GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2
Set to the backdrop of ‘Awesome Mixtape #2,’ Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues the team’s adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mysteries of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel cinematic universe continues to expand.
Now, I’ve talked about in the past how Guardians Of The Galaxy is high up for me as one of my favorite Marvel Cinematic Universe movies and going into this sequel, I know that I had to go into this sequel with my trepidations because it’s so hard for a sequel to not only top something as exciting and amazing as the original Guardians was but to be just as good. While I did really like The Lego Batman Movie earlier this year, I don’t think it’s as good as The Lego Movie but still just as fun. So, I went in here trying to keep my expectations on this at a moderate position and not get too overhyped for this and then later on be not as good as I remember it when I watch it again later on.
But with all that said, I had a friggin’ blast watching this movie, I absolutely loved this movie, it is not as good as the first Guardians Of The Galaxy was but it’s still a ton of fun and I think outside of the Captain America sequels, this is probably my favorite MCU sequel so far.
Once again, the characters are great, the cast does a great job working off each other once again, Chris Pratt is great as Quill, Zoe Saldana is great as Gamora, Dave Bautista’s Drax has some of the funniest lines in the movie, Bradley Cooper once again is great as Rocket and Vin Diesel’s Baby Groot has some of the more enjoyable moments of the film. Michael Rooker’s Yondu once again is so much fun to watch, once again channeling Yosemite Sam in his performance…and getting more of an expanded role in this in more ways than one. Not only that but even Karen Gillian returning as Nebula is given more to do here.
The newer characters are nice additions to this universe, Pom Klementieff’s Mantis is a nice little addition to the cast, she’s got enough charisma to work off of the other characters and I’m curious to see how she’ll work off with the main characters in future movies, Kurt Russell’s Ego was a nice addition to the cast and he definitely has those characteristics that Quill has to make you think, “yeah, these two are related.” As an overall baddie, well, we’ll get more to that when we get to the negative stuff.
But the villains that come in before Ego, the Sovereigns, they were great. Elizabeth DeBecki as the High Priestess has a fun little role but I loved how that as much as they were the bad guys, they also kind of hated each other, I loved their attitudes towards each other, like there’s a scene where they go after the Guardians after Rocket steals some of their batteries and their ships look like video game arcade machines and the Sovereigns just act like kids in a video arcade like whenever somebody is kicking serious butt on something, the people around that person are extravagant but then when they get destroyed, they turn on the guy so easily. I loved those little touches they bring to these characters.
The comedy in this is amazing, not only do we get a lot of the great comedic style of humor in the first movie but in this movie, there’s more cartoonish and over the top action but used in a good way. Watching Rocket blow up Yondu’s men in the middle of the forest to Yondu whistling to use his arrow to kill his rogue crew, the movie has essentially become a live-action Looney Tunes movie on the level of Kung Fu Hustle….and my god, it was great, I got a lot of good hard laughs in this movie alone with some of the references, the little side jokes, and those over the top action sequences.
The visuals are gorgeous, this is a gorgeous looking movie, you can definitely tell Marvel’s Cinematic Universe have broken new grounds in how high quality they can make the visuals, starting back with Doctor Strange, this movie, and now Thor: Ragnarok, it only makes you wonder how they will keep topping themselves. Also, I really liked once again how they were able to recreate a 1980 Kurt Russell in the opening scene much like what they did with a 1989 Michael Douglas recreation in the opening scene of Ant-Man and a 1991 Robert Downey Jr. recreation in Captain America: Civil War, they are getting really good at recreating these actors in their original designs of a specific year they needed.
The movie also manages to keep a lot of heart and emotional moments to it as well, the connections the main characters share is still really strong and the way they handle some of the emotional moments are nicely done.
They even take a corny line and actually make it have a lot more meaning to it, remember the moment from the trailer where Nebula goes “all you ever do is fight, you guys are not friends” and Drax then goes “you’re right, we’re family.” Now, that obviously sounds like Vin Diesel trying to get his Fast & Furious catchphrase put into another franchise he’s involved in BUT the way the movie goes on, you start to realize that there are definitely those little indications about how these guys actually are family. Yondu is kind of more of a father figure to Peter than his actual father, Ego, Drax is kind of like Peter’s bigger brother who constantly dogs him, Rocket’s kind of the jackass uncle who you can’t help but love, and Groot is essentially a nephew to Peter and the son of Rocket. So, in a way, there is a little bit of creativity to a line that does come off as corny but can have more meaning to it and the movie does a good job of using that to the emotional strength of the movie.
Another element of the emotional strength of the movie, the music. You thought Awesome Mix Volume 1 was badass, the second Awesome Mix of classic songs from the 70s and early 80s is even better. The movie literally begins with a spectacularly hilarious scene where Baby Groot is just dancing around to ELO’s Mister Blue Sky, the same song used in the trailers for Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, while the Guardians are fighting a monster and it’s just such a great way to set you in for the ride you’re in on. Not only that but the way they use Cat Stevens’ Father & Son at the end, it’s great. There’s even some really good homages to various Star Trek movies such as Generations and especially Wrath Of Khan throughout the movie.
So, okay, I seem to like about this movie a lot, so where are the problems here?
Well, I will say that as much as I like Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana and it’s obvious that they are suppose to be a couple. I really don’t think the romantic setpieces this movie sets up are not as strong as I think they want it to be. It’s not terrible but I just don’t think it’s as executed as well as I think they wanted it to be. I will also say that some of Chris Pratt’s more dramatic moments of acting in this are a little too over the top and I do like Chris Pratt a lot as an actor and I think he can do drama but not in this movie’s case unfortunately.
Another little problem the movie has is that there are too many moments where they were trying to put more comedy in the more dramatic moments. Case in point, there’s a big dramatic moment where Ego reveals his evil intentions and lets it slip that he gave Peter’s mom the tumor that killed her and this is suppose to be a heavy dramatic moment and one of the recurring gags they have in the movie is Quill’s love for David Hasselhoff and how he wished he could’ve been his father and during this moment where Ego shows off his villainous side, it just shoehorns in a random David Hasselhoff cameo, in the same suit he wore in his Dodgeball cameo, which would be fine in another scene but not in this major heavy moment of the film. I give the movie a lot of credit that it doesn’t go overly dark like most superhero sequels tend to do and goes for more of the lighter moments but I wish there was that balance to know when to stop for these heavy moments and then go back to the lighter moments, not just jumbling them together.
Speaking of Kurt Russell, as much as I liked him in this movie, his evil plan was not very well thought out. It’s just another plan where somebody wants to take over the world because he’s been given these powers of a god so he’s like “hey, I’m a god, I should be ruling all over you guys as one” and it’s like, well, chalk up another really mediocre Marvel Cinematic Universe villain. When he’s not the villain, he’s great, when he is the villain, not so much.
Even some of the other cameos, while serviceable, were not really amounting to anything except to just have a connection to the storyline or to be teases for possible future storylines, such as Sylvester Stallone’s cameo along with Ving Rhames, Michael Rosenbaum, and Michelle Yeoh as the original Guardians Of The Galaxy, even Miley Cyrus has a voice cameo as Mainframe.
The overall biggest fault of the film is that the story is not as original or as exciting as the previous movie as it goes more by the numbers, which as long as the movie is still entertaining enough, I don’t think is a big deal, but overall, I wish they would’ve upped the ante storywise to be a little more original.
Regardless of those little criticisms, Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 is still a hell of a good time, a ton of great comedy, a ton of great action, the same great characters, a ton of great visuals and it’s just so much fun. This doesn’t quite top Logan or Lego Batman as my favorite movies of the year but it’s a close third so far. Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 is the perfect way to jumpstart the summer movie season into high gear.
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