Memento: A Review… But More of an Analysis of Film Editing

Every once in a while, someone produces a film that is so different, it sparks a massive fan following and invites people to speculate about it and create theories – which can neither be proven true or false – to boost the popularity and impact of the film.

This can only happen if a film is able to stand out. This is especially difficult today, when over two thousand films are released a year. Nobody is marveled by the concept of the moving image anymore. Nobody is amazed by synchronised sound anymore. Nobody is in awe at CGI that looks like it’s completely real anymore.

Cinema has evolved so much that things that would have been unimaginable only half a century ago are common standing. Would anyone who was in a theatre watching 2001: A Space Odyssey have possibly thought that one day, a film like Guardians of the Galaxy would ever exist?

So what does it take to be etched into film history forever?

This is a question I would like to answer with a few examples, but first let me talk a little bit about the film that actually has a place in the title.

Memento is Christopher Nolan’s first widely released film, from the year 2000, and is quite frankly a work of genius. The film follows Guy Pearce’s Leonard Shelby, a man with a condition which disables him from producing any memories at all, which he received after an incident involving the rape and ‘murder’ of his wife. His ultimate goal in this movie is to find the culprits and kill them.

Given his condition, however, this isn’t particularly easy. And that’s where the true genius of this film lies.

Christopher Nolan has always been one to fiddle around with chronology and time. Even though this was questionably done in Interstellar, its subtle influence on Dunkirk was a welcome feature of the film. However, that would seem like child’s play in comparison to Memento.

Here is where I answer my own question. Films that will forever be etched into history, at least for me, are those that are able to be original even today. How this is achieved is a result of a filmmaker’s vision.

An example that comes to mind is Pulp Fiction (obviously). Similar to Memento, the narrative isn’t exactly chronological, and the chunky puzzle of a story is what makes the movie so beloved. A little further down the line, there’s Fight Club, a movie that failed miserably at the box office but has one of the most passionate fan bases ever. Why? It’s a film that ends in a way that makes you look at it in a completely different light, encouraging you to watch it again in order to view the story from a different perspective. A film that’s a little more recent and will most definitely be remembered for decades to come is Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), which is unique in the way it’s made. The entire film is one long take, and even though there is one cut in the film, there are even theories regarding why that cut exists.

ffc39ebe6c87b384c277ca8ce3a63ba4Fight Club (1999) Edward Norton and Brad Pitt (Screengrab)2_img_inset.jpg

The point is, all of these films make two things very clear:

  1. Editing is an aspect of film that is often overlooked, but when something that is unconventional, not entirely chronological or completely original pops up, receives the biggest spotlight.
  2. The biggest reason all of them are so good is that they had visionaries at the helm. I strongly doubt any of them could have been nearly as good if Quentin Tarantino, David Fincher or Alejandro González Iñárritu weren’t in their respective director’s chairs. On that note, it is strikingly clear that Christopher Nolan is also a pioneering filmmaker.

Memento is quite possibly edited in an even more special way than all of those films. There is a narrative that both goes forward in time and in reverse, at the same time. This is rather difficult to explain, but I can try.

The events going forward are in black and white and exist to add context to the story. The events going in reverse are in colour and are connected as they go along, but the point of everything going in reverse is to make the viewer feel as if they are the protagonist, someone who cannot remember anything and has to photograph, write or tattoo everything to have some sort of recollection.

Clearly, this is something that can go horribly wrong if not done properly, and Nolan is able to craft a film that gives you the answers before the questions. How many times has anything ever done that?

This is strongly aided by the fact that Guy Pearce’s performance reeks of magnificence. There is an air of innocence to the character that makes it completely believable that he has the condition that he has.

What Memento does to you by the end of it is have you really appreciate the value of editing. Why else would I have written this extensive analysis? Sure, the conventional way of telling a story on screen is fine, but when it’s told a little differently, it can make a film seem so much more special. If one thinks about it, Memento wouldn’t have been nearly as good if the whole movie was told in the right order. Really, it’d just be a much worse version of John Wick. But when this sort of thought was put into it, it was made into something that is unforgettable (pun intended) in the mind of any film lover.

On a scale where M is the lowest and R is the highest possible rating, with the highlighted letter being the rating:

Memento: MIHIR

If ‘Unbelievable’ Was a Movie, It Would Be Dunkirk

We’ve come so far into the art of cinema that it often passes over us how magical a theatre experience can be. We live in a world in which the quality technical aspects of film are a given. So when a film is able to be a completely visceral experience, it is something that will be remembered for decades to come.

Dunkirk is Christopher Nolan’s latest film, and it tells the story of the Dunkirk evacuation during World War II. It is, without a doubt, a film that is nothing short of a spectacle.

Dunkirk does not waste any time. From the start, it gets going and it grips you right onto it. The editing of this film deserves immense credit, because the way the story itself is told can be a complete muddle if not told properly, and yet the film is so masterfully edited that it is just perfect.

The story of this movie is told from three perspectives. On the land, there are Fionn Whitehead and Harry Styles, who are a part of the 400,000 men who are to be evacuated from Dunkirk. In the sea, there are Mark Rylance and Cillian Murphy, who are on one of the 700 civilian boats that came to help in the evacuation. And in the air, there are Jack Lowden and Tom Hardy, who are trying to keep a check on enemy aircraft that are bombing the area. What is most intriguing about these three perspectives is time, and I will not say more than this because it is really a great thing to experience while watching the film.

Everyone I mentioned above gives a surreal performance (even Harry Styles). Their combined effort in replicating an event in history to their fullest ability makes it completely real. Their performances are raw and powerful, and nobody stands out because everyone is able to be just perfect.

However, what makes this movie so special is the way it’s directed. Christopher Nolan has created something that is to be pondered upon as an aesthetic icon.

My two favourite war films other than this, both set in World War II, are Saving Private Ryan and Hacksaw Ridge. The first depicts war as war, and as sticking out for your comrades. The second is a war film told from the perspective of someone who does not want to kill, but to heal. Dunkirk is a war film that highlights the humanity of war. It puts the viewer right in the middle of it to experience it themselves.

The characters in the film are simply what they are in terms of the war. They have no backstory or anything. And this is something brilliant. They are only what they need to be at that moment. On the land, the viewer struggles with the army. In the air, the viewer flies with Tom Hardy. You can feel everything the characters are feeling because of the beautiful cinematography and intricate sound mixing, along with Hans Zimmer’s amazing score. The mix of visuals, sound and music make this film something truly spectacular.

For instance, there is a sequence in which a ship is flooding with water. The screen goes black and only lights up when the water sloshes around. The sound makes you feel like you’re drowning. The music gets louder and increases its tempo with every second. This is how the film is throughout, and you are truly immersed in it.

I’m going to focus on the visuals again for a second, because the scenery in this movie is incredible. There are times in the movie I swear I could see the curvature of the Earth. When a film makes you sit back in awe of simply what you are seeing, you know it’s unique.

One last thing to note is that the enemy, or the Germans, aren’t seen at all in this film. This is smart because the perspective of war is usually always one-sided, and that’s all the viewer sees too.

Everything I have said about Dunkirk does not justify its magnificence. It is a theatrical marvel that uses every frame to entice the viewer, and it is a powerful narrative that is aided by even more powerful performances.

Christopher Nolan has crafted a perfect film.

On a scale where M is the lowest and R is the highest possible rating, with the highlighted letter being the rating:

Dunkirk: MIHIR

Okja, the Dictionary Definition of an Independent Film

Okja is a Netflix original film, starring Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal and Paul Dano. Despite those huge names, the lead is Seo-Hyeon Ahn, who plays Mijo, a little girl who has raised a super pig named Okja for ten years. Little does she know that Okja is a part of a global experiment, and that after ten years every super pig will be collected to compete in a competition, and ultimately become meat.

That synopsis makes this seem like a movie that could easily have fallen flat on its face, and that’s true. But it’s made so well that it’s another example of a crazy idea that somehow works great, like The Lobster.

On that note, there is one striking difference between The Lobster and this, and it’s that The Lobster is an independent film that is able to create its own feel and tone, while Okja is a good movie that feels like that most independent film ever. The emphasis on being as scenic as possible, the soft soundtracks, the characters that serve singular purposes: they are all indicators of this.

However, that is not necessarily a complaint, because this story is told well, at a good pace and a good grip. Plus I am a huge fan of independent films. The relationship between Mijo and Okja is very believable, and for a young child to act with the air like she did, it takes exceptional talent. The CGI for Okja is surprisingly good, and she feels real.

Even the themes explored in this movie are relatable and elevate the narrative, adding depth to its characters and their relationships.

Having said that, there are noticeable flaws in this movie, and it goes beyond the independent movie cliches.

The only supporting character in this movie that I felt was solid was Paul Dano’s, who is the leader of the Animal Liberation Front. Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhaal were given questionable roles in this movie, especially the former, who has something going on with her that is entirely unnecessary to this movie and really takes away from it. It should be a self-contained film but it goes a little bit overboard with everything involved.

I also wasn’t a huge fan of the ending, but that’s just me.

That said, Okja is still well shot (such as Hunt For the Wilderpeople), decently written, mildly scored (like The Fundamentals of Caring) and is really up front with the message it’s trying to communicate (similar to Captain Fantastic). However, if I had to compare, I would say that all three movies I just mentioned are considerably better than this one.

On a scale where M is the lowest and R is the highest possible rating, with the highlighted letter being the rating:

Okja: MIHIR

 

Spider-Man: Homecoming is the Best Marvel Movie To Date (no spoilers)

I haven’t felt this much anticipation for a film in a long time.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is Marvel’s Spider-Man film, after the character debuted in Captain America: Civil War following Sony’s decision to share the character rights with Marvel Studios.

This movie is perfect. That is not an exaggeration. I am able to find at least one problem in every Marvel movie, but not in this one. Not one.

Tom Holland can finally be judged as a Spider-Man because he carries a whole film now, and Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield don’t hold anything against him. He is like a combination of the best of both worlds.

Marvel tend to mess around with genres, with Captain America: The Winter Soldier being a political thriller and Ant-Man being a heist film, to name two. This movie is a coming of age tale, and you can feel it. One could argue that every Spider-Man film is one, but not quite like this. This is a real teenager, feeling the same emotions a teenager feels, but even as Spider-Man. Director Jon Watts has said that he intended to give off a John Hughes vibe with this film, and he does.

The style of the film speaks for itself. It’s a high school movie and it’s a great one at that. It’s so different from every other Marvel film because it’s so innocent in nature.

Marvel have had a villain problem but that does not exist in this film. Loki has been dethroned by Michael Keaton’s Vulture. Trying to get over the amazement of Michael Keaton actually being in this film, the character itself is brilliant. His motivations are clear, he is truly terrifying, and there are a couple of surprises along the way that really take you off guard. Even among villains in Spider-Man movies, I don’t think any have come on par with Vulture in this movie. And, obviously, Michael Keaton is flawless.

Robert Downey Jr is not shoved down our throats in this movie, as many feared. His role is something the film needed, and something the character of Tony Stark needed too. This is, without a doubt, a Spider-Man film. But having Iron Man in it doesn’t hurt it – it aids it.

I did notice that a lot of things seen in the trailers didn’t make it into the movie, but on this very rare occasion, that was okay.

I could go on praising this movie, but I think I will stop.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is magnificent. It is the best Marvel Cinematic Universe film to date, and definitely the best Spider-Man film. I think my spot for best movie of the year has just been occupied, and it’ll take something special to take its place.

Also, the second post-credits scene is just the best.

On a scale where M is the lowest and R is the highest possible rating, with the highest letter being the rating:

Spider-Man: Homecoming: MIHIR

 

Transformers: The Last Knight is a Crime Against Cinema

It has been a while since I have felt relief leaving a movie.

Transformers: The Last Knight is the fifth Transformers movie from director Michael Bay, and is about something to do with King Arthur and Cybertron and Optimus Prime and some other things that are jumbled together to form something that I believe is supposed to be the film’s ‘plot’.

I don’t know where to begin with this movie. It’s atrocious. A lot of it doesn’t make sense, and the little bits that do are muddled up in questionable acting, laughable dialogue and horrendous humour.

Mark Wahlberg has proven to be a capable actor and yet still associates with Transformers. Josh Duhamel and John Turturro both return… For some reason. They even managed to drag Anthony Hopkins into this. Not that he’s bad, but it’s an insult that he is in this movie in the first place.

Among the entire plethora of meaningless robots there are a few that matter. Quintessa is introduced as the creator of Cybertron, so, in essence, God. Optimus Prime, whose going rogue has been the most heavily marketed feature of the film, is in the movie for about fifteen minutes. And Megatron is back. Wait, wasn’t he Galvatron in the last movie? Doesn’t matter. Why does he look different? Don’t think about it.

Michael Bay has once again managed to produce an overly long sequence of explosions that makes little sense and is littered with garbage that anyone can see as being of no use to the story. So much of the movie could have been cut out, and the run time perhaps wouldn’t be so torturous. It isn’t just scenes I’m talking about. Entire characters are redundant and have no reason to be in the movie at all other than to boost up the run time. John Turturro is in this for I don’t know what. Isabela Moner’s character serves no purpose at all. It’s frustrating that common sense isn’t put into these things.

Even technically, this film isn’t even average. Half the film was shot in widescreen and half in IMAX, and it keeps switching throughout the movie. Not between scenes. In the same scene. In every scene. It is the most annoying thing you could possibly experience once you notice it.

And to top off this giant mess, there’s a set-up for the next one at the end. Of course there is. Hopefully that never sees the light of day, Mark Wahlberg decides he should do better movies, Michael Bay abandons the Transformers and Paramount directs the money to better films. Obviously, that isn’t going to happen.

I usually have a paragraph-long conclusion, but for this one, all I’ll say is: It’s terrible.

On a scale where M is the lowest and R is the highest possible rating, with the highlighted letter being the rating:

Transformers: The Last Knight: MIHIR

Despicable Me 3: Stop Before This Becomes Another Shrek

Illumination are back with their cash cow of a franchise in Despicable Me 3. Following the train wreck that was Minions, the sequel to Despicable Me 2 is a muddle of a story regarding a grown child star villain, Gru’s newly discovered twin brother, unicorns, pigs, rogue minions, motherhood and probably a couple of other things.

I actually had expectations for this film, and to be honest, I was satisfied. I’m just not praising it too much because it’s nothing special.

The first two films were quite enjoyable, and Minions was unnecessary. This film felt like a mix of the second film and Minions, because the minions have their complete own story in this film, separate from the main story. Surprisingly, I enjoyed that more than the main story.

The main story was okay but it felt ridiculously plucked out of nowhere. In the previous films, Gru grew as a character along life, and the second one featured a villain who aided the story.

This one goes right back to his roots in a completely unbelievable way, and the villain is a walking laugh gag who isn’t tied in with Gru in any way but is an arbitrary plot device.

Every other character, except Edith, have their own little story going along and it only really exist to add to the run time and give the characters some sort of reason to be on screen.

I did enjoy the dynamic between Gru and his twin, despite its crazy context. This is the core of the movie and it does provide some good substance.

However, this is when this should stop, because this is a fitting end to Gru’s story and this has clearly lost a lot of its flavour. If it chooses to go too far, like Shrek, it could be remembered as less than what it deserves to be.

Overall, this movie is a complete melting pot, but is entertaining and would be a nice farewell to Gru, his family and (mercifully) the minions.

On a scale where M is the lowest and R is the highest possible rating, with the highlighted letter being the rating:

Despicable Me 3: MIHIR

Baahubali: The Conclusion – Movie Review

There is a term among the film community known as ‘sequelitis’, which essentially means that an anticipated sequel to a popular movie fails to meet expectations.

That appears to be the case with the sequel to Baahubali as well.

Picking up from the cliffhanger in the first, this movie exists to answer all questions and inevitably settle everything in at the end.

The first problem with this movie comes in its tone, which is so polarising between the first and third acts that it feels like two different films. On the same note, it might as well have been two films, because unlike the first film, the sequel is too long. There are noticeable things that could have been removed without hurting the movie one bit. It would, in fact, help it. It would be more gripping and less of a drag.

The movie’s strongest characteristic (pun intended) is its characters, who are well motivated, have good arcs and play off each other well. However, the titular character has one major flaw and it’s in his apparently invinciblity. This isn’t an alien concept to cinema, but in doing something like this, stakes are almost certainly eliminated.

The story, although somewhat predictable due to the nature in which it’s told, is also rather intriguing. However, towards the end, it feels a lot like The Lord of The Rings: The Return of The King. This is not the first Lord of The Rings comparison I’ve made, but in this instance, it is because of how it ends. While Return of The King appears to end and then have another scene, and repeat the same cycle about five times, this movie stretches out its final act quite a bit. Perhaps a better comparison would be with Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, in which the final lightsaber battle between Obi Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker is brilliant, but then just goes on forever.

Finally, this film blurs the line between the impossible and possible even more than the first, with some sequences being flat out ridiculous.

The sequel to Baahubali: The Beginning is not as good as its predecessor, but is still an entertaining movie, with a huge scale and daring creative choices.

On a scale where M is the lowest, and R is the highest possible rating, with the highlighted letter being the rating:

Baahubali: The Conclusion: MIHIR

Baahubali: The Beginning – Movie Review

Baahubali: The Beginning is a Telugu film, written and directed by SS Rajamouli.

This movie is the first in a two-part saga, and, as is usually the case, is the superior film.

Let me start with the things that I did not like about this film.

The biggest selling point of both these movies are the visual effects, which are on a scale so grand, they haven’t really been seen in Indian cinema before. In this first installment, there are some effects that work (which I will touch upon later), and some that really don’t. This is particularly noticeable in the first act, and occasionally later on. However, the effects smooth out as the film progresses.

My only other complaint is that there are characters that change completely in the blink of an eye. What I mean by this is their traits, motivations or opinions flip over instantly in order for the plot to move along.

However, this first film’s positives heavily outweigh the negatives, which in reality are only nitpicks at best. The movie has an ideal run time, and progresses quite well from beginning to end.

The characters in the story are alright, although I do feel they shine multiple times brighter in the sequel. This is not a problem, but rather an indication of good development, and that is nice to see.

The effects, especially towards the end, are very reminiscent of scenes from The Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers. In comparison to that film, the last act of this movie is epic in scale, execution and drama. It also neatly sets up the sequel (better than a Marvel movie, would you believe it?).

The way the story is told in this movie is both good and rather questionable. The way the plot progresses in the first act is somewhere between confusing and making almost no sense, but the film is very focused and gripping towards the end.

This movie will not be the more remembered of the two, mostly because it features more set-up than climax, but I do hope it is remembered widely as the better film.

On a scale where M is the lowest, and R is the highest possible rating, with the highlighted letter being the rating:

Baahubali: The Beginning: MIHIR

Wonder Woman Digs DC Out of the Trench It Buried Itself In

Three movies in, one would expect the DC Cinematic Universe to continue its track record in its fourth film of being poorly crafted, flashy letdowns.

That’s what I feared most with Wonder Woman. If this movie didn’t work, I, and many others, would have lost faith in the Justice League and the overall project Warner Bros. is trying to move along with.

I was wrong. I was very, very wrong.

Before I start praising this movie, which I will do a lot more than I expected, let me get the negatives out of the way.

The opening of this movie, I did not like. The scenery is beautiful. But I can summarise the entire opening to this movie like this: Exposition. Exposition. Exposition.

I can understand why the movie had to go that route, but I still didn’t like it. A truckload of information was just vomited at the audience. Okay, I guess.

The only other thing wrong with this film is with its villains. It’s no secret that Ares is the main antagonist in this movie, and overall, I suppose he was okay. DC have twisted Greek Mythology to their liking in every way possible in Wonder Woman lore, so I guess Ares’ motivation is understandable in this film. There are a couple of other villains in this movie, however, and they’re just cartoons. I couldn’t help but laugh at anything they were doing.

Alright, now let’s talk about everything right about this movie.

Gal Gadot has to do a Danny Rand in this movie but does a better Danny Rand than Danny Rand. In this film, her character is exposed to the human world for the first time, and a lot of the movie is her trying to understand the world, particularly in conversations with Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor. I thought these were some of the best parts of the movie, because it really humanised the film. More on that later.

Chris Pine delivered a strong performance in this movie. I mean, really strong. He was the kind of character you couldn’t help but get behind.

The movie is set during World War I, and Patty Jenkins’ direction is masterful for this. The camera work particularly stands out, as there’s never really a still take. The camera is always moving, even if it’s ever so slightly, and this made it feel like it was in the middle of a war.

The choice of colour palette, I don’t really understand, and this is something true of every film set in the past. Why does it have to be so bland? It’s not as if colours were invented later on.

On the note of direction, the action is some of the best action I’ve seen in any superhero film. The camera movements, edits and music all make it truly epic when there’s action going on.

Speaking of the music, Wonder Woman’s score returns from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and along with a few additional tracks, is the most memorable comic book movie score since The Avengers.

The biggest plus point of this movie is in its humanity. In so many ways.

It all comes down to its setting. Having this movie set in the first World War was a very smart decision. First and foremost, the level of respect women had at the time allows for the main character to really stand out in this movie. There have been female-led superhero films before, but none of them have been… Good. Wonder Woman is a step in the right direction.

Diana Prince is introduced to the world in its most violent state, and I don’t think I’ve watched a war film from this kind of perspective. It’s a perspective of ‘how bad can human beings be?’. It adds so many layers to the movie and makes its message quite strong. The viewer goes through all this like the main character does, and it’s an enthralling appearance.

Overall, Wonder Woman is not perfect but it is a spectacle, and one that lifts the DC Cinematic Universe up to where it already should have been. It’s a focused, self-contained film that knows what it is and executes itself magnificently.

On a scale where M is the lowest, and R is the highest possible rating, with the highlighted letter being the rating:

Wonder Woman: MIHIR

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is an Awesome Mix (Vol. 2)

There’s something special about James Gunn.

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 comes three years after the original, and takes things up a notch. Or several.

Frustratingly receiving the film last – along with the United States – in India, the extension to my two and a half year anticipation for this movie led me to be incredibly excited for the sequel to a film that I, admittedly, did not watch in theatres. I actually passed it off, and I wasn’t particularly interested in it. A few months later, I watched it, and I learned how stupid I was. Guardians of the Galaxy is not only my favourite Marvel Cinematic Universe film, but also one of my favourite films of all time.

Typically, sequels can take themselves more seriously than the first, and that was my biggest fear with this movie. The greatest charm about the first movie is that it embraces its absurdity and is a film that tries to do nothing more than give you a great time.

Its successor is no different. Sure, the stakes are higher and there is a surprising amount of depth to it, but it doesn’t lose its heart along the way.

If you’ve watched any of the trailers, you’ve seen barely anything related to the actual focus of the film. With regards to that focus, the movie has you wondering quite a long way in which direction it is actually taking, which was worrying for me. But when it does find its stride, you realise that everything happening until that point was essential to drive the story along.

What made this movie the most compelling, even more than The Avengers, are the ways in which its characters are used, and the dynamics that exist between them. Perhaps the biggest issue with the first movie is that there is barely any depth to any of the characters, other than Star-Lord, but in this one, there are layers upon layers to them. Without giving anything away, this is a very personal story, and the villain – who has actually been under the wraps – is probably the best Marvel villain there has been yet… Other than Loki. It appears as if Marvel’s Summer movies have found their footing with their villains, with Zemo last year, this movie’s villain this year, and Thanos next year.

It goes without saying that this movie looks magnificent, not just with the glorious CGI, but the wide array of colours that can be seen on screen, giving these new worlds a few extra touches. The way the major setting in this movie is crafted is beautiful, with every detail being refined.

Having said that, there are two pressing issues with this movie, one of which is likely to be a critique of a number of people, and the other being something most people probably wouldn’t question. The former is that there is an entire plot line that follows through the whole movie that results in… Nothing, really. The third act – where the film really turns on its head and becomes something spectacular – had no purpose for this particular story to be brought in, and when all was said and done, there wasn’t really anything that came off it.

The second issue with this movie is that there is a very essential plot device, perhaps the most essential, comes with no reasoning. I mean, I deduced a reason while I was watching, but that is only what I think, and not what is explained. If you haven’t watched this movie yet, I will just say that this is where the movie kicks into full gear and where the biggest twist unfolds, just so you know where to catch it.

However, what needs to be understood is that this film, despite those flaws, is fantastic. I cannot give it a full rating, obviously, but I wish I could. It understands what it is and doesn’t try to be anything different. The soundtrack – oh my goodness, the soundtrack – is once again mouth-wateringly great, and I had a smile on my face for most of the movie.

Going back to the characters, the chemistry between the team, new and old members, is undeniably something that the film would crumble apart without. Drax is always around to be Drax, Rocket goes through an emotional roller coaster, Gamora sees herself in a different light, Peter discovers himself like he never imagined, and Baby Groot is the most adorable thing in the galaxy. And all along the way, something that barely happens to me with any movie happens. I laughed uncontrollably, quite a lot.

So with that, my most anticipated movie of the year (after Star Wars: The Last Jedi, of course. What is it about great space operas?) is checked off the list, providing me with a viewing experience that I will not forget. Is it better than the original? Ignoring the flaws, yes. It is a more character-driven movie, has infinitely more depth, and the ending is magnificent. It really is. Not just because of what happens, but because of everything that it symbolises. Also, this movie does something that no other Marvel movie, bar one, has been able to do.

Take a bow, James Gunn. Not only is your passion and style radiant on the screen, but you’ve managed to make two films that are so vastly different from any other Marvel Studios movie, and yet, at least in my book, are two of the very best.

On a scale where M is the lowest, and R is the highest possible rating, with the highlighted letter being the rating:

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: MIHIR