Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ★★★★

Not tagging spoilers because I just want to say that the early reports of this as crass, stupid, or mean-spirited are greatly exaggerated and, well, wrong, and that reports that this movie is the best Marvel movie yet are right (but probably for the wrong reasons).

Ok, spoiler talk from here on out:

This was the least Marvel Marvel movie I've ever seen, and that's why I love the hell out of it - to be honest, it probably makes the first one pale a bit by comparison.

So, a lot of the banter and such are just ok because it's not new. If you liked the first one, it's just more of the same good stuff you liked. The signature Gunn banter? Check. The soundtrack? Check, though this one might be a bit less iconic overall (hard act to follow, but it'll still get shit tons of sales and be played on loop in every fuckin Barnes and Noble...). I must add that is also helps to occasionally add the main orchestral theme from the first one; there's a little musical continuity for shit's sake. What's really fascinating here is the structure: slow pacing, barely ANYTHING happens, it sets up literally NOTHING, it's an all-around superfluous adventure in terms of Marvel canon and whatever comes next. What the fuck? It's the first one, but without the standard Marvel hero fill-in-the-blanks plot. It's an actual space opera this time!! Also, it's oddly violent with some disturbing imagery - think the Kingsman head-exploding sequence for aesthetic reference. And here's where I'm really sold: it delivers emotionally! Sure, there's still the banter and Marvel-y jokes (if way more edgy) but they surround the emotional peaks instead of interrupting them. Yeah, so what if those fan boy fucks can still laugh away their feelings? At least I can revel in them!

And, of course, most importantly, this is a metric fuck-ton of fun. Is Guardians the only franchise where I actually enjoy Chris Pratt? Yes!

That being said, 20 years in the future when Marvel is on Phase 8, the New Avengers 4 will just be 1 hour 20 minutes of the Marvel logo followed by 11 after credits sequences. Selling your soul to Satan has its side effects, James.

P.S.: I really have no problem with a good lot of killing and whatever, but the movie relies a bit too much on the cuteness of Baby Groot to make the audience hate the villain - we should probably not like them whether or not they hurt His Grootness.

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