This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Nmanna27’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Yup, after seeing this three times, I can safely say it's a great one.
Let's get the nit-picks and negatives out of the way first:
Technically it's more overstuffed and messier than the original. It can be said that the script could be alittle overwritten, sometimes characters say what the feel, alot. I acknowledge all of that, but it didn't hinder my enjoyment and I really don't care because it's all necessary and I think it all absolutely works.
James Gunn topped himself with his new Guardians film. The first was great and was my Marvel film for a long time, until Civil War. I think it's been topped again with this one. Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2 builds on what the first film did and gives us a funny, sad, character-drvien, intimate, colorful, thought-provoking, batshit and deeply resonant film.
Everything I listed is what I always wanted out of a flick and this one gives it in spades. A superhero film that feels special and brining something new to the table..and it's a SEQUEL. How did James Gunn do it? It's a total achievement.
Two amazing superhero movies have come out this year (this and Logan) and they are both great for very different reasons, well maybe not totally different. They are both films that looked great, I cared about the character so much and were also films that made me feel things. To boost, there were some great, funny, and sincere performances from Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Kurt Russel and especially from Michael Rooker, who pretty much steals the show. I could list every actor honestly. Everyone is on their A-game here and it shows.
It's a film about family (and retaining that family and how difficult it can be...but also how worth it it can be) but also, surprisingly, about fathers. What does it really mean to be a father or dad? This film answers that in a surprising and really touching way, the first movie definitely had emotion, but the emotion in this one hits you even harder. Yondu is Peter's real dad, it didn't matter that Ego was his biological father, Yondu, though flawed, cared for Peter and (especially near the end) did anything to keep him safe and happy, Yondu sacrificed his life for him, finally doing something right, THAT is what a dad means. That part of the movie gets me every time.
Every character gets an arc, once again it seems impossible but James Gunn does it greatly. Peter learns about fatherhood and how worthwhile being in a family is, understanding everyone in the group and connecting with them, he decides to be like everyone else and be mortal. Gamora is the mother of the group who is constantly trying to fight and keep the team stable and together, she connects with her sister, Nebula and sees that with her and Peter that what she wanted was there all along, to not fight it but understand and love both of them. Nebula, who has a much more interesting story this time, accepts her sister, that her abuse was never really Gamora's fault, though she believed it was for a long time. Rocket learns that him being a jerk of the team comes from him being afraid to truly open up to his new friends, him and Yondu are much alike and he learns how he can change from that, but also how he cannot. The final shot shows that with no words, as a tear runs across Rocket's cheek as he watching Yondu's funeral as his ashes look like an arrow as we see a glimmer of hope in Rocket's face, that it's all more than just himself, a great way to end the film and also an emotionally powerful image. Drax becomes more open and trusting than even the last film, Mantis gains more confidence in herself and Yondu learns the most about who he is and how he can finally do something right for someone he always cared about, Peter, and do something heroic. Even Baby Groot gets an arc, learning from his surroundings (like a child), being an innocent, dumb baby, but figures out how to mature and get down to business when the time is right. Baby Groot also surprisingly fit's in with the father-son themes, which makes for a great silent scene with Groot and Peter near the end.
Ego is one of the best, if not THE best, Marvel Studios villain to date. He always felt alone and wanted to find life, when he found life he couldn't get over the fact that not everyone is like him. He pushed aside the comforts of life (Peter's mother) for his mission to make the universe exactly like himself to feel less alone. He's complex, he really does feel like he's doing the right thing and just wants Peter to see that way he does and help him. He is also extremely hate-able, which is what you always want in a villain, played with the perfect amount of humor, charisma and menace by Kurt Russel
I could go on for more paragraphs, with it's great visuals and great comedic moments, especially from Drax. I love this film, what a great movie going experience, I watch movies because of movies like GOTG Vol. 2! I can't wait to see what James Gunn does next time in Vol. 3!
I am Groot.
I dunno, needed to find a way to end this.