Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2; science-fiction action comedy, USA, 2017; D: James Gunn, S: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper (voice), Kurt Russell, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki, Vin Diesel (voice), Sylvester Stallone, David Hasselhoff

Peter Quill and his alien team - Gamora, Drax, Racoon Rocket and a baby Groot plant - still work together, until they meet Peter's long lost father, Ego, who turns out to be an alien who created his own planet. On the planet, they meet Ego's associate, a naive girl called Mantis. However, it turns out that Ego killed Peter's mother and that he wants to kill all life across the Universe, in order to expand his own species. Peter and his team rebel and destroy his planet, but Peter's adoptive father, blue alien Yondu, dies while saving him in orbit. Gamora also makes up with her sister, Nebula.

While the first "Guardians of the Galaxy" film turned into a pleasant surprise, showing how big budget films can still end up being fun and relaxed, part II experienced a convalesce of all those typical 'sequel cliches', signalling that all of its virtues were rolled back towards the big studio executives mentality. Director and screenwriter James Gunn tries too hard to capture the feel of the 1st film, yet there is a nervousness this time around, a pressure that is felt in the story that seems convoluted and has too many cheap attempts at humor or appealing only towards tiresome action in the finale that is a CGI overkill. Worse still, all these charming characters seem only as pale shadows of their snappy personas from the 1st film: this is especially noticeable in Drax, who was the funniest of them all, but rarely does anything charming this time around and thus feels wasted and underused, except for his contagious trademark laugh here and there. A few good jokes show up, though, which manage to liven up the mood here and there: one of the best is an argument between Peter and raccoon Rocket while they are fighting over who will fly the spaceship ("I was genetically engineered to be a pilot!" - "You were genetically engineered to be a douchebag!") or when Peter finds out he can do whatever he wants on Ego's planet ("Well, get ready for a 800-foot statue of Pac-Man with Skeletor and Heather Locklear!"). Peter's subplot involving his father, alien Ego, seems to be a debate on the notion of a biological vs. adoptive father, and has a satisfying, fitting resolution. The supporting character of Mantis, a naive alien girl with antennas, is also charming. Unfortunately, this is not enough to camouflage that there isn't that much inspiration this time around, with too many side characters wrecking the already strained narrative, whereas the supporting role by Sylvester Stallone was unworthy to this presence: he was given only 30 seconds at the beginning and the end, without contributing much to the story.

Grade:+

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