In the battlefield of science fiction and fantasy movies many casualties fell along the way in 2017. Disney went out with a bang in 2016, giving us Rogue One (the best Star Wars movie since Empire Strikes Back) but I entered 2017 with not such a new hope in Episode 8 of the Star Wars Saga that is about to open. Still looking at 2017 there are only three films that help up to my much narrowed palate in the genre today.
The movie I most looked forward to in 2017 was Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. It did not disappoint. Granted it didn’t feel nearly as fresh as Volume 1, and it did have a dry spot on Planet Ego, but nonetheless I found it fulfilling, fun, exciting, romantic, and loved almost all the characters including many of the villains.
The two other movies that Episode 8 to rock my world include Wonder Woman and Logan.
Wonder Woman demonstrated that DC & Wonder Woman are capable of producing an entering popcorn movie. I might not have seen this film, but for the buzz. So my first pleasant surprise of 2017 was Wonder Woman. The duck out of water aura of Wonder Woman in World War I London caught nuances “wonder”fully. The romance, action, and yes… loss, made this a memorable movie.
Logan was another surprise. I’ve seen several of the X-Men movies, but have never really enjoyed most of their characters. Even in this one, Patrick Steward did nothing in this film to make it watchable, except perhaps his final scene. Logan as the reluctant, aging hero turned the trick though. There was plenty of action, confrontation, and loss.
I mention loss a lot in these three films. I understand that Marvel will likely kill off several of its popular characters in their next two movies. Being a fan of some of those characters I’m not really excited about losing them, but the perennial saves for major characters takes away from the legitimacy of many films. I was a huge fan of Harry Potter books and movies, but when Harry’s sacrifice is miraculously overturned it was a groan moment for me. A non-sacrifice sacrifice, a non-tragic tragedy. Rogue One had that.
Granted we are in Episode 8 of a nine episode story arc, Carrie Fisher is dead, so we can have a tragic loss there, but I’m hoping that Episode 8 is not simply a retooled Empire Strikes Back. We’ll see… soon in a Megaplex far, far away.