Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ★★★½

I liked it more. Four years of time will do that sometimes.

I still really, really hate how the movie takes a nosedive in the latter half through absolutely reducing its moral complexity to zero in order to create a Pixar surface level moral messaging thing. But my anger over that is a smidge less now, and it let me see what a fine ensemble piece this otherwise is. It'll never be a favorite movie, because it'd have needed a good antagonist for that, but it's at least one of my more favorite Marvel Studios films.

James Gunn's Spider-Man 2, in the way that he's given maximum creative control possible and goes wild with it even at the expense of stuff like setting up franchisebuilding or being conventionally plotted. It's an extremely weird movie as far as blockbusters go, and I appreciate that a lot. Now, unlike Raimi, Gunn certainly wasn't given full permission, hence why the story had to turn into a generic climactic battle at the end, but it's enough that you can really see the directoral style in a way that Marvel otherwise doesn't allow.

It's the rare Found Family movie that actually feels genuine because the characters actually bond with each other. It's not just bickering and snarking, even in the middle section; we learn backstories, have quiet moments, and mend broken relationships. From a character standpoint alone, nobody does it better (which makes me feel sad for the rest).

Also, it's very pretty. Good colors. Please give me more colors in my big dumb cape movies.

Continuity Weirdness:

-So the gigantic destructive anomaly happened in 2014, based on when this movie appears to be set. Kinda weird that none of the Avengers or anyone thought to look into the giant catastrophe blob in the year from that incident until Age of Ultron and all those other movies since then. I guess Thor wasn't interested in what was clearly a cosmic event from a Celestial?

-They're trying to say that Stan Lee's character is the exact same guy in every single movie, which I approve of, but this also implies that he got a job as a FedEx worker, then went to space, then went back to Earth and became a FedEx worker again (since this takes place BEFORE Civil War), That or it's a continuity error, but nah, nobody would ever mess up at something like that.

-The original Guardians of the Galaxy are here as the "Ravagers" but they are missing Vance Astro, and I will never forgive them until they finally make Vance Astro canon, dammit.

If they fixed the awful villain and (as usual) too-long climax, it'd be a pretty wonderful movie. But otherwise, it's a good but not exceptional sci-fi adventure.

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