barry’s review published on Letterboxd:
If only a movie can be as good as its last 20 minutes.
Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 2 takes all the great magic found in Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 1, and mixes it with a dosage of steroids that the likes of Alex Rodriguez would find impressive. Unfortunately for the film, this is not a good aspect of the film at all.
What made Vol 1 so impressive is the fact that it was so unique and yet so charming. The comedy behind Vol 1 is now twisted into forced stupidity in Vol 2 to the point of absolute annoyance. That is not to say that there isn’t any genuinely comedic sequences, it’s just a tiny spec of gold out a sea full of parasitic maggots. The action sequences were pretty nice, when mixed with the comedic aspect the movie hits. James Gunn will get my due respect for that with what he achieves in this regard. In a common pattern for Marvel movies, it seems that Marvel accommodates poor storytelling with comedic quips and Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 2 is no exception. The story is centered around a specific character to the point that everyone else is just pointless clutter, whereas Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 1 centered around the teamwork and bond between the members. No plot point surrounding anything in the first 2 hours connects with the central conflict in the end. Shockingly, the writing and dialogue that was so moving and joyful in Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 1 turned into excruciatingly pitiful, soulless & forced garbage that you can find in a Minions film. Similarly to that one scene where Marvel decides to slap the audience with the main villains motivations by making him literally spell it out for Doctor Strange in the character-titled film, there is dialogue in this film that Gunn forces the audience to at least try to acknowledge there is a purpose behind this film. I’ve quite often touched on how Marvel fails to bring any villain of substance into a movie and yet again, Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 2 falls under this trait as well. The villain for this movie was conceptually fantastic with an execution that was pretty well until a lame climactic scene for the conflict. For any type of media that requires a conflict between a group of protagonist or a protagonist, against an antagonist, the story will only be as good as the conflict, as conflict brings the theme. Without good conflict, there is not a good story or theme and in turn there is just no point in watching. A good conflict in a story brings depth to theme, the audience learns something valuable, there is something to cherish within the theme that makes the story just so much more stronger. Volume 2 nearly fails to bring anything of quality from this trait until its very last minutes.
This movie was not put together well. When separate storylines involving team members occur, jumping back and forth between these members seemed more like a headache than actual smooth transitioning. Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 1 had amazing visuals to the point that I listed the film as one of the most beautiful films of all time. Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 2 almost failed to deliver, where there is just equal amounts of beautiful scenery and then there’s terrible CGI with sluggish VFX & cinematography. Acting-wise, the cast mostly delivered other than ones for characters that just had no use whatsoever. Rooker and Pratt were great.
As said in the beginning, this terrible roller-coaster ride that lacks delivery on almost every criteria of a good movie, has a nearly redeeming and powerful ending that might be one of the best sequences in a Marvel movie yet.
You just have to sit through about 2 hours of tomfoolery before you see it.