Cate Blanchett is possibly the most versatile actress in Hollywood. She’s played Queen Elizabeth (twice and been Oscar nominated for it both times), Katherine Hepburn, Elvish Monarch Galadriel, Bob Dylan, Cinderella’s Evil Stepmother, slain Irish journalist Veronica Guerin, disgraced American journalist Mary Mapes, and will soon lay low Asgard as Hela, the Queen of Hel (Vikings don’t use double “l”s for their underworld). Any one of these parts, and the dozens more she’s taken on, could swallow an actress or force her into scenery-chewing characiture (I hate I’m Not Here, but her Bob Dylan is freaky). She’s an actress you take notice of whenever she’s attached to anything. She brought ethereal beauty to Middle-Earth and now she’s bringin Hel to the MCU.
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Guardians of the Galaxy was the biggest surprise of the first two phases of the MCU, so it’s shouldn’t be a huge surprise that James Gunn took your expectations for where the stacefaring group may go next and stood them on their head. For all the amazing special F/X, Guardians 2 is a much smaller, character-driven movie than the first one was. It is undoubtedly Star Lord’s (Chrs Pratt) film, closing questions on his origin in the first film that will give birth to conflicts sure to pop up for the survivors of Infinity War. In the end, though, this film is about family. Not the families we’re born into, but the families we cobble together out of the people who share our mutual life damage and how they can be as strong and weird and wonderful as any biological bond. It’s a funny (probably funnier overall than the first film), screwball sci-fi family dramedy that makes issue #15 of the MCU as fresh as the first.