reviewed by Tom-Tom
In August 2014, something beautiful happened. A Marvel film starring characters most or all of whom no one (no regular movie goers, anyway) had ever heard of came out. They weren’t righteous, moral good doers which is what the pedestrian view of hero used to be but wisecracking anti-heroes, a band of Mad Maxes each out to score, to get money, or to avenge their slain family with ruthless bloodlust. Did I mention that one of them is a talking raccoon and another a talking tree albeit with a severely limited vocabulary? Despite these oddities or in spite of them, really, Guardians of the Galaxy was a huge hit refreshing the tired space opera genre with a perfect balance of humor, eclectic tunes, and a real heart behind it all. However beloved new characters are, the challenge lies in the sequel. Most of the success of films like Shrek, Transformers, and Pirates of the Caribbean lies in the love of meeting the memorable characters for the first time. With the increasingly deteriorating sequels offering nothing much more than a deceptive promise, the promise of drug dealers, politicians running for second terms, and cheating lovers everywhere, that things will continue on/return to their original greatness, and that you will fall in love with the old feeling all over again.
Unfortunately, in my opinion anyway, G of G Vol.2 largely fails in this respect. Sure, we learn more about the characters we love, about Drax’s dead wife and daughter and some hilarious customs of his people, about the inner workings of Rocket’s mind and its similarities with a certain Ravager. We even get loads of background info on Yondu and his relationship with the other Ravager crews.While the first film was going in every direction at once without a clear goal but loads of fun along the way, Vol.2 steps into overly done areas of absent fathers and the ponderous, clumsy drama therein which is troubling after the hilarious opening scenes involving a battle with an intergalactic battery eating monster and the Guardians tantalizingly depicted in the just unseen background while Baby Groot twists his wooden hips to some tunes. It’s not his fault, he grew that way as we witnessed in the end credits for Vol.1.
Kurt Russell plays the alien being Ego whose mysterious past is tied with the Star Lord’s in some way. He’s charming as ever with his white beard making him look equal parts Greek philosopher and aging Bee Gee. Meanwhile there are mutinous murmurings among members in Yondu’s crew, which, heretofore, he was always able to quash with the threat of his deadly arrow on call by his slightest whistle.
These two plots deteriorate into typically sequel style overdone conflicts with explosions, deaths, changes in loyalties all set with background themes of, I daresay, too much music. I never thought I would hear myself say that about a Guardians movie. While the placement of each song in Vol 1 had a time and place, this time around it seems we are showered by an endless and somewhat purposeless playlist of the director’s favorite tunes rather than ones lovingly selected by the Starlords’s mother. I can only remember three of them, one in the beginning, the moving one by Cat Stevens at the end, and Yondu’s kickass theme likening him to a badass named Manuel or Manuez or some badass name like like that. Also there was the song Brandy that Kurt Russell himself talks about. Other than that, it just seemed like filler.
There are likable moments like the 80’s arcade style drone spaceships the race of golden people, who act as semi-antagonists, pilot from the safety of their mothership complete with boops and beeps and annoyingly close onlookers. Yondu and Rocket have fun trying to communicate complicated instructions to Baby Groot, whose cute attempts to carry them out range from funny to outright shocking. It’s definitely worth a second viewing but maybe not a 20th .