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MOVIE REVIEW: Marvel’s GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 Pumps Up the Volume, Humor, Nostalgia & Baby Groot.

No, you aren’t seeing double. No, really… one of us is cardboard, the other is cutout.

 

For some of us, a movie will come along that makes us want to say, “I am Groot.” However, there are others who, in reference to same said movie, would say, “I am Groot.” Both of those diverging sentiments perfectly sum up Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2. It may seem clear as mud, but I will help explain that analogy in the following breakdown of one of Marvel’s most highly anticipated sequels.

 


All three full Vol. 2 trailers for your viewing, and listening, pleasure.

 

Before I get into the undercooked meat of my review, I need to make the following demand. If you are that one person in the known solar system who has not seen the original Guardians of the Galaxy, then I hereby demand you see the first film post haste. My gauge for knowing everyone has seen the first, lies in the fact my parents didn’t just see the film, they saw it in the theater, and in IMAX 3D no less! Don’t get me wrong though, I’m not insinuating my parents have a horrid taste in film (hi mom and dad, please keep me in the will). Point being, if they’ve seen more than one Marvel film outside of Guardians Vol.1, let alone in theaters, then there are some things my folks have been secretly keeping from me with great precision. (Including the fact I was probably never in the will to begin with.)

 

Obligatory selfie with my new intergalactic cardboard family.

 

Inheritance aside, what I was getting at above is that the first Guardians proved to be an unexpected smash hit; not just financially, but in overall popularity with the general public. Thus, because the flick is considered one of Marvel’s best by many, the expectations for a follow-up were higher than Cheech Marin on a road trip with Willie Nelson.

Undoubtedly, because Vol.1 sits high atop the superhero heap of entertainment, any sequel will certainly be compared to that of its predecessor, and not much else. Since I possess roughly the same amount of creativity as a fruit fly, I too will be making that comparison. Furthermore, I will be doing so by discussing the same categories which made Vol.1 such a great cinematic experience.

 

Let’s get this review started Groot. Please do the honor of kicking things off…

 

HUMOR

  • The Great:

Up to the release of Guardians Vol.2, Vol.1 had been considered by many to be Marvel’s funniest film within their cinematic universe. The sequel picks up where Vol.1 left off, and cranks up the hysterics by a factor of at least 10. The jokes quite literally fly at the audience at a near unprecedented rate. The good news; most are funny, if not laugh-out loud hilarious.

  • The Not-Quite-So-Great:

The film is packed with so many jokes, it doesn’t allow for most of the emotional moments to fully sink in and achieve maximum potential (more on that below). Some of the humor also bordered on the juvenile variety (Ex: The multi-galaxy jumping sequence is good for an initial laugh, albeit more so if you are between the ages of 5 and 9. However, the film goes back to the well a second time with the same visual joke which is unnecessary.)

 

The guy behind the guy behind the bug-eyed mask.

 

 

HITS

  • The Great:

The Awesome Mix Tape Vol.1 introduced in the first flick was not only good, but it played a character in the film. Classic rock and pop songs were integrated into the film in a way that the characters were aware of their presence, not just the audience. The sequel continues in that same tradition by incorporating more great songs, this time with a 70’s theme, with almost as much success.

  • The Not-Quite-So-Great:

While the first Guardians successfully had its soundtrack intertwined throughout the storyline seamlessly, it felt as if this time the movie struggled on a few occasions to integrate the songs in a more natural manner. In other words, I felt like the writing staff twisted themselves into some pretzels just to have an excuse to play specific songs during the runtime. Furthermore, the song selection, while good, wasn’t as memorable as it was the first go around.

 

The Vol. 2 soundtrack list for your viewing pleasure. (Although it’s really just another excuse to show a photo of Baby Groot.)

 

 

HEART

  • The Great:

Just as it accomplished in the humor department, Vol. 2 manages to outnumber the sheer quantity of emotional moments over its predecessor.

  • The Not-Quite-So-Great:

Unfortunately, moments are all the audience gets. Just when my heart strings were beginning to get tugged at, director James Gunn and crew decided to yank the feels away with a poorly timed joke before any real connection with a character could be made. With the possible exception of the grand finale, the above trend was repeated on several occasions to the point of being noticeable, often with pinpoint predictability.

 

I feel a “Your mamma’s so..” insult fight a brewin’.

 

 

“I AM GROOT”

  • The Groot:

Minus one or two people (of whom never saw Vol. 1), almost everyone in their right mind would agree adult (and dancing) Groot stole more than a few scenes in the original movie. Someone better call the authorities, because the big wooded lug – seen this time in unfathomably cute baby form – didn’t just steal some scenes this time around, he stole the whole damn film.

  • The Not-Quite-So-Groot:

If there was anything not to like about Baby Groot in Vol. 2, I never found it. In fact, the only negative thing I can think of pertaining to this specific topic has to do with one of the five end credit scenes hinting at the idea this may be the only movie we get to see Groot in toddler form. But, but, but… “I am Groot!”

 

If you can say no to that face, you’re a stronger person than I and the rest of humanity.

 

In closing, regardless of my somewhat nitpicky negatives, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a wildly entertaining ride and a worthwhile entry into the Guardians trilogy (yes, Gunn has already confirmed Vol. 3 is coming.) My only hope for the third and final film in this series with these characters is that Gunn allows some of the more somber moments to simmer a bit longer before cutting it off to quickly with another character’s sarcasm. Sadly, it took away from some of the character development, which would have given the film a much needed injection of seriousness to bring some balance and heft to the mile-per-minute joke delivery schedule.

 

The jig is up! Geek BFF of the PNW (aka Miss Vader) looks to have noticed one of these Star Lords is not like the other.

 

Needless to say, most are going to want to, and inevitably will, compare both films to each other with a fine-tuned microscope. There’s nothing wrong with that of course. However, due to the original film taking so many people by surprise by virtue of being one of the lesser known Marvel properties, it’s that surprise factor which makes it virtually incomparable to any Guardians movie that follows it. Many people are going to love this sequel, though they might struggle (like moi) to provide a definitive answer to which film is the better of the two. Nevertheless, if you were to ask me if I liked Vol. 2 better than the original, I would answer with a resounding and decisive, “I am Groot.”

 

 

 

This review is all that and a bag of chips with a movie soundtrack built into it.

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