Hot Take: It takes a special movie to thrive at 2-plus hours and this sequel isn’t that movie. If Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 were more self-aware there would have been a kitchen sink in the movie because everything else is.
Before seeing Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, I was warned on Twitter to not see it without first seeing the first installment in the series. After seeing the latest in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I’m not really sure where that warning came from or why the movie would have been enhanced by following such advice. If anything, I probably would have been more disappointed in the movie as my favorite thing about GotGV2 was the characters and the cast. It didn’t take long to pick up their story arcs (with an assist from a quick recap of the original GotG thanks to Wikipedia) and it wasn’t difficult to follow the plot despite a lack of background on the film or its characters.
Seemingly, based on that last paragraph, you’d get the idea that I might be a fan of GotGV2. However, while there was definitely a level of admiration and respect for the characters and the performances (and those impressive visuals!), that did not carry over to the movie itself. The overlong, self-aggrandizing sequel felt more like a victory lap than a follow up. It was one long touchdown dance. I was afraid that GotGV2 was going to break its arm patting itself on the back. If you didn’t love GotGV2, don’t worry. It loves itself enough for all of us.
Visually stunning, it’s a shame GotGV2 didn’t spend as much time developing punch lines as it did its effects. While there were a few funny moments (usually involving Baby Groot), there’s more to a joke than finishing with a lame ’80s reference. If you think a David Hasselhoff reference is funny, try 8 David Hasselhoff references! (Think I’m exaggerating? Don’t forget the one in the end credits.) Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, Zoë Saldana, Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel all seem to be having a better time than anyone else (especially Bautista) which creates this aura of a fun time but when you settle down from all of the excitement, the sequel to the 2014 blockbuster feels hollow. The sequel also boasts some bloat in the cast department with the addition of a number of familiar faces for mostly cameo roles with the exception of Kurt Russell as Ego, a Celestial who also happens to be Quill’s (Chris Pratt) dad, who has a much larger role in the film.
With all of the criticism I’ve given the film, it feels a little disingenuous to close by saying the film wasn’t bad but mediocre. If it would have been more tightly edited or less in love with itself, there might be a good movie hidden between all of the palatial visual effects the film had to offer. Blame the MCU, too, as I’ve come to expect them to raise the ante in sequels rather than rest on their laurels. If you loved the first one, there’s a good chance this review has offended you. Most comic book movie reviews that aren’t filled with unmitigated affection are received that way. Oh well!
“Spoiler Free” Pros
- Re-Run Fun
The returning cast seemed to have a blast with their roles. There wasn’t a sense of anyone phoning it in.
- Baby Groot
Baby Groot was this film’s cowbell.
“Spoiler Free” Cons
- Did This Movie Really Need to Be 137 Minutes Long?
It’s like when you go to a fast food restaurant and they screw up your order and they decide to compensate you by doubling your food. I really don’t need 2 double cheeseburgers and an extra order of fries, 1 of each was plenty!
- … And Enough With the Post-Credits Scenes!
4? Really? And you cut one? Come on!