- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
- Written and Directed by James Gunn
- April 10, 2017 (Tokyo) / May 5, 2017 (US)
- Based on the Marvel Comics team Guardians of the Galaxy
The Guardians help Peter learn more about his mysterious parentage and uncover a plot that threatens the entire galaxy.
I still wish these films had been about the ORIGINAL version of the Guardians of the Galaxy. While versions of those characters appear here, they are not the originals. Rather what we get are bastardized versions in cameo appearances that because of them being in the present are not really related to their inspirations. Anywho…
Visually Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a stunning film. It is fun and imaginative with its alien designs and its sets. This is perhaps the purest visual expression of space opera on film ever. They are pure imagination and the effects are often used to make this a much richer and real world. At the time they were very impressive. Now though once the story gets to Ego things look a bit fake. Effects should enhance but not be the go-to. Sometimes they age like fine wine and remain good. Other times they age like fresh milk under a heat lamp.
The action is just great and has a similar Star Wars-esque feel like its predecessor did. It is frenetic and thrilling with a few really cool moments. Gunn does play with the space opera genre and leans into this being a comic book universe.
Vol. 2 took a more humorous tone in general than the first one and that is perhaps because Gunn wrote the script himself and generally had much more control because of the success of the first. For example Drax went from being a literalist in the last one to being insufferably stupid in this. Not a good move as it makes him a joke rather than making the humor because of the character.
But that goes with the jokes overall. Not a moment goes by where there is not a joke to relieve the tension which reduces the seriousness of anything they’re going through. That is pretty common with the newer Marvel movies. Humor in an action film is fine but too much undermines the narrative. And elements used delve too much into 80s pop culture a bit too heavily. It wallows in it. I’m not necessarily against the references but it’s the number of them that occur that bothers me. It makes things too silly and makes Peter (Chris Pratt) a bit pathetic.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is not without some heart and dramatic weight and that clearly is because of the expansion of the relationship between Yondu (Michael Rooker) and Peter. We not only learn why Yondu spared Peter but get a greater understanding of the depth of their relationship. There is a real love between them, and it is rather touching especially when it comes to the death of Yondu.
As an extension of the first film, Vol. 2 feels like the finale of every arc begun in the first movie. We learn Peter’s complete parentage. We know why Yondu saved him. The rift between Gamora (Zoe Saldaña) and Nebula (Karen Gillan) is relatively healed. Even Nebula comes relatively to the side of good. While the main purpose of the MCU films are to service the Avengers movies, there is no reason you cannot have a storyline for each series.
Nebula really blossoms as a character. She gets much more complex than just being the evil daughter out to make daddy Thanos happy. She becomes more than jealous and needy but rather wounded and looking for love and acceptance in a brutal situation from the one person from whom she thought it would come-Gamora. She also wanted Gamora to give a bit rather than Nebula receive her father’s brutal love that cut her into pieces. PTSD?
Kurt Russell is the film’s main villain of Ego who here is Peter’s father rather than J’son like in the comics. Ego is kind and charming. He is a being that just came into existence at the dawn of time. Long story short, in search of purpose he had gone around the galaxy making babies hoping to produce a second power source in order to expand himself throughout the galaxy. Why wipe out life when it seemed to bother himself in the beginning that he was alone? Not sure.
His plan is exposed when a massive pile of bones of his other children are found in a cave deep in his body. He is a planet and the form we see merely an extension of him. They died because his DNA did not bond to that of the woman so they had no power. So how were they conceived then? Were these all some kind of asexual reproduction? I am really bothered by this.
Though this is not the Ego from the comic books his image is briefly glimpsed in a distance shot. And I get why they did it. At least for the purpose of the story. I just wished they embraced Lee and Kirby’s vision a bit more. The reality that Ego is a planet and not this physical form they are dealing with is not really central to the story.
Any flaws this has are probably due to James Gunn having nobody to tell him “No” because the last was so successful. We all need a “No” from time to time. It either forces a better approach or to justify your original intent. Gunn had none of that. With good action and good emotion, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a fine installment of the Guardians of the Galaxy series. While it probably should have closed out the series as it wrapped up storylines started in the first film, it is an entertaining enough movie that will not disappoint.
One thought on “I’m Mary Poppins, Y’All!”
Great film and great read!
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