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Round 1: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. v Ant-Man

Round 1: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. v Ant-Man  

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"GGV.2" is far from amazing, but it has a lot of fun moments and an interesting story. "Ant-Man" is perfectly fine, albeit forgettable and formulaic. I also think it is remembered favourably because of Paul Rudd's charm, when really the villain and overarching threat are nothing. "GGV.2" it is!

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Guardians 2 has irritating, forced humor and the Mantis abuse is inexcusable, buuut it has a clear and coherent thematic and emotional core to it. It’s a beating heart of a film and continues its story in its own terms. May not always be my thing, but I recognize what it’s going for.

Ant Man is okay. Fun but anything but special.

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The villain of Ant-Man has a device that turns people / things into goop, yet somehow doesn't see the value in that? Thanks to Paul Rudd's charm, the force of nature that is Michael Peña's Luis, and unique visuals, Ant-Man is lifted up from a mid-tier entry to something more memorable. I'll even give it its meta-ness. Meaning, Scott knows he's not an A-lister, the movie knows Ant-Man isn't one either, so they made it part of his character; he's always striving to be better because he knows in life and superheroics he's rarely if ever someone's first choice. That's a great, relatable theme to give someone who's standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Captain America.

On the other hand, the themes presented in GOTGv2, especially those of fatherhood and family, hit me in the gut every time. Every single character is developed with a caring hand, especially Nebula and Yondu. The way the music is weaved throughout the movie and used to inform Quill's life and emotions is seamless. And the entire production opens many doors for future movies in the cosmic corner of the MCU. For me, its only flaw, and it is a big one, is exactly what Donovan said; the treatment of Mantis is disgusting. The character is able to rise above it, but someone seriously needed to be looking over James Gunn's shoulder during her scenes.

So yeah, GOTGv2 gets my vote.

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On the contrary, GOTG v.2 is in no way an improvement on the original and deserves marking down on that basis. The character work is there, but falls flat for me, and is more dramatic than the colourful character work in the original. Ant-Man does enough to stand out above it, whilst being, at best, an above average MCU film.

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Ant-Man is in the running for the worst villain in an MCU film (which is saying a lot), completely wastes the idea of his powers (I mean, come on! Honey I Shrunk the Kids is more inventive and entertaining). About the only thing it has going for it is Rudd.

Guardians 2 is fun as fuck. Also loved seeing the original Guardians.

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Guardians 2.  I might be alone in that I kinda like it better than the first.

 

What I will say about Ant-Man is that I appreciate the low-stakes of the film.  It think it was needed to tell a smaller story after going into space and trying to end all life on Earth.  And like has been mentioned, this film works at all because of Rudd.

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I will say, even though I voted Ant-Man, I have to think Edgar Wright's version could have been potentially off the charts. But Feige, man....

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GOTG V2 had some very annoying moments that drag on, as Don has said, but the Nebula and Gamora subplot is one of the strongest things the MCU has done, and it really began here. Ant-Man is fun and charming, but is lightweight in retrospect. The sequel has everything already good from the first and more, and less of its problems (namely, Hope being sidelined).

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