What’s not to love about writer/director James Gunn (and yes, I see everything through filmmakers eyes)? He started as a B- movie screenwriter with Troma’s Tromeo & Juliet and is now Marvel Studios most influential filmmaker.
2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy was in my top 3 of movies from that particular year. It’s too early in the 2017 movie year to predict the place the new movie takes on that list, but it’ll be way up there. Guardians of the galaxy Vol.2 is one of those nearly perfect sequels: characters are established and are evolving continuously, the setting are expanding in a good way and the fun gets amped up the right amount.
Chris Pratt, my favorite character from Parks & Recreation – a series full of favorite characters – is charming as ever, but maybe not so prominently as in the first one. His awe and intimidation about his (spoilers from here on) father are putting him in a specific place in this story and he has to break out of this state in the last act, right at the showdown.
Everyone else from the team has even more to do in this second outing. David Bautista, as Drax a fan favorite from the first movie gets more lines and even more jokes. Rocket gets to be the most realistic CGI creature EVER. His emotions on his little furry face are astounding. And don’t forget the awesome Baby Groot!!!!
Apropos CGI faces: in the first scene of the movie, there is again (like in Ant-Man and Captain America: Civil War) a flashback scene with an actor shown in his way younger form.
This one is a late 70s/early 80s Kurt Russell and he looks eerily and amazingly real. Ant-Man’s young Michael Douglas looked good, Civil War’s younger Robert Downey Jr. looked great, but Kurt Russell younger self tops it all. I can’t wait to see what this technique will bring to other movies. My prediction – and please quote me in late summer 2020 – I hope that we’ll see a young Harrison Ford (early 80s looking) in the next Indiana Jones movie. Maybe as a flashback story where his younger self hunts a treasure down, loses it to an adversary and his older self (Ford will be after all 78 in 2020) finds and fights for it. We’ll see.
Back to the “Guardians”, I liked the use of the 70s music again like in the first one, but my personal stand out – even more than the first time – is Tyler Bates’s score for the movie. The “Guardians” has a distinctive main music theme that gets used even more poignant in this movie. Bates, who composed almost every project of James Gunn, gets the fun and heroic tone of the “Guardians” from the get go.
I have to say that Guardians of the galaxy, Vol.2 is one of my all time favorite Marvel Studios movies and there are so many good ones. The only problem I seem to have is the many extremely violent scenes, especially the one with Yondu’s (Michael Rooker) arrow kills. Yes it’s seems comedic and choreographed like a blood ballet, but this is still a family adventure and the kills are more than visible and present. And there are so many of them. Yes, that’s the only caveat I have.
There are so many clever ideas and moments – be it the opening credits scenes where our heroes fight a monster but the filmmakers are so confident that they focus on a dancing baby Groot and the big fight happens in the background of the little dancer. Wonderful!
And of course the many, many inside jokes: Howard, the duck again, the Ravegers lead by Stallone, Hasselhoff, five end credits scenes with fun tidbits – too much good stuff, you have to see it to believe it.
Highly recommended – can’t wait to see what James Gunn has up his sleeve for the next one!
~ Konstantin Georgiou