Kurt Russel impregnating the Universe can’t be that bad.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, is a rather interesting, anomaly of a movie. The usual sequel approach of doing everything you did in the last movie, except BIGGER, is in effect here, but the story seems to have lost its focus in the process. It takes most of what was successful in the first film, increases it, and somehow ultimately makes it worse.
Mr. Blue Sky (ELO) starts off the film accompanied by a big action/dance number that seems to go on for far too long, consisting of Baby Groot footloosing his way across a battlefield. We’re then introduced to the Sovereign, a gold race of rich children people, who are rather interesting and amusing the first time we meet them, but are then constantly thrown back into the plot as a minor annoyance at best.
Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) meets a “man” claiming to be his father (Kurt Russel), while Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) is stuck dealing with Yondu (Michael Rooker) and his roving ravager gang. For the first hour of film time there is no plot, and no apparent plot progression. Our heroes are stuck on a planet, doing nothing, or they’re stuck somewhere else, doing nothing and you have barely any idea where it’s headed.
Eventually the pace begins to pick up, as some twists and action set pieces start to find its way into the narrative. The fun part of the first Guardians movie was seeing these characters come together, team up, and interact with each other. There’s probably a solid hour or more where the team is split apart in this movie and you can feel the energy being sucked away from the screen. Luckily, the supporting cast is given a lot more to do and characters like Yondu and Nebula (Karen Gillan) have some of the best scenes in the entire film.
The climax of the film is also another Prattfall (heh). Having the fate of the entire world/galaxy/universe at risk is so boring in superhero films now. Of course the whole universe isn’t going to be destroyed, duh, it’s a Marvel movie. The lack of tension just brings the air out of these endings. The giant fight at the end is nothing more than flashy colors exploding across the screen. Sure it’s nice to look at, but it doesn’t draw much interest as it goes on.
The humor feels much more juvenile and forced this time around, like it was trying to pander to a specifically younger audience that still laughs at poop jokes. The pop culture references don’t feel natural a lot of the time, jokes carry on long after they stopped being funny, and any dramatic scene is immediately followed by a punchline almost every time. Poor Drax is reduced to a machine that spews one-liners whenever the camera is on him; he doesn’t fight or do anything that isn’t for some kind of gag. It’s almost as if the script was rewritten by a 5th grade class during recess.
Guardians 2 is not a bad movie, no matter how much criticism I can throw at it. The performances are all fine, some of the jokes are funny, and the character development is a nice touch even if it was achieved through repetitive monologues about how each of them feels. The cast has great chemistry when they’re firing on all cylinders, and hopefully the next movie will give everyone more to do than just repeating “Taser Face” for ten minutes.
Overall Score: 2.5/5 Stars
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Also Michael Rooker is great in this film, and I love that fact because he starred in one of the worst films I’ve ever seen, Skeleton Man. If you haven’t seen Skeleton Man then you are lucky. Watching that movie is like when the nazis opened the Lost Ark in that Indiana Jones flick. Your face melts, but it’s a good melt.