Filmgoer’s Flamethrower #14 – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Posted: April 7, 2018 in Uncategorized

© 2018 G.N. Jacobs

“Of course not, we’re family” – Drax the Destroyer.

And with that, we’re back with the dysfunctional family led by Peter Quill the Starlord (Chris Pratt) just a few months after saving the galaxy the first time. Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) plugs in the amp and air guitars while the rest wipe out an inter-dimensional whatever intent on stealing The Sovereign’s batteries. And this must simply be Tuesday.

We travel with the Guardians across the dark places of the galaxy searching for the pieces to a greater understanding of family. Starlord confronts his father Ego (Kurt Russell). Gamora (Zoe Saldana) makes peace with her sister Nebula (Karen Gillan), intent on murder because she could never beat Gamora. Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) pushes members of the family away. Yondu (Michael Rooker) acknowledges that he raised Starlord and bonds with Rocket. Lastly, Drax (Dave Bautista) develops a friendship with Mantis (Pom Klementieff). Family in all of its fractious variations.

I liked the movie. There a simple caveman statement that says how fun this movie has been over the several times seeing it, including finally ripping open the shrink wrap on the disk. I liked seeing a pack of warm and engaging interstellar misfits save the galaxy one more time and that Starlord met his godlike father and, like Captain Kirk, ultimately just wasn’t that impressed. I suppose it helps that they pretty much broke every ship they flew.

If I had to pick out highlights, I’d go with the slow moments between Starlord and Gamora as he emotionally sneaks up on her what with sharing the earbuds to his Walkman with her. Prodded by Drax, Peter convinces her to dance amid the popped out dreamlike explosion of color on Ego’s planetary surface. And of course Thanos’ first daughter doesn’t dance thank you very much and will resort to violence if this leaks. Still, it was a nice dance, a date even, a promise for the sequel.

The rest of the movie is a massively fun blur of action, one liners and exploding ships. This all leads to Yondu, exiled from the Ravagers for his past misdeeds concerning Ego’s children, accepting his fatherhood of Starlord – “I’m Mary Poppins, Ya’ll!” He risks his ship and crew because he has always cared about the boy who started out “small and skinny and could fit in places for thieving.”

This time around the songs on Starlord’s Mommy Mix Tape Vol. 2, while they do the emotional job required of each scene, went a little deeper into the catalogue from the era when Starlord was snatched from Earth. For someone who started paying attention to music released just a few years afterwards, it was similar to hearing Quentin Tarantino’s original use of Hooked on a Feeling (also a feature of the first Guardians), where a song had already been blasted off the radio and didn’t resurface in my hearing until the movies brought them back. So, yes, I have some song archeology ahead of me.

Films like this live or die with the villains. Kurt Russell simply let his entire career do the heavy lifting as Ego the Living Planet. The father figure that pretty much just elbowed Darth Vader in the ribs for the Worst Father Ever Award smiles and is almost convincing playing catch with Starlord using an energy ball that might blow up whole cities if care isn’t taken. And maybe he shouldn’t have told his son that he inflicted Meredith Quill with a brain tumor precisely because he loved her and he wouldn’t continue with his plan to remake the galaxy in his image, if she lived.

And then I just had an interesting thought that perhaps goes to an underlying hilarity of not only the MCU but the comics that inspired them. The galaxy seems overrun with two kinds of villains, the ones that match up against the more human superheroes and those that threaten reality, as we know it. Yet, few of these nefarious plots ever get underfoot with the next villain’s plan. So as we watch Ego try to inflict himself everywhere there is life with his smug demeanor, what does Thanos have to say about it? It’s important because we’re building up to Thanos’s turn on stage in Avengers: Infinity War. “Hey, Asshole, my galaxy to conquer and enslave!” Never mind, just the uber geek that needs restraining from his usual fan fiction impulses.

Anyway, Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 is just a really fun movie.

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