Quick Hit: A sequel that plays up the laughs and the set design while attempting to continue to develop characters and overall feels a bit stuffed.
The opening sequence to this movie is just a marvel (no pun intended) to behold. Each character is easily recognized, each fits a very specific niche, and it is all together a very fun experience to behold. Couple that with the special effects being fantastic and the soundtrack being terrific, and it shows exactly why the Guardians movies are now such a hit. I think the sequence extends a bit too long, but that is exactly what this movie is – an expansion of all the things that worked in the first film. While some of them continue to succeed, others suffer at the attempt to fill the film with more and more.
I think the first part of the film that is a continued success is the set pieces. They are filled with fantastic designs full of color and wonder. Whether it is the golden world of the Sovereign, or the fantastically almost-too-perfect-to-be-real world of Ego, everything feels like it was exquisitely designed with care and love by a creator that wants us to love the world we’re in. Indeed, that’s how Gunn’s treatment of the story feels – he wants everything to be out there for us to embrace how awesome it is.
And while it is awesome, it also causes the film to feel a bit overstuffed. There’s the main plot between Peter and his father, but it almost feels like a side-plot in itself. That’s because there is the Ravagers vs. the Sovereign, the Guardians vs. the Ravagers vs. the Sovereign, Peter and Gamora, Gamora vs. Nebula, Drax and Mantis, Rocket and Groot, Rocket and Yondu… there is really a lot going on with this movie. Therefore, it’s pretty natural that some of plot points hit really well and some feel a bit forced. Even though it felt completely extraneous, I really liked Rocket and Yondu’s storyline. It further developed one of the most human characters on the team, who just happens to kind of look like a Raccoon. Consequently, I also thought that the development of the love story between Quill and Gamora felt more forced than natural. I enjoyed the humor that surrounded it, and the comparisons to Cheers and other television shows (Smallville actually came to mind while Quill was spouting about characters not getting together to keep ratings), but the actual emotional impact was a bit lessened.
Speaking of the humor, there’s parts that are funnier than others. One of the internet’s favorite memes is now of Mary Poppins, which is pretty awesome. There’s also the inclusion of Tazerface, which I thought was really funny. But the hyperjump with the Looney Toon stretching faces was a bit juvenile for me. That’s not necessarily a bad thing in the scheme of the movie, it’s subjective, but with the sheer amount of humor you expect some of it to not land on every person. If I had to select the funniest scene, it’s pretty much Baby Groot desperately trying to help out. I can’t help but love the little guy.
Enough to give him two gifs.
The weakest part of the movie overall is the development of Russell as a villain. While convincing and full of charisma, I don’t feel like he is as developed as well as you could hope. That may be because we, as mortals, cannot understand the reasoning of gods, but I felt like he just didn’t have enough to him. Also, with the final reveal, I feel as if it cheats a lot of what came before with Ego’s development. Best part of his character is a digitally de-aged Russell. I feel like our celebrities are infinite and immortal now more than ever, so we’ve got that going for them.
In conclusion, the film feels like it goes wrong in a few places, but otherwise delivers on a strong sequel. Where it goes wrong, it does so only out of ambition and love. I’m giving it a “B+”.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"