Saskatoon StarPhoenix


Expect the good old Marvel gang to rule the box office as well, writes Chris Lackner.

- @chrislackn­er79


Big release on May 5: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

Big picture: The Avengers are getting long in the tooth, Justice League is still getting its cinematic act together, and the X-Men’s mutants always seem preoccupie­d with fighting each other (and taking themselves too seriously). That leaves the Guardians of the Galaxy at the top of the current cinematic superhero teams. The ragtag band of intergalac­tic misfits are back for Vol. 2 — saving the universe (again) against the backdrop of a great soundtrack (again) and bickering for our entertainm­ent (again). This time the Guardians wrestle with family drama (including Kurt Russell as StarLord’s father, Ego), old foes and new foes — including a race of pompous golden aliens who look like the unlikely offspring of the Tin Man and C-3PO. Chris Pratt leads the celestial charge as Peter (Star-Lord) Quill, the best damn space captain this side of Captain Kirk. Of course, Rocket raccoon, Drax, Gamora and Groot all return to equal parts help and hinder. Guardians is a distinct brand in the Marvel universe: it’s like Star Wars meets Firefly with elite sitcom timing — the explosions as carefully timed as the oneliners. This franchise knows how to lighten up, and that somehow makes its anti-superheroe­s more human (even though there’s only one half-Earthling among them).

Forecast: I don’t know about the galaxy, but at least spring’s Hollywood box office will be saved. In Guardians Vol. 3, the superhero space team will face off against a washed-up Avengers squad (by then Iron Man should be in a flying wheelchair). I for one would pay good money to watch Groot and The Hulk candidly discuss the meaning of superhero life. “Groot!” “Hulk smash!”


Big events: 2017 MTV Movie & TV Awards Live (May 7, MTV); The Last Kingdom (May 5, Netflix).

Big picture: Is MTV about to save movie and TV awards shows? For starters, following the Grammys’ lead, the 25-year-old award show has ditched gendered categories. Best actor in a movie, for example, features contenders like Hugh Jackman (Logan) and Emma Watson (Beauty and the Beast). Secondly, they’ve incorporat­ed TV categories for the first time — a smart move, as the line between the small-andbig screen continues to vanish. They’ve also added new, progressiv­e categories like best American story and best fight against the system. (But don’t worry, they still give out a statuette for best kiss). Meanwhile, season 2 of The Last Kingdom (think Saxon version of Game of Thrones) airs exclusivel­y on Netflix. The British period drama is about sex, battles, scheming lords, barbarians, blood and butchery. At its centre, a young lord named Uhtred (Alexander Dreymon) seeks revenge for his murdered family. “I can never forget and I shall never forgive,” Uhtred declares, before hacking a lot of people’s limbs off and angrily hurling himself across the room into enemies’ faces. With his brooding eyes, wavy locks, wild stubble and erratic behaviour — he’s the non-thinking man’s Jon Snow. Forecast: Workaholic­s star Adam Devine will make a bigger name for himself as MTV host. (But I would have preferred to see Jackman and Watson co-host in character; maybe Belle could have finally made Wolverine crack a smile for the first time in his long life?)


Big releases on May 5: Blondie (Pollinator); At the Drive-In (in. a).

Big picture: We all know blonds have more fun; turns out Blondie’s do, too. Sure, the band broke up in 1982, but these new wave pioneers have been going strong since reuniting in 1997. You know what they say: time (and money) heals old wounds. Their 11th studio album finds them up pollinatin­g familiar terrain: blending genres into sonic cocktails behind the distinctiv­e vocals of punk icon Debbie Harry. They also get by with a little help from their friends: new songs are written by the likes of Sia, TV on the Radio’s David Sitek and Johnny Marr.

A more recent reunion can be found At the Drive-In, as the Texan band releases its first album in 17 years. (Does all that time off qualify them as a new genre: post, post-punk?) The vocals of frontman Cedric BixlerZava­la (also of The Mars Volta) anchor all that distorted, electric mayhem.

Forecast: Blondie fans will be in “rapture.” (Carly Rae Jepsen will realize she basically just added the word “maybe” to the title of a classic Blondie hit.)

 ??  ?? Chris Pratt and Dave Bautista — as Star-Lord and Drax — and the rest of the gang are back in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Chris Lackner expects the Marvel movie to be No. 1 at the box office in the coming week.
Chris Pratt and Dave Bautista — as Star-Lord and Drax — and the rest of the gang are back in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Chris Lackner expects the Marvel movie to be No. 1 at the box office in the coming week.

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