Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a jumbled mess of a movie that is made with a painters eye and an adolescents brain.
What happened? The first Guardians movie was a merry, musical, funnier then usual take on the standard Marvel Comic Book film. Now while it wasn’t original, it followed the standard Marvel beats, heroes with issues, action scenes that are beyond logic and boring villains, it gave us a group of heroes that were flawed, funny and crass. The film worked because of them and how they interacted with each other. It was a movie I could recommend because the script had so many funny one liners and gags that I could care less about the plot.
That doesn’t work this time around. Vol. 2 needs a real plot and it needs it badly. What worked the first time, director James Gunn tries to do this time and in spades. He relies on what made the first great and that is having the major characters like Star-lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana) Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel) makes jokes for the first 45 minutes, before anything resembling a movie begins. The plot, mind you, starts with a group of powerful (and boring) aliens entrusting the Guardians to protect their precious batteries and it all does downhill from there. I sat there, stunned. This is it? I mean, some of the jokes work but come on. This film is over 2 hours and this set up runs way to long.
And the cast? How many characters does this film need? Aside from our heroes, we have Gamora’s sister Nebula (Karen Gillian) coming back and spouting dialogue through clenched teeth. We have Kurt Russell as Star-lords dad, walking in and out of this mess to sound off exposition as his character did in the last Fast and the Furious movie. And then we have Sylvester Stallone who — does nothing as the leader of a group called the Ravagers. Only the great character actor Michael Rooker, back as the blue ravager Yondu, makes an impression. Hell, he steals the movie from under everyone.
Gunn throws us everything including the kitchen sink here. The effects are stunning but we know 200 million dollars will do that. What 200 million doesn’t do these days, I guess, is pay for a descent screenplay. And it’s a shame. I wish this film were tighter, the first half shortened and some characters excised. Then it would work. Maybe.