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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Caught Off Guardian, Vol. 2

I was prepared to hate Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, given my reaction to the original. But I found myself quite entertained, perhaps because this time around it felt like the movie wasn't trying quite so hard to win me over with madcap antics and quirky characters. The things I liked about the first film (Dave Bautista as Drax, the attempt to build a fleshed-out Marvel Universe beyond Earth) are amplified here, and the things I didn't like (Rocket, a forehead-slapping climax, and moments of catharsis I thought were unearned) are somewhat toned down. And the Kurt Russel/Ego the Living Planet plot actually works both as a credible antagonist and a source of thematic resonance. And again, for whatever reason, I found the throwback soundtrack engaging instead of annoying.

I can't put my finger on exactly why I prefer Vol. 2 to Vol. 1, except perhaps to say that this film had a quality of sincerity I feel the original lacked - and it actually improves Peter Quill's backstory retroactively, making the first film a bit more palatable in my eyes.

I wouldn't have thought it possible, but I'm actually looking forward to Vol. 3.

Young CGI Kurt Russell was pretty creepy, though. 


Jeff Shyluk said...

Here's my guess: you liked Vol 2 because it was made up out of good Star Trek episodes.

Exhibit A: Vol 1 does really well at the box office. The Star Trek executives are nervous that stodgy Trek will bomb, so they insist that Trek be more like Guardians.

Exhibit B: Star Trek Beyond, which is Guardians Of The Galaxy in Star Trek uniforms - cue the swarming spaceahips, the implacable foe, the plucky underdog, and the use of retro music to defeat the enemy while defending an improbably beautiful space metropolis from destruction.

Exhibit C:
Peter Quill = Kirk, Chris Pine Mode
Mantis = Troi
Ego = Gary Mitchell
The Galactic Boundary = The Galactic Boundary
Gamora = Uhura

There's a lot of Star Trek in Vol 2. The crew becomes family instead of a source of romantic conquests. The captain becomes tempted by ultimate power but remains loyal to his humanity. Characters enact their rivalries but realize that battling over their differences make them weaker than if they became united as friends. They use reason and friendly dialogue to resolve their issues, but only after a good brawl. Vol 2 is the Star Trek movie that Star Trek should have had, and Beyond is the picture that Guardians should have aspired to.

Earl J. Woods said...

Once again, Jeff, your analysis is bang-on.