What a weird year for Marvel films. Everyone says that they’re getting tired of all the Marvel films, because they’re so predictable and stale. Part of me thinks that someone at Marvel heard that, and has been eager to change things up. And wouldn’t you know it, but this year has delivered two very good films that may not have shaken the formula to its core, but at the very least have made things different enough to have people enjoying them more. Nowhere was that more apparent than with the sequel to one of the funniest films in the MCU, Guardians of the Galaxy. A film that not only had some surprisingly good character development, but a villain who actually caught me off guard. Sure, the formula is there, but at least this film plays with it, and it actually feels like it is expanding on the lore of these characters, rather than just retreading old ground. Let’s talk about it.
The plot goes that sometime after the events of the first film, the Guardians of the Galaxy are now for hire heroes that do nice things for pay. Not a bad racket. However, after Rocket decides to fuck things up for them because he can’t stop himself, Quill’s father comes back into the picture. Backstories are explained, and characters’ true motivations are revealed. A villain who actually has a motivation that isn’t just copy-paste comes up and now another battle is on to save the galaxy. Like I said, it still has that formula, but it does it oh so well.
I’ve complained to no end how films are now basically just becoming endless CG bugs me, and I would be lying if I said that it wasn’t the case here. This film is ALL about the CG. It’s fucking everywhere. That being said, it was still pretty. I think the director knew that everyone would be noticing the constant CG so he took a very interesting tactic – use brilliant colors as a way to offset people’s disdain for it. That’s pretty clever! The same thing was used to good effect in Doctor Strange, though this film also had color used for comedic effect at times. Constant, vivid colors was all over this movie, and I’m genuinely glad it was because otherwise I would have been rolling my eyes a lot over how fake so much looked.
Which is one one of my flaws. It’s pretty clear that while Baby Groot was cute as fuck, he was never in the shot and everyone who pretended to interact with him wasn’t really interacting with him. That was painfully obvious. Plus, yeah, some of the sets were so blatantly just people in a room with green-screen absolutely everywhere. I’m honestly glad I am not one of these people who watches making-of videos of movies, because I bet watching people just being in green rooms acting is both depressing and funny.
The film also brings back it’s truly fantastic soundtrack. I love the musical choices in these film. How each track is used also perfect goes with every scene that it goes into. The opening is the most known and parodied, but there is a ton of places that each track is used well. This director knows his stuff oh so well.
Speaking of, the comedy in this film is so on point. It’s kind of nice to see a film where all the heroes are pretty much anti-heroes pretending to not be. These people are such assholes! I love it! Every single character in this film is kind of a douche, but the chemistry between all of them is just fantastic. My favorite is still Rocket. This guy is such a dick. He is the biggest anti-hero of them all, but the way he plays with that just makes him so lovable. Maybe it’s that inner asshole in me who can’t get enough of it. Hell, even Drax is funnier in this film. His complete lack of a filter is just too perfect. Plus, he said one of the most cathartic lines to me on a personal level.
“When you’re ugly, people love you for who you are. When you’re beautiful, you don’t know who to trust.”
For someone who struggles with body image issues due to balding that isn’t especially pretty, this strikes such a chord to me. My self-loathing is a constant struggle.
Overall, this isn’t a perfect movie. Yeah, the formula is still there. But it still feels like a breath of fresh air. I’m glad I got to see this on Netflix. A good Spider-Man film and now a good sequel to a flawed original that takes it to the next level. With the MCU looking to wrap up now that Infinity War is coming, I genuinely think I’ll be able to look back fondly on it. Marvel caught lightning in a bottle, which DC is now pathetically trying to imitate. What a shame.
8 out of 10