director: James Gunn
writers: James Gunn
starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Kurt Russel, Dave Bautista and Michael Rooker
genre: Action | Comics | Fantasy
released: 25 April 2017 (Australia), 27 April 2017 (Germany), 4 May 2017 (Greece), 5 May 2017 (USA)
The continuation of Marvel in space is going strong and could result in the end for a better movie success rate than its the hero counterparts back on Earth. As the story possibilities are endless and the need to interconnect the space characters with other properties of the MCU is not a necessity to the to the nth degree, at least for now.
After saving the galaxy from the evil Kree Ronan, the Guardians of the Galaxy have taken the mantle and are going around the universe trying to make a difference.
When on one of their missions things go the wrong way and a strange figure saves them from certain death. They will be pushed to the limits of how far their team can really go and if personal matters take precedent over the family unit they thought themselves to be.
It seems Marvel picked not only the right man for the job with the Guardians series, but gave him the right amount of creative freedom for the property to flourish. Naturally, this did happen to a certain extent because the property wasn't as well known as the rest of the pop culture icons Marvel owns. However, when you have the right person as in this case of James Gunn, something special can be done in the movie genre of comic book films. Quite the opposite with some of Marvel's recent films such as 'Dr. Strange' or 'Thor 2' that were stale, uninspiring and at times boring.
The reason sometimes big studio films turn out this way is due to the directors being shooters and not auteurs to a point, but also because the pace any studio want their production to be produced won't always lead to great results in terms of quality of story and action. As when you have different people being involved in a mega million dollar project, you're bound to have differing opinions on how best to handle the project. Something that with 'Guardians' didn't happen. As the man in charge Gunn had a clear vision on what kind of movies he wanted to make and also went in with a perfect understanding of the characters, the world and the level of action, humor and drama that is needed in this sort of production.
And while its understandable Marvel will want to have a tight lock on all their properties. They will also have to allow for some breathing room for their films to exist on their own and not always be dependent on the larger universe and allow for some creative initiative to be taken. As this is something they permit in their comic books with the writers having liberty for minor changes here and there and the same should be done with their movies. Otherwise, most of the films will come out as mediocre as 'Dr. Strange' and 'Iron Man' and not fluke surprise hits such as 'Ant Man' or genuine blockbuster productions such as 'Guardians', 'Avengers' or 'Winter Soldier'.
Furthermore, the fact that they allowed this film to tell its own story and be separate from the rest of the Marvel universe makes a difference and for that matter just look at 'Logan' or the 'Dark Knight' as even greater examples. Because when you have a film that is able to tell its own separate story without building towards some sequel, with the ability to be edgy and not accommodate to something bigger you can focus better on what matters (story, characters and tone). Guardians Vol.2 doesn't have anything to build to and is able to give enough time to all of its characters to shine. Peter Quill/Starlord leads the pack with his emotional father-son story, but Baby Groot and Drax are ever present for comic relief, but also have some intimate moments between the two to remain relevant throughout the course of the film. Same with Rocket Raccoon who has a surprising little subplot with Yondu that is touching and a bromance/bro-understanding of sorts and finally Gamora who has her little unspoken thing with Starlord, but also her coming to terms with her half-sister Nebula. Not to mention the amount of time the film had to develop fully the father son story and at the same time have a little subplot for Yondu and the Ravagers. In addition, to having a B villain in the film that is so ridiculous and funny in concept that every time they pop up in the film you wonder how we could live without them. As they fly spaceships as if they were in an arcade videogame, barely can take a joke and are all gold skin colored shiny humans that add a lot to the crazy galaxy the Guardians are a part of. I mention all this because there are the parts of the film that make it fun and one of a kind and stating the obvious is needed sometimes with big studios. As they lose track at what makes a film profitable and not always on what makes it lovable.
Concerning, the father-son story of Starlord and his father Ego the Planet in more detail. They made the best choice going with Kurt Russell over the first choice pick that was Matthew McConaughey. As Kurt Russell not only fit better into the in-question role, but also because he was an obvious choice to go in conjunction with James Gunn's retro vibe of 70 and 80's rock music as he was a big star during that time and is much older guy that makes more sense visually to see him as Starlord's father than McConaughey. In regards, to the relationship itself it was handled admirably with enough doubt set in there on Ego's true intentions and how diabolical he can be. Also, because of his entry into the team during one of their lowest points. It puts into question Starlord's loyalty to which family he is a part of. Additionally, it's interesting how the film plays with this and how it moves about from who the main villain of the film truly is. Coming to a great mix of elements and subplots at the end.
And maybe the best thing about this film and that might not get as much mention even though it should is that it works as a comedy as much that it does as space action film. With a generous amount of jokes, comedic timing that is pitch perfect and humor being consistent throughout the entirety of its length time. With a variety of jokes from pop culture references, to jokes on the psychical appearances of characters that come full circle and humor that is directly attributed to the character’s specific behaviour and personalities. Making this film a contender from now for the best comedy of the year.
Lastly, let's get to some of the film's negatives and they are a few. The most major one I would have to say is the score done by Tyler Bates. The man is a good composer and they are moments in the film that adequately move the action along and go without notice. Although, at other times and most noticeably in the first action scene of the film its as if he took all the notes and beats from the Avengers film's score and copied them from back to front. It just gives out the wrong mood to the film during the silly action that flows much better with the rock music the series is now so characteristically tied to. Something that isn't necessarily even good thing for the Avengers films as this kind of music makes one's property feel generic without much emotion or passion. Not to mention the film starting off on the wrong foot with that dumb Marvel tittle sequence.
Another minor flaw of the film was maybe its weird handling of Yondu and how he approaches the subject of being a father figure to Starlord. Wasn't very happy about how it ultimately went down and it was kind of off putting with its conclusion either due to the music in that scene and the combination of it with the speed of the events to reach us to that moment. Maybe subjective on my part, but see the scene and let me know if you felt the same or not. Additionally, I could mention one more thing that would spoil the villains plans and despite that the plan works for the film and is built up organically. It has got to be mentioned that is kind of cliched with the film turning itself into another save the whole galaxy plot.
This film is a sight to see and enjoyable beyond belief. It does more of the same things we loved from the first film and packs on a personal father-son story in the midst of a galaxy full of weirdos, softies and ugly aliens that is as touching, funny and climactic as you would have ever wanted it to be.