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Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

May 8, 2017

Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Michael Rooker, Kurt Russell, Vin Diesel (voice), Bradley Cooper (voice)
Director: James Gunn (Guardians Of The Galaxy, Slither)

Bottom Line: I’m kind of surprised at the overwhelmingly positive reviews Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 has received because it was kind of disappointing to me and the actual critics have a tendency to be harsher, particularly on popcorn flicks. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not bad. I mostly enjoyed myself while watching Vol. 2, but the biggest reason the first film was so fun was because of how fresh and original it was – and that was made clear when repeat viewings hardly matched the joy of watching it for the first time. The action/comedy hybrid approach still works well here and Vol. 2 is plenty funny – hilarious at times even – but it’s not as funny as it wants to be. There were more than a couple of jokes that elicited no response from the audience. Dave Bautista as Drax The Destroyer really brings the laughs this time around and pretty much any time Baby Groot is on screen, you can’t help but smile.

Where Vol. 2 comes up short is mostly in the story department. It’s funny a lot of the time and the characters are as charming as they were the first time around but, without getting too “spoilery”, 90 minutes into the movie I realized we had answered the question of “Who is Star Lord’s father” and little else. What’s the point of a Guardians Of The Galaxy movie if there’s nothing to “guard” against? And because of that lack of conflict, the movie seems to drag in the second act as Star Lord gets to know his dad and the action screeches to a halt. On the bright side, Michael Rooker’s Yondu – the blue-skinned dude with the whistling arrow – is given a much deserved expanded role and his character is a surprising highlight in the sequel.

Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 is a fun time at the movie theater and because of that, general audiences are probably going to love this movie. If you were a fan of the first film, this sequel probably won’t disappoint you. It’s funny and charming, plus it has some emotional edge to it, but most of the movie plugs along without any real conflict and while Kurt Russell is great, as always, the character he plays feels more like DC’s Green Lantern than the quality stuff we’ve come to expect from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Vol. 2 is plenty enjoyable, but all the comedy really overshadows the other weaknesses in the script and I suspect this will be more apparent on repeat viewings. And really, this movie could have used more Groot!

Replay Value: Just like the first film, this movie will never be better than the first time you watch it.
Sequel Potential: Vol. 3 already announced and release date is hinted at for 2020. Plus, the Guardians will be in the next Avengers movie.
Oscar Potential: Groot and Rocket look amazing, but the rest of the visual effects were kind of a let down. The first film got nominations for Makeup/Hairstyling and Visual Effects, but I’d say Vol. 2 probably won’t get any nominations.

Grade: 6/10 (recommended)

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