Some Considerations Following A Screening Of Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2

Needed to get this down, really, so apologies for the lack of structure. Spoilers, obviously, right? Right.  

  1. In which we see the MCU fully embrace the path of weird/Cosmic Marvel. Who’d have thought it? The legacy of tripped-out heads like Jim Starlin is up on the screen, beautifully bright and garish. This is a universe where space is filled with colour and light, where the absurd and the astonishing meet without contradiction. A gigantic playground that James Gunn and his team of crazies have brought to life with wild abandon.
  2. This movie is a keystone for what happens down the line in Marvel movies, I think–at least for the next phase of operations. As it’s become apparent that the Guardians have a part to play in the next two Avengers movies (never a surprise, as Stark and co spend as much time off-planet as on in the comics universe) the cross-point between the two franchises–Thanos and those pesky Infinity Stones–becomes ever more important. With Nebula gunning for her dad, another colour gets added to the mix.
  3. However, GotGV2 is very much its own thing, and pleasingly so. The hints to franchise hookup are kept subtle and, in a few case, restricted to mid-credit stings. What was the Jeff Goldblum character from Thor: Ragnarok doing tucked into the crawl? Is that Adam Warlock (famously an adversary of Thanos in the struggle for control of the Infinity Gauntlet) in the golden birthing pod?
  4. The film is, of course, an expansive indulgent laff riot. The lightness of touch that made GotG such a delight has been amped up here. In short, it’s a screamingly funny movie. MVP has to be Dave Bautista, who has turned Drax into a tone-deaf joke machine. At the same time, his relationship with Mantis (played beautifully by Pom Klementieff as a cosmic innocent) has a sweetness to it that never feels mean.
  5. Everyone here is on the top of their game, though. Chris Pratt brings an endearing mix of bravado and vulnerability to his portrayal of Peter Quill (you get the sense that he’s never quite grown up, which helps with some of his more childishly rash decisions), Zoe Saldana is a tough, smart foil as Gamora.
  6. The themes of family that ran through the first film are similarly brought back into focus, along with a strong thread on the notion of fatherhood. It turns out that having a living planet for a dad is a bad idea. Who’da thunk? Kurt Russell works both sides brilliantly here, moving from avuncular to threatening in a blink of the eye.
  7. The thread of fatherhood is important as it gives everyone motive, motoring the plot forward in a way that we didn’t see in the first movie. It’s fascinating, though, to note that the fathers in the story–Ego, Thanos, and even to an extent Yondu–are hardly the best role models in the world. For a film that talks so explicitly about family, that’s an interesting dynamic.
  8. An off-shoot, if you’ll excuse the pun: I was glad to see that James Gunn isn’t hanging onto Baby Groot. The little guy is a lot of fun, but there was a danger, as my esteemed colleague Ben Chod pointed out, of him turning into the franchise’s Minion. Teenage Groot is going to make for a much more interesting character, I think.
  9. Where do we go from here? Well, we have the hookup with the Avengers to come. I wonder how the Russo Brothers will play their gritty aesthetic up against the hot-neon universe of Cosmic Marvel. It’s vital not to tone that down, I think. The sheer eye-widening spectacle of the Guardian’s space should not be desaturated in any way. I’m looking forward to epic-scale star-spanning lunacy, with the fate of a universe at stake. Can Star-Lord still handle an Infinity Stone now that Ego is gone? What part will Elizabeth Debicki’s Golden Horde play in all this? Most importantly… what’s going onto the soundtrack?
  10. And while we’re looking ahead–who’s up for a new Howard The Duck movie? Cos it looks like James Gunn is…
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Rob

Writer. Film-maker. Cartoonist. Cook. Lover.

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