Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ★★★½

Re-watched this as part of Secret Cinema, and it's hard to divorce the experience of seeing the movie from the buzz of wandering through Knowhere in costume, watching Star Lord grapple with the Collector live (!) and then viewing Volume Two with a crowd of Guardians-fans who holler and hoot at the best or funniest places.
No matter the film - that's going to be a good time.

But is this a quality movie? Like, objectively quality?

This is the first time I have seen the movie since I saw it in the cinema in 2017. My view then was that this was fun but a bit bloated, not as good as the first outing, and that the stuff with Kurt Russell was a bit of a chore.

That was not my view this time around.
I found the evolving dynamic between this makeshift family fun and endearing. I found the plot about Kurt Russell's Ego and the question of what makes a father thematically satisfying. I loved how the most cynical of characters (Nebula, Rocket) find themselves wanting to be part of this gang despite their instincts.

Sure - there are things that don't quite work. Yondu and the Ravagers belatedly becoming this soft, lovey space tribe. The finale not finding anything meaningful to do for Gamora, Nebula, Drax or Mantis. Kurt Russell having precious little to do. An extended cameo for Sylvester Stallone that goes nowhere.

But the fun-o-meter is so often working overtime. The performances are all pitched at the right level between comic and cosmic (Shout out to Karen Gillan who is just nails it every time). Writer/director James Gunn has so distinctively carved out his own wonderful absurd corner of the MCU that it is hard to deny.

The MCU has become so omnipresent, so obviously successful that it is hard to look back at this and remember that this was a sequel to a movie that nobody wanted. Even comic fans had been skeptical about the prospects of Guardians of the Galaxy, but Kevin Feige and James Gunn believed and brought us this pop-tastic fun.

Will it change your life? Eh, probably not. But will it make you wish you had a space family who, singly, were damaged and lonely but, combined, made a unit that could not just save the galaxy twice ("We'll really be able to jack up our prices if we're two-time galaxy savers.") but each other?
Yeah. It will.

Maybe I should be more critical but I just love this stuff.

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