Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 (2017) Review
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista
Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 begins with the titular team preparing to face off against a monstrous being. In any other blockbuster movie, this would be the initial burst of action that would engage the audience to the film. In this one, though, the action is moved to the background. Instead, up front, the viewer is watching Baby Groot dance through all the mayhem, unaware of the danger that is going on around him. The film makes its approach very clear from the start; it just wants to essentially be a fun movie.
That’s what audiences mostly got. There are still action sequences, though this movie is very much willing to hold it off for a character to say a certain kind of joke or a personal statement. It’s easy to agree with what this film wants to be, something quirky with loads of comedic digressions. The thing is, none of it is really funny. Baby Groot’s scenes hold most of the comedy, but the rest of the team tried too hard. Here’s what it felt like: due to the success of its predecessor with audiences commenting on how unexpectedly funny it was, filmmakers used that medium as a strategy to strengthen this one. This movie is extremely obsessed with trying to be funny and trying to capture the wit and charisma of the first film, but it just came off across as forced and cringeworthy. Rocket was irritating, Drax’s try hard laugh made me internally scream, and honestly the rest of the jokes and (surprisingly) sexual innuendos were bad. Just bad and unfunny. Baby Groot’s adorable sequences fortunately kept the film from crumbling apart into a hypnotic mess.
Volume 2 did not only fail to live up with the comedy, but the plot itself also felt incoherent. As I said earlier, this film places action in the background and focuses on the witty sentiments. The plot, along with the action, moved backwards. It seemed as if the filmmakers themselves didn’t think the story through properly, the plot focusing itself with red herrings. One would expect, based from the first half, on how big showdown would go at the end, but then the film takes another route and focuses itself with tiny problems, completely ignoring the danger the characters were just in during the first hour. Because of this, the “villain” felt lackluster and undeveloped, never having a real sense of danger within the character because the first half presented an ultimately more powerful villain that seemed to be more dangerous but is entirely forgotten once the film busied itself with its pedestrian jokes.
Other than that, Volume 2 really is terrific with its other aspects. The sense of camaraderie it presents within the team is uplifting, the portion showing how deeply flawed these characters are is heartwarming, and one wouldn’t question its outstanding visuals. The thing is, it just feels self-indulgent, focusing on trying to be funnier and wittier than the first. This film may stand out from what has become an overcrowded slate of superhero cinema, though the film seems to have lost the formula that made its predecessor excellent. Instead, the audiences are left with a half-baked project that is in love with its own jokes and that never really leads to coherent storytelling.