Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2
Starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Michael Rooker, Kurt Russell, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Sylvester Stallone
Significantly better than the first one, “Guardians of the Galaxy” is still Marvel’s sitcom, but “Vol. 2” uses emotion in the third act and inserts more dynamic female characters to its benefit. While the plot line still involves saving the universe (something I keep hoping Marvel writers will tire of) the theme of family and forgiveness has a better arc this time around. Pratt’s rise to international stardom apparently means less screen time as Quill (aka Star-Lord) gets equal or perhaps slightly less on screen moments than everyone else. It’s the emotional third act that lifts “Vol. 2” above it’s predecessor. Finally, Marvel embraces the idea of death, (unlike than when Pietro Maximoff died and we just cut to the next scene and keep going), tapping into emotional loss and effect they have avoided for years of films.
The Guardians have gotten themselves into trouble, while aiding The Sovereign (a gold tinted, female led, genetically engineered race) then stealing from them. Whilst trying to escape one galaxy and transport to another, they are aided by a mysterious man who turns out to be Peter Quill’s long lost father. Ego (Russell) is known as a celestial, a god, who can create planets and has lived for millions of years. The Sovereign hires Yondu (Rooker) to track the Guardians, while Gamora (Saldana) and her vengeful sister Nebula (Gillan) battle each other over their troubled past. Mantis (Klementieff), the only other lifeform on Ego’s world, warns Drax (Bautista ) what her master is capable of and his true intentions or finding his long-lost son.
The script here is at least smart enough to realize that the battle isn’t the most important part of the movie.
I don’t find the goofy cartoon comedy in this series very amusing, the retro themes or nostalgic musical playlist doesn’t impress me and the globular assault of special effects both in battle and that render the actors partially animated, makes this and other Marvel films a chore. However, Marvel introduces strong female characters in all corners of this script which take some of the burden off Gamora being the only one. The cutesy stuff with Baby Groot is amusing for a few scenes, but this is mostly a ploy for the franchise to market toys more than anything. While I didn’t laugh at the first film, the brutally honest conversations (ironically played for laughs) between Drax and Mantis were the films funniest opportunities. I don’t remember Nebula, or much else about the jumbled plot of the last film, but actress Gillan and her dynamic anger expression, certainly makes her mark with this character in “Vol. 2”.
Why every battle in every Marvel film has to be some overblown, universe take over plot by the villain, I will never understand. I dunno, maybe try a different angle? The Ego character, as much as they try to build a creditable backstory, is single-handedly the films worst character and weakest element. Whose idea is it to always personify an angry human face in explosions, fire, rubble, or matter. The script here is at least smart enough to realize that the battle isn’t the most important part of the movie, and a lot of that relies on the backstory of Yondu and the mistakes he has made in his life. “Sometimes the thing you are looking for was right there beside you all along”. “Vol. 2” will satisfy the fans who approve these movies even before the opening credits (which are the most creative use of Baby Groot). For others seeking something a little more than average, stick around until the third act.
Weak villains, campy comedy still infect the series but more dynamic female characters while embracing death and emotion make this sequel better than the original.