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guardians of the galaxy 2Marvel / Disney

“I’m Mary Poppins, y’all!”

Peter Quill and his fellow Guardians are hired by a powerful alien race, the Sovereign, to protect their precious batteries from invaders. When it is discovered that Rocket has stolen the items they were sent to guard, the Sovereign dispatch their armada to search for vengeance. As the Guardians try to escape, the mystery of Peter’s parentage is revealed.

Leave it to the Marvel Cinematic Universe to effectively ruin the rest of the Summer Blockbuster Season right off the bat. Again. It happened last year with Captain America: Civil War. And now, we have all witnessed the kind of big action blockbuster that will effectively ruin all other movies that would come out after during the coveted Summer months. Yeah, I’m gonna call it:

Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 is the best Summer movie of 2017.

Seriously, all of the others that are coming out in the next few months after this have their work cut out for them. And this is a movie that, really, doesn’t even have much of a concrete plot. Regardless, HERE THERE BE SPOILERS.

So, after the greatest opening title sequence ever realized, we find our motley crew of space heroes on the run from the very race they were hired to protect, where they stumble upon Peter “Star Lord” Quill’s father, who just happens to be Ego, the Living Planet. And in case you’re wondering just how a planet would get it on with a human lady from Earth, there was a Kurt Russell avatar involved. All the other questions about that are actually handled in the movie, so please don’t ask me. I want to be able to sleep at night. Anyway, Quill, Gamora and Drax go with Ego and his consort named Mantis, while Rocket and Baby Groot stay behind to both repair the wrecked Milano, as well as guard Gamora’s sister Nebula. Only, the Ravagers are looking to capture the Guardians for a payout, and after a bit of wackiness that sees both Rocket and Groot captured, along with the help of Nebula, the Ravagers decide to mutiny against their leader Yondu. Which, of course, eventually turns out to be a bad idea. Meanwhile, Quill’s getting some quality time with his intergalactic sperm donor, learning that he’s half Celestial (essentially a demigod) and uses his new-found powers to…play catch with Ego. How heartwarming. Of course, underneath all this shiny-happy outer shell lies a chewy nougat center of horror, as Ego’s true plan is finally revealed, and it’s up to the Guardians to take him down before Ego’s plan destroys the universe as we know it. No sweat.

So, what we have here is a rare sequel that is better than the predecessor, but also manages to flesh out the main characters to the point that when repercussions happen, you feel them in your gut. You get the feels. All the feels. But, you never think that you’re being manipulated into this, and actually balances out the action and comedy that works so well together.

That’s not to say the movie wasn’t without its weaker points. I didn’t think the character of Mantis was really that necessary, except for some exposition (maybe she’ll get fleshed out more in the inevitable sequel of this sequel), and while still a joy to watch, Drax seemed…off. I can’t really explain why, he just does. And probably the most minor quibble would be that the movie throws so much at you during its run time that you really do need to take in a second showing to process it all. Or even a third.

Regardless, Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 once again proves that James Gunn is not only a very competent director, but can turn a potential dud into a fantastic blockbuster. That is no easy task. Especially when we’re talking about sequels. My advice, go see this while it’s still in the theaters. It’s worth the price of admission, plus the overpriced soda and popcorn.


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Guardians Of The GalaxyWalt Disney / Marvel

“Really? Well, on my planet, we have a legend about people like you. It’s called Footloose. And in it, a great hero, named Kevin Bacon, teaches an entire city full of people with sticks up their butts that, dancing, well, is the greatest thing there is.”

Peter Quill, a man of the ’80s, finds himself caught in the middle of a conflict spanning the cosmic side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe attempting to earn his title of Star-Lord with a team of ex-cons that includes a genetically engineered raccoon, a sentient alien tree of royal descent, a human who died and came back a killing machine, and a powerful assassin who vows revenge against her master.

I have to humbly admit that I was not expecting to enjoy Guardians Of The Galaxy as much as I did. I didn’t watch this in the theater during its initial run, mainly due to my unfamiliarity with the source material. Normally, that wouldn’t deter me from watching a movie adaptation: I was right there at the theaters the opening night for Iron Man and The Avengers, after all. But, where I at least had a general grasp of the other better-known characters, I literally knew next to nothing about the source material on this one. I maybe had heard of Rocket Racoon due to my reading of Wizard Magazine back in the day, but other than that, everything else that I knew you could have fit on a cocktail napkin.

So, because of the relative obscurity of it, and having one of the fellow Exalted Geeks tell me I could go ahead and wait for the rental after having caught it on the big screen himself, I did just that: waited until it came out on DVD, and then rented it to give it a watch. Then forgot about watching it, returned it, then promptly forgot to care enough to re-rent it to watch, and then got around to actually doing it for realsies some time later, when I was bored enough to remember to watch it, and needing some background noise going whilst I was packing my things in my old crypt for the move to the Haunted Victorian. What? I can multi-task.

After having finally watched it, I have to admit that, once again, Marvel Studios has made me enjoy something I could initially care less for far more than was possible. This movie had everything going against it as far as I was concerned…and yet, by the first ten minutes I was hooked fast, the film having lured me in with its gorgeous cinematography, then nailing me with its well-crafted story and great character development, as well as some of the snappiest banter and breath-taking action sequences I’ve seen. Once again, James Gunn has taken what could potentially have been a disaster for the Marvel Movie Universe and made it one of the best ones out of the entire stable of Disney/Marvel movies.

I don’t say this often, but I will here: I am very sorry I didn’t catch this on the big screen when I had the chance. If you haven’t seen this one yet, make it a point to do so. Even if you haven’t seen the other Marvel movies, if you’re a fan of space operas like Star Wars and Buck Rogers, and appreciate well-written and snappy dialogue this side of Joss Whedon, you need to check out Guardians Of The Galaxy. If nothing more than to believe that a pro wrestler can have tight comic timing as a Straight Man. That came off sounding far more sexualized than intended. Point is, watch Guardians Of The Galaxy. Highly recommended.