REVIEW: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL 2
After I saw this film I Tweeted: #GOTG2 OMG! Marvels true heart? I can already tell you my answer is yes. But I can also review the film spoiler free and tell you how I came to believe my answer is yes. First I have to say you should see this film in 3D. I wouldn’t normally say that I see it nothing more than a fad and have only previously seen two films in this format. I found it distracting but for this movie it works. Guardians of The Galaxy is a beautiful movie just to look at. You would be entranced to see it even without sound. The 3D adds to the experience of this brilliant movie. It makes colours pop and enhances the alien landscapes.
Marvel are making money faster than Donald Trump can court controversy (Dam thats quick). When you take a step back and look at all the movies you have to say The Guardians have been the real success story. Yes all the movies have made big bucks but a few of them haven’t been met with world wide acclaim. When the first film was announced as in development I myself saw it as nothing more than a way to open up the Avengers to threats from out of the galaxy. Also its worth remembering that Disney also acquired the rights to Star Wars when the first film was in development. Why would they need two space operas? Before the 2008 reinvention by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning The Guardians never really had top billing. Their series of work made them stars and gained them a hardcore following, maybe still not enough for a movie to appeal to the masses. Many claimed this would be Marvels undoing. People who didn’t no comics questioning why Marvel were going into space and not sticking with superheroes. Predicting this film would be a step too far. Boy were they wrong!
I’ve seen a lot of reviews say this sequel just doubles down on what made the first movie popular. Yeah why wouldn’t it? Also thats not true we get so much more this go around. Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2 comes in twenty minutes longer than its predecessor. There are a few small moments in the middle when it feels a little longer. James Gunn gets around this with plenty of high octane action. Smartly the movie opens with one of this high octane moments. Played out to the sounds of ELO. When ever there is a small lag it is usually broken up by something loud or funny. Your never sitting there waiting for a scene to move on. Unlike BvS which didn’t have the funny to break up all the dullness. The music and the action certainly help carry the audience through the just over two hour run time. Part of what makes both Guardians movies work is its lack of reliance on the bigger picture of the MCU. I will now make my only spoiler of the movie there is no infinity stone present. This didn’t come as a surprise as then it would have felt like a rehash of the first movie.
Its testament too to the work of James Gunn. When you consider we are edging closer to Infinity War its refreshing to see this movie was allowed to be its own thing. Marvel higher ups didn’t feel the need to use a popular franchise to play some set up for the big finale. Even with the mid/post credit scenes any thought of the bigger picture of the MCU is put to one side. They are mainly fun the end credits over all are an enjoyable watch. I would say three of the scenes are fun. One is for die hard comics/Guardians fans and one is potential set up. There is one easter egg in the end credits that has not been mentioned on line as far as I have seen. It is nothing major and you have to know the cast of Thor Ragnarok to spot it. Also and this is just me I think I spotted another potential easter egg with longevity for the future. Hit me up on twitter (IanWells87) if you want to hear my thoughts! Pom Klementieff is a great addition to the cast and bounces well off of all the Guardians particularly Drax. The Ravagers get plenty of depth added to them. Only in a James Gunn movie could you get away with using Taser Face. Kurt Russell also shines without chewing the scenery or over acting. It actually made me think I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a Kurt Russell movie. Don’t hate me and has just been ages (too long) since I saw Big Trouble. Kevin Fiege and everyone who chose James Gunn for the Guardians was a brilliant choice. They are very much a match for his sensibilities as a film maker. Whilst I welcome him with open arms to join the MCU in a bigger capacity I do so with the the smallest tad of anxiousness.
So back to my original Twitter statement. Are the Guardians Marvels true heart? The answer is two fold and both answers are yes. Yes as a family and yes as a movie. By the end of the first movie it is clear to the audience the characters are both happy and fortunate to have found each other. What is more evident is their willingness to now stay together. The sequel picks up with the family dynamic front and centre. Right from the get go of Vol. 2 they don’t feel like a team of heroes they feel like a family. They know each others quirks. (Especially Peter and Gamora). They know what makes each other tick, they argue and they protect each other. This range of feelings are all present in the opening scene. One plot device that best emphasis the family bond is Baby Groot. In the first movie Groot very much felt like Rockets responsibility. Now everyone takes a turn keeping an eye on him. Even when Drax makes the immortal proclamation it doesn’t at all feel cringe worthy. You may feel the family dynamic is in danger a third of the way through the movie when the team gets spilt up. Its a master stroke as it gives characters more space to grow and for the audience to learn more about their motivations. Plus absence makes the heart grow fonder. Rocket’s attitude gets a back exploration. Drax grows so much in his screen time. Watch this movie and tell me how fucking good Dave Bautista is! Who said wrestlers can’t act? In the first movie the leadership of the team went from Rocket to Peter. Drax grows strongly into the role of its heart and sole. Perhaps the two biggest characters to receive more screen time and space to develop is Yondu and Nebula. I won’t say any more but it is rather deep and meaningful. So what gives this movie a lot of heart?
At the centre of this gorgeous looking, very funny and action packed space opera is the narrative of a boy and an absent father. I don’t need to say anymore. Gunn and everyone that put this movie together are doing the lords work. Why do I consider them more of a family than The Avengers? This is all open to interpretation of course but here goes. If you don’t count Civil War both teams have two movies. Before the teams assemble only Natasha and Clint and Rocket and Groot have any past relationship. Natasha grows close to Banner as Peter falls for Gamora. I guarantee The Avengers have spent way much more screen time at each others throats than their galactic counterparts. If you include Civil War it makes my argument stronger. Even thought the movies are meant to be connected you never feel The Avengers spend time together out of what is happening in the movies. (Iron Man 3 post credits scene aside). The Guardians feel more real. It is supposed to have been something like four months between movies. As a viewer you can more easily imagine The Guardians living in each others pockets for all that time.
At this point in time I’m looking forward more to Guardians 3 than Infinity War. That said since the first Guardians film I’ve haven’t been able to shake the image of Rocket meeting Cap for the first time. I picture him standing on the shield to look him square in the eyes.
About Ian Wells
Ian currently runs the THEBLOGOFCOMICSHOTTOPICS blog. Check him out on Twitter @IanWells87.
About Language of Bromance
Together Richard and Shawn formed the podcast The Language of Bromance and from there it has been nothing but fun. The duo laugh about things they go through, stories in the news and even getting serious discussing net neutrality along with other issues. Every so often their friendship turns to a bitter rivalry with their nerdiest creation the draft episodes. An original take on a best of or a top 10 list. The draft episodes are done like an NFL Draft 7 rounds where Richard and Shawn flip-flop picks on various topics.
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