Seth’s review published on Letterboxd:
I often find myself writing that a given movie had heart, to the point it feels like a tired description. Nonetheless, I love movies that care for their characters, for their audiences and and for telling emotionally significant stories— movies with heart.
It may seem bizarre to call Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2, a movie with heart. After all, it’s a wild superhero romp, with gross out/toilet/anatomical humor galore. It’s written by James Gunn, so it’s got to be immature.
However, anyone who has seen this film knows what I’m getting at. This is a story of familial love, of finding true family and friends, of belonging. And to be sure, GoG is chock full of emotional moments set to jerk the tears out of viewers. This is what makes me really love this movie. Where others may feel Gunn goes for the easy emotional gut punches, I see a desire to project genuine appreciation and admiration for the edifying love that is only provided by family and friends.
If not for the Gunnsy choices to make extreme violence slapsticky, this would be the family drama of the Marvel oeuvre. I like that. It’s not perfect, and I could be convinced that in some ways it’s not that good, but the message it offers is one I can’t reject or dislike.