Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

"We're really gonna be able to jack up our prices if we're two-time galaxy savers!"

I'm just going to get right to the point. I loved it. Absolutely flaming loved it. I spent the entire 136 minute runtime with a great big stupid grin on my face. Oh, and yes, Baby Groot is absolutely adorable and unquestionably the star of the entire show.

We catch up with the galaxy's favourite bickering a-holes as they are hired by Ayesha, gold faced leader of the snooty Sovereign race, to protect their super valuable AAA batteries from some random space monster. But gratitude quickly turns to hostility when Rocket steals the very thing he was hired to protect. Outnumbered and outgunned, the Guardians are saved at the last minute by the mysterious and powerful Ego, who claims to be Peter Quill's long lost father.

One of the reasons this film works so well is because you get the sense that the higher ups at the studio took a step back and left James Gunn (who seems to be the only director to work within the soul crushing world of the Marvel movie making machine without losing his mind or artistic flair) to make the film he wanted to make. This means there are no awkward attempts to use this film as set up for some future Marvel instalment. This is the first MCU film in a very long while that feels like its own, self-contained entity, and not just as another stepping stone on the long road to Infinity War.

As he proved with the first film, Gunn clearly loves every nook and cranny of this crazy cosmic wonderland that Stan Lee and Jack Kirby cooked up — probably while completely cooked — and is clearly having the time of his life bringing it all bursting to life in glorious technicolour. Honestly, don't get me started on the colours. Far too many films these days feel like they're made by people who are severely allergic to vibrant primary colours. Not this film, though. This film is a film so bursting with colour that the giant space monster the Guardians fight in the opening sequence is literally belching rainbows.


I only really have two complains, neither of which really spoiled my enjoyment of the film. Firstly, the film is a little light when it comes to plot. Without any Infinity Stones to chase after there is nothing to really drive the action forward. As a result Vol. 2 feels more episodic, like a collection of mini adventures linked together by some character beats. But these are really fun little mini adventures, my favourite being Rocket and Yondu's escape from the Ravager ship set to "Come a Little Bit Closer" by Jay and the Americans.

Secondly, some of the core characters aren't allowed much room to develop. While Quill gets to work through his daddy issues and Rocket's heart grows two sizes, Drax and Gamora feel stuck in the mud. While he is still the source of many of the film's funniest lines, Drax has no character arc now that he has avenged his family, and Gamora feels less like the film's female lead and more like a supporting player in Quill and Nebula's stories.

Now no longer playing second fiddle to Ronan, Karen Gillan's blue skinned killer gets a lot more to do this time around as the fractured relationship between the daughters of Thanos is given the screen time it deserves. Michael Rooker's Yondu also gets an expanded role and comes close to rivalling Baby Groot as the film's MVP. Of the new characters, Pom Klementieff's Mantis gets little to do besides deliver plot information and go all Deanna Troi, but she does form one hilarious double-act with Drax. As for Russell, I really don't want to say too much for fear of giving anything away. I'll just say that Russell is always one of, if not the, best things about every film he has been in and this one is no different.

The most surprising thing about this film was the emotional punch it packed. That caught me completely off guard. As much as I love Marvel movies, I'll be the first to admit that they don't always deliver when it it comes to big emotional moments. This is something that the first Guardians film was guilty of, but that is certainly not the case with Vol. 2. I was close to fighting back the tears by the end. They weren't Logan level tears, but they were pretty damn close.

Too adorable to kill. 
Notes and Quotes

--I said of the first film that it was the closest we would ever get to a Farscape movie. Well, this one is even closer thanks to John Crichton himself, Ben Browder, having a small role.

--Marvel's de-aging tech is getting a lot better. It still isn't perfect, but it has improved a hell of a lot since Civil War.

--This is hands down the best Marvel film for cameos.

--Awesome Mix Vol. 2 sure does live up to its name.

Baby Groot: "I am Groot."
Yondu: What's that?"
Rocket: "He says, 'Welcome to the frickin' Guardians of the Galaxy!' Only he didn't use frickin'."

Gamora: "Can we put the bickering on hold till AFTER we survive the massive space battle?"

Three and a half out of four super valuable AAA batteries.
--
Mark Greig is going to have 'The Chain' stuck in his head for the next month. Thank you, James Gunn. More Mark Greig

7 comments:

J.D. Balthazar said...

Just came back from watching it and I second the sentiment, I loved it. You were right about the flaws, but they didn't bother me. What was interesting was the reactions of the guys that I saw the movie with, some liked it but not as much as the first one. Some loved it, but with reservations. And one thought it was adequate, but filled with sophomoric humor and ultimately boring.

Any movie that can bore the tears out of one person, and nearly bring another to tears has to go down as a good movie in my book. Because I got it, just like the guardians themselves, it was fully of heart and humor. Family issues, and technicolor insanity. I cannot wait to see them all in Infinity War and GotG Vol. 3.

Thanks for the incredibly prompt review;

Until Thor Ragnarok!!!

Oh, for those that are interested there are five mid/after credit sequences. All but one of them are basically filler, but one is important.

An Honest Fangirl said...

There were so many beautiful colors! Honestly, that's what I keep coming back to with this movie. It was an absolute treat to look at. It was almost as if they had gotten a small child to choose the color scheme of this movie, and I mean that in the best way possible.

The plot structure was a little weird. We basically spent half the movie without a clear antagonist, which made it feel very episodic, like you said. But I had such a great time that I didn't really care. I was in a group of 6 people who went to go see it last night, and we all absolutely loved it. A couple of people were saying that it was their favorite Marvel movie hands down. I don't know if I would go that far (very little can top Winter Solider), but it was a really, really fun time.

FlopHairedWuss said...

"This is something that the first Guardians film was guilty of"

Not even at "WE ARE GROOT"?

Movies which put character and thematics over plot are my shit so of course I loved this. I did think some of the action scenes were a little protracted and messy but the rest were pretty great (the final act stuff in particular). Also, while the movie is very funny, I dd think some of the beats went on a little longer than necessary. Levity is important but I felt like they undercut the emotion a little too much at points. The balance of tone was a lot better in the first movie.

But the character work was great (if a little too talky), it has possibly the best villain in a Marvel movie, the movie is gorgeous and the whole thing is just so much fun.

Basically I cried like five times which usually makes me forgive a lot. Not that there's that much to forgive.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely loved this movie. I have to say that the movie really did have better emotion. In the first movie, the bookends with Peter's mother felt sort of unnecessary, tacked-on, and unearned. Here though, his love for his mom and grief at the lose of both of his parents felt real. And also, as a chronic shipper, I happened to love the Starmora scenes :).

I also loved the last scene. It felt like everyone had their own little part of the plan to do, instead of them just lining up and going all out like in the Avengers. I thought it was a cool way of seeing them work as a team that we don't always get in other superhero movies.

topher darling said...

The opening credits scene alone was worth the price of the ticket!

Patryk said...

You know what is better then this movie? The feeling of not being dissapointed by a sequel. I especially liked the character focus instead of plot focus and of course surrogate families are one of my favorite types of protagonists. Just like in Joss Whedon shows.

mazephoenix said...

I loved it and was misty-eyed at the end. Baby Groot was the best, and I loved Rocket and Yondu teaming up. Loved that Nebula got more to do, and Mantis was a good addition. She and Drax were a great team. This is a rare part 2 that didn't disappoint.