Friday, May 12, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy 2: My Spoiler-Free Review

When you're on the internet as much as I am you learn to see movies earlier to avoid spoilers. Still, I can't say I was TOO excited about Guardians Of The Galaxy 2. I did like the first one, but since I only saw it AFTER all the hype from reviews, I came away a little non-plussed. I mean, it was good, but it wasn't face-meltingly awesome, you know?

So let me start by saying this: Guardians 2 is better than the first one. In fact, my knee-jerk reaction is to say it's way, WAY better, but that could be those low expectations talking. I also haven't read a single review yet, so maybe after everyone points out all the bad stuff I'll feel differently. Heh.

For now, though, here are my initial, spoiler-free thoughts on why I think you'll like it:




 - Possibly the most entertaining opening sequence ever

Seriously, I watched those opening credits laughing and gasping and generally whooping it up. Perfect blend of action, humor, and a lot of things happening at once, so you immediately want to see it again.

- A much-needed dose of heart

Even avoiding reviews, I've seen some ominous headlines and tweets about "too much emotion" in Guardians 2. After being burned so badly with Rogue One, I literally considered leaving the theater 3/4 of the way through, dreading what was to come.

Happily, my fears were unfounded.

Yes, G2 absolutely packs more of a punch to the feelz, but given that the first one had the emotional complexity of a cereal box, that's not a high bar to beat. Plus, Guardians *needed* these emotions. They are integral to a (rather beautiful) story arc, not tacked-on as a seeming afterthought, or for no other reason than to make us feel bad. These had purpose and meaning. Rocket, Gamora, Drax, and of course Starlord - they all reveal some private pains, and trust me, you're gonna love them more for it.

To get a better perspective, John and I came home from the movie and immediately watched the first Guardians again. Nope, I didn't imagine it: Guardians 2 is better. In huge part, I think, due to that added depth to the characters.

- But it's still hysterical

So funny. 'Nuff said.

- And baby Groot!



 So cute. 'Nuff said.


- Love beyond the romantic

Guardians was already about friendship and forming your own family, but G2 takes those themes further, and does it well. It's always refreshing to see something beyond sex on screen, so kudos to the writers for resisting some of the obvious romantic angles (arguably moreso than the first), and focusing instead on themes of family, friendship, and loyalty.



I don't have much to offer by way of negatives, though I could definitely see an argument being made for better, stronger female characters. While Gamora still kicks butt and has a significant role, she's just not... likeable? Relatable? Maybe it's just me. I'm glad to see more of Nebula this time, though, and how they developed her and Gamora's relationship.

There's also a quick scene in an android brothel that deserves a little side-eye, since it was only lady androids, no males. I can't believe I'm about to type this, but c'mon, Guardians. Would a token android gigolo have killed you? AI did it!


(Quick, someone name their band Token Android Gigolo. I need that t-shirt.)

And on that ridiculous note: happy weekend, everyone!



***
UPDATE: Dreams do come true, y'all:

By Missy Meyer Design, who's a dear friend. And since several of you have asked, she's made this available on both Red Bubble and Zazzle. Be warned: if you wear one around me, you WILL see me freak out. :D

29 comments:

  1. We loved it so dang much for all the reasons you just stated. The Washington Post had an entire article, "How ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ pulled off one of the most joyous opening sequences in years," and it really and truly was all that and more. We're going to go see it again. :-D

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  2. Token Android Gigolo is my Steam Powered Giraffe/David Lee Roth cover band. (ok, not really, but it should be.)

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  3. Happy birthday!

    I'm looking forward to seeing guardians 2 - but my work schedule is so crazy I'll likely watch it later on with friends.

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  4. I absolutely loved GotG2! I thought it was practically perfect in every way. So funny, and baby Groot is amazing. All of the end credit scenes were great. (All zillion of them, lol) Happy birthday, Jen!

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  5. I agree with pretty much everything you said, especially about the opening sequence and Baby Groot (who is my spirit animal). The one thing I wholeheartedly disagree with is that GotG2 is better than the original, and I think a lot of that has to do with the hype factor you had to deal with. One of the best things about GotG was the soundtrack music. The script was written with each specific song planned and designed for its scene. This musical magic was definitely absent from GotG2. Don't get me wrong, I don't see a movie for the music, but after the awesomeness that was the soundtrack of the original, I was sorely disappointed this go round. Because of that, I was left feeling a little underwhelmed by an otherwise outstanding film.

    Did anyone else catch the year the film takes place? It's not 2017. ;)

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  6. I agree! I do like the original guardians (I also saw that one opening weekend, pre-hype). But I though this one had way more meat in it. I liked all the more meaningful interactions with the crew and the buildign of pathos. Also the first scene totally reminded me of a video game mission.

    I also agree about Gamora. but I feel like the entire MCU needs that. Black Widow gets a new personality every time she's in a movie because they didn't give her her own movie to anchor her down. I find scarlet witch uninteresting. So I'm crossing fingers desperately hoping that marvel doesn't totally mess up Captain Marvel. She's my favorite marvel character in general. Also hoping that next guardians movie Mantis gets to grow more. I felt her character was pretty superficial this time around. But the first movie, the rest of the guardians were as well.

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  7. Thanks for giving us a review, Miss Jen! Glad that you're able to find positiveness in something as simple as Baby Groot. I do too! :-)
    Love, hugs and sprinkles, Pinkie Welborne,
    Indiana

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  8. Happy Birthday. Thanks for the review (though I confess a small amount of disappointment at not getting to see the new dress and teal Chucks) Hope you have a great weekend.

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  9. Happy birthday, Jen!!!

    While I enjoyed a lot of this movie, I was just really bothered by one scene in the middle, violence-wise, and it really put me off the whole rest of the movie, unfortunately. The next time I watch it, I will use that scene for a bathroom break and pretend it didn't happen and then I think I will thoroughly enjoy everything else.

    I want to rewatch the first one, too - there were a couple of character details that I wish I'd remembered a bit better while watching the second one.

    Groot was (of course) amazing, though! And I loved some of the visuals that they came up with for the different planets.

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    1. I wonder if it was the same scene that disturbed me - the airlock? Although John thought a completely different scene was worse, violence-wise, and that one didn't phase me. Apparently if it's quick/non-gory and has a peppy sound track I'm OK, ha.

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    2. The one that got me was those guys were tormenting poor Groot! Good grief, he's only a baby!

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    3. Totally agree with you Fiona. That made me sad, but then they followed it up with the next scene that made me laugh.

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    4. [*Spoilers ahead! Skip this comment if you want to be 100% spoiler-free*]

      The arrow bit is the one that got me. The airlock was bad, but it was meant to be bad, and the people responsible were counted as villains. The follow up with the arrow was portrayed as a cheerful thing (the peppy music made it way worse for me, honestly) and we were meant to be cheering for that violence. And then we were supposed to have all these warm fuzzy feelings for him the whole rest of the movie and I just couldn't.

      If it had been shorter and/or if it had only been the people we saw responsible for the bit with the airlock and Groot, or if the ones killed had been actively attacking or something, I could deal with it. But we already know one of the defectors regretted the mutiny, so it stands to reason there could have been others. Especially because it seemed like he killed a *lot* more people on the ship than were even present on the planet during the mutiny / the handful that were tormenting Groot.

      I wish they'd kept the arrow to the few people we saw actively involved in the airlock / Groot bits, and then everyone else immediately surrendered and got sent off in escape pods or something like that instead of the wholesale slaughter that we got.

      Also, because I hadn't rewatched the original before seeing this one, I'd forgotten that Yondu had come back to help at the end of the first movie, so I already started out with a lower opinion of him than I might have otherwise. I still need to rewatch the first one and see if that improves my feelings towards him or not.

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    5. That's the part that bothered John, and I totally see why in hindsight. I suppose I just told myself they were all bad guys, all responsible for that airlock scene - which was way more brutal to me. At least the arrow was quick. (I should probably mention I'm what my Mom calls "low mercy," lol.)

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    6. *more spoilers on this topic* That part really bothered me, too. I felt uncomfortable. At first, in the scene with the music, I was squirming because it was portrayed as so careless/carefree. Yes, Yondu and others had been hurt by the baddies, but he took them out without really facing them, so to me it seemed impersonal. But then when we find out how Yondu controls his arrow, and that made it hard for me to, as Merida Ann says, have warm fuzzy feelings for him. Maybe it was an attempt to make up for wrongs in his life, but I didn't sense justice in the arrow scene, or regret afterwards.

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    7. Yes, that line about how he controls his arrow really bothered me, too. Um... All he uses that arrow for is to kill and threaten people, so... Yeah, not as inspiring as it was meant to be, in my mind.

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    8. That part bothered me too. If, as Merida Ann said, the arrow attack had been limited to just the people we actually saw killing the loyalists or tormenting Groot, I wouldn't have had such a problem with it. But the arrow was just zipping through the entire ship, killing everyone no matter what they were doing, and Yondu and Rocket were laughing about it. It just bothered me. Between that and the fact that we never actually heard a single GOOD thing Yondu did for Peter growing up, I had a lot of trouble accepting the sudden "he was my dad all along" thing. It just didn't have the emotional impact on me that it seems to have had on others.

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  10. I absolutely loved it. As I've said to a few people (and on FoE), as someone from a non-traditional family this movie broken me but in the best way possible. Already have plans to go again with another group of friends.

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  11. This movie could have been called Groot of the Galaxy and been 2 hours of Groot being adorable and I would have been 110% okay with that.

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  12. i thought the scenes on Kurt Russell's planet were a little dragging. like i knew something weird was going on, just get to the reveal. though when we find out the EXTENT of the badness....
    otherwise i loved it. especially the scene when they kept trying to get him to get the item out of Yondu's drawer :D

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    1. Oh my gosh, yes. "That's my underwear." Bahahaha! I'm thinking I need to get/make one of the items for my new Groot doll to hold. :D

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  13. If the movie had just been the first 15 minutes, it would have been well worth the money. The whole thing was just as good as the first GotG to me. I loved the depth of character everyone got and I would watch it over and over, even though it made me cry in parts, but it also made me laugh way more.

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  14. Gamora is super relatable to me, but I had a somewhat similar only far tamer family dynamic as hers. Except she isn't horribly handicapped by guilt for not having done better for her siblings, and keeps her eyes on the prize. That's probably why she's doing infinitely better than me, though! She and Nebula (I never thought I'd include Nebula there) are kind of heroes to me. They (or at least Gamora) function surprisingly well considering their background, and that makes me happy.

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  15. Agreed about Gamora, but I'd rather see *more* female characters than change her to be more likeable. Right now, every hope we might put on a female protagonist is on her, but if we had some more women, they wouldn't have to be everything at once. :-) (Haven't seen the sequel yet, but now I'm looking forward to her and Nebula, thanks!)

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  16. I was looking forward to this movie. I needed a good light-hearted fun romp, but that was not what I got. It was so disappointing. Recycled jokes, formulaic, and surprisingly dull. I wanted to like it. I had hoped Gamora and Nebula would have more to do this go around than just beat up each other, but no. It was gorgeous and there were a few laugh out loud moments, but for the most part it just felt like a 2+ hour long therapy session. Baby Groot is just this year's minion.

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  17. "..but given that the first one had the emotional complexity of a cereal box.."

    I think that's pretty unfair. The first movie starts with Peter losing his mother and ends with him finally letting her go, and we glimpse in every single character a private pain that motivates them. It's simply not overt/ what the movie is about.

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  18. [Spoiler Quote Below!]
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    "He may have been your father boy, but he wasn't your daddy."
    brb while I sob in Ravager.
    I'm not sure why that one hit me so hard (I've never had that kind of experience), but it rocked me to my core. I also wish that Gamora and Nebula were utilized and given a stronger role, but ya know BABYGROOT.
    Side note: I need to know where to get my hands on Gamora's boots. I NEED THEM.

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