The Wheel and Axle

Family Feuds

by on May.03, 2017, under Film & TV, Geeky

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Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, which I watched last week, is at the heart of it one big story about family. Yes, what should’ve been the core of the Fantastic Four (that failure of franchise) has been shifted to the sequel of Marvel Studios’ sleeper hit from 2014.

The theme of family permeates the entire film across multiple sub-plots, from Quill’s relationship with his re-appearing father as well as with Yondu, to Gamora’s relationship with her estranged sister Nebula, to the familial ties of the Ravagers and, ultimately, to what dynamics there are amongst the Guardians themselves. The entire film is almost like a treatise on family feuds set against the backdrop of space battles and living planets.

While it’s occasionally heavy-handed and anvilicious, it’s all still affectingly touching without being sappy. Not too sappy, any way.

And it works.

The first film was a massive unexpected hit for Marvel Studios, and while I liked it a lot, I do think it was more over-rated than it really was (certainly, Winter Soldier as well as the first Avengers movie were leagues above it. This sequel, however, is in my opinion a superior one. Is it now within the leagues of Winter Soldier and Avengers? Well, not quite, but I do feel that the franchise has gained a more solid footing and direction this time around.

Characters are fleshed out more, and we see a more exciting and personal central conflict, if still somewhat black and white morally. Marvel Studios has gotten some criticism for its lack of interesting and three-dimensional villains, save for Loki, and this film does nothing to improve on that aspect. Thankfully, the secondary personal conflicts were more morally gray, especially the Gamora/Nebula dynamic, and the final results were great.

Oh, and yeah, that would totally be Adam Warlock at the end, just in time for the Infinity War, no doubt. It does make one wonder how they’d cram that all into those movies.

I do think they overdid the music on this one. The first film was praised for its excellent soundtrack that gave a different vibe to the movie. They seem to have taken that feedback so seriously that they went overboard in the sequel. Yes, the music is still excellent, but sometimes less is more.

The cast remains wonderful, especially Chris Pratt as well as Karen Gillan (Nebula). Pom Klementieff, who portrays Mantis, is also surprisingly amusing and adorable. Everyone was in their A-game, though admittedly Kurt Russell teetered on the brink of scenery-chewing.

Over-all, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 is a fun and satisfying sequel that manages to give its predecessor a decent run for its money. And then some. It’s worth a watch. Now go! Catch it while you can.

My Rating: 8.5 out of 10 Stars

Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki, Chris Sullivan, Sean Gunn, and Kurt Russell. Sylvester Stallone cameos, presumably to set up his own MCU franchice because that’s they way they go.

Directed By: James Gunn

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Since June 2016