Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’s premise is to answer an ages-old question that no small number of us have grapple with each day: “Who’s your daddy?”
The answer is Kurt Russell. Or David Hasselhoff. And perhaps Sylvester Stallone is your grandaddy. Family is complicated.
Guardians also serves as a stark reminder of the artistic differences between the Marvel and DC movies. Every moment is filled with light and vivid color. The environments are lush, the action scenes are deliberately shot and framed (and therefore visible) and the soundtrack is as catchy as ever.
The characters even grew a little in what seems like a reasonable step forward for each of therm. Gamora’s becoming more relaxed, Drax has caught on to the nuances of communication but is overapplying that knowledge, Groot is toddling, Rocket has upped his defensiveness and Star Lord is trying to take things a little more seriously.
But characterization is where my compliments on the writing end.
Remember when I complained about the dialog in the Super Bowl ad being excessively lame? As it turns out, the lamest frickin’ line was supposed to be one of the emotional frickin’ peaks of the movie.
I’m serious. Frankly, the writing is bad for the most part.
The exposition is clunky as hell, everybody who didn’t already have a tragic backstory gets one (which is fine on its own, but it got waaaaaaaaay overused here) and the plot is hostile to newcomers. They tried to cram so much of the Marvel outer space universe into this movie because there’s really no other movie to cram it into. And the cramming shows especially with the five mid-credits scenes, most of which are rediculous inside baseball.
At the end of the day, there are things to like about Vol. 2, but it pales in comparison to the original.
Verdict: Rental (3/5). I do like that this movie tells a personal story for the characters rather than serve as yet another plank to build up toward Infinity War. But it’s still a sophomore slump.