Awesome mixes: Tracing the art of song selection through cinematic history


06 May, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 stars Chris Pratt as Star-Lord, Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Dave Bautista as Drax, Vin Diesel as the voice of Groot, Bradley Cooper as the voice of Rocket, Michael Rooker as Yondu, Karen Gillan as Nebula, and Sean Gunn as Kraglin. As an extra promotion through RealD, 558 theaters will offer a 3D double feature starting with the first "Guardians" film and leading into a 7 p.m. screening of the sequel. There he attempts to sway Quill to do possibly sinister, father-son-god things, which have little to do with whatever overarching story the Marvel Universe is now trying to tell.

There are other plots. Along the way, the Guardians run afoul of the golden alien Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki), who is far from forgiving for their transgressions. He also extracts strong performances from a diverse bunch of actors, and all of them bring their A-game to the table as their prominent chemistry with each other is on full display. Last but not least, we have Baby Groot, "grown" from a cutting taken from the monosyllabic tree giant, who could easily have been annoying but is simply too loveable to grow tiresome. Swapping out yet another giant, ponderous battle for a cute creature and Oldies radio is exactly the sort of action movie send-up the genre needs right now, so it's a shame the rest of the film doesn't follow that same spirit of rule-breaking. But Kevin Feige, the Marvel boss, says there may be more from this cohort of Guardians: "I think James in particular has an unbelievable connection with these characters and with this cosmic world". James Gunn is once again at the helm, but whereas he co-wrote the first movie with Nicole Perlman, this time he scripted solo. We'll just have to wait and see.

"Awesome Mix: Vol. 2" isn't really coordinated, either - it bounces from defiling George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord" to making great use of Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain" - but mixtapes don't require coordination. That individuality is why the Guardians soundtrack works while, say, Suicide Squad's upteenth spin of "Bohemian Rhapsody" is so. sigh.

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Back in 2014, artist Matt Ferguson created a stunning poster for Guardians of the Galaxy inspired by the original poster art for the release of Star Wars in 1977 (it was one of Germain Lussier's favorite pieces that year). The question will be if we can still hear the music among all the noise.

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