Looking Back at 2010s Films: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

21 Nov

By Tanner Smith

As fun as “Guardians of the Galaxy” was upon first viewing, much of it sort of wore off on me after watching it again. But “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” which I have seen about four times now, is just about every bit the comedic, insane, energetic sci-fi romp that I like to revisit from time to time. (Not quite up there with “Serenity” for me–that’s the high standard I hold for this kind of fun sci-fi movie–but there are a lot of times when it reminded me of such.)

Yes, there are some things that still bug me about the Guardians themselves (especially Peter Quill’s arrogant personality), and yet…they don’t bug me AS MUCH as they should. Instead, I’m just having fun embracing this movie’s sense of humor, its vibrant colors, its effects, its pacing, and even its drama–and its characters are fun enough to get me through it.

The Guardians of the Galaxy–Peter Quill aka Starlord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper), and Groot (Vin Diesel), only this time he’s been regenerated and is now Baby Groot, designed to sell toys–are back and on the run. Looking for a place to hide, they encounter a celestial named Ego (Kurt Russell), who it turns out is Peter’s father. He can create anything much like a god (and can also destroy them if he wants) and seems like a good guy, so they crash with him. But as follows the formula for this kind of Marvel movie, something about Ego just doesn’t feel right. Peter doesn’t see it at first, of course, because he’s glad to find his father and bond with him, as well as discover who he himself is.

Yondu (Michael Rooker), the space pirate who sort of raised Peter as a drunk, abusive father type, is back into the mix, although his connection with Peter is called more into question, making for an interesting family dynamic. Other family dynamics are considered here. For example, one of the Guardians’ captives is Nebula (Karen Gillan), Gamora’s vengeful sister who wants to break free so she can kill her; the longer she’s with these people, the more she wants to assist them. And the Guardians consistently bicker and try to one-up each other in the downtime–one of them brings up that they’ve become like a “family” as a result. That’s actually a pretty telling statement. This movie is more than just intergalactic battles–it’s about relationships. And I admire this film for that.

Oh, and there’s a giant Pac Man that attacks…because that kind of thing works in a movie like this.

Everything in “Vol. 2” feels elevated from the first movie. The sense of humor is upped, the effects (from captivating to cheesy) are better, the emotions are more present, the worlds are more visually impressive, and it just overall feels more fun.

I mentioned Peter’s abrasive personality before, and sometimes, his ego is too much–sometimes, I want to smack some sense into this jerk. But I get that it’s part of his character and it’s a question of where he goes with certain choices he’ll have to make in the future. He does at least get when others are about to cross the line (otherwise, he wouldn’t be a Marvel superhero)–he even asks Rocket at one point, “What is your goal here? To get everyone to hate you?” So…I guess I give it a break here.

BUT as for his actions in “Avengers: Infinity War”…I’ll get to that later.

What else can I say but…”I’m Mary Poppins, y’all!”

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