Teehee, the bestest uploader gang in the universe, YTS (ex-YIFY), ain’t always the fastest to come up with new movies but otoh we know their movie files are always sourced off of original Blu-Rays, officially bought, 720 and 1080 resolutions, smallest file sizes possible and never fail to amaze. So no screeners, filmed in Korean movie theaters and similar shit.
This 2 or 3 days late review of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 isn’t their fault neither but mine. We had to watch this movie twice: First time I fell asleep and second time it was much better anyway. But read all about it in the review coming up below the poster …
After saving Xandar from Ronan’s wrath, the Guardians are now recognized as heroes. Now the team must help their leader Star Lord (Chris Pratt) uncover the truth behind his true heritage. Along the way, old foes turn to allies and betrayal is blooming. And the Guardians find that they are up against a devastating new menace who is out to rule the galaxy.
Tomatometer: 82%, 89%
GoG2 didn’t have an easy start with us. Like with every good rock band, their first album swipes your off your feet, the second has to fight hard on multiple fronts: The audience expects everything to be more and better … in all aspects. Better development, more quirkyness and anarchy, more development, better story, better production, more fun, more intellect, more more more.
Of course that never works out, does it? The second movie in a franchise, like the second album in a band’s carreer is mostly the make it or break it stumbling stone. And just like weezer in the good old days made a fine but critical jump from the debut album to Pinkerton, GoG2 made it for the GoG franchise and as a more than worthy contribution to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well. One could even argue director James Gunn tackled some big psychological issues with this movie as fathers vs sons and sisterly competition for dad’s love seem to be in the focus of the Guardians’ second appearance. But where’s the fun in that, ey? And we’re all in it for the entertainment, are we not?
Of course Vol. 2 lost a bit of it’s anarchic fun, as was to be expected. By now we know our core cast and their quirks so the shock factor is gone. But the screenwriters around director James Gunn knew that and replaced it with some (fractionary) finer humour and (negligibly) deeper character development.
While the character development, particularly the scenes with new characters, bored me the first time around, it made quite sense for them to be in the movie when I watched it the second time. And they weren’t even too long. Not even the scenes with Ego (Kurt Russell) as Peter Quill’s (Chris Pratt) father. Of course is Kurt Russell always Kurt Russell and that’s what we get in GoG2 as well: Kurt Russell as being played by Kurt Russell. And he does it so well and convincingly.
As in the first installment of GoG the “deep conversations” were kept refreshingly brief and placed in between funny action scenes. And action we got galore. And quirkyness, cool one-liners and party jokes and everything a Guardians fan needs and wants. In fact did the character build-up make us care about our crew even more.
Of course, with the introduction of new friends and foes, some of our old friends had to take a step back. Particularly Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana (Gamora) had less screentime than in Vol. 1. Saldana had to make room for her nerve-wrecking sister Nebula (Karen Gillan), who’s trying to kill her, as usual. But this time around she’s got a reason, so she thinks. In the end the bishies kinda reconcile … and both survive, so I guess we can expect Nebula to be a part of the next GoG or some other MCU movie as well.
Not saying that Karen Gillan is a bad actress but her dramatic demeanour and permanently Speaking! With! Exclamation! Marks! did put us off as little. On the other hand the artificial character of “dumber and smaller Groot” was again voiced by Vin Diesel and a real treat. He stole the screen every time he was on. The most entertaining toddler ever! Also the way he was treated by the other cast members had that certain humanity and loveliness no other movie franchise brings in this extent. Even in the most heated battle, everybody was making sure, little Groot didn’t get into harm’s way. Lovely.
What else is there to say? The universe is a dark, cold place but most of the humanoid characters bring a certain warmth with them, as becomes appearant in almost every scene. The movies’s art direction, colourfulness (is that even a word? Well, it is now!) and perfect pacing makes sure we get a fine balance of drama, humour, wit, care and details. Lots of fine details.
So, if you’re into GoG or not, this is one of those movies you gotta watch at least twice in order to catch all there is to see and hear. If someone can explain to me, what Howard the Duck was doing in that galactic whorehouse scene. please? And Stan Lee’s cameo? As non-comic readers, we had no clue he was talking to some other, not yet introduced characters of the MCU. All those fine details were lovingly integrated or propped onto GoG2. A joy to watch.
So, where GoG1 swiped us off our rockers with its unusual immediacy and anarchic humour, GoG2 persuaded us with even more humour, a cast of really cool characters (each one with their own backstories) and a cool storyline … oh, was it?
Yeah, I guess it was. Even if the Ego story arc wasn’t as much fun, it was important for our Star Lord and his father, for Yondu (a really good Michael Rooker) and his development and even for Kraglin (James Gunn’s brother Sean Gunn), who played Yondu’s second in command (and On-Set Rocket). The Yondu story arc was actually much more fun than Kurt Russell’s Ego story, and even pretty dramatic at the end. I’ve seen less emotionally affecting funeral scenes in “real” drama movies. And I expect much less from the upcoming Dunkirk movie, But we talk about that once YTS delivers. 🙂
Who also delivered was Dave Bautista as Drax, the insociable but good at heart brute of our crew. He was pretty much the only set in stone character and didn’t need to develop at all. So he didn’t. Well, we learn that he too had a dramatic story, wife and kids deaded and sometimes he’s even sad. But most of all he amazes us with his one-liners, showing how little he gets of the human civilized behaviour. Practically each of his script lines is a joke. We loved him, just loved him.
Similar can be said about Mantis (Pom Klementieff), an empath who serves Kurt Russell’s Ego and helps him sleep. Very important job it seems. She’s in her naïvety the perfect addition to Drax, and astounds us with some of her kinda unhinged world views. So we have another fun pairing in this movie.
Ok, some other story arc, even a very important one as it was the ignitor for this movie, didn’t work too well for us. Yes, I’ve heard (queen or high priestress) Ayesha and her golden people are an important part of the comic books, in this movie they are a pure plot vehicle, getting the stone rolling, so to say.
That’s an actual shame since their scenes are treated with the same care and humour as the rest of the movie. It’s just we couldn’t care less. Let’s see if the enchanting Ayesha will have a second coming in the next Volume. We loved actress Elizabeth Debicki already in the Night Manager TV series with Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie. No other actress gets the grande entreé just as perfect as she does it, she’s the perfect wearer of big gowns and always a great spectacle.
Shame that she and her people stayed kinda pale as the huge threat in the background. And I’m not saying her scenes and the scenes of her people aren’t funny af. But we don’t see them as an essential thread, more like a pestering mosquito swarm.
Apart from that I must admit, Gog2 was a perfect action/adventure/space opera. I was thinking for a moment if I should attribute it with the space opera moniker but then decided that yes, contary to the first Guardians movie this one had indeed all the needed ingredients of a big scale space opera! A bit (actually a lot) of humour doesn’t make it less of a space opera than, say, Star Wars or Star Trek.
One word about the production and direction. It’s colourful and there’s always stuff going on. Contrary to some other well-known space operas, the GoG universe looks well lived in, dirty and grungy and believable. If hubby and me were living in a starship … oh my, ours would be in the same stage of disarray as the vessels in GoG.
James Gunn had a vision of his version of Guardians of the Galaxy, and he pretty much brought it onto the srceen. Eventhough he had a whole army of screenwriters helping him with the script, this is one of the very view examples where the end product wasn’t ruined by committee. It’s clearly James Gunn’s very own movie. As audience we are happy and thankful for it. I wonder why Hollywood doesn’t do it more often? Are all those studio drones so afraid of losing their useless jobs?
CONCLUSION: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 accomplished some things many (even most) other movies fail so badly at, these days: Non stop high-speed entertainment, not a dull moment, being funny with being brainless, sexy without the actual sex. Contrary to most reviewers I must say GoG2 was even better than GoG1. Like with promising rock bands, the second album has the stronger long-burning effect, more sustainability. It cements what volume 1 got started.
WATCH IT? Of course. Stupid question. Watch it even twice, as GoG2 is actually a very entertaining movie. Funny without being stupid. The IMDb rating of 8.0 (as compared to GoG1’s 8.1) is a well-earned high rating. Where’s my popcorn?
CARE TO KNOW WHAT THE REVIEWERS THINK?
Chris found Ayesha and her golden people “unneccesary”. Okeeee.
Get spoilered by the over-analyzing Alachia.
“Balanced”, says Steph.
“If they made a Yondu movie, I’d be totally fine with that.”
Grace noticed the ongoing fathers and sons topic of GoG2. Very well observed, hun.