order for breaching copyright. In addition to this, torrenting is also eroding the importance of channels importing foreign shows – the UK broadcasts of an American show may be several weeks behind America, yet torrents are available worldwide almost instantly after their first showing. While foreign imports were extremely popular before the invention of the internet, when there were no alternate means of seeing foreign shows beforehand, the availability and convenience of illegal streaming has resulted in a decline in this traditional viewing of foreign imports on traditional TV.

However, there is also plenty of evidence to suggest that traditional TV continues to retain a great deal of popularity. Social media, and the resulting unfiltered conversation about shows that takes place on sites such as Twitter, has increased the ability of fans to discuss the latest developments on shows during and after they are broadcast. In turn, this has created something of a stigma surrounding ‘spoilers’ – with surprising twists often spoiled for viewers who are not watching live by excited fans instantly after they occur, many fans have actually been driven to watch shows live in order to avoid spoilers, and take part in the online conversation. This desire to avoid spoilers has also pushed traditional channels to provide counter-measures for online torrents, in the form of live ‘simulcasts’ – for example, Sky have broadcast episodes of popular US shows such as Game of Thrones and 24 in the early hours of the morning, at exactly the same time as they air in the US. While these simulcasts are broadcast at unconventional times due to time differences, they have become extremely popular as a way of conveniently and legally staying up to date and avoiding spoilers – as an example of this popularity, the 2am simulcast recent Game of Thrones season finale received a higher viewing figure than many shows on the same channel garner in a primetime evening slot. Using both the example of social media and simulcasts, the widespread ‘spoiler culture’ has actually helped to enforce traditional television’s popularity, pushing viewers to watch shows live rather than wait, and potentially have key elements of episodes ruined for them. Furthermore, simulcasts can be used to turn an episode of TV into a truly global event, linking tens of millions of fans from around the globe – in 2013, the fiftieth anniversary episode of Doctor Who was broadcast simultaneously in 94 countries, breaking social media records. While examples like these are rare due to the expense and difficulty of organising such a mammoth event, this does show that traditional TV can be adaptable, using innovative ideas to turn TV into a blockbuster event that emulates the global scope of film releases.

Finally, though statistics show that VOD (Video on Demand) services are rising in popularity, traditional TV is still the dominant form of viewing, with shows on BBC One typically receiving around 75-90% of their total viewers live (with just a few exceptions) – even among 14-24 year olds, a demographic widely considered to be at the forefront of the movement abandoning live TV for VOD services such as Netflix, TV viewing still makes up 65% of their video consumption in the UK, as revealed in a study by researchers Platypus (the overall figure is 81%). Live ratings for shows such as The Walking Dead continue to rise year on year despite the rise in VOD viewing, with The Walking Dead’s viewership having increased by well over 300% between seasons one and five, showing that popular serialised TV can still draw in increasingly large audiences even as the availability of VOD grows (conversely, this viewership rise may be attributed to Netflix or torrents). There’s also an element of uncertainty over how popular VOD TV actually is – while broadcast TV shows release ratings the day after broadcast, Netflix do not actually reveal the ratings for their original shows, which raises the possibility of the internet hype and conversation about the growing popularity of these shows outstripping the actual viewing, with the expansive media coverage potentially due to the innovative release method and structure of these original shows, rather than their true viewership and popularity. Without any true way to quantify the popularity of these online shows other than social media, it is certainly possible that the media, creating a false idea that does not resemble the truth, has vastly overstated the popularity of these shows.

In conclusion, though traditional TV remains dominant, I believe that it is slowly declining in popularity – even taking into account factors such as a desire to take part in social media conversation and avoid spoilers, the appeal of Netflix and catch-up services are clearly eroding the popularity of traditional TV due to the innate appeal of being able to watch shows at the viewer’s own leisure. The idea of sitting down to watch a show at a certain time still persists, and holds particular appeal for live events such as talent shows or sport, but I believe that in 2015, people cannot simply be expected to fit their own schedule around a schedule imposed on them by TV networks.

Sticking to my mission statement of a blog where no two posts have remotely the same tone, the next post will be one that I’ve been simultaneously anticipating and dreading. Yup, it’s my live review of Paul Blart: Mall Cop.

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Live Review: Guardians of the Galaxy

Here I am, writing an article that’s definitely not the one I promised, a week later than promised. But hey, this is my blog, and if I’m allowed to blatantly go back on my word and change schedules anywhere it’s here.

These ‘Live Reviews’, something that may or may not develop into a regular thing here, are essentially my thoughts on a given film as I watch it – regular reviews can often pass over certain funny jokes or minor aspects of a movie that really deserve a bit of appreciation, so this is my attempt to dig into the minutiae of movies a little, and make lots of terrible jokes in the process. First on the list is Guardians of the Galaxy – last year’s surprise smash hit from Marvel that approximately three people expected would succeed. But succeed it did – and, having not seen it since my first viewing in a cinema last July, I wanted to start with a movie that I knew I would enjoy. Therefore, here we are, after two hours of furiously tapping on an iPhone while trying to pay attention to a movie – my notes and thoughts on Guardians of the Galaxy as I watched it, with plenty of context for the people not currently watching the movie (I would expect that to be everyone):

Spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy lie below.

7.28pm – Guardians of the Galaxy, the lightest and funniest film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, opens on Peter Quill’s mother dying, possibly from cancer. It’s a surprisingly depressing opening for such a lighthearted movie, and jars pretty horrendously with the rest of the movie – but hey, this is Marvel, and with $8 billion in the bank, they don’t need to play by our rules.

7.33pm – Speaking of mood whiplash, cutting to Peter Quill dancing through a temple to ‘Come and Get Your Love’ kinda undercuts the emotion of the opening scene (yup, his mum died five minutes ago in screen-time). Also, how many times has Quill listened to Awesome Mix? Why isn’t he insane at this point?

7.36pm – ‘Star Lord, man…’ – I’m just going to get this out of the way – Chris Pratt is a person that all of humanity should aspire to be like. That’s not hyperbole, by the way. Chris Pratt is genuinely the best.

7.42pm – Man, Ronan, the film’s villain, is just boring. Even with Lee Pace’s voice to lend some gravitas, he’s just a dull, blue fanatic with no depth. Marvel really have no luck/skill (delete depending on degree of love for Marvel) with bad guys.

7.44pm – On the other hand, Groot, introduced just now in movie time. is quite literally a precious, special snowflake who must be protected at all costs.

7.50pm – Quill’s middle finger joke in the prison was much funnier in the trailer, when the finger was censored. See, kids, censorship can be good! (This entry was sponsored by the North Korean government)

8pm – This movie actually does introductions extremely well – Drax goes through his tortured ‘my family are dead!’ monologue, before failing to understand metaphors and nicking someone’s knife. (NOTE FROM THE FUTURE – Subversion of common, trite superhero tropes ended up being a common theme, so expect more of that as we continue).

8.04pm – Oh, hey, it’s Thanos. The CGI of ol’ purple head is a little poor for a villain who should look extremely fearsome, but Josh Brolin’s performance is imposing enough that you can still imagine Thanos as the Big Bad of the MCU. He still has no Infinity Stones at this point – but hang in there buddy, you’ll have some in no time.

8.11pm – Nice prison riot scene! It gives all of the Guardians a good chance to shine and show their respective talents – it’s actually notable that it barely takes any time for the Guardians to form, which is a good indicator of how damn fast-paced this movie is.

8.15pm – I do love how almost all of our heroes, at this point in the movie, are selfish dicks who will readily abandon each other with little guilt. It’s a nice change from the more heroic template of most other superhero movies, which I guess makes Superhero Trope Subversion #2 (apparently I’m tracking these now).

8.26pm – The Collector, the buyer of the orb in Knowhere, is possibly too weird a character – and in a movie starring a talking tree with a three word vocabulary, that’s fairly remarkable. Was Benicio del Toro on drugs for his scenes?

8.37pm – We have a bit of a duff scene here. Quill’s big rescue of Gamora in space looks cool, but it comes too early in the movie – Quill’s ‘redemption’ here doesn’t sell, because we see him being his selfish ‘a-hole’ self 10 minutes before. On the bright side, this does mean Michael Rooker, aka Space Merle (it makes sense in context!), now re-enters the story.

8.39pm – Oh, they just made a joke about Quill’s redemption. Say what you like about this movie, but it often papers over storytelling cracks with jokes, which makes moments like Quill’s rescue a little easier to swallow.

8.41pm – I just realised – Rocket is played by Bradley Cooper, who was recently in American Sniper. There’s an American Raccoon spin-off idea in there somewhere.

8.50pm – The scene where the heroes agree to try and take down Ronan leads to both Superhero Trope  Subversion #3 (‘Bunch of jackasses just standing in a circle’), and makes a far more convincing turn to heroism for the protagonists. Good stuff.

8.53pm – ‘I don’t know if anyone is 100% a dick’ – John C Reilly’s character needs more appreciation.

8.56pm – They just announced an evacuation of the city before the final battle. Suck it, Man of Steel (edgy, I know).

9pm – The visual of all the Nova Corps forming a shield is very, very striking stuff. And then they all die, but that’s just details.

9.05pm – How many goons do the heroes kill in the final act? Several planets worth?

9.07pm – Oh, look, Ronan the Accuser is doing some accusing. Even when he’s at the forefront, he’s still an all-round bore of a character. We all love Ronan, right?

9.10pm – ‘We are Groot’ – I would add some critical thoughts, but that quote sums up everything that needs to be said.

9.13pm – Quill’s dance-off challenge may be bizarre, but it’s still a twisted and utterly strange moment of genius from the writers that somehow works.

9.17pm – Okay, the hand-holding trick the Guardians use to take down Ronan is a tiny bit cheesy, but their stand against Ronan is still a great, satisfying and cathartic payoff to the group’s character arc – done pretty efficiently to boot.

9.20pm – Drax settled his vendetta against Ronan, you may think. However, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 has been announced, so nope.

9.24pm – Perhaps the most annoying thing about this climax is that ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’ is included in the real life version of Awesome Mix Volume 1, but it’s clearly part of Volume 2 here. These things bother me, okay?

9.26pm – Dancing Groot is a gift from the gods, and must be appreciated every day. Every day.

9.28pm – Ah, Howard the Duck. I personally have no idea what this stinger is for, but like the dance off earlier, it’s so crazy that I’m just going to accept it.

So, Guardians of the Galaxy – an extremely fun film with colourful characters and a great sense of humour, despite the duff villain and occasionally fumbled character arcs.

I may be back with another of these soon, or I may not. If I do another one of these, I promise that I will watch Paul Blart: Mall Cop. Yes, I did just promise that. God help me.