Sorry not to garner any more enthusiasm, but, “it’s fine” was my actual response to the film when the credits rolled. Guardians will most likely please fans of the first, and by having a cheeky sense of humor, it rises above some of the more dour super hero proceedings (I’m looking at you, Batman V Superman). Come on, they can fly and shoot lasers… it should be fun! Am I right?
In the times since I’ve seen the first Guardians of the Galaxy, I had a bit of an, “Ah, I see!” revelation regarding Chris Pratt. When the first movie came out in the same year as The Lego Movie (in which he voiced the main character Emmet), I had never heard of the guy, and wondered how he came from nowhere and scored two lead roles in box office hits. Well, I’ve since binge-watched Parks and Recreation. On that show, he is a loveable, puppy-dog doofus, which, I realize now, seems to be his forte.
In Guardians, Pratt is Peter Quill aka “Star Lord”, a kind of smug, kind of dim, kind of sweet half-human in search of his dad “who came from the stars”. After he and his buddies succeed at fighting bad guys (or something) in the first film, they have become the Guardians, a sort of band of badasses for hire. After battling a big beastie in the opening sequence, Quill, Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (David Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and stinkin’ cute Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) are on the run after Rocket steals some valuable batteries from the alien race called the Sovereign, who are pretty and gold and now pissed off.
The plot quickly veers with the introduction of always foxy Kurt Russell as Ego the Living Planet (which is an awesome name). The unsurprisingly cocky Ego says he is Quill’s long-lost star dad… the man from the stars who impregnated Quill’s mom, only to disappear, leaving her to die years later of a brain tumor. Despite some convoluted explanations, Peter is swayed, unsurprisingly excited to finally find his mythical (in more ways than one) father.
But Gamora, among others, isn’t entirely convinced that Ego’s intentions are entirely good. (With a name like Ego, you’d think that most would jump to that conclusion right away.)
Guardians 2 is basically Fast and Furious 8, but in space. How is that possible? Well, Kurt Russell brings his shaggy charm to both, there are lots of fast chases and explosions in both, and THEY ARE ALL ABOUT FAMILY. AND THEY BOTH ARE SURE TO TELL YOU THIS MANY TIMES. Now, I’m one to appreciate the mainstream acknowledgement of the “you choose your own family” aesthetic represented, but after a while, the repetition of the word “family” starts to become a drinking game. OK, we get it!
There is a lot of plot in Guardians 2. It is well over 2 hours, and honestly kind of feels like it. It will make you laugh, it will dazzle your eyeballs, and it will make you feel kind of sleepy after a while. I will admit though, some of the final scenes were lovely and surprisingly moving, which kind of caught me off guard.
It is easy to argue that the Guardians are more fun that other gaggles of heroes and heroines, and I’m sure this movie and the next (and next and next) will do just fine, aka my half-assed enthusiasm will obviously do nothing to keep this movie from being a monster hit. So, yes, the movie is fine. You’ll have a good time.