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Can the Guardians of the Galaxy save the MCU? Plus: Strike Talk!

May 9, 2023
Notes
Transcript
Only four tickets are left for Across the Movie Aisle live, on Tuesday, May 16 at 7:30 PM at the Crystal City Alamo Drafthouse. (They’re marked as handicapped but there are actual chairs there and the rest of the tickets are sold out, so they’re fair game.) We’re showing WarGames and then talking about it (and other apocalypse-minded movies) afterward. Tickets are just $7! If we don’t sell it out, Paul Newman’s gonna have my legs broke!

This week, Sonny Bunch (The Bulwark), Alyssa Rosenberg (The Washington Post), and Peter Suderman (Reason) discuss how the writer’s strike is going to impact the present by looking at how it changed the industry in the past. If it goes on for more than a few months, I hope you’re ready for a spate of reality programming the likes of which we’ve never seen before. Then we review the summer’s first blockbuster: Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3. As three folks who have grown a little tired of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we were all pleasantly surprised. But is it too little too late for the Once-Mighty Marvel Machine? And make sure to swing by for the bonus episode on Friday, when we’ll be previewing the rest of the summer. Big movies, small movies, medium-sized movies: it’s a Goldilocks summer, folks. If you enjoyed this episode, share it with a friend!

This transcript was generated automatically and may contain errors and omissions. Ironically, the transcription service has particular problems with the word “bulwark,” so you may see it mangled as “Bullard,” “Boulart,” or even “bull word.” Enjoy!
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:11

    Welcome back to our crossover movie. I’ll be presented by Bulwark class. I’m your host, Sunny Bunch, Culture Editor of the Bulwark. I’m joined as always by Alyssa Rosenberg of The Washington Post Peter Suderman of Reason Magazine. Alyssa Peter, how are you today?
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:23

    I’m as well.
  • Speaker 2
    0:00:24

    I am happy to be talking about movies with friends.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:28

    Before we get started, a quick reminder to get your tickets to across the movie I alive on May. Sixteenth at seven thirty PM at the Alamo Draft House in Crystal City. We’re gonna be talking war games and you’re gonna be watching war games. The movie working funny. I I just rewatched it recently for, like, straight through from start to finish for the first time in years recently, and it it holds up.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:51

    So it’s it’s fun forty years. We’re gonna talking about the apocalyptic moment in nineteen eighty seven. I’m a how that kinda differed from the nineteen sixties. It’s it’s gonna be wild wild times. It should be fun.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:01

    Now on to today’s episode. First up, in Converse’s and Montverse’s as well. We’ve figured this was gonna happen last week, but we weren’t a hundred percent sure because we were taping before it actually happened. But the WGA is officially on strike. And the distance between the WGA and the AMPTP basically the studios is pretty pretty big.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:24

    Combined with the fact that the writers and the producers aren’t even really officially negotiating at the moment. And everyone seems to think this is gonna be a very very Sarah Longwell strike. The most worrisome thing about what we’ve seen so far just from our perspective as, you know, non participants in the the thing or the people who just love to watch movies and TV shows, is that the writers honestly are are asking for fairly reasonable things like larger writers’ rooms and some sort of viewership based residual payment? For streaming shows. And these requests were rejected without a counteroffer according to the WGA.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:57

    They put out a fact sheet that listed, you know, kind of points of tentative agreement, points of disagreement and what was rejected without a counter offer, and these these were among them. The producers say they’re simply just not gonna institute things like quotas for writer rooms. On shows that don’t need more than one or a handful of writers, they’re, I think, still pretty skeptical about, you know, any any sort of performance based pay, but, you know, we’ll see the distance between the two positions is large and not likely to close anytime soon. What this means for shows currently in production? Kind of depends on the show.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:29

    And the people running it over at HBO Max, the new season of the House of the Dragon will keep shooting. But hacks is shutting down. At Netflix, the Duffer Brothers said that they’re not gonna start filming the final season of Stranger Things until this is all resolved, which is probably like the worst thing that Netflix could possibly hear. The new Blade movie is getting shut down as well. They’re not even gonna start shooting it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:50

    It does need that script’s not ready to go. You know, Disney and HBO Max, they’ve sent their writer producers, the so called hyphenics, who generally serve as show runners and other kind of high level writers. Notice that they are still expected to reduce the shows that they are working on even if they aren’t going to perform writing duties. The WGA has said it will find members who do so. It will be curious to see how that sorts itself out over the next few months here, and it’s gonna be a few months that I don’t think, you know, is is gonna be resolved in less than that.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:22

    I hate to make big predictions here, but I think this is going to be a pretty long strike. And I do not think the producers and directors are looking at this and, like, really thinking, well, it’s gonna be easy us to make a deal, but, you know, you don’t know. I don’t know. Maybe they will. I don’t know.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:38

    If the directors do go on strike though, it’s chaos, bedlam, bedlam in Hollywood. So what does this all mean for us, the viewers, the most important people out there, the consumers, the customers? Well, it depends. Depends on what you like to watch, I guess. If you like reality TV programming and sports, you’re not gonna notice any difference.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:55

    There’s not gonna be any difference for you. If you like foreign productions, on Netflix, you’re also in luck as most of those shows aren’t gonna be impacted by this work stoppage. They are not WGA produced shows. However, if you do enjoy movies that are made in America, if you do enjoy television shows, the scripted dramas and comedies that are made in America, You really only need to go back to the two thousand seven, two thousand eight strike to see how wrong things can go and how quickly they can go wrongly. As the folks over at seven four helped me reminded us two thousand seven and two thousand eight brought a spate of half baked blockbusters to the big screen, like real misses, like X Men, Origins, Wolverine, the James Bond’s sequel quantum of solace, transformers, revenge of the fallen.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:38

    At the start of the ill fated GI Joe franchise, late night talk shows went dark. They’ve already gone dark here. This time around, and and we’ll see how much longer they stay dark. Scripted dramas. If anybody remembers, the sharp decline in quality in the the the kind of second and third seasons of Friday night lights.
  • Speaker 1
    0:04:56

    Well, there’s a reason for that, and that reason is the two thousand seven, two thousand eight strike. Heroes, Prison Break, all of those shows had their worst seasons as a result of the strike. The one winner was reality programming. And you can construct a plausible alternate reality case that the WGA strike helped essentially resurrect the fortune of Donald Trump show the apprentice. By introducing us to the apprentice celebrity edition, which in turn helped keep him in the public eye and help allow him to gain the prestige needed to become president.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:24

    Who could say what might have been without that strike? I don’t know. Peter, when do audiences need to start worrying about the quality of the programming they’re going to
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:33

    see? Well, again, it depends on the type of show that they’re watching. I mean, if if you’re a late night talk show fan, then the quality is probably gonna go down I don’t know. Already last week? Zero.
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:45

    Yeah. Right? Unless you’re like a a hate watcher fan who, like, only watched because you thought the shows were terrible in which case, no writing and no show is, I guess, better for you, but that’s probably like a a limited case. Again, it’s The timing is different depending on on the medium. Television typically shoots months or maybe up to a year out, although something like House of the Dragon.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:07

    Obviously has a longer lead time. Movies are typically through with principal photography about a year before they are scheduled to come out. Although again, depends to some extent on the movie. That’s that’s a very broad brush sort of guideline, not a strict rule. You can certainly find films that are still in principle photography, you know, eight months, nine months out from their expected release that does happen as well.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:31

    So for theatrical releases, you probably are not going to see a big shift this year. But next year, you might. And this is one of the interesting things about that. Semi four piece that you mentioned that looked back at what happened with the two thousand seven strike. And it just notes a bunch of movies that came out that were worse than they should have been.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:52

    So quantum of solace, the second of the, you know, James Bond movies from the last era, might not ever have been a great movie. You know, it’s hard to know what the counter factual is, but it was really kinda junky and thrown together. And This piece makes the case that a big part of that was that they went to shoot with a script that had not been finished because they just didn’t have any writers that they could tap to actually punch it up and make it better. It is kind of funny, though, in that same piece. They mentioned other movies.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:21

    They’d say might have suffered from rushed scripts. And then receive poor reviews in advance. And they mentioned X Men Origins Wolverine, which was indeed like a a turd. I mean, just a truly awful movie. But then they also list GI Joe the rise of the cobra?
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:39

    Do we think GI Joe the rise of the cobra was going to be good? Really fast. Like was there a is there an alternate universe in which they had, you know, a bunch of union writers who, like, were ready to tackle that movie and figure out the chaining Tatum problem that that movie presented and, like, make just like a really, really good soft reboot to the GI Joe frame. I I kinda think that movie was going to be bad. No matter what.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:03

    Like, writers, union, strikes, none of this really mattered. It was a GIGO movie, and it wasn’t gonna be good.
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:10

    I think you’re really selling GIG or short here. That could’ve been a that could’ve been a master it could’ve been a transformers style masterpiece in the right right hands. Oh,
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:18

    that’d be they also list transformer’s revenge of the fallen in this list, which, you know, that movie wasn’t so great — Indefensible. Terrible. That movie was terrible. Anyway, that we like, this is the thing that might end up happening. Is not that we, like, run out of movies this year, but that the movies that come out next year, in particular sort of summer and late year movies for twenty twenty four, they will probably for the most part still come out on time.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:48

    Probably a few of them will be delayed. Yeah. Sure. But those movies might end up being worse might end up being kinda junky because they just had to work with the scripts that they had in place. As of the strike date last week, and they they couldn’t do any rerates and couldn’t do anything else.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:06

    I mean, again, I don’t fully understand what directors, for example, are allowed to do with regards to writing. For example, in this write up, they talk about how, you know, the the director of of Quantum Solas was doing some on set rewriting as was Daniel Craig. And Daniel Craig is like, I’m not a writer, which, you know, fair. Like, not everyone is. But maybe some directors can do the punching up themselves.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:30

    Again, I don’t totally understand exactly how the the rules work on this sort of thing, but It just seems pretty clear to me that if this thing stretches on for more than a month, that next year’s movies are likely to suffer, either there will be fewer of them, or they will be lower quality or some combination. Yeah.
  • Speaker 3
    0:09:47

    I think this is an argument that a lot of writers have been making is that the idea that you hand in a script and it’s just sort of cast an admanium and doesn’t evolve once people start saying words and the director sort of sees how things work or, you know, come together or don’t come together. You know, there are some people who write incredibly detailed scripts. They’re, you know, absolutely cast in stone, but, you know, there is editing that happens. An idea that, you know, writers aren’t involved in that is I think a bit of a misunderstanding of the process for a lot of TV shows and movies. I
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:23

    mean, hey, look, I think there’s two places you’re gonna see this stop and defect things first. That is on scripted comedy shows. I mean, the the fact that hacks shut down despite them being most of the way through that season, I believe, is really indicative of the fact of how much, you know, on the fly writing gets done, even on a prestige comedy like that where it’s, you know, it’s pretty well written and scripted ahead of time. But also on, like, on the big budget action movies. I mean, like, the MCU, right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:49

    The MCU has writers on hand all the time. They’re constantly writing new alt takes. They’re constantly writing new scenes. You know, those those productions are done on the fly. I Like, they really are in a very very real way.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:03

    And I don’t think that you can make that Marvel method of filmmaking work without having WGA writers on staff who were there all the time, making sure everything goes through perfectly well. I mean, that’s why they shut down blade before it even got started. I I don’t think they’re going to put anything else into production while this is while this is going on. Because if you do not have the folks there to kind of patch the holes that are kind of inherent to this method of filmmaking, you are not going to be able to put a movie together. And if I’m Disney, that’s the thing I’m most scared about.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:37

    Right? It’s not so much the the show runners who don’t wanna do their line a through h work. So there there are rules in the the WGA and between WGA producers about, like, what producers can do to screenplays and, you know, editing for time, things like that. Right? And one of the things again that the WGA has said is that our hyphenet show runners, our show runners producers are not allowed to do that sort of work.
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:00

    You are not allowed to do that work that has specifically been carved out in previous negotiations. And it’s gonna be a real it’s gonna be a real problem. I
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:07

    I would say specifically with Marvel, their process is just very iterative. And so I I interviewed Christopher Marcus and Steven McFeely, the screenwriters of a bunch of the big Marvel movies around the time that Captain America Civil War came out. And they talked about how it was just an almost modular process of of building up the structure first, but then, like, they needed scenes that did work. Right? And so they would write version after version after version after version of that scene.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:34

    And then one of the other things we know is that Marvel edits reshoots and then tests their movies fairly obsessively to the point where when Doctor Strange two came out last year, several months beforehand, there was a quote that went around from director Sam Ramey was like, well, I think my movie is done. But, you know, you never know with those Marvel guys. They’re just working right up until the last minute, where literally the director did not know if the movie had been locked and was complete or not. And that’s not necessarily a bad process. That’s one that has delivered a a lot of huge hits.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:09

    But it is one that requires people to be there and be working and be writing. And be rewriting in a lot of cases because a lot of the the Bulwark here is not just sort of putting together a first draft of a script. It is constantly rewriting in response to feedback, whether that’s from other studio executives or whether it’s from audience test screenings.
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:28

    It will be a another golden age for fans of reality program coming. No. If you if you’re just here for your home improvement shows on Discovery Plus, David Zazlabs got a big smile on his face. He wants to welcome you in. To the d plus, the other d plus family.
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:44

    Just come on and just get max. I
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:46

    mean, as a big consumer of scripted dramas, I think the the big impact is going to be that we’ve already seen spacing between seasons really draw out. Right? It used to be that seasons of television were pretty much clockwork. You got one every year starting around September or October. And now sometimes seasons are, you know, fourteen or eighteen or even twenty four months apart.
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:08

    And with the strike here, especially if it drags on longer than a month or two, I I think it’s quite likely that seasons facing for big shows is just gonna get drawn out, and we will we may see two and a half or three year gaps between some of these seasons. For big hit shows just because it takes that much longer to get a new season off the ground.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:30

    It’s
  • Speaker 3
    0:14:30

    gonna be an interesting test of brand power. Right? Because some of these shows, you know, are you gonna count on viewers coming back a couple of years later? I mean, I think we’ve seen that some of these long gaps for shows like Westworld have been really problematic in terms of sustaining audience interest.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:49

    I blame the Sopranos. The Sopranos did a lot of good things, but they did one very bad thing, which was really get get creatives. Familiar and comfortable with the idea of taking too much time in between series. That’s that’s like cons and cons for another day. Alright.
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:03

    So what do we think? Is it controversy or an controversy that we the voracious consumers, the locust like addicts to quality television and movies, I will have to subsist on a diet of awful reality TV. And some less awful sports, I guess, if you’re into that sort of thing. Thanks to the writer strike, Peter.
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:22

    I’m just excited for the across the movie isle episodes about, like, survivor reruns. Yeah. Alyssa.
  • Speaker 3
    0:15:29

    I mean, Union Strong. I with the
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:31

    writers, but it’s gonna be tough. The one silver lining to this whole thing, I will say, is that there is already an infinite amount of television out there to watch We talk all the time about how we don’t have enough time to watch all the things that are out there. So if productions really do shut down for a long time, could be in for some some retro ATMA folks. We’re gonna catch up on some of these series that we haven’t been watching. You can watch along with us.
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:58

    We can do a little TV club. Old TV club. It’ll be fun. It’ll be great. I’m sure none of you both quit listening.
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:04

    Alright. Make sure to swing by Bulwark Plus on Friday for our bonus up So previewing the summer movie schedule, we’re gonna look at one big movie and one smaller movie that you might not have heard of in hopes of helping you plan your summer moviegoing adventures. Speaking of adventures in the movies onto the main event, Guardians of the Galaxy Volume three, The third and final, possibly probably. Entry in the James Gunhelmed Cosmic Space Adventure. Guardians of the Galaxy Volume three feels like something of a return to form.
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:34

    For the struggling mega franchise that is the MCU. Look, after disappointing sequels to Black Panther, Ant Man, and Thor, as well as a doctor strange sequel that I liked, but I think a lot of people didn’t like and I mostly liked it because of how unmarble it felt This is a movie, The Guardians of the Galaxy Volume three, that reminds us why people love the m c u writ large. In the first place, it’s fun, kind of sarcastic. The leads all have great chemistry. The action is mediocre, sure, but not distractingly bad, which is a real important qualification there.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:06

    And it has some real heart to it. If you had told me ten years ago that I’d be in a movie theater tiering up at the thought of a CGI raccoon, being torn away from his cybernetically enhanced Otter friend. Well, I’d have thought you were nuts, but here we are, folks. Here we are. Guardian Street does something interesting in that it chooses foreground rocket raccoon, who’s voice brad Bradley Cooper, and his origin story rather than Peter Quill, who’s played by Chris Pratt, and his sadness at having lost Gamora played by Zoë’s Aldana after a younger version of her was brought back to her.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:39

    You know what? It doesn’t matter. She had amnesia. Scott amnesia. She’s got amnesia.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:42

    We’re just gonna call it amnesia, and she can’t remember being with Peter Quill. That’s how that works. Anyway, the Guardians, who include Drax a destroyer, played by Dave Batista, Mantis, played by Palm Clementia, And Nebula played by Karen Gillian, they gotta save rockets life. By finding a code that’s in the computer banks of the high evolutionary, is this Eugenic sub assessed mad scientist who wants to create a perfect race in the galaxy somewhere and he’s done it a whole bunch of times and he’s destroyed a whole bunch of races. It’s bad dude, the high evolutionary.
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:12

    You don’t wanna mess with him. ROCCAT is his crowning achievement as he is the only being to have the spark of true self consciousness, the ability to learn and evolve and that sort of thing. To figure out how that happened though, he’s gotta cut out rockets brain. Nobody wants to see that happen, at least of all the Guardians of the Galaxy. They are not into that one bit.
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:33

    I’m gonna say this and it’s gonna sound sarcastic. But it’s absolutely true and kind of important. As I was walking out of the theater, I looked out of my watch and I said to myself, oh wow, that was two and a half hours because it didn’t feel like that at all. And that’s a marked difference for the MCU movies of late, all of which have felt like endless logs even when they are much shorter than two point five hours. It’s a testament to this cast from Pratt on Down that there are just a lot of fun to hang out with.
  • Speaker 1
    0:18:58

    Right? Batista’s dead pants are wonderful. Nebula’s annoyance feels both real and understandable. Pratt continues to show why Andy Dwyer was a perfect fit for Mega Stardom, betting on Andy Dwyer to be the star of your Mega franchise. Everybody would laugh it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:13

    Laughed it. Marvel ten years ago. And they’re like, oh, yeah. I know that makes sense now. Alyssa, as someone who has also grown a little tired of the Marvel Cinematic universe, how did you feel about Guardians of the Galaxy Volume three?
  • Speaker 3
    0:19:26

    I enjoyed it to my surprise and gratification. I mean, it definitely is as The New York Times is Kyle Buchanan joked on Twitter. It’s what if a little life but a raccoon. And for those of you who have not read, Diana Gajara is a little life It’s a novel which the main character is just like tortured in a variety of ways that seem like totally grotesque and unrealistic. For a weirdly otherwise very realistic novel.
  • Speaker 3
    0:19:53

    And so, I mean, look, if you’re someone who is sensitive about animal cruelty eye under like, I think you would not enjoy this movie, and I understand why if you were someone who took your, like, eight year olds these movies, you might be a little bit taken aback. But I thought that this worked really well. This is definitely the best Marvel movie since Shanghai, and I think both of them work for the same reason, which is that, yeah, like, a planet kind of blows up and there’s a, you know, big deal bad guy. But at the same time, these stories are really grounded in well acted personal stories. Right?
  • Speaker 3
    0:20:29

    I mean, Bradley Cooper makes you believe that this like weird cybernetic raccoon is truly dedicated to his, like, weird enhanced family of group grotesques and that being taken away from them is a trauma and a shock. All of the other sort of personal stories play out really nicely. And all of the characters are given sort of nicely concluding character arcs. Right? I mean, like, Drax gets to sort of rediscover the version of himself as a dad, which, you know, his family was murdered before we met him in the first movie.
  • Speaker 3
    0:21:03

    We don’t have a sense of him like as a father and you get to see him you know, in very effective Will Saletan dad mode with this crew of I don’t I don’t even I described them like genetically enhanced weird orphans. The
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:16

    brood. It’s basically the brood.
  • Speaker 3
    0:21:18

    Yes. You know, you get to see, you know, in Nebula, someone who was sort of profoundly all you needed and focused only on a destructive mission of revenge in like a joyful, communal mode, getting to be the leader of an organization. You know, group finally like, speaks words other than I am group. Matt decides to, like, go off and have her own adventures with her crew of squid monsters. Is that what the idea?
  • Speaker 3
    0:21:45

    But that they’re they’re things. They’re weird squid things. And much like, you know, all of the action in Shanghai is rooted in, you know, a guy having a conflict with his dad and his dad being sort of green stricken and screwed up and needing to rediscover himself as a person. You know, this is a movie that’s rooted in recognizable human character that takes you from point a to point b and where, like, all of the spectacle is in service of that. And it also just doesn’t look like garbage.
  • Speaker 3
    0:22:15

    Right? I mean, this has been my complaint with a lot of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies that they just look completely awful. And whether that’s due to indifference or inexperience on the part of India’s directors who are being handed these huge budgets for the first time or just Marvel’s practice of nickel and diming animation studios and working people like crazy. You know, this looks fun and weird. Right?
  • Speaker 3
    0:22:39

    I mean, you have a whole sequence set in like, you know, a weird biological space station thing. That’s like, gross but sort of interesting. And, you know, you can see that James Gunn sort of enjoys and has thought about making a world that seems strange, maybe a little gross, but definitely sort of alluring and fun to look at. And it’s nice to have, you know, sit through one of these and feel like, not ever have the impulse that I just wanna gouge my eyes out or that my eyes have already been gouged out and then I’m watch watching a movie through what remains
  • Speaker 1
    0:23:16

    of them. Yeah. That also I did not feel like my eyes had been gouged out and that I was watching the movie through what remained of the that is an
  • Speaker 2
    0:23:25

    important Or that would have been a very James gun way to watch the movie. Right? Like, you can imagine that’s how many people watch this movie. James gun is gonna that’s his next story is the moviegoer who watches movies with his eyes gouged out through like a like there’s a tube that you just like put it in and it just goes directly to your brain.
  • Speaker 3
    0:23:40

    As someone who who does not do it with eye trauma and movies, this this conversation has gone totally off the rest.
  • Speaker 1
    0:23:46

    Peter,
  • Speaker 2
    0:23:46

    what did you what did you like about this movie? Like Alyssa, I liked that the effects work wasn’t garbage. And not only was it not garbage, especially in the first two thirds of the movie or so, it was often quite good. And in particular, rocket raccoon and then his gang of weirdo high evolutionary tests subjects, right, the the otter, the walrus, and the rabbit, those are pretty high quality effects. At minimum, don’t bother me and often are like, oh, you are rendering hair and animal facial expressions and and some like actually quite complicated biological stuff really quite well.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:23

    I think there’s some weak compositing once you get into the final forty minutes or so of the movie, especially once you get to the destruction of counter earth and sort of the the big explosions at the end. But a lot of the effects in this movie work quite well, which is something I have not been able to say about a Marvel movie in years. Number two, So you said the action sequences didn’t bother you, but I actually think they’re better they’re they’re better than that. It’s not just that they don’t bother you. It’s that each one of these action sequences has a has an extremely not just clarity of action, but clarity of an idea.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:54

    Right? And so when we talk when we saw John Wick four a a month ago, I guess I wasn’t on that so. But when we all watched it, one of the things that struck all of us was that every single one of those action sequences is like a thing you can name quickly. Right? Oh, it’s the arctic triumph frogger sequence.
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:11

    And suddenly you know exactly what that is. Even if you’ve never seen a movie, you can imagine they’re playing frogger with guns at the arctic triumph. Right? And then you can talk about like, oh, here’s a sequence in which it’s overhead just like a video game, except one of the guys is shooting a fire shotgun. A distinctly identifiable idea.
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:27

    For every one of those sequences. At every single action sequence in Guardians of the Galaxy Volume three has a clear, clever idea that drives it. And then they’re executed reasonably well once you get there too. Right? Like, so so that’s just like not something you can say about a lot of these about a lot of the Marvel action sequences were just, like, these days, they just, like, oh, character gets to this spot in the plot or in this in this room and people start shooting and shooting lasers out of their fingers, and there’s just, like, stuff happening.
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:00

    There’s a clear
  • Speaker 3
    0:26:01

    You can see what’s happening. Right? If you can even see what’s happening at all. But
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:04

    there is a conceptual clarity to these action sequences that is unusual and above par certainly for Marvel movies, but I think even for just kind of big budget blockbuster filmmaking outside of the the really high quality action franchises like John Wick. And Mission Impossible.
  • Speaker 1
    0:26:21

    On this point, the the one thing that’s really nice about these these sequences, particularly the the middle bit in the space station is that they’re telling the story as well. Right? Like their their James Cotton has a really good grasp of using action to further not only the plot, but also the character developed development. So, like, the bits where Mantis makes the security guard think that he is in love with Drax. And Drax is like, again, you always do a just a very funny.
  • Speaker 1
    0:26:48

    It’s like a very funny little character moment that pays off in the in the evolution of their characters and how we see them throughout the series.
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:56

    That’s exactly right. And same with the Adam Warlock sequence at the very beginning, which really sets up the Adam Warlock character and all the weirdness that is to follow there. And then the third thing that I wanna talk about is something that Alyssa touched on just a little bit, which is the delightful grotesqueery of this movie. And the way it manages to do sort of pulp horror, grotesque stuff, kind of body horror, biological stuff, in a way that is totally appropriate for a PG thirteen Marvel movie, but also really in keeping with James Gunn’s history as a kind of gleeful gross out filmmaker. So for people who don’t know, James Gunn got his start with the trauma of films, and the trauma of the sort of brand is most famous for the toxic avenger franchise.
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:44

    But he, like, worked on a movie called Romeo and Juliet, which is kinda what it sounds like, a gross out super violent Riff on Romeo and Juliet, and then, you know, made movies like slither, that sort of thing. Right? Like, just like gross movies. That were gross and funny and cleverly gross. And then, of course, in twenty eighteen, he got pulled off of the directing job for yarding to the galaxy three when some right wing trolls resurfaced a bunch of his old tweets that were making admittedly kinda gross in appropriate remarks because that was his brand back when he was make when he did those tweets.
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:23

    And bunch stuff happened. He ended up making the suicide squad or the second suicide squad film ended up back on this film. And watching this movie, I think, is just such a It’s a reminder of how stupid it was to fire Jim’s gun from Guardians of the Galaxy for making gross tweets when he was much younger because the whole point of James gun is that he does clever gross funny stuff that is also kinda sentimental and like you know, has like a real heart to it. He does that stuff better than almost any other filmmaker and that is why Guardians of the Galaxy worked. And why it was a huge unexpected like even for Marvel, the first Guardians of the Galaxy, which they dropped in the first or second week of August when it came out, Right?
  • Speaker 2
    0:29:05

    Like, they were expecting it to do well but not nearly as well as it did. And it was because that movie borrowed a bunch from Star Wars and stuff that, but it was because that movie did weirdo gross out outsider stuff that James Gunn had honed as a as a you know, a trauma, pulp, low budget filmmaker, that it did well because he just does that sort of stuff better than anybody else and you see that again here. And was crazy for Disney to fire him and totally correct for him to come back. And I was glad he was able to do it because the story of Rocket Record really, really kinda touched
  • Speaker 3
    0:29:38

    me. I also think it’s worth noting something he said about making the first Guardians movie, which is that he wanted to make a movie that made him feel like he felt when he was watching the star movies without sort of remaking the Star Wars movies. And I think that gets at a huge aspect of why these movies are so successful and why the latest Star Wars trilogy was not. Right? Because the latest Star Wars trilogy was really devoted to remaking star Wars.
  • Speaker 3
    0:30:05

    Right? It’s like you need pretty much the exact same story. That’s what you get down to the, you know, mysterious revitalization of the emperor, yada yada. But what gone understood about the Star Wars movies is that, you know, they have adult elements. Right?
  • Speaker 3
    0:30:22

    Like, violence, real threats. Just like weird, silly stuff for romance, jokes, unexpected team ups, people, you know, discovering, their sort of better nature in spite of themselves, creatures. And he sort of understood that the fun and grossness and silliness in the Star Wars movies is sort of a bridge to those bigger emotions. Right? That it’s a way of experimenting with being a grown up and grown up storytelling.
  • Speaker 3
    0:30:52

    And to a certain extent, that’s what makes at least the first two movies and this work really well both for adults and kids. Right? Because you, you know, you have stories about loss and honor and grief and sibling rage, but, like, you also have an adolescent tree. And again, you know, I think this movie is an interesting example of the extent to which like the PG-thirteen category has just been like kind of stretched beyond recognition in a way that like, I I don’t think it’s wrong to call this a PG thirteen movie, but I also understand that if this is a PG thirteen movie, that categories may be less useful to some parents for decision making purposes? Well,
  • Speaker 1
    0:31:29

    it’s definitely I mean, this is so this is a movie that stretches p g thirteen Pretty far pretty far on the like, it’s it’s not even really violence. It’s like emotional violence. Like, the the treatment of rocket raccoon is To I mean, that’s torture. Yeah. Animal torture.
  • Speaker 1
    0:31:45

    But also, there’s a there’s a there’s a shot at the end of this movie that calls to mind to face reveal in the dark night. Just a really kind of awful facial disfigurement that I’ll get
  • Speaker 3
    0:31:59

    ripped the high evolutionary space off, and now he wears a weird mask.
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:02

    Yeah. So, I mean, like, it’s, you know, it’s there it’s definitely intense. I mean, again, I think it’s it’s more or less in line with something like the dark knight. I don’t I don’t think it’s like I don’t think it’s wild to to keep it as a PG thirteen movie, but it is definitely more it is more viscerally intense than your typical Marvel PG thirteen movie. Yeah.
  • Speaker 3
    0:32:23

    It’s on one end of the spectrum.
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:25

    And I think it works better because of that, and you’re not gonna get that from anybody by James Gunn.
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:29

    I don’t disagree. I I I again, I I think this movie works very well. It it’s very interesting that the two So who are who are the most important directors in the MCU? Right? You have you have essentially the Russo brothers who made the second two Captain America movies and then the last two Avengers movies, I think are almost inarguably the most important just in terms of storytelling and all that.
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:52

    I
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:52

    mean, it’s Favreau, it’s the Russo’s, and then it’s James Cotton. I
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:55

    would I would actually say Joss Wheaton is probably more important than John Favreau. Joss Wheaton’s first Avengers and even second Avengers, I would argue more important than than Favreau who made
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:05

    a very good Iron Man movie, but also made a very bad eye. I mean, hard to say given that Josie even second film was kind of a mess. He did however prove the concept of a big overlap in comic book universe with the first Avengers really spectacularly and set the tone for the next many years of Marvel films.
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:24

    Yeah. And the first Avengers, I would I still think it’s the actual best MCU movie. I think it is the it’s the one that works the best and is It’s one of only two I think that I’ve seen more than once
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:36

    because
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:36

    I actually wanted to watch it again. I was like, I kinda wanna watch adventures again. That never happens to me with the Marvel movie, which is weird. Alright. So what do we think?
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:43

    Thumbs up for thumbs down on Guardians of the Galaxy Volume three, Peter. Thumbs
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:47

    up best verbal movie certainly in a year or two. Alyssa.
  • Speaker 3
    0:33:51

    Thumbs up.
  • Speaker 1
    0:33:52

    Thumbs up. Good movie. Alright. That is it for this week’s episode. Make sure to head over to
  • Speaker 4
    0:33:57

    board plus for a bonus episode on Friday. Bye, tickets to the live show Tuesday May sixteenth of Crystal City the draft house. They’re going out. Fast. They got they’re almost gone.
  • Speaker 4
    0:34:07

    Four left. As of right now, maybe there will be fewer by the time this this actually airs who knows. Tell your friends, strong recommendation is basically the only way to grow podcast audiences. But, no, bro, we will die. You did not love today’s episode.
  • Speaker 4
    0:34:18

    Please complain to me on Twitter at suttibund, strong human it is in fact the best show in Secret Podcast feed. See you guys next
  • Speaker 1
    0:34:23

    week.
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