Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2

Day 34. 30 pages, 14,732 words. Going to assume, as always, no actual computer-time all weekend but will hope for a spike on Tuesday when I rack up my weekend phone-writing.

Alright, I’ve held off for at least three days so let’s get on with this. I’ll try to leave out spoilers or at least spoilertext them, but there are some images that will also constitute spoilers so you might want to avoid the whole thing until you’ve seen the movie.

Also not sure how much time I’ll have for a full review, so as always I’ll add that disclaimer and then see what happens.

I loved the shit out of this movie. The first movie (we shall call it vol. 1 from now on) was an amazing surprise and introduced us to not just new characters, but almost whole new concepts in the sphere of comic book movies. So for that, and for the breathtaking originality and snidery of the script, I guess I will say vol. 1 is still the better movie. What vol. 1 started in terms of self-aware writing, Deadpool perfected.

However, vol. 2 took that foundation, and built something glorious. It is a sequel, no doubt about that – everything is bigger and brighter and better, and you can see the familiar threads of the classic jokes from vol. 1, but it doesn’t just sequel that shit. It stands on its own and is just brilliant. I can’t wait to have this on my DVD shelf, and watch it with Wump.

Without going into too much detail, I’ll just say that there were laughs almost constantly. There were things that made you think (but not too hard!), and things that gave me at least a severe case of dust-in-the-eyes. The script was flawless, the effects were as amazing as ever, the casting was magnificent and the soundtrack was amazing.

Were there parts of the plot that CinemaSins and How It Should Have Ended are going to have some fun with? Sure. It’s a movie based on a Marvel comic, so there’s a lot of downright juvenile and hackneyed crap in there. Quill being bullied by his dad and then essentially killing him was straight out of the Oedipus Complex handbook, or at least the comic book equivalent.

IMG_20170428_115226

As already discussed with Mr. BRKN and other moviegoers … I won’t go into more detail here. I warned you about the image spoilers though.

And yeah, Ego’s plan was just as vast and vaguely menacing as every Marvel Godlike Überdimensional Entity’s plan ever. At least this time it was a little more concrete, in a Alastair Reynoldsian greenfly sort of way. I mean, there were so many ways Ego could have taken the plan so as not to make an enemy of Quill, including but not limited to:

  • Not killing his mother. I can’t stress this enough, she was going to die in less than a hundred years anyway, and Ego only said he knew the next time he went to Earth he would stay, so he put a cancer in her brain – he never said he was going to be unable to stay away from Earth for the required decades to let nature put a cancer in her brain for him.
  • Waiting a few centuries until Quill had gotten all the mortality of out his system. He was basically on board right up until the moment Ego failed to have any time left for anything that Quill started to have a problem. Was waiting another five hundred years really going to break the bank? I mean come on, surely Ego could likewise have benefited from the new outlook on the mortal world offered by his son. Join the Guardians for as long as they kick around. Then destroy the universe when the Guardians are all gone and Quill is miserable.
  • Not crushing his Walkman. I mean, classic Mean Dad move, but really?

There was plenty more, but there’s answers to ‘most all of them really. My wise sister-in-law was the one who pointed out that sure, Ego could have had a bit more patience, but he’d been at this for a long time and probably had a really clear idea of how it was going to go, especially once Quill started getting into it. And he had all those failed kids as further motivation to get carried away when a proper half-Celestial came along. So fair enough, he got over-enthusiastic and misread the situation. He was pretty clueless about how mortals and relationships worked, for all that he was able to flawlessly impersonate Kurt Russel (And Also David Hasselhoff) As A Dad.

And as Mr. Bloom said, when you see how Ego reacts to the Game ‘O Catch and the blossoming of Quill’s powers, it’s pretty clear that yeah, he’s not going to be able to wait for the years required to get Quill fully on board, even if Ego ever recognises what “fully on board” looks like. It wasn’t a huge flaw. I’m just calling it, this is going to be a big deal to critics of the movie, either joking or otherwise.

What more can I say, aside from “screw all that noise, I loved it”? Let’s take a quick look at the main characters.

guardians

Quill / Gamora

Cute as always, even if the brilliance of the supporting characters makes them look a bit bland. They managed to keep their relationship in the will-they-won’t-they state without making it aggravating. Just nicely low-key. And Quill seems to nail the I-would-have-thought-impossible “James T. Kirk only not a complete sleaze” role, despite the fact that he very strongly implied in vol. 1 that he’d plastered the inside of his spaceship with sexual fluids.

Nebula

Nebula was purpler than I remembered her being in the first movie, and it was super distracting. Maybe that’s the Nebula-robot-maybe-some-sort-of-skin equivalent of rusting or getting a tan?

I didn’t imagine this, guys.

Aside from that, I found her less annoying[1] and one-dimensional this time around. There was some character depth and sympathy added that yes, you could have seen in vol. 1 as well, because we sort of know Thanos is a giant failed-3D-print-looking fucker at this point, but it just wasn’t really as apparent. Now we get some more backstory and it’s nice. I mean, not nice, but … whatever. She can stay. Or leave, and then come back.

[1] I don’t know why, but I found her annoying in Doctor Who and that carried over into vol. 1. She just seemed to be obnoxious and surplus to requirements. Nothing really changed in vol. 2, but it just seemed to hang together better. Less attitude?

Taserface

LOL.

taserface

LOL.

Seriously, one of the funniest series of Marvel-self-deprecating insults and systematic destruction of a side-villain since … well like I say, Deadpool perfected this shit but this was a close second to Francis.

Drax / Mantis

I’m not entirely sure what was going on here, although I suspect that the point of the “when you’re ugly and someone loves you anyway” exchange was a setup for these two to maybe get together sometime? I mean, I can’t see it, since the thought of her makes him literally sick … but all in all, this was such an endearing little comradeship.

Drax has developed from the one-joke amusement value of vol. 1 into … well, see, again nothing has really changed in vol. 2. He’s still Drax, the roaring tank of the party, but his character has amplified. Now that we know him, we can see all sorts of details in his interactions with the rest of the crew, and see through his apparent obnoxious species-based literalness to the decent and innocent man within.

mantis

Don’t think for a second there aren’t going to be shrill complaints from the Internet about the appearance-shaming he did on Mantis, though.

Ego

Well, what can you say? Great villain. Bit of a Marvel staple. Would have been fun to see him go up against Thanos, but it would have made all the Avengers and the rest look silly.

ego

Also, we might get to see them fight in flashback if we ever get more Thanos backstory.

Groot

Again, what can one say? Groot was adorabubble. I’m just going to leave these pics here, and wistfully wish I could dress Wump and Toop up as Rocket and Groot for Ropecon. If only I had the time and the talent.

groot_and_the_bomb2

groot_and_the_bomb1

Yondu

How did this happen? TS’s girlfriend’s dad from Mallrats just turned into the most tough-lovable child-trafficking stepdad in the universe, and then broke our heart when he died before Quill could really realise that he’d been what Ego never was: a for-reals father.

yondu

Now, whenever I hear a hoarse voice say “these boys wanted to eat you”, I feel sad. Fortunately, I don’t hear it very often.

Also fun to see Stallone and the rest of the Ravagers come out and give him the salute. There was pollen in the cinema, there was. I blame Cat Stevens. And the pollen. I think Cat Stevens brought it in with him.

Ayesha

Another cool villain, and I liked the culture she belonged to as well. They could have really driven that “they’re playing computer games” joke into the ground, but they didn’t. I appreciate that.

ayesha

I thought it was Paris Hilton for a second but her acting was … actually I don’t know what to say there, she didn’t have much of a role.

I’m not certain what the game is here, and what “Adam” is (of course, I could look it up online because speculation is likely to be rampant, but where would the fun in that be?). Guess we’ll wait and find out.

Rocket

There’s a case to be made, Muumin-style, for each of the Guardians of the Galaxy to be representing a different mental illness or behavioural disorder, but I won’t delve too much into the psychoanalysis of it all.

Suffice it to say, Rocket grows as a character as well, without really doing all that much overt shifting in viewpoint or circumstances. If there was ever a poster child for the self-destructive push-people-away dysfunctional Internet generation, it’s Rocket.

Trash panda.

Howard

Also, Howard was there.

howard

Yeah, this happened in the end of vol. 1, but my point remains.

I guess it’s never going to turn into more than a little side-joke, and rightly so … but it was fun to see that they had the balls to bring him back again for a cameo. It actually helped to tie the movies and the wider cosmos together. I mean, Howard the Duck. He did that. What a world we live in.

The Watchers

And finally, we have the Stan Lee cameo, where he is acting as an informant to a group of Watchers and apparently winking at a fan theory that Stan Lee’s cameos throughout the Marvelverse are different variants of a Watcher character, maybe Uatu. Certainly his brief set of lines suggests that he’s the same person in each of his cameos, and is aware of the switch from one to the other … so if not a Watcher, some sort of similarly multi-planar entity.

And dear God, just such a terrible actor.

There’s lots more to unpack and talk about here, but I’m out of time. Such a great movie. So much fun. I can’t wait to see how the cosmos fits together (did I see Svartalfheim in that hyperjump sequence?) with all the rest, and the next act to kick off.

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