an all-too-true case of ninety-nine percent perspiration and one percent
inspiration, Marvel Studios brings us Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,
the follow-up to one of the most surprising, clever and entertaining
hits in their cinematic universe.
as heroes after standing up to Ronan the Accuser and saving the
universe, Star Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket Raccoon, and the literal
offshoot that was/is Groot, have more or less gone on the straight and
narrow. Now as heroes for hire, they take on dangerous tasks across the
galaxy for healthy rewards. While they may have gone marginally legit,
their ramshackle, all-in, brawling style of combat hasnít changed, which
is what we find them in the middle of at the start of our film,
improvising wildly as a pointy-toothed space octopus gives them more
arms than they bargained for. Their ad-hoc teamwork barely manages to
keep them alive, but only momentarily, as in the claiming of their
reward, Rocketís propensity for thumb-nosing giggles manages to offend
the Ayesha, leader of appropriately-titled Sovereign race; a people who
put respect at a premium and think very highly of revenge, too. The
teamís flight from sure death reveals some cracks in their once-united
front, as they all seem to be getting on each otherís nerves, lately.
Good thing the hero who rescues them from Ayeshaís pursuit has a planet
of unimaginable beauty for the crew not only to hide out on, but to
catch a little R Ďn R and maybe heal some psychic wounds. Some deeper
wounds are ripped open when itís revealed that their saviour is not just
some random do-gooder, but is the mysterious unnamed father that Star
Lord has wondered about all his life.
aptly named. Quite simply, heís a god. Heís a planet. Heís Ego the
Living Planet. A maker of worlds and observer of lesser beings across
the universe, whose travels achieved two important things: His first
true understanding of love after meeting Ė and mating - with Peterís
mother, and his theory that the universe is peppered with life forms so
low, ignorant and self-destructive, that it would simply be best to
start over and replace those failing planets with versions of himself.
is so overjoyed by the discovery of his daddy that his crew feels out of
place and unwanted now that heís found a new home. What did the team
really mean to each other all this time? Will Peterís fascination for
his new father and the seemingly perfect world Egoís built blind him to
the strange goings-on around the planet and Egoís troubling methods?
Guardians 2 made me long for the days when sequels werenít a given.
When the announcement of a follow-up to your favourite summer film was a
pleasant surprise. Between the Pavlovian policies of Hollywood film
companies and Marvel Studiosí painstakingly mapped out trajectory for
its features as Tetris pieces in some grand, interconnected, overarching
saga, there must be horrible pressure on filmmakers to come up with
something Ė anything - to fill in their assigned space in the roster.
main ĎStar Lord finds his daddyí plot of Guardians 2 really isnít grand
or theatrical enough to hold up a full film in its own right. Peterís
paternity was presented as an interesting curiosity in the last movie
and certainly worth the audienceís time, as we have come to care about
Star Lord and all the other Guardians, and his background is really
where the initial story began. However, it seems of rather small note
compared to the encroaching extragalactic challenges ramping up across
the universe, what with the Infinity Stones gaining more prominence
across several series, and with them, the various threats to Earth from
Thereís a lot of lather, rinse, repeat with Vol. 2, and even more
extrapolation of things that were funny the first time that donít quite
hold up when hammered over the audienceís head, repeatedly.
Strangely, many of the qualities that were endearing in the first movie
are just plain shrill and annoying in this new chapter. Ad nauseum
repeats of Drax laughing maniacally at someone elseís embarrassment, get
tired, real quick. This time Drax is a downright chatterbox, with a
veritable abundance of dialogue from the muscleman, compared to the
limited, but effective minimum of repartee in the first flick.
Despite having turned his life around and claimed by a family he knows
cares for him, Rocket Raccoon is irksomely emo; picking fights with
Peter and needling anyone around him for no discernable reason other
than plot demands. This gives him a kinship with the space pirate Yondu
later in the film, but heís been so irritating and obnoxious since frame
one, we donít really care.
isnít given any real shine time (Outside of hoisting an enormous gun
at one point, even though, as Peter points out, swords were really more
her thing.). There is flirting with Peter that feels far more
forced and awkward than it did in the last film. Much of her screen
time is dredged down by her sibling rivalry with the eternally gloomy
family theme is hammered upon us throughout the movie and seems meant to
take the place of an actual narrative. We have Peterís discovery of his
biological father and his possible abandonment of the family he made
with the other Guardians. We have Gamoraís tortured ties to her
adoptive sister, whose goal in life is to bring her down. Thereís Drax
mourning his family, as elucidated for the audience by Mantis, an empath
who can read the depths of the warriorís losses. And we have the odd
coupling of Rocket and former enemy, Yondu, after the crabby fuzzball
becomes as a sort of second surrogate son for the original surrogate son
Yondu lost after Peter went his own way.
Ironically, despite the overdone, cheesy family schmaltz; overall, the
entire Guardians team was written much less sympathetically, and I came
away not liking them very much at all, compared to my feeling in the
first movie, but I particularly kept hoping Rocket would get run over by
a space truck while crossing a road, somehow.
course, there is lots and lots of Baby Groot, who is quite rightfully
adored by all who meet him. Some of the purest laughs come from the
toddling, big-eyed sapling - who has an unexpected feral streak - doing
his best to try to help his constantly endangered family. Still,
despite the charm offensive of Baby Groot, the sentimental family ties
theme is artlessly flogged over and over again and very little else in
the film gets done.
canít build a movie on nothing but clichťs and the audienceís regard for
the previous chapter, Marvel, it will not hold up. Even the humour,
which so enriched the original film, doesnít go far beyond the
adventures of the anthropomorphic twiglet and some fairly predictable
retro-hip pop culture surprises. As such, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.
2 is merely treading water, not really going anywhere or saying
anything. This movie is a blown-up filler that would have been a good
short, or home video add-on, rather than a full feature. Vol. 2 is not
satisfying in any way other than for fans to crane their necks looking
for in-jokes and connections to more significant events and characters
yet to be seen in the Marvel universe. And there at least, the movie
does not disappoint, throwing in some doozies, with five - count Ďem Ė
five Easter eggs before, during, and after the end credits. They really
didnít want the audience to leave til the rating placard popped up. One
Easter egg seemed promise that more substantial times will be ahead for
the Guardians than this tiresome fluff, with the allusion to a new
presence that brings the focus back to the Infinity Stones storyline.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 survives mostly on our affection for the
characters we got to know in the first film, but without that
introduction, itís a charmless slog with precious little of the
freshness or audacity that made the original such a standout.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is not good and itís not bad, but I wish
it has been something.
Lady Miz Diva
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