We’ve had over 100 days of Donald Trump. He took office on the back of less votes than Hilary Clinton (you can thank the flawed US electoral college system for that), and has so far managed to systematically fail, except the other day, when his Obamacare replacement managed to get through Congress, by the narrowest of margins. It still needs to get past the Senate, but should it prove successful – well, it will screw over millions of Americans, and there are some seriously scary terms attached to this.

  1. Got a pre-existing condition? You’re in trouble. Obamacare provided protection for people who have existing medical problems – Trumpcare doesn’t.
  2. Obamacare meant everyone was insured against certain conditions and types of treatment. Trumpcare hands that power to the states, who can opt out of this at their discretion.
  3. The definition of a pre-existing condition will include – among other things – rape. That’s right – victims of rape will not have their medical treatment covered under Trumpcare.

It gets worse. Another one of Trump’s ‘wins’ is aimed at, in theory, allowing greater religious involvement in politics. This particular executive order appears more symbolic than anything, but Trump needs wins, badly, given how much he has struggled so far. The broader concern over this particular order is that it could pave the way for businesses to discriminate against the LGBT community – ironically, in the name of freedom.

The orange tyrant has also come out against science. You know, that pesky field that investigates and looks for evidence to back up theories. It tends to contradict him.

He’s ignorant of the history of his own country (and in doing so, he showed terrible ignorance of the racial context of the American Civil War). His immigration ban was oppressively broad and completely devoid of any compassion. He slams any media source that contradicts him as ‘fake news’. He is incapable of taking any criticism or admitting to any lie. If he is the future of the political right, then it is doomed.

I don’t tend to be fond of giving films 10 out of 10. I have this… mental block, I guess, around the idea. Can a film really be so good as to get a perfect score?

With Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, the answer is an emphatic yes. I thoroughly enjoyed this film, and I think I’ll run out of superlatives for it long before I finish this review. I won’t go into too much detail of the plot, but suffice to say, the story manages to be reasonably interesting, with some nice little nuances, whilst the film is jam-packed with visual treats, a lot of humour, and a surprising degree of emotion, particularly toward the end.

For all the outward signs of an epic space-faring advventure, Guardians 2 manages to feel quite intimate compared to the first film. It feels like the film takes place over a small radius. Central to the film is the theme of family, with various characters facing feelings of abandonment, sibling rivalry, and loss. Woven in are some great jokes (the trash panda reference is particularly funny), and some very amusing visual gags. The villian is probably one of the most interesting seen in the MCU to date, and Guardians 2 manages to tell a stand-alone story that isn’t influenced by the impending Infinity Wars films – as with the first film, the Guardians are who they are, without compromising for anyone else.

Every character has moments to shine – Quill, despite having spent most of his life in space, is still in many ways quite wide-eyed and, ahem, innocent, in some respects. Gamora is still seeking to put her past to rest, starting with her relationship with Nebula. Rocket is still looking to belong somewhere. Drax still harbours pain from his own past. Groot… well, Groot is just adorable.

Would I take children to see this film? That depends on the child. My own daughter would probably find some elements of it overwhelming and frightening, as Guardians 2 does move a touch more in that direction than the first film. The jokes are pushing the edges of what’s appropriate for younger children to hear. There is plenty of fantasy violence. It’s fair to say the 12A certificate is well-earned.

As a final thought, Guardians 2 continues to show us the length and breadth of the variety in the MCU. From the somewhat serious Civil War, to this, and all the steps inbetween, Marvel have crafted various films with completely different characteristics, and yet you can see how they all fit together, more or less seamlessly. You want to see morre of these characters, and you want them to succeed.

Like I said, this film gets 10/10. It is, quite simply, brilliant.

Before I get writing in earnest, it’s important to note that I didn’t get to enjoy much of this race! I was at work (fair enough), but with the race starting at 1pm, there was always the chance that the store would be quiet by then. Instead, 1pm appeared to be the signal for wave after wave of customers to come into the store – typical!

The consequence is that I don’t have a great deal to offer. I know Fernando Alonso retired on the warm-up lap, marking his fourth retirement of the season – in as many races. To say he is probably nearing the end of his tether with his current situation is a bit of an understatement! I also know that Palmer’s Renault collided with Grosjean’s Haas on lap 1 – I have no idea who was at fault as I haven’t seen the incident. Finally, I did spot, in the corner of my eye, Ricciardo’s Red Bull pulling into the pits to retire early on – I am not all too sure why, though he was mentioning very hot brakes at one stage.

So four early retirements, an early safety car too (the result of the Palmer/Grosjean accident), and a lightening start from the Mercedes of Bottas, who slipped by both Ferraris at the very start to assume the lead. Without having seen much of the race I can’t say much else at this point. So let’s rewind for a mo.

The Ferraris of Vettel and Raikkonen had locked out the front row of the grid, the first time a Ferrari was on pole since 2015 and the first lock out since 2008 – Vettel took pole, and looked comfortable, though for the first time this year Raikkonen looked pacey. Bottas was pretty close, but Hamilton was well off the pace, unable to find the right balance with his car. It was a situation that would continue into the race itself, with Hamilton adrift in fourth, devoid of a chance. Up front, Bottas would eke out a small lead over Vettel, who in turn steadily pulled away from Raikkonen.

What I did manage to see of the race underscored a theme that’s emerged over the course of the first few races – strategy has been crucial to determining the winner. As the pit stops took place, and the cars donned the super-soft tyres (the ultra-soft being the initial preference), the Ferraris (well, Vettel’s Ferrari) came alive. Vettel began to catch Bottas, and a mistake from the Mercedes man (he locked up badly at one stage, hurting both front tyres) allowed Vettel to reduce the gap quite considerably. By the end of the race Vettel was loitering around a second or so behind Bottas, but the question over strategy is – had Vettel pitted a lap or two sooner, might he have had more time to hunt Bottas down? Raw power is no longer the factor behind who wins – Ferrari can match Mercedes for pace, so it’s the little details – staying out an extra lap, traffic, tyre choice – that are going to have the main impact on the championship. Vettel couldn’t quite catch Bottas (who had a little bit of help from a cheeky Massa as the pair came to lap his Williams on the final lap), leaving the Finn to claim his first win in 81 races.

The outcome is that Bottas is now only ten points behind teammate Hamilton, and 23 points behind championship leader Vettel. Mercedes are a point ahead of Ferrari in the constructor’s championship. Now that Bottas has demonstrated he can win races, it will come more naturally to him, and will raise difficult questions for Mercedes, should he start to look like he can compete for the title. Vettel is more or less unchallenged (at least so far) by Raikkonen at Ferrari, but the two Mercedes drivers could end up costing each other valuable points. We shall see.

Elsewhere, there were positive performances to be had from a few quarters. Nico Hulkenberg took points for Renault with 8th place, following 10th in qualifying. The Force Indias of Perez and Ocon were 6th and 7th respectively – a good performance from them, that keeps them firmly in fourth place in the constructor’s championship. Verstappen was anonymous for Red Bull in fifth; the car just wasn’t up to the task, though Red Bull are promising a major chassis update for Spain.

Speaking of Spain, this is where we shall resume battle. I look forward to it!