I’m generally in favour of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: VOL 2.
It’s amusing when it wants to be (in fact, I think it has more laugh out loud moments than a lot of recent comedies I’ve seen), it’s exciting when it wants to be and it’s far more affecting than I thought it would be. That’s surprising, as if ever there was a film that seemingly wants to strut around with a glib, cocksure, take-nothing-seriously attitude, it’s this one. However, whilst distracting us with the funny stuff, it’s working hard to create a proper emotional arc, the payoff of which feels like a sucker-punch even though it’s been there the whole time.
So, amusing, exciting and a film to tug on the heartstrings as well. What’s not to like?
(And you surely knew there was going to be a Well…)
Well, all of that above is written with the caveat that this isn’t as good as the first one. Whereas the original was fresh and surprising, this feels more laboured and drawn out. There really isn’t much plot, but what’s there – wafer-thin as it is – takes a long time to work through. Of course, the film makes up for this by doubling down on the stuff that people liked from the original: the jokes and the interplay between the characters. They’re a great set of characters, so of course we enjoy them riffing off each other. It’s just that even with that interplay of characters – and a large audience primed to like that interplay – it still can’t disguise the fact that the whole is much less inspired this time.
Two final points: one good, one wait and see.
Firstly, if you allow me to just put on my DOCTOR WHO fan hat here and say how much I liked Karen Gillen in this one. As much as I adore Amy Pond, I thought Nebula was one of the weaker parts in the original. She was great when under-playing was called for, but decidedly over-doing it when needing to emote. Here the performance is much more consistently under-played and better for it.
(I’m already aware that there are some who’ll disagree with that praise. I saw the film with the good lady wife, Mrs Jameson, and when I mentioned to her how good I thought Karen was, she said that she found her speaking style thoroughly irritating throughout, before doing such a spot-on impersonation of it that I did find myself doubting my view for a few minutes.)
The other point is that it looks great, like some fantastic Seventies album cover. But, I saw a bit of one of George Lucas’s STAR WARS prequels on TV recently. They similarly have lots of computer generated worlds and, even though they’re only just over ten/fifteen years old, the technology has moved on so much they now look like a film taking place in a bad 2003 videogame. So I fear if it will only be a couple of years before we come back to this and it’s various software-created vistas, and it will be the case of enjoying the jokes, but not really being drawn into the film as it just looks so ridiculously cheesy.
I genuinely hope not, as I’d like to watch my daughter laughing at the jokes and enjoying GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: VOL 2 in a few years time.
Although, even if it still looks good enough to suck her in, I’m sure it will be the first one on heavier rotation.