Thoughts on Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2
***May be thoughts, but still warning that things can still come off as spoiler.***
Wow, it really took me some time to figure out how I wanted to open up my thoughts on Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2. The best way seems to be that if you thought this movie might disappoint, you were surely mistaken. If anyone told you that this movie was more of the same, then they were watching a different movie. In the theater I sat in watching this movie, there were numerous times where the audience busted out in laughter. I’m not the biggest fan of the way I laugh in public, but there was no helping that here.
Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2 was a mixed bag of emotions from start to finish. The biggest question had to be where the Guardians go next after the events of the last movie. It is safe to say that James Gunn put thought into where he wanted to take this team and their place in the MCU. While the first movie spent time establishing them as a team, the second movie put more time into how you can build upon this team from there. Numerous times throughout the movie I felt that the message is the same no matter how long they have been together. This is a family. While it does hurt that we don’t have the Fantastic Four, the Guardians of The Galaxy are the next best thing. Even better is how dysfunctional this team is. One could argue that bickering is nothing we haven’t seen from the Avengers, though there is something more genuine about the tension between these heroes. They aren’t perfect, and they have problems which they can’t help projecting onto one another. But it is the fact that they can put each other through so much crap and still see things through that makes them stand out. Being hired by the Sovereign to protect their precious batteries from invaders was the best example of this. I would use the term shitshow to describe what occurred there and that is what you love about the way they handle situations.
Now I’m certain there will be those who went in with some expectation of a more linear plot, but that is too easy to expect from a team like this. Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2 is what I would call a make it your own adventure. Things just happen because of who they are. You expect the trouble the find themselves in with the Sovereign because you can believe Rocket would steal the items they were sent to guard. From there it was anything goes and the sky was the limit. There was no disappointing in what even manages to catch you off guard, even if it was one second of what expanded the reach of this cosmic universe.
There’s so much to say about the characters this time around that took them to new heights in comparison to the first movie. The Guardians as a team had more substance to their cohesiveness. They are a mess, but this movie took us deep into how it is easy to overcome and overlook these problems when you connect with each other as well as they do. Peter and Rocket were big examples of this and it was nice to follow their maturing in realizing what they do wrong. Peter coming to terms with his true genealogy was a roller coaster. They really didn’t pull punches with how the truth can be more than you bargain for. Regardless of who the father ended up being, we all were prepared for the worst which was inevitable. Rocket though probably the biggest asshole in the galaxy comes a long way in accepting the way his antics affect his relationship with those around him. Finally getting down to the bone about the story between Gamora and Nebula came not a moment too late. Both of them worked so well together from chemistry that made them more believable that they were sisters than before. This also made up for the lack of Nebula we had before as well.
Groot and Yondu were gems from start to finish. Groot you knew could make you either laugh or cry, but Yondu stole the spotlight. I don’t think anyone who watched this could have expected him to be as enjoyable as he was. Great dialogue, standout action sequences, he even got a moment to fix the one thing that was questionable about him since his first introduction. Gunn took a number of liberties with Yondu and they all paid off here. Drax took his shtick and cranked the dial to 11. He was a bit ridiculous before, but he took things to a new level here which makes you laugh for the fact that you never see what he is about to say coming till he says it. Even with that said there were some personal moments that you didn’t see coming either. I do hope that there will be time later to further elaborate on his previous life or how there are still characters to cross paths with who can create that opening.
As a new character, Mantis has potential, though for now it does seem to weigh upon her interactions with other established characters. Namely Drax who is as naive as he is. Maybe even more just because of the life she lived with Ego.
If there was anything to fear about this movie, I would have said it was the exploration of Peter’s dad. From the start of the announcement there was hesitation because many comic fans are used to who they know to be his asshole of a dad, and to much of the Marvel Universe to boot. When the introduction came to Peter’s dad, aka Ego, I felt myself at ease with the approach. For this being the cinematic universe he opened the doors to many cosmic elements we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to journey into before. He was imposing and created a real sense of danger as well. There was some skepticism about how you could fight a sentient planet and somehow they pulled it off. Kurt Russell nailed this role as someone you could only see as the villain till the moment came. Until then he was brought about the right feelings that would pull you in considering addressing the question of Peter’s parents is a touchy subject. He was the right mix of what would make you believe he is Peter’s dad while at the same time presenting himself as someone divine.
Aside from Ego being the big villain, that is not to say the Sovereign don’t grab your attention as enemies as well. Normally we are used to having that one big villain, though they shook things up here by adding a second-party involvement. They created this perfect balance between what was serious/emotional dealing with Ego, and what was hilarious about the Sovereign. I mean what better enemy to create for the Guardians of The Galaxy as misfits than to encounter a group of people who just don’t tolerate their kind? I wanted to take them seriously, but there was nothing about tension between these two groups that couldn’t keep you from smiling. What’s even better is what comes out of the Sovereign. By the end of the movie it is easy to say that they were throw-away villains, but what foundation this set made it all worth it.
The effects for this movie blew my mind. The first Guardians of The Galaxy impressed you because of all the practical effects, but this one here showed just how well they could handle digital effects a well. So many scenes that captured the best of these characters. The best of Yondu and Rocket in particular. They have some standout action sequences that you wish you could put on pause and watch again on the spot. Though what may beat that out are the lighting effects between the first fight of the movie and that of our introduction to the planet Ego.
Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2 I think I might say is the best of the MCU movies. There is one thing I try to push for most to understand about these movies, and it is that they are meant to entertain. They don’t have to be too funny or serious, they just have to create an exciting experience. The Guardians of The Galaxy deliver this and much more. There is plenty to look forward to for the next movie and I do hope they don’t try too hard to shake the team up as I’m not one-hundred percent on what I think about the team not being the same moving forward.