(During quarantine my girlfriend and I are going through the Marvel movies chronologically. Surprisingly, she is really enjoying them, maybe even more than me. We are already a couple down and I’m gunna do write-ups for all of ‘em, the good and the bad.)
I was ready to hate this movie. Before watching Doctor Strange, I thought the next couple of movies were gonna be a slog. I was seriously not looking forward to it and I put off watching them longer than I should. As already confessed, I was completely wrong about Doctor Strange, but there was no way Guardians Vol. 2 could be good, right? The odds are already stacked against Vol. 2 as it’s unanimously regarded as the lesser of the two ‘Guadians’ movies, and I didn’t even think the first one was very good.
Going back two years or so, I tried to watch Guardians Vol. 2 a couple, but I turned it off after 15 minutes due to the resounding amount of dumb jokes. You get the impression that this MCU entry is one for the kids. It’s so immature and every single line is a childish joke. The first line of dialogue is literally the eye-rollingly bad “Showtime, A-holes!.” This kind of dialogue continues, non-stop, for a good hour. But then, half way through the movie something strange happened. It got good.
After watching it in full a couple of days ago now, it has really left a lasting impression on me. It’s the opposite of Guardians 1, wherein the second half was considerably worse than the first half. With Vol. 2 however, the 2nd half is much better than the first.
The cinematography in Vol. 2 is stunning. The opening sequence where all the action is going on in the background as Groot is in the foreground dancing, all while the camera rotates is a rollercoaster. Then there’s the whole scene with rocket killing everyone in the woods, there are so many great looking scenes. And the quantum minefield is a stroke of genius too.
When it’s clear what Ego’s motive is and why he has tracked down Star-Lord, it becomes next level story telling and evolves from the god-awful dick and fart jokes. The final act doesn’t go on for too long and is engaging all the way through, which can’t be said for Guardians 1. The effects and the way Ego looks is thrilling, terrifying, exciting, and it’s totally sci-fi – I mean really interesting smart sci-fi – not just sci-if for sci-fi’s sake, another criticism I had of its predecessor. The finale is powerfully dramatic, and it’s a rare moment in the MCU that has stakes, and I totally got the feels during the final scenes between Star-Lord and Yondu.
There’s more great music, of course, only this time it doesn’t con people in to loving the movie. The music doesn’t hide the film’s imperfections like the first one did. Though there is one too many slow motion walks to cool tracks.
The Guardians of the Galaxy really are a unit and it’s impossible not to root for them. Drax’s laughter is contagious, Rocket’s love of weapons and disgusting pranks is lovable, and it is hard not to be lured in by the cuteness of Baby Groot. The whole ‘looking for tape’ sketch is the best moment of the movie, and it uses all of the characters’ personalities in a gag that’s mostly off-screen. That’s how you tell a joke, and it’s a joke that almost makes up for the 100 terrible one liners.
One more thing, Vol. 2 takes mid-credit scenes to the next level. How many mid-credit scenes do you need? I counted five. In a way, It kind of works well breaking up the 15 minutes of credits, but come on.