Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

I’ve already been inundated with all the "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2'  questions.

“Is this the best Marvel movie, ever?”
“Is it better than the original?”
“Is there a secret ending?”

Everyone needs to calm down. I’ll get to those questions, but let’s set it all up.

If you saw the first "Guardians of the Galaxy" movie in 2014, you probably loved it. You will probably love this one, too. If you have no idea what you’re walking into, you might be completely baffled. "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" accepts that you know these Marvel comic characters and you understand their quirks, personalities and abilities. So see the first movie… quickly!

For each of you catching up, this is another wonderful Marvel/Disney superhero movie. It’s part of the third wave of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Somehow, it fits into the overarching story that the MCU has started, but many of us are not sure how… yet.

For the fans, it’s like three years have never passed. The Guardians second story continues like they’ve basically taken a weekend off; and now, it’s time to get busy saving the universe.

If you saw the first film, remember the final scene with Baby Groot dancing in a flower pot? It was awesome. Remember the pure joy of watching a “not-dead” Groot teasing Drax and listening to the Jackson 5? Nearly the entirety of "Vol. 2"  is that same sense of joy… spread out over two hours. It’s the characters you’ve quickly grown to love doing what you love for them to do. Bickering, joking and battling. This time, you don’t have to worry if you’re going to like them or not. Same awesome, different story.

Right off the bat, after assisting Golden High Priestess, Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) with grumpy space-monster, the gang: Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) , Rocket (Bradley Cooper), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista) and adorable baby Groot (Vin Diesel), head off into space for another adventure. Not surprisingly, everything gets chaotic as it’s discovered that Rocket heisted a few valuable batteries from the golden leader. Chase! Battle! Colors! Oh, the colors!

The motley crew crash-lands their spaceship in the middle of a forest planet and meet up with someone claiming to be Star-Lord’s long-lost papa (Kurt Russel). Peter (Star-Lord), is left shell-shocked by the familial revelation and the dysfunctional family of misfits are wondering if their family is about to get more dysfunctional.

And that’s pretty much all I’m going to tell you.Yes, we have space battles and fisticuffs and flying raccoons. But we also have something new: emotion. A LOT OF EMOTION. There are a half-dozen dust-in-your-eye choke-up scenes that are remarkably heartfelt. The characters reveal deep secrets, deep pasts and deep needs that make them a huge step above what you’re expecting from a superhero movie. And it really works, 100 percent of the time.

There’s also a ton of humor. "Vol. 2" plays out almost as a comedy that happens to be a Marvel movie. This also pushes the boundaries of what to expect in a Disney movie. The jokes are a little raunchier and the discussions are little more adult. Parents will have a lot of explaining to do.  Everyone will have a lot of laughing.

The cast remains some perfect miracle of chemistry. These are some of the most likable actors and characters in films today. Chris Pratt is still a goofball. Dave Bautista is given more time to make you uncomfortable. Zoe Saldana is given more time to be a sympathetic sibling. And the new characters, including Kurt Russel’s Ego fit into the universe with puzzle-piece perfection and ease. Come for the characters and stay for the characters. I love these characters.

Also, stay for the stunning visuals. Director James Gunn seems to have borrowed a color palate from candy factory in a rainbow-land. There is color and detail everywhere. It’s gorgeous and really inspired. From spaceships, planets, and characters, this will be the movie that everyone will use to grade their future home-theater systems.

Director James Gunn proves he is the master of the ‘Guardians” universe. His passion for these characters and these stories is solidified here. Every frame oozes his love for this cinematic world and for presentation to the audience. It’s hard to remember another director (outside of Pete Jackson or Steven Spielberg) that truly “gets” a film franchise like this.Oh, and don’t forget the music. Once again, Gunn has infused 1970’s pop hits into a galactic space opera. And, once again, it is magic. The tunes are a littler weirder and a little deeper, but they still nail-down every scene and they still induce chills. You’ll probably want to stream the soundtrack on the way home from the theater.

So let’s get to those questions.

Is this the best Marvel movie, yet? It’s up there. It’s certainly the most enjoyable one I can remember. It’s not the same as the first "Guardians" and it’s difficult to fully enjoy unless you’re familiar with these characters. But, wow, it put a smile on my face for two solid hours.

Is it better that the original? It’s different. It’s not a stand-alone film. It doesn’t have the same surprise as walking into the first film. It’s almost better.

Is there a secret ending? Yes. Five of them. Stay until the VERY end of the credits. And READ the credits, there are secrets everywhere (text changes, images appear). Pay attention.

Oh, and did I mention Baby Groot? Get ready for the most adorable thing you ever seen in a movie theater. He's so cute, your teeth with hurt. 

I have nothing more to say.

"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" is pure movie joy. Just go.

5 pairs of Yondu's underwear out of 5. 

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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