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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 - Spoiler-free review

Posted by Nathan Strum, 10 May 2017 · 383 views

Movies

I really enjoyed the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie. Probably in part because I had absolutely no preconceived idea of what it would be about, or who the characters were, or anything about it, really.
 
But now, they've actually got something to live up to, since the movie's been on TV a dozen times (and I've watched it besides that on Blu-ray and iTunes), the characters are well-established personalities (having their own animated TV series and shorts), and there's been a huge build-up to the sequel.
 
So... is it any good?
 
Well, I have no idea.
 
I have tickets for a 9:00 PM showing tonight. :) But I'll be back afterwards with a Spoiler-free review of it.
 
Stay tuned!
 
(Sometime later...)
 
So, where was I?
 
Oh, right. Was it any good?
 
Yep - it was!
 
I went out of my way to avoid spoilers (really... that shouldn't come as a surprise). Even knowing who some of the new characters were going into the movie, I didn't know how they were going to figure into the plot, so most of it came as a surprise. The movie was refreshingly short on predictability. 
 
Revisiting the main characters could have been tough to pull off well. Recapturing lightning striking the same place in a bottle twice isn't easy. Or something. But I was really pleased that James Gunn managed to pull it of so well. It was like visiting with old friends that hadn't turned into jerks or gotten weird since the last time you saw them. They've had some time together since the events of the first movie, so there's an interplay and camaraderie between them now that's fun to watch. It seems natural, having been built off of what we knew about the characters from the first film. There's also a depth to it, as these characters have clearly come to care about and rely upon each other. Other characters from the first film are folded back into the mix, and we get additional insight into them and their relationships as well. By the end of the film, I found myself more attached to and empathetic with these characters than most of the other movie superhero teams out there. They mention they're like a family, and that rings true. It's interesting that the most bizarre, mismatched, alien characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe feel the most human.
 
Speaking of bizarre, Marvel continues to push into their more fantastical, cosmic territory here. More so even than in Doctor Strange. But oddly enough, it works. They establish the movie's universe and its rules, and they stick to it. I think that's the key to believable fantasy - don't break the rules that have been set up (something J.J. Abrams didn't do with his Star Trek movies - red matter and trans-galactic transporter backpack, I'm looking at you).
 
The new characters in the film (played by Kurt Russell and Pom Klementieff) fit right into this weird universe, and into the weird family dynamic of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Ultimately, this story is about family. Maybe that's why the movie works so well. It's especially impressive since some of the characters exist only in CG. I never thought of Rocket or Groot as CG while watching this film - just as characters. Contrast that with Rogue One, where all I could think about whenever CG Tarkin came on screen was how fake he looked.
 
Now, I don't know if everyone is going to buy into GotG2's cosmic weirdness or not. But I read a lot of comics back when I was into collecting, and as long as the stories and characters were compelling, it didn't really matter how weird they were. The same thing applied here - I was able to shut off my brain and just go and enjoy a really solid, fun comic book movie. The movie had a lot of heart - surprisingly so. There were some genuinely moving moments in it for many of the characters. Of course, in keeping with the first film, it had epic space battles and action scenes, as well as a lot of humor and pop culture references. And of course the requisite cameos ranging from obscure Marvel characters to... well, that would be telling ;) . From beginning to end, I found the movie to be terrifically entertaining.
 
My only complaint about the movie was one particular scene that reminded me of some of the ridiculous cartoonishness of Green Lantern. I understood their desire to make the reference (since it was mentioned earlier in the film), but it really brought the movie to a grinding halt for a few seconds. 

Spoiler

 
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a rare movie that not only lives up to the original, but honors the original by staying true to the characters, building on their relationships, and letting us get to know them better. It was terrific fun, and I highly recommend it.
 
And stay through the credits. There are quite a few extra scenes in there, and the credits themselves are fun to watch, too. Plus, the music is cool.  :music:
 
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 gets a 9/10. Check it out. Get an extra-large popcorn.
 
(Of course, after writing all of this, I was thinking I could've just written "I am Groot" a whole bunch of times and made that the review. But I'm pretty sure that's been done already.)






Well, I guess that was spoiler free.  

 

Saw this two nights ago. 

 

 ..Al

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10 minutes until showtime. Man, I love ArcLight Cinemas. No annoying ads. Reserved seating, big comfy seats, popcorn with actual butter. This is how moviegoing should be everywhere.

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I liked it when that one thing happened. I didn't like it when those other things happened. Can you believe those people did those things that one time?

 

Seemed like they got lazy with the 3D in a lot of places. Sometimes it seemed like everything was poking out at you in a smooth way from way back all the up to the front and other times there were a bunch of layered super-flat things.

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I've updated the post with the full review.

 

RT - I didn't see it in 3D. I refuse to see films in 3D unless I have no other choice. They're almost never shot in 3D - they're converted after-the-fact. (The exception being some CG animation like Pixar films, where they actually render the movie out twice - once for each eye.)

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I loved it, agree it was not predictable and had several surprisingly emotional moments, along with the nonstop goofy fun and jokes. I watched in pleasant di's belief at some of the more obscure Marvel characters seen in this film.
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Saw it with my folks yesterday, we all enjoyed* it - dad even laughed out loud at the spoiler tagged scene.  I was really impressed with the CGI Kurt Russell during the flashback, especially in light of how jarring it was in Rogue One.  

 

 

* though I did have to yell "shut your damn phone off" at one point as this guy in the front of the theater kept texting people during the movie.  After sitting through the credits the people around us thanked me for speaking up.

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The CG Kurt was done differently - they de-aged him, rather than replacing him with a completely CG character. More akin to how they skinny'd-up Chris Evans for Captain America.

 

I hate going to movies with modern audiences. They're so used to being plugged into their cellphones, they don't have the brains to know when to shut them off. Also, since they consume movies everywhere now, they adopt the same behaviors they use when watching them at home, or on their phone, or wherever, to watching them in the theater. It's less about going to see a movie, than it is something else to do while playing around with their phones.

 

ArcLight seems better in that regard, since the whole vibe of the theater is focused on the movie going experience. People (generally) seem to take it more seriously, than at your typical multiplex which is the moviegoing equivalent of eating at McDonald's.

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I'd love to go to Alamo Drafthouse, though I'm not willing to drive 50 minutes for a movie.

 

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Cool movie. The intro alone was already better than most other movies :D

 

Instead of just delivering the standard 80% sequel, they delivered a sequel on par with the first - amazing. If I had to critisize anything, than that I thought Awesome Mix Vol 1 was much better :music:

 

Does anybody have any tape out there?

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A co-worker of mine is into collecting cassettes. Has quite the collection of blank media. I doubt I could get him to part with any though. ;)

 

I agree that Awesome Mix Vol. 1 was better, but it's sure hard to fault them for including Fox On The Run and Mr. Blue Sky. And Flash Light was a great credits track.

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I thought Kurt Russell's "young" face looked like melted plastic.

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They still haven't gotten the technology down. It's better than an all-CG character, but it still has a vaguely creepy vibe to it. Like there are prosthetics on that don't quite fit.

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Can't they just use the 'Brittney Spears' Plugin from Photoshop? :D

 

(BTW: I was quoting Starlord with "Does anybody have any tape out there?", but in the context I wrote that I see why it got misinterpreted :D )

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(BTW: I was quoting Starlord with "Does anybody have any tape out there?", but in the context I wrote that I see why it got misinterpreted :D )

 
:lolblue:
 
I totally missed that! That was a great scene. Even though they showed part of it in the trailer, they didn't show enough of it to actually spoil it. The trailers were very good about not giving too much away.

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I thought the first trailer was brilliant, as it was basically only showing that all characters are there plus some silly talking. They should've kept it at that, basically saying "We don't need to show anything, we're Guardians of the Galaxy and people know we deliver - Take that Star Wars!" :lol:

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