CHUD.com Community › Forums › THE MAIN SEWER › Focused Film Discussion › GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 Post-Release Discussion
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 Post-Release Discussion

post #1 of 921
Thread Starter 

(I liked but didn't love GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, so if you went nuts for it, we probably didn't enter VOL. 2 with the same expectations.)

 

This is the definition of a tale of two halves: the first is both meandering and overly-familiar.  There are good jokes, but it's apparent early on that every single joke is going to be undercutting whatever action just occurred, so punchlines are obvious well before they're dropped.  VOL. 2 also uses the EMPIRE STRIKES BACK structure without actually having the characters go anywhere.  Quill, Gamora, and Drax sit around with Kurt Russell for half the movie with no real goal in sight.

 

But around the halfway point, when the stakes (danger and, more importantly, emotional) are allowed to develop without being undercut at every turn, the film develops a pulse and really works.  Solid emotion!  A villain that I gave a damn about!  An abundance of heart over explosions!

 

In the end, it evens out and I liked it pretty evenly with the first film, so it's a solid B from me.

 

Also?  First Stan Lee cameo I've liked in years.

post #2 of 921

Does Thanos make any appearances here?

post #3 of 921
Thread Starter 

No.  Outside of a joke, it's pretty disconnected from the MCU at large.

post #4 of 921
More importantly, is Howard the Duck in this?
post #5 of 921
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bradito View Post

More importantly, is Howard the Duck in this?

Yep!
post #6 of 921
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Dark Shape View Post

(I liked but didn't love GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, so if you went nuts for it, we probably didn't enter VOL. 2 with the same expectations.)

This is the definition of a tale of two halves: the first is both meandering and overly-familiar.  There are good jokes, but it's apparent early on that every single joke is going to be undercutting whatever action just occurred, so punchlines are obvious well before they're dropped.  VOL. 2 also uses the EMPIRE STRIKES BACK structure without actually having the characters go anywhere.  Quill, Gamora, and Drax sit around with Kurt Russell for half the movie with no real goal in sight.

But around the halfway point, when the stakes (danger and, more importantly, emotional) are allowed to develop without being undercut at every turn, the film develops a pulse and really works.  Solid emotion!  A villain that I gave a damn about!  An abundance of heart over explosions!

In the end, it evens out and I liked it pretty evenly with the first film, so it's a solid B from me.

Also?  First Stan Lee cameo I've liked in years.

With you on almost all of this, except I love the first one.

And except that even when Drax is just sitting around he's still utterly splendid.

Also the action is so supercartoony right from the re-introduction to Quill and the Gang it's almost as if there's nothing to undercut. As if the fights themselves are dances or comedy routines or both rather than life or death struggles.
post #7 of 921

SPOILERS

.

.

.

.

.Even though it's probably not

.

.

.

.

.

That de-aged Kurt Russell was a thing of beauty.

post #8 of 921
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddie5 View Post
 

SPOILERS

.

.

.

.

.Even though it's probably not

.

.

.

.

.

That de-aged Kurt Russell was a thing of beauty.


It's amazing how far that technology has come.  He looked 100% the same as he did in 1980.

post #9 of 921

LOLAAAAAA!!!!

post #10 of 921

Jesus, now they're de-aging just to do it. I still want that list of actors who are secretly asking for cosmetic de-aging in their contracts.

post #11 of 921
How does Ego's planetary form look on-screen? It was being pitched in interviews a month ago as the most grandiose CGI creation in history, with over a trillion pixels.
post #12 of 921
It's fine. Not the most spectacular example of cinematic computer wizardry I've ever seen, but it does the job for the most part. My eyes were always more drawn to the characters than what was around them.
post #13 of 921
Loved it. Absolutely loved it.
Yes, it kinda can't stand on its own (well, duh,it's called Volume 2 for a reason), and the first half gets a bit stale over time, but once the main conflict and all the characters converge, this thing goes all out, firing all cylinders and it works like a charm.
A perfect example of how spectacle and visuals are side dishes and condiments to meaty, freaks him characters and their interactions. Hell, the opening credits sequence is pretty much all character over spectacle. Marvel pretty much cuts Gunn loose behind the camera here and it works absolutely wonders.
Everyone is great on it again, but Bautista and Rooker are the film's MVPs. Still, only Pratt could pull off a Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Freaking Zune joke off in 2017
Mantis is adorably dorky, Ego is fantastic and Nebula gets a much needed character motivation and development.
Soundtrack again knocks it out of the park, much better villain this time around, the pop culture jokes are brilliant (the 80s video game references are solid gold), the cameos (specially the most bizarre one) work perfectly, and the ending is the biggest emotional punch Marvel has pulled so far ("I had a date" and "I don't care. He killed my mom" are close, though.) Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
As someone who grew up listening to Cat Stevens every summer with my dad, the music hit me right in the gut and went for the heart
.
An absolute blast, and prettty much a show that for all the criticism you can throw at Marvel, they put character, vision, story and heart on their movies front and center.
Loved it, and can't wait to see it again.
post #14 of 921
It really is the role Pratt was born to play.

And yeah Rooker is gold too. I would never have guessed from the first film that Yondu had that side to him, but as it's gradually revealed it makes perfect sense.


-
Edited by Bucho - 4/29/17 at 2:25pm
post #15 of 921
Also, if Marvel brings back the cameo crew of Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
the original Guardians of the Galaxy from the comics
for the third movie or a spin off, I'm game.
What a crew.
post #16 of 921
I felt most of the the heart moments but none of them fully got me. Maybe that was due to certain expectations so I'm'a see it again on Sunday without all of that expectation baggage. We have to be scientific about these things after all.
post #17 of 921

Okay, for those who've seen it:

 

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
What was up with the Watchers cameo? I mean, arent they tied to the Fantastic Four rights?

Anyone have any ideas about this?

post #18 of 921
Quote:
Originally Posted by ryoken View Post

Okay, for those who've seen it:
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
What was up with the Watchers cameo? I mean, arent they tied to the Fantastic Four rights?
Anyone have any ideas about this?

Well...
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Ego also has ties to the FF franchise. They may have been part of a trade between Marvel and Fox (Fox got Negadonic for Deadpool, I think). Which could mean Fox got another character as well.
post #19 of 921

Am I the only one who immediately thought of Warlock during the post-credits sequence?

post #20 of 921
Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry D View Post

Well...
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Ego also has ties to the FF franchise. They may have been part of a trade between Marvel and Fox (Fox got Negadonic for Deadpool, I think). Which could mean Fox got another character as well.

Ego's first appearance was in a 1966 Thor comic, and it's been my assumption that first appearances were the critieria by which these properties were divvied up when Marvel was going through its corporate near-death experience.

I sure am looking forward to seeing this on May 4th, when it premieres in my country. You lucky bastards.
post #21 of 921
Quote:
Originally Posted by NathanW View Post

Am I the only one who immediately thought of Warlock during the post-credits sequence?

Nope. It's confirmed that's exactly what that tease is for.
post #22 of 921

I got dragged to see this yesterday – (And don’t you hate it when someone begins their thoughts on a movie by saying they got dragged to see it? You instantly know that they sat there with their arms crossed throughout and inevitably came out declaring it the worst movie ever, right?) - despite not having seen the first movie and thinking it all looked extremely stupid.

 

So I sat there with my big cup of Dr Pepper (the drink of real men), through all of the commercials and trailers, and was introduced to the Guardians. "This is going to suck," I thought to myself. And then little Groot starts dancing in the foreground whilst lots of important stuff is happening in the background. “That’s quite charming” I admitted to myself, keeping my arms firmly crossed. 

 

The film goes on. 

 

"This is a really good soundtrack," I admit to myself at one point.

 

There are some cool action scenes and a line here or there that made my emotionless face slowly ease into a smile, and then we’re introduced to my two favorite characters of the movie – Ego and Mantis. I’ll come back to Ego later but Mantis is just adorable. You know what I found even more adorable, even though I resisted heavily? Mantis and Drax. I usually hate it when a movie or show tries to force a couple on you but, damn, those two are nice together. My first laugh came when Drax called her ugly (which sets up an even funnier scene later). 

 

I’m going to have to spoiler the next bit because I’m going to talk specifics now and I know some weirdos read Post Release threads before they’ve seen the movie and then get angry at having things spoiled.

 

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

Ego is one of the best villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s taken them far too long to come up with another good villain but genius casting and a great premise pay dividends here. Casting Kurt Russell is a stroke of genius because I was right there with Peter throughout the first half of the movie – Russell is so damn likeable that I wanted him to be a cool guy! Ego’s concept – which sounded stupid to me on paper but is actually kind of brilliant – leads to some wonderful set pieces in the final act and also gives us a planet with the face of Kurt Russell which is one of the best things ever. Heck, the sight of Pac Man chomping through a giant Kurt Russell tickled my funny bone immensely. And you’ve got to love the fact that a villain called Ego wants to make the entire universe about him.

 

The death of Yondu really got to me. I don’t know whether it was simply the fact that he’s played by Michael Rooker or because I was in a state of shock at how much fun I was having with this movie, but I might have had something in my eye at that point. Fuck, the entire movie got to me. I loved the Howard The Duck cameo, and the awesome sequence with Yondu’s arrow thing flying around the ship (especially when the lights go out), and the heartbreaking scene where Drax tells Mantis about his dead family and she shares his tears, and the two sisters putting their conflict behind them, and Drax almost sacrificing himself to save Mantis.

 

So, yeah, I walked out of this movie shell-shocked. I’d been certain – absolutely fucking certain – that I would loathe this movie. But I loved it. I really fucking loved it. The rest of this year’s movies are going to have to work mighty hard to leave me feeling happier by their end credits.

 

Bradley Cooper still sucks, though.


Edited by MrSaxon - 4/29/17 at 5:49pm
post #23 of 921

Saw this today. WW has a lot of live up to compared to this.

 

I like Mantis as well. Though i liked the Vol 1 Soundtrack better.

post #24 of 921

I know nothing about 70's music and so I was only familiar with Cat Stevens' "Father And Son" but I really liked the soundtrack. Probably going to pick it up from Amazon.

post #25 of 921
Well, I am a big fan of Guardians 1, and was curious as to how the sequel would work. I was surprised at the opening sequence where the action is happening in the background, and they did that kind of undermine-the-action thing quite a few times throughout the film, which I think lowers the stakes. Russell is brilliant, even if the character is ridiculous. And Peter's revelation was crazy. The film felt like it got stuck for a while, before suddenly racing off into a mad conclusion. Was really touched by Yondu's arc, and the music choices were spot on. So overall fun, but a bit scattershot.
post #26 of 921
Is Ego Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
the best Marvel villain whose name doesn't rhyme with blokey
Mr Saxon?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jones View Post

... they did that kind of undermine-the-action thing quite a few times throughout the film, which I think lowers the stakes ...

Yeah, it's only really the last battle which has a feeling of peril. Most of the rest of the time it feels more like a comedy with action than an action movie with comedy, like Gunn considers multi-millions worth of explosions to be simply backdrops to the relationships. Like it has more in common with something like the 21 Jump Street films than most of the other Marvel films. Which might be odd given the budget, but I liked what he did with the place.


-
Edited by Bucho - 4/30/17 at 11:52am
post #27 of 921

You know, Bucho, I would say that he likely is. I can't think of another where I became invested enough in the character prior to the final act, or where I wanted to see more of them afterward. 

 

I felt really sorry for the guy waiting to clean our screen because half of the audience sat through all five credit scenes. On that note, I'm extremely surprised to see them hint at the appearance of

 

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Adam Warlock, as I'd assumed Vision was going to assume that role.
 
The Sylvester Stallone scene meant to nothing to me. Are he and the people on his ship important in the comics?
post #28 of 921
I'm one of those dickheads who feels the need to announce their ambivalence towards Marvel movies whenever the subject comes up, but even I thought the first one was a hoot, even if I never revisited it. This one... was alright.

What seemed fresh in the first one already feels like formula, the gags are relentless in the first half especially, and are far more miss than hit. There are some iffy jokes that get stretched out forever. The whole thing didn't seem massively inspired to me.

But there's still quite a lot of good stuff in it. Kurt is fun, and gets my favourite gag in the movie (involving a magic ball), some of the new characters are also fun and they added some depth to the blue guy quite well. And I still quite love the multi-coloured pulp fantasia that is the world of these movies. I do wish they'd go all-out with the eye popping colours Fifth Element style instead of marinating everything in murky piss like they do, but that's the colour graded world we live in I suppose.

I'm undecided on whether the low key plotting of the first half of the movie is a good thing or not. On the one hand it's a nice change to focus on everyday space pirate shenanigans for a while rather than galactic scale stuff, on the other there's not a whole lot of plot momentum until it's almost over.

One last jab: there's a bit where Quinn compares his relationship with Gamora to sitcoms. I'll turn that back on them by saying that I remember Graham Linehan talking about how they deliberately made Mrs Doyle in Father Ted this broad comic character because they were tired of the sitcom trope of female characters as these sensible older sister figures whose only function in the humour is to roll their eyes at the antics of the male characters. Gamora is that trope.

Alright movie I guess. I'll probably never watch it again!!
post #29 of 921
it seems like, at the very least, the hype machine for this one has been considerably scaled back. As in: I don't hear people trying to compare this one to Star Wars.


I've softened a lot on the original Guardians, so I'm a bit excited about this one. I mean, I care more about whatever the Guardians are doing than anything are Avengers are doing.
post #30 of 921
I watched this last night with a baby crying in the audience and someone kicking the back of my chair constantly. Around an hour into it I was wondering where the hell it was going and why there wasn't an obvious villain yet. I think in general when a film breaks out the way the first Guardians did, you are done in terms of ever having that impact again. You can't have a "holy shit Chris Pratt is a movie star" moment again like in those opening credits or a moment of surprise as Groot and not Rocket becomes the breakout character. So what's the solution? Go deeper, go funnier and go weirder.

The more distance I've got from Guardians 2, the more I've realised that I LOVE this film. The relationships it develops and deepens are things of beauty and the revelations and connections weren't quite World ending gems but if you love the characters from the original then frankly you are likely to love it.

This was also the trippiest blockbuster ever. The introduction to Egos planet soundtracked by George Harrison was a thing of beauty. As well as visits with the Ravager hang out and those gold arcade playing snobs.

Screw Vin Diesel and The Rock. This is the only cinematic family I care about.
post #31 of 921
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrSaxon View Post

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
The Sylvester Stallone scene meant to nothing to me. Are he and the people on his ship important in the comics?
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
They're the original Guardians of the Galaxy.
post #32 of 921
Quote:

Originally Posted by MrSaxon View Post

 

The <redacted> scene meant to nothing to me. Are he and the people on his ship important in the comics?

 

They were the original Guardians of the Galaxy in the first run, the current crew were a later iteration. Just a little in joke.

post #33 of 921
Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry D View Post
  Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Ego also has ties to the FF franchise. They may have been part of a trade between Marvel and Fox (Fox got Negadonic for Deadpool, I think). Which could mean Fox got another character as well.

 

I'd love to see these damn contracts now. They're just confusing the hell out of me.

 

Look like Ego originated in Thor, according to the Marvel Wiki, so I guess he's fair game. The other characters in question?

 

Well... either:

 

"Look, we want to do an in joke, no dialogue, no mention of the character. Name your price, but we're not that bothered to do this, it's just a cute idea so we won't pay that much. But come on, that FF movie didn't do too well, did it?"

 

or they did a Deadpool Helicarrier and just assumed that because it wasn't explicitly explained and referenced, it was legal.

post #34 of 921
Actually, I looked it up again and Marvel didn't even trade Negasonic Teenage Warhead to Fox, just her power set, but Fox did have Ego in his entirety. I guess they (Marvel) didn't expect to use him back in the day.

It's pretty weird that a studio has the rights to a character's powers but not the character itself.
post #35 of 921

Most of the reviews seem to claim that the second act drags but I didn't find that at all.  

 

I watched the first movie last night for the first time and maybe it's because I saw this one first but I truly think it's the better movie. None of the characters really change that much during the first movie whereas it feels as though there's actual character development in Volume 2, and the villain here is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry D View Post
  Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
They're the original Guardians of the Galaxy.
Quote:
Originally Posted by flint View Post

 

They were the original Guardians of the Galaxy in the first run, the current crew were a later iteration. Just a little in joke.

 

Ah, ok. Thanks for the explanation. 

post #36 of 921
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lloyd Dobler View Post

Screw Vin Diesel and The Rock. This is the only cinematic family I care about.

It's pretty amazing that by the end there's even significant attention given to bringing a couple of moments of genuine feels for a 'side' character like Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Kreglin
and they don't feel at all shoehorned or pace-upsetting. They fit perfectly. Gunn really goes all out to have this crew gel into something it's super easy to care about.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MrSaxon View Post

... and the villain here is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better ...

C'moooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooon Mr Saxon, Lee Pace is too much fun to warrant that many 'a's.
post #37 of 921
Saxon watched Guardians of the Galaxy and now I don't know which way is up.

I loved this. I thought it was miles better than the first. I agree with Dark Shape that it leans on the humor inappropriately at times but the quality of the gags make it worth it. I was absolutely floored by Rooker, he was amazing.

"I'm Mary Poppins y'all" It's just so gleefully daft.
Edited by Mike's Pants - 4/30/17 at 12:53pm
post #38 of 921

I want Saxon's detailed review of Cooper's performance as ROCKET!!!

post #39 of 921

I honestly don't know why they didn't get someone like Seth McFarlane to voice him. I was watching a clip of him performing different voices on the Graham Norton show today, thinking to myself how he would have been perfect

post #40 of 921

Because everyone likes Bradley Cooper apart from inhuman monsters. :)

post #41 of 921

* Holds onto Flint's Playstation 2 for a bit longer *

post #42 of 921
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrSaxon View Post
 

I was watching a clip of him performing different voices on the Graham Norton show today, thinking to myself how he would have been perfect

 

Is that the one where Tom Cruise does Donald Duck?

post #43 of 921
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacob Singer View Post
 

 

Is that the one where Tom Cruise does Donald Duck?

 

Yes! I love how genuinely amazed Tom Cruise is with all of McFarlane's voices. I guess he's never watched Family Guy!

 

 

post #44 of 921
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrSaxon View Post

I watched the first movie last night for the first time and maybe it's because I saw this one first but I truly think it's the better movie. None of the characters really change that much during the first movie whereas it feels as though there's actual character development in Volume 2...

One of the lovelier reviews I read for the first picture was by a mental health professional who did a run as a guest columnist for Comics Alliance. An advocate for destigmatizing mental illnesses, she made a lot out of the way the characters are allowed to be dysfunctional, without some struggle to overcome their dysfunctions being their arcs.
post #45 of 921
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrSaxon View Post
 

 

Yes! I love how genuinely amazed Tom Cruise is with all of McFarlane's voices. I guess he's never watched Family Guy!

 

 

 

what a weird double date!

 

post #46 of 921

A review from someone we once knew:

 

Not spoilers, just a long review.... (Click to show)

"Someone on Twitter asked James Gunn if the third GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY movie could just be the team hanging out on vacation, but it turns out GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL 2 is actually pretty close to that dream. It’s a hang out movie with space battles, a film whose entire plot turns largely on emotion, not on ‘go there, do this’ action beats. Someone asked me about the plot of the movie and I couldn’t really answer it without getting spoilery.

 

This isn’t to say that GUARDIANS VOL 2 is boring, but rather that it’s quite unlike any other Marvel movie yet, and maybe unlike any superhero movie yet. Yes, there are galaxy-impacting stakes (that get shoehorned in during the third act, and that feel like an afterthought to an afterthought), but the real stakes of the movie are all relationship based. Father/son dynamics dominate the film, but writer/director Gunn slips in some sibling rivalry and even muted romance along the way. At the end of the film the biggest question wasn’t whether the Guardians would save the day, but rather whether the Guardians would have the cathartic emotional moments they need to continue growing as people.

 

The story begins shortly after the events of the last film, and the now-established team are heroes for hire. They battle a space beast at the behest of the gold-skinned people of the Sovereign, an advanced and haughty race of genetically engineered perfect beings. That legit job goes sour when Rocket can’t help but pocket some of the Sovereign’s crazy expensive Space Batteries. The Sovereign, piloting remote control drones that make arcade game sounds, call in Yondu’s Ravagers to help destroy the Guardians in retaliation. It turns out that Yondu’s Ravagers have been shunned by the larger Ravager community (led by Sly Stallone himself) because of the fact that Yondu ‘kidnapped’ young Peter Quill rather than return him to his father, as he had been contracted to do. This mission perhaps offers Yondu a chance to redeem himself.

 

Just as things seem to be too much for the Guardians, a mysterious figure appears, riding a spaceship like it’s a chariot. It’s Ego, and he tells Peter that he’s his long-lost dad, and that Peter has a destiny. And that’s where the ‘plot’ kicks in AND where things get spoilery.

 

Gunn has given himself a huge cast of characters this time; not only is he servicing the original Guardians but Yondu has an emotional arc, Nebula returns and has an arc, he introduces the character of Mantis who needs to be serviced and then there’s Ego himself. On top of that the Ravager side plot is pretty major, and there’s a lot of emotional back and forth happening over there as well. All of this makes GUARDIANS VOL 2 slightly overstuffed, but in a welcome way - it feels like going to a party and all your friends are there and you know you’re just never going to have to the time to hang out with any of them quite enough.

 

Faced with that dilemma, Gunn doubles down on Yondu and Rocket while making Quill something of a straight man this time out. Star-Lord, the beloved rogue from the first movie, has his edges slightly sanded off here as he becomes a shockingly passive protagonist, sort of going with the flow and making what feels like way fewer jokes. Quill sort of stands in the center of the movie, unchanging, as other characters relate to and bounce off of him. Which isn’t to say that Chris Pratt is lame here - he’s charming and funny and has plenty of scenes, it’s just that when you really look at it the story is not moved by his character, it’s moved by everybody else relating to his character.

 

All of this might make GUARDIANS VOL 2 sound kind of like a chamber drama, but it very much is not. It’s a huge film, and it’s got way more jokes per capita than the first. Gunn does not hold back his comedy here, and more than once he gets right up to the edge of undercutting his own drama with a gag. Every emotional beat in the first 80% of the movie is followed up almost immediately with a joke, and at some point you suspect that Gunn is purposefully deflating all of these moments. But if he is it’s just in service of an emotional wallop at the end; the barrage of humor gives way to some terrifically emotional and potentially tear-jerking climaxes at the end. It’s a testament to Gunn’s mastery of tone that he can make this movie so relentlessly funny while still getting us in the tear ducts at the end.

 

Visually GUARDIAN OF THE GALAXY VOL 2 is absolutely stunning. Most scenes are saturated in eye-popping color, and Gunn’s corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has long since left behind any grounded qualities. The film’s designs are hyper-science fiction, with many shots looking like 1970s scifi novel covers (or prog rock album covers) come alive. The shot of Ego riding his spaceship, waving at the occupants of the MIlano, is exactly the sort of over the top visual the MCU has been missing, and it brought me enormous joy.

 

Ego himself is a huge concept. I don’t know if this is a spoiler or not, but Ego is a character in the comics, and his full name there is Ego, The Living Planet. Yes, Kurt Russell is playing a planet that has taken the shape of a man (with a working penis, as Drax goes out of his way to establish). This brings another set of father/son dynamics - that of God/Christ, and while Gunn underplays it, the film’s third act feels like a criticism of evangelism (I’m assuming nobody pointed this out to Pratt, who is a serious Christian). It’s a big, big, big scifi concept, way bigger than ‘blowing up the world’ or ‘getting the stones,’ and it is pretty cool. I kind of would have liked to see it explored further, but that the film has Kurt Russell playing God to Chris Pratt’s Christ is pretty cool in and of itself.

 

Russell is great, and Gunn uses him to critique many of the masculine tropes that underlie the Star-Lord character himself. Ego gives a big speech about the 70s AM radio staple “Brandy,” talking about how the protagonist of that song - who loves Brandy but is wed to the sea - is very much Ego. It’s a puncturing of the ‘great man’ story, the Captain Kirk type who comes into port and romances the ladies but has to take off to see to the bigger issues of the day. It’s a fitting theme for a movie that is so obsessed with family (seriously, family talk is at Dom Toretto levels here), and I like how it subverts everything we expect from a character like Star-Lord. The way that Gunn is playing Star-Lord’s franchise arc is less about his domestication and more about his assumption of responsibility; GUARDIANS VOL 2 is, across all the character arcs, a movie that rejects the romanticization of irresponsibility. Every character in this movie, at one point or another, has to step up and take responsibility not just for themselves but for each other. Man, I really respect how Gunn works a theme.

 

If Quill has to be the straight man at the center of the maelstrom, Rocket and Drax get to have all the good bits. With Dave Bautista proving his comic chops in the first film, this movie sees Drax getting the lion’s share of jokes. He’s endlessly hilarious, and almost every sentence out of his mouth is a laugh line. But Gunn also weaves in a sweet relationship with Mantis, Ego’s personal assistant. Played by Pom Klementieff, Mantis is almost Drax’s exact opposite. Where Drax’s inability to read other people made him a surprise icon to the autistic community, Mantis has powers of super-empathy - if she touches you she feels what you feel. But that doesn’t make her any less socially awkward, and she and Drax make a terrific pair - a man who doesn’t feel enough and a woman who feels too much, each set socially adrift in their own way. I never would have guessed at that match up in advance, but Gunn nails the dynamics.

 

Rocket, meanwhile, gets the most action in the film, and he’s the most active protagonist. He’s playing dad to the still-growing Baby Groot (a constant scene stealer who, in another testament to Gunn’s mastery of tone, is often ALMOST too cute but always avoids becoming cloying) even as they get captured by the Ravagers. Rocket is dealing with his own asshole nature - his ceaseless need to push people away - and so Gunn teams him with Yondu, who has similar tendencies. Yondu, meanwhile, is caught between being a father figure to Quill and also dealing with the disapproval of his own father figure, Sylvester Stallone’s Stakar (and yes, that is the name of one of the original, futuristic Guardians of the Galaxy). Yondu’s arc is pretty great, and he and Rocket both grow immensely in the course of this film. Michael Rooker, long of James Gunn’s company of actors, really sinks his teeth into the character this time, finding layers of regret and sadness under the surface of this blue-skinned space biker.

 

If Quill is the straight man, Gamora is the straight woman. She seems like the character Gunn has had the loosest handle on in both of these films. This time her story is divided between relating to Quill - who believes they have an unspoken, Sam-and-Diane-from-CHEERS things happening - and her sister Nebula, who is looking for revenge. What I really like is how Gamora is forced to confront her own role in Nebula’s past trauma, which she does without self-hatred. The relationship between these two is so complicated and nuanced that you almost wish Gunn would give them more screen time to work it all out.

 

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL 2 shares some beats and concepts with the first film - what is with Gunn and swarms of single-pilot ships? - but it is so much its own unique beast. It’s funnier than the first movie but it doesn’t have the element of surprise and discovery that made the original sing so clearly. VOL 2 is slightly overstuffed, but in a way that you like - these are great characters and you love them. There’s a feeling of indulgence onscreen, but it’s not in the service of empty spectacle or computer FX (although there’s plenty of spectacle and FX) but rather in the service of characters, relationships and jokes. Could you cut time out of this movie, especially in act two? Sure, but why would you? You’re getting a chance to hang out with so many great characters, played by such wonderful actors, cavorting in such beautiful environments, while having interesting and complex emotional arcs… while also being funny as hell.

 

If GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY was a great pop song, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL 2 is much closer to a prog rock concept album. The hooks are there, but the songs go on for six to eleven minutes and it’s a double album and the gatefold image is fucking insane and you like to lay it open while you listen and dump your weed on it to pick out the stems and seeds. It’s a truly different experience from the first movie, and I think it’s an experience that will be heightened by revisiting it again and again, giving yourself the luxury of sinking into the groove after you’ve given this concept album an initial listen."

 


Edited by Barry Woodward - 4/30/17 at 6:06pm
post #47 of 921
Um, Barry. You could've just linked to that review somewhere, yeah? Cause on my phone, feel like I have to scroll forever to get to the end of it.
post #48 of 921

Sorry about the word wall. The review doesn't exist anywhere that can be linked to. I'll edit the post to conceal it in a spoiler box.

post #49 of 921
Is the guy snail-mailing hard copies of his reviews straight to you?
post #50 of 921

I am Groot.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Focused Film Discussion
CHUD.com Community › Forums › THE MAIN SEWER › Focused Film Discussion › GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 Post-Release Discussion