Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: Is Marvel slowly moving towards DC's way of making movies?
With the release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 just a day away, we will soon have seen three films of the third phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
And if there is one aspect common between Captain America: Civil War, Doctor Strange and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, it is definitely the fact that all of them are visually stunning.
The good news is that we have seen filmmakers using a variety of techniques to make the film look as beautiful as possible.
From the elaborate and meticulously choreographed stunts in the airport battle sequence in Civil War, and the surreal depiction of other-worldly dimensions in Doctor Strange, to the fight sequences on an extremely colourful and vibrant planet or spaceships battling it out in a 'quantum asteroid field' in which asteroids keep randomly appearing and disappearing in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the third phase of the MCU has already shown us what visual effects can do to cinema.
The bad news, however, is that the visual effects have come at the cost of great storytelling.
And storytelling is perhaps the weakest part of the latest Guardians of the Galaxy movie. To begin with, we have a villain who — yet again — ultimately wants to conquer the universe. World/Universe domination is one of the oldest tricks in the book for creating movie villains. It has been used so many times as the villain's motive in cinema that at this point, we would honestly be more open to anything else.
But, with the exception of Loki (played by Tom Hiddleston), MCU movies have arguably never really had a truly memorable villain. And maybe, we'll get the next great villain in the upcoming films. Yes, Thanos, we're looking at you.
Even if we ignore the problem of the lack of an interesting villain, there are a lot of other problems with the plot of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the most significant one being that the unique, raw humour which we saw in the first movie is missing in many crucial parts of the latest one. Because of a lack of that extra creativity required in screenplay-writing and editing which makes an action comedy funny, many jokes — simply based on mediocre dialogues — fall flat.
Speaking of dialogues, you know the quality of humour has fallen when you realise you've gone from that iconic 'bunch of jackasses standing in a circle' line from Rocket Raccoon in GotG to Drax the Destroyer laughing about how his 'turds are famously large' in GotG Vol. 2.
The plot is also cliched and cluttered with sub-plots that leave little room for character development and lead to transformations in many characters which seem abrupt.
But this issue of great visual effects at the cost of an excellent plot is not just a problem with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
Doctor Strange, despite its attempt at intelligent storytelling, still has some glaring loopholes.
Civil War, which probably had the best plot among these three movies, also suffers from some gimmicky plot points.
This poses a serious question:
Are the films by Marvel Studios slowing moving towards the same category of films based on DC Comics which are criticised for its excellent visual effects but poor storytelling?
After all, one has to admit that despite the bad plots, films like Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Suicide Squad have all been visually very appealing.
In fact, Suicide Squad won the award for best makeup and hairstyling at the 89th Academy Awards. And despite all the negative reviews that movie got, it was still the ninth-highest grossing film of 2016.
Dawn of Justice grossed $873.2 million, which is more than what Deadpool grossed ($783.1 million), making it the sixth-highest grossing film of 2016.
These figures may also explain why filmmakers are suddenly focusing a lot on visual effects, even if the plot is neglected.
But we all know that no matter how good Superman's first flight looks in Man of Steel, the scene in Guardians of the Galaxy in which Star-Lord starts dancing to distract the villain will be more memorable due to one and only one reason: Witty and clever storytelling.
Let's just hope Spider-Man: Homecoming breaks this pattern and reminds us that good cinema never neglects content.
Updated Date: May 04, 2017 10:04 AM