Wee, it’s Friday night! And since this is the kind of evening I’m having:
-I figured it was as good a time as any to write my review of the most wildly goofy Marvel franchise there is, Guardians of the Galaxy!
Now, I didn’t care for the first film – not one bit, actually, if I’m being brutally honest, mainly because of fucking Rocket and the movie’s inability to conceive of the fact that he might not actually be that funny. But, amongst the cavalcade of crap that comic book movies have thrown at us since then, it seems innoffensive by comparison. I mean, it doesn’t star Henry Cavill, for one. So I was approaching this film with a firm sense of “meh” – I wasn’t expecting much, but I was hoping to be pleasantly surprised.
And I was. Well, a little. The film was substantially better than I thought it would be, honestly. The jokes landed, the movie actually gave Rocket a little arc of his own instead of relying on him solely for grimly unfunny wisecracks, and Baby Groot wasn’t solely a blatant grab to sell some cutesy plush toys, which I wasn’t expecting. Not to mention the fact that the film heavily featured my Bae of Baes, Michael Rooker, and he was bloody excellent because he always is and the feelings I have for him are deep and real and pure and nothing anyone can say will change that-
Ahem. Anyway, yeah, Guardians 2 really succeeded on the strength of it’s cast. Rooker aside, Dave Bautista as Drax once again stole the show with his deadpan delivery and little flashes of genuine emotion, while Karen Gillan as Nebula actually got something to do and proved why she should have been used more in the first movie. The action scenes were relatively solid, and the film’s signature use of classic seventies tunes once again served it well. It was funny, sharp, and reasonably well-paced considering that it is well over two fucking hours long, which is more than any comic book movie should be. Fight me on this.
But then…the main plot revolved around Starlord/Peter Quill finally meeting his father, in the form of Kurt Russel’s demi-God Ego (subtle, I know). And, quite honestly, this plot was just the flattest thing; every time the film got going with it’s side characters, it would leap back to this story and grind to a halt once more. It’s just another pointless rehashing of “lead male character has daddy issues”, and I really think we’ve seen quite enough of that in the last few years, don’t you? The completely bloated third act (which included five -count ’em, five- fucking post-credit scenes) revolved around this story and the film really had a hard time keeping itself afloat as it tried to give us a satisfying ending. Almost all of these kinds of movies have some plot holes, or at the most generous, plot points requiring enormous leaps of logic, but all the good stuff Guardians 2 managed to build up in it’s first two very entertaining acts lost a lot of it’s punch in the third.
And then, of course, we come to the movie’s biggest problem: Chris Pratt. I’m not a particular fan of Chris Pratt at the best of times, but his move towards being a big, sweeping action star has just not served him well. He just about got away with it in the first movie as it leaned more heavily on his moderate comedic talents than any of his actual dramatic acting talent, but the daddy-dearest plot here required him to act and it was…man, it was rough. At the film’s climax, a character sacrifices themselves for him, and his reaction was so bad it felt like a joke. There were uncomfortable giggles around the cinema as he awkwardly bellowed “NO!” a lot and his face screwed up like he was trying to take a monumental star-shit, and my viewing companion leaned over to me and whispered “Was he this bad in the first one?”.
And that’s a shame, because this could have been a decent movie. It had humour, little sprinkles of pathos, and a committed cast who seemed intent on bringing the (far more interesting, for what it’s worth) side plots to very agreeable life. But when the main plot not only rehashed stuff we’ve seen done a dozen times before but didn’t even have the good manners to do it well, it’s hard to recommend Guardians of the Galaxy 2 without a hefty does of “yes, but…”. As one of the first comic book movies of the year, Guardians hasn’t made a particularly convincing start, and I can already see a repeat of the dread 2016 Year of Movies in the works.
But hey, Michael Rooker got his top off, so this movie was directly made for me and really I’ve got no right to complain.
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