Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ★★★★½

Had a ball watching this last night. Maybe my 3rd or 4th watch, and I think I enjoyed it the most this time around. Watching the first one the previous night definitely helped. The issues I had with it previously are still there. The time on Ego’s planet feels kind of wheel spinny, and the climactic battle in his core just feels a tad too long. That said, it more than makes up for it with stunning, kaleidoscopic visuals, great humor, and a compelling, layered emotional arc centered around the trauma passed onto these character by their "real" family and the healing, healthier relationships bonded with the families they created on their own.

The set design surrounding Ego is meticulous and beautiful, from the interior of his egg ship to the fabulous nature and architecture on the planet. This thing looked fucking amazing on my TV. The rainbow spewing monster at the start, the golden beings chasing after the Guardians through a quantum asteroid field, all the way down to the colors of Ogord for Yondu’s funeral, this is a delightful visual feast throughout.

The humor can be a bit hit or miss, but when it works, it hits even harder than the first. Rocket and Drax laughing about the stolen batteries as they leave. This immaculate exchange between Drax and Ego:
-You Earther’s have hang ups.
-Yes Drax, I got a penis.
-Ha! Thank you!
-And it’s not half bad.
All of Drax’s uproarious laughter used to bug me in previous watches, but this time I was laughing my ass off right along with him. And all of his interactions with Mantis! He’s the unsung MVP of this one.

I really loved the overarching theme of the film this time too: family. Both the trauma they can dole out, and the organic love of the family you create yourself. It touches nearly every character, weaving between all of them. Rocket and Peter butting heads in the beginning; Peter and the father that killed his mother; his stand-in daddy Yondu; Gamora and Nebula literally fighting through the trauma Thanos doled out on them to become the sisters they’ve always wanted to be; even Drax’s grief and love of his dead family and the effect it has on Mantis, not just sadness, but wonder and solemn gratitude. It’s all infused in these characters and their relationships with each other. I'm excited for Gunn to get back to these characters in the Holiday Special and the final volume.

“I’m gonna make some weird shit!”
Demi God Peter Quill / James Gunn

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