Esther McCarthy reviews Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and The Promise...
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 (12A) ***
Opening with a 1980s-set prologue that introduces us to Star-Lord’s father (an up-for-it Kurt Russell) before an action-heavy credits sequence where the loveable Groot (Vin Diesel) is front and centre.
After being seen dumping Star-Lord’s mother in the opening scenes, and introduced to us as a character named Ego, it won’t take much to figure out that daddy may not have his son’s best interests at heart.
It’s not long before this renegade force is battling a new and unidentified threat to the universe, and Star-Lord and Gamora are struggling with their love/hate relationship.
It all unfolds to a retro music soundtrack - called Awesome Mix Vol 2, obviously - that includes Fleetwood Mac, Glen Campbell and Cat Stevens.
There are many flaws with this sequel. The special effects are so bloated and overcooked that they often lack any sense of real impact, while the story is nowhere near strong enough to sustain a running time of over two and a quarter hours. The pace, particularly in the first half, frequently drags.
Fortunately, the characters riff off each other well enough for fans to care about their fate as the movie builds to its finale.
The Promise (12A) ***
Terry George’s new film tells the dramatic events that surrounded the Armenian genocide, where up to 1.5 million people were exterminated by the then-Ottoman government during World War 1. Successive Turkish governments have disputed the term ‘genocide’ to this day.
The movie sets the scene within a romantic love triangle involving the three main characters, which initially jars with the more dramatic events unfolding but proves more effective later on.
The story centres on a young Armenian medical student (Isaac), a woman from his locality who returns to her homeland after living in Paris (Le Bon) and a brilliant but troubled American war correspondent (Bale) who is convinced nasty forces are at play.
As conflict and much more looms, Isaac and Le Bon’s characters are drawn together by shared experiences and their common heritage. But she is in a long-term relationship with Bale’s war correspondent, who is determined to save their troubled romance.
It's uneven film nevertheless worth seeing for its details about this dark period in history.