Casual Rambling
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Casual Rambling

Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Rating: 3 Stars

from Digital Trends

The Guardians of the Galaxy sequel is the poster child for everything that is inherently good and bad about Marvel films. Here we have a movie rooted in a well-told and well-delivered story about family, but also a film so obsessed with trying to hit on its comedy and action bits that the tone of the film is never consistent.

from imdb.com

The best Marvel films find their lane and stick with it: Iron Man, Ant-Man, Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther, Captain America. The folks over at Marvel Studios are fairly good at understanding that if they stick to a central theme with a superhero, that theme will carry the audience and the characters through the film’s progression.

Where the juxtaposition of Marvel films struggle is the focused attack of constantly delivering the action comedy element of Marvel films. In Guardians’ case, the film is posed as a comedy-action, if that makes sense (it’s a film that wants to be funny first but have some generic superhero action sequences). The Guardians are the comic relief characters. The problem is their origins and adventures far outweigh their laughs in significance. Deadpool struggled with this exact same concept.

When the characters have more depth than their stand up routines or occasional bits, then you have scenes that try to be serious but don’t land correctly because the script calls for some snappy dialogue. It has become a patented Marvel reflex.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is below that tier of films I listed above. Vol. 2 is right in line with Vol. 1 and the other decent films in the MCU. I will say I thought Vol. 2 told a more engaging story than Vol. 1.

Chris Pratt reprises his second-best career role (his performance in Moneyball is one for the ages) as Peter “Starlord” Quill, goofy, brash, and unassuming leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Back by his side are his outcast friends Gamora, Drax, Rocket, and a revived baby Groot. Drax and baby Groot carry the weight of the funny gags in the film. The funniest scene involving baby Groot attempting to recover some stolen headwear.

Supporting roles come through in a big way with Gamora’s sister Nebula, and Starlord’s adoptive father Yondu, playing major roles in the story. Even Sylvester Stallone, who plays a character that might as well be named Sly Stallone, has a scene-stealing moment.

Guardians 2 opens with a long drawn out tracking shot as the Guardians fight a space monster in the background while baby Groot plays an old school tune. I would attest this is director James Gunn considering himself clever for devising such an intro sequence, but rather it’s pure wasted filler and doesn’t evoke the laughter it expects to.

We’re then introduced to an alien race of people painted in gold that was simply a Sean Connery cameo away from delivering some valuable context. These gold people are called the Sovereign. The Sovereign set out to kill the Guardians when Rocket steals some of the batteries the Guardians came to protect. Rocket’s thievery does become a subplot character flaw the film carries through with to Gunn’s credit.

In an attempt to escape Sovereign aided by a mysterious figure, the Guardians crash land on a planet, where Starlord’s father finds him. Quill’s father, Ego, is the mysterious figure that saved the Guardians from destruction. The film takes us to Ego’s planet, where Peter is caught up on his origins. Peter discovers he is part-human and part-Celestial. Celestial’s are a god-like matter-creating entity. Ego, playing to his name, has some ulterior motives and the film delivers on his unbalanced vibe.

The family dynamic truly comes together when Rocket and Yondu cross paths, as Rocket informs Yondu that Quill has been reunited with his father. Yondu finds himself in a disgraced position with his crew of Ravagers. Yondu carries the weight of being a cruel space marauder covering for his compassionate yearning for acceptance. Even the soulless Rocket is moved.

Nebula continues to hunt Gamora, and the two are eventually reunited. They quickly see past their differences. They discuss growing up pitted against each other by their devilish adoptive father Thanos.

Some of the humor falls flat. Drax becomes borderline obsessed with calling Ego’s telepathic alien servant Mantis “ugly”. The gag is funny once but is blatantly awkward by the fifth and sixth reference. The most effective humor comes from Drax’s non-sequiturs, or when he laughs and exclaims “YES!”, after every action sequence. Despite being caked in makeup, Dave Bautista and Zoe Saldana bring their characters to life with their timely subtle facial expressions.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is fun, it’s easy to watch, and tells a heartwarming tale of discovering that you can find family in your friends. Sounds a lot like a Disney movie…

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J. King

J. King

Not your average Medium rambler

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