The original Guardians of the Galaxy is the runner up for my favourite Marvel movie
Second only to Iron Man. The original was an insanely fun and charming call-back to classic pulpy Sci-Fi adventure movies. It took old archetypes and breathed a new life into them while having beautiful visuals.
The reason I bring up the first one is that I was a bit worried about a sequel after watching it. Was the cause of the first one being so amazing the fact that it, was a smaller property and the studio had a hands-off approach to it? And the time after the movie made me more worried. I started seeing all surface stuff of the film being celebrated through memes. Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with enjoying sharing dank memes™ of your favourite stuff. But what worried me was if the studio were going to capitalise on it. If they looked to the public. And saw that the people seemingly enjoyed the songs and cute baby Groot the most. Would we get a sequel that only contained an hour long Groot dancing scene while Starlord is yelling «dance party!» in the background along with Drex not getting metaphors. And I wasn’t completely wrong for thinking that.
The introductory opening for the Guardians set off triggers in me. This scene contained everything I feared. First off, I want to say that I was never into the whole Groot celebration. I think he worked fantastically in the first movie and I was touched by the whole “we are Groot” scene. But I never got swooned by dancing baby Groot the way the populous did. And I certainly didn’t buy into the merch and memes of him. So I was a little put off when the entire opening scene was Groot dancing. I did understand the joke behind the scene and I found it funny. But I just couldn’t get over the Fan-Service vibes the scenes had. Especially when they didn’t try to seamlessly veawe music into the narrative like the last one. Rocket said that they “just got to have music” because the first movie did it in its opening.
To clarify, I don’t hate this scene with a burning passion nor do I dislike Groot, but it had a lot of red flags for me. And I am not inherently against fan service, but I don’t think it should dominate a scene and be the leading cause of choices. I am probably ranting too much on this opening, it’s just a scene to set people in the fun mood of GOTG and give the audience what they want, and I’m too much of a cynic to enjoy it probably. Luckily for me, the movie just went upwards from here.
The movie didn’t jumpstart into high gear after the opening though. When the characters finally got some time to interact with each other again, it felt some of the characters were flandarised to a degree for me. Especially rocket. Rocket in the first scenes felt a lot more aggressive to me, instead of cynically and sarcastically responding to the world that he feel like abandoned him. It seems more like he just and asshole that wants to bully people. But again, the further we get in the movie the better he becomes and feels like his own self again.
There was also some flandarisation with Drax and Gamora, But their arc was complete in the previous movie, so I don’t really mind it that much, and the jokes with Drax may be heavy-handed, but I found most of them funny and didn’t really take me out of the scene.
But it’s after the initial escape scene from the opening the biggest problem of the movie starts festering. It’s that it feels very cluttered. Early in the movie the team splits up into different adventures all happening at the same time. Alongside this, they try do introduce more characters and develop others we had already met like Yandu. The problem that emerges is that the movie lacks a clear focus and all the significant emotional moments loses a lot of their punch that they would otherwise have. And there is also some worrisome signs by all the people being added to the team.
The first movie is a perfect example of changing the source material to fit better the medium you are adapting it to. The comic the movies were based on is an overstuffed and overly complicated jumble of a setup where you have to know most of the member’s previous history to be able to follow it. But the movie cut down the team and simplify a lot of stuff to make way for a focused and compelling team and story. But the sequel is moving closer to the original comic. This movie introduced us to two new people to the team and also set up the original Guardians from the 80’s comic. If they decided they wanted to add the full original team, then this is the best way to do it. Slowly introduce them bit by bit in different movies, but the problem is that they seem to add characters only for the sake that they were in the original comics.
Mantis served no real purpose in this movie. Her ability to tell out loud what people fear doesn’t seem to chance the status quo much, She progressed the plot by confirming something Gamora figured out, The love interest is just implied at this point, and I honestly doesn’t care about it. And they didn’t even explain why she have to help the celestial being by sleeping. Speaking of celestial beings.
I like the antagonist of this movie. It might be that I am happy just having a Marvel villain that is not Loke or the Iron Man villain over again. He might not be the most spectacular of antagonists, but I like what he brought to the universe and to Starlords character (this video also gave me a bigger appreciation of the character after the fact). It seems like it might become a trend to shoot someone instantly after figuring out new information about their parents in Marvel movies. This one felt a lot stronger than the winter soldier scene though because Starlord’s relationship to his mother was a lot more integral to his character than Tony stark’s.
The last thing I want to touch upon is the special effects in these movies. Because this movie justifies the way Hollywood uses CGI. Instead of using it as a money/time saver and to get out scenes quicker. They instead use it to create some stunning worlds and environments that would otherwise be impossible without the use of digital effects. These two movies are a spectacle to behold and beautiful to watch, and I feel as though they are not getting enough credit for their effects work. Rocket must be the most convincing squishy and fleshy Cgi creature ever put to film. And I find it strange that no-one is talking about that. Or the effects in general.
All in all, this is a bit unfocused and messy movie that still remains highly entertaining. It isn’t as good or unique as the first one, but it has bigger highs than lowes, and they took the stuff people enjoyed in the first one and pushed it a bit too hard at times. But mostly in harmless ways. Highly recommended for anyone that still enjoys the standard Marvel fare or are fans of the first one.