Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,
is another cash register working overtime for Disney/Marvel. Three years after surprising us with a gang of galactic outlaws, the Guardians return in another adventure. In many ways its different from the original, as subtle as they are. But its no less exciting.
Seen in 2-D with Atmos sound, a late night showing that ended well after midnight. This is better read if you watched the movie (Possible spoilers ahead).
The trailers before the movie
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man Tell No Tails, Thor: Ragnarok, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi.
GOTG2 re-unites a gang of misfits who can’t better described as “strange”. With their new-found fame from their first adventures, Peter Quill and his cohorts travel the galaxy as mercenaries-for-hire. Little do they know, Peter’s past will emerge from the depths of space that incidentally threatens the galaxy, including Earth.
I sat in my leather seat, not expect anything but to be entertained. Conditioned by the many Marvel super hero movies, I really wanted something different that goes outside their studio playbook. It’s a Hollywood sequel that enjoyed nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars, internationally. GOTG2 could have easily pretended the first film never happened and repackaged the same story. (see Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens). It could have followed the Marvel model of sending endless number of faceless enemies. (See Avengers and its Age of Ultron sequel) . Instead, writer/director, James Gunn, builds on his characters, introduces new ones, while not losing one ounce of the Guardians vibe.
Take for instance, the villain, Kurt Russell. One of the problems I have with Marvel films is their uninteresting villains. But with a 80’s icon who’s filmography includes The Thing to Big Trouble in Little China, his old school style is a welcome addition to the world of CGI and carefully planned. plastic plots. He’s a throwback and someone you don’t want to see turn evil or in this case, unhinged. Looking beyond the repetitious references to “we’re family”, 80’s themes, and the overplayed countdown to doomsday – it has numerous stories. It answered old backstories, created new ones, and most importantly showed consequences for actions.
The sequel is not without tweaks. Moved by what it thought “worked” in the original, the film dabbles in the “more is better” attitude. We see more Rocket, who can be argued was as equally important as Peter. The movie ends with a close up of Rocket. The music is literally more important than the first movie. As lyrics double as spoken narratives. Of course, we couldn’t neglect baby Groot who prances around the scene looking funny yet does little. After introducing new characters, providing more Rocket and Groot screen time, and promoting other characters from the prior film (Yondu and Nebula, for example), you’ll notice less action out of Gamora other than her kicking scene holding a BFG. Even Dax adds little to the adventure other than oft-repeated awkward moments of comedy relief.
There is something special to the GOTG universe that makes me wish it could keep its distance from the carefully planned, pretentious world of the Avengers and the MCU. Then again, it would be interesting what a party hosted by Iron Man and Captain America would look like with Star Lord and his friends crashing it.