movies: guardians of the galaxy vol 2

guardians of the galaxy vol 2 - you only get one chance to save the galaxy twice
On the surface, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 should not work. I mean, c'mon... the first one shouldn't have worked either.

On paper, the concept of a dude stuck in the 80's, a green warrior chick, a massive guy who is just literal, a bioengineered trash panda and a talking, walking tree just should be a bridge too far.

But goddamn, this movie works and may even exceed the previous one. My hat goes off to writer/director James Gunn for once again putting together an incredibly watchable movie.

This movie had me essentially from the very first moment... or at least from the opening credit sequence. It was both a riff on the first movie as well as being so entertaining (and giving the people what they want... more Baby Groot!)... and the choice to focus on Groot and not the big action scene in the background just sets you up for the style of the rest of the movie. It's clear that once again, this movie will feature a strong soundtrack as well as not take itself too seriously.

And unlike last time, because this movie didn't need to tie itself in any obvious way to the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe, it let the antagonists feel more... fully formed. Don't get me wrong, like the majority of the MCU movies, the antagonists are always the place where the movies tends to fall on it's face. And this is much the case here as well.

The Sovereign are visually stunning, with their gold on gold on gold aesthetic and overwhelming desire for vengeance, however they seem a little toothless at the end of the day. The other antagonist should really be a spoiler, however if you've ever seen a movie or an episode of a TV show in your life, you KNOW as soon as he arrives that he's a rotten apple that is going to be revealed before the end of the movie, and will be the thing that the heroes need to stop.

Which is exactly what happens.

Not that it's not an interesting journey, and the movie never really tries terribly hard to convince the audience that he's actually a good guy, so you just spend the movie wondering when the shoe will drop.

Once again the cast does some great work, although with more character to service this time around and with more of the storyline really revolving around Chris Pratt's character, it does feel at times as though the other characters are given either rudimentary plot elements or slightly overlooked.

The worst of these is Gamora, Zoe Saldana's character, who does some great work with Karen Gillan, but it's mostly confined to one sequence in the latter half of the movie. For the record, I'm on record of not being a fan of Gillan, however I will say that her slightly short character arc here is actually quite moving, and actually had me on her side over Gamora's (possibly because Nebula gets all the development in that storyline and Gamora gets a single scene at the end).

I was slightly annoyed with Bradley Cooper's Rocket Racoon this time around... it makes sense at the end of the movie, but he's pretty much a dick throughout the whole movie, so it's kind of hard to really be in his corner until the very end during his scene with Michael Rooker (who actually gets some interesting character moments this time around). Vin Diesel still gets props for saying three words with different inflections and yet still somehow having his name at the top of the movie poster. It's nice work if you can get it. Baby Groot is too damn adorable throughout the whole movie, but I really think his animation team deserves all the credit for that.

Pom Klementieff does a fantastic bit of acting as empathic Mantis, she manages to pull off a wide eyed and innocent persona, and has some lovely moments with Dave Bautista... although his character feels like it was rewritten to be more for laughs than it was in the previous movie, where the humour came from him saying something blunt and that being shows as funny by one of the other characters, here it feels like they've gone a little too far the other way, making him a little too self aware somehow.

Props also have to go to Kurt Russell for managing to be both believable as a father, a living planet and a man with a plan and an agenda, all without seeming to do a massive amount of shifting between the three emotionally. There really isn't a huge tonal shift in his performance, which I think makes more sense... he's just himself (as in the character) and what other people know about him at any point shouldn't really change that. It was also nice to have that (spoiler alert) shift in his character at the end of the movie avoid all the scenery chewing and moustache twirling that sometimes comes from that situation.

I also really enjoyed Elizabeth Debicki (last seen in that kind of scenery chewing role in The Man from UNCLE) as the High Priestess of The Sovereign... Debicki does "haughty" exceptionally well, and that was brought to bear again here.

I was genuinely moved by the story a couple of times, but mostly it was a fun movie with more than a few laugh out loud moments.

yani's rating: 4 Anulax batteries out of 5

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