I finally re-watched this. It took me almost a year, but now I’ve done it. A little backstory, though.
I didn’t have a great experience at the movie theater the first time I saw this. It didn’t bother me that it was crowded or that it sold out or that the audience was loudly reacting to everything they saw. I enjoy those aspects of seeing movies.
What did bother me was the Marvel fangirl sitting next to me and her friends in the movie theater before the movie started. She was……a bit overzealous in her excitement for this movie and that’s fine, seriously. Being stoked for a movie is a good thing. What’s not a good thing is when you talk to your friends about the Marvel Cinematic Universe being the greatest thing on Earth and you openly slam a movie from another franchise that happens to be one of my favorite comic book movies. I won’t say the name of the movie because if you follow me at all, you know exactly what it is, and this review isn’t about that movie. In fact, I’m only bringing this story up because after re-watching Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2, it’s clear to me that my first time watching this movie was affected by that fangirl and her loud mouth insults. Not completely, but enough to put me in a foul mood before the movie even started. I’m human, emotions can get the better of me sometimes. At least I internalized my rage and didn’t start arguing with her. That would have been horribly unprofessional and childish of me.
Alright, enough of that. On to my thoughts with this movie.
Watching it at home on Netflix with no one else around was a lot better for me. That and I also knew what to expect this time from the movie in terms of the humor and the structure, though I wonder if that’s something I should have known going into the first viewing. Regardless, I know it now and the truth is that none of the humor in this movie betrays any of the characters in it, from the main cast to the secondary actors and actresses. This movie is very much the natural progression of what was established in the first film.
Don’t get it twisted though, I still find it utterly ridiculous and a lot of the jokes still miss big time with me. The Tape joke is still too long and it’s not funny. Drax is an idiot and I was longing for scenes that he wasn’t in. Yes, I know that’s part of his character because I said before that these jokes don’t betray any of the character designs and behaviors, but he was annoying as hell and I could have used a lot less of him, with respect to Dave Bautista.
I still think the best parts of this movie involve Michael Rooker’s Yondu Udonta and Karen Gillan’s Nebula. They had the most emotionally loaded character arcs and had some of the most powerful scenes in the movie, to the point where I really like both of those characters after being kind of indifferent on them from the first film.
There’s two big takeaways I have from the re-watch of Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2. The first is that there is a clear theme of family throughout this whole movie that is constantly reinforced. The main plot about Quill finding his birthfather Ego, played by Kurt Russell and how that family structure was created, the subplot about Nebula’s lethal sibling rivalry with Gamora that was created by Thanos’ pattern of child abuse, Yondu and his tortured relationship with the other Ravagers while dealing with his crew staging a mutiny against him. That’s just some of what deals with the family theme throughout this movie and I can understand where people would gravitate toward that part of the story.
The other big takeaway is that this movie has a lot of heart, which is another reason I could see people liking it. Amidst the family stuff there’s a lot of emotions between the characters that really show an organic relationship between everyone involved on some level and it doesn’t feel forced or stiff. Everyone here is on their game for what this story is, no matter how ridiculous and joke heavy it might be.
Ultimately, it’s still that humor that keeps this movie at the bottom of the franchise for me. I can get over the Sovereign basically being a planet full of “dudebros” that play video games all day instead of actually interacting with the galaxy in a risky sense. I can accept about half of the jokes that actually made me laugh, like Baby Groot trying to retrieve Yondu’s prototype fin or Rocket having a laugh about Taserface. It’s not like I don’t think the movie is funny at all, I just still wanted a comedic science fiction movie instead of a sci-fi comedy, and this is still very much a sci-fi comedy more than the first movie was a comedic science fiction movie.
Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 is the poster child for The Tonal Turn by far, which is fine since the first movie was what started it in the first place. My boss at work referred to it as two hours of “pure escapism,” which a lot of people clearly do enjoy, to be fair, but I’m always looking for something more than that.
So, at the end of the day is this movie’s family theme and heart enough for me to say that now I like it? No, it’s not……but I’ll at least say that I don’t hate it now. There is at least enough there structurally with the plot and the pacing, editing, VFX and character moments that I can’t call this a “bad” movie, but it’s still a movie that prides itself on being funny more than anything and I still wish they hadn’t done that. There really didn’t need to be that many jokes in it and while it doesn’t kneecap the tone or the setting, it does take time away from things that are better served by it, like Gamora and Nebula or Yondu and Rocket. Even Baby Groot. Couldn’t you have just taken a little more time away from Drax and given it to them? Or were we really just focusing on Drax because of Pom Klementieff’s Mantis? If that’s your excuse then I can deal with that, but still.
Alright, I got through that one and I think I was pretty fair with it. Now onto the webhead’s solo effort.