|Baby Groot says it's time to get things rockin in, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2|
Super Sounds Of The 70's!"He may have been your Father, but he wasn't your Daddy."
Daddy issues are affluent in the comic book universe. In fact, it's surprising that many of the characters involved didn't put down the spandex, and simply applied at the nearest "gentlemen's club" instead. Cinematically alone, characters from both sides of the Marvel and DC tug of war have been trying to please their inner Daddies for a long time. Superman the Movie (1978), Batman Begins (2005) above all other Dark Knight films, the current Flash tv series, Iron Man 1 & 2, Thor, and 2003's Hulk, are only a handful of the many occasions where the children of great men have had to struggle out from under such huge shadows.
In the six months or so since the previous film (cinematic timeline wise), Chris Pratt's Peter Quill/Mommy's Little Star Lord has had time to adjust to the difficulties of running a dysfunctional crew of bad asses, and put his parental hang ups on the back burner. But that is of course, short lived (cue the bass drums!). Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is pretty much everything that you want a sequel to be; Bigger, funnier, and louder. After the film starts off with a quick flashback of Mommy and Daddy Quill making out behind the local Dairy Queen, we are given one hell of an intro title sequence. As with Vol. 1, there are classic 70's songs that I never cared about nor listened too, until Director James Gunn (Slither) forced me to listen them in these films. And once again, his musical tastes compliment every scene of this movie. The Electric Light Orchestra-performed Mr. Blue Sky, hits on a perfect rhythm as Baby Groot dances while the crew comedically battles in the background. Gunn knows what we want to see, and he gives it to us big time. Remember how Drax's (Dave Bautista, Riddick) condescending remarks always hit the funny bone? Gunn gives us more of that. Remember Yondu's cool whistling spear thingy? More of that too. Remember that... You get that as well. Hell, the only thing we don't get is enough time to chill with these guys in between the film's Ego (Kurt Russell, Death Proof) and Yondu (Michael Rooker, Cliffhanger) main story lines, which takes up the whole thing. However it's hard to complain when you're having so much fun.
Pratt's reunion with his Father (Russell) has its moments, as well as when he's still trying to woo Gamora (Zoe Saldana, Avatar), this time with a Cheers reference. His electric football toss and revelatory moments with Russell are a highlight. Saldana has some family issues also. Her surrogate sister Nebula (Karen Gillan, Oculus), still has the galaxy's largest score of sibling rivalry to settle this side of Loki and Thor. It's just too bad that something feels missing from Gamora's character that will hopefully be remedied in the future. Gillan seems to savor her role and relishes in being snarky. In fact, all the players involved are milking their screen times for everything it's worth. Elizabeth Debicki (The Great Gatsby 2013), Sean Gunn (The Belko Experiment), Pom Klementieff (Oldboy 2013), Chris Sullivan (This Is Us), Tommy Flanagan (Braveheart), Sylvester Stallone (Demolition Man), and especially David Hasselhoff (Knight Rider), add their own pieces of fun with each of their individual styles. Bautista is by far Vol. 2's biggest comedic asset with his infectious laugh. Who'd of thought that a guy that had no dialogue in Spectre, would have so much to say when given the chance. Bradley Cooper's (The Place Beyond the Pines, another film drenched in daddy issues) Rocket Raccoon is more attitudey this time around, yet that's kinda why we love him. I pray that future installments will shed the light on this guy's origins. Rounding out the Guardians is Baby Groot's cleverly marketed "awww!" factor. What's great about this version of Marvel's Treebeard, is that he (or it) isn't overused as a cheap gimmick like how Tow Mater was exploited in Cars 2. He hits our mushy sides, kicks butt, and makes us laugh, for every bit that it's worth without wearing out his welcome. In terms of an emotional payoff, the award goes to Rooker's layered blue Ravager. Without giving too much away, Rooker's Yondu reveals what I already thought of his character from Vol. 1, and reassures the fact that a superhero movie can make a grown man's eyes fill with tears with one little gesture. It says more than many films that try an entire run time to achieve.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
The Good- Debicki's golden arcade, Rocket's forest fun, Yondu's escape, Kraglin practices with the mohawk, "I'm Mary Poppins, y'all!", and the final fifteen minutes hits the sentimental chord.
The Bad- Though mostly welcome, the five posts credits scenes feel a bit crammed by the end. If Ego's Celestial being has been in existence for millions of years and has studied countless planets and cultures, don't you think that he'd be more intelligent than just an aging Kurt Russell who can recite 70's music lyrics and ride rodeo in the vacuum of space? And did I just see a reenactment of the final battle from The Matrix Revolutions?
The Ugly- Is Disney aware of how many people got killed in this thing with that beautiful little stick? Not even Pirates of the Caribbean has been so bold. I guess it's okay when those people are grungy looking aliens.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 sets the bar pretty high for the upcoming Summer blockbusters, with constant hilarity, awesome visuals, and crowd pleasing character fun. It's such a well-rounded entertaining experience, that anybody with a pulse should have a good time seeing it. If you're a fan, it would also be in your best interest to research all of the cool comic book connections that this film has to offer too. Get to the theater early enough to see the brilliant Thor: Ragnarock trailer to set the mood properly. Suddenly, daddy issues don't seem so bad.
Rating- 8.5 out of 10
Set to the backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2' continues the team's adventures as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill's true parentage.
Director: James Gunn
Writers: James Gunn, Dan Abnett (based on the Marvel comics by)
Stars: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista
PG-13 | 2h 16min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi | 5 May 2017 (USA)
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