Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (2017)

Last night my dad and I went to see Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2. Both my father and I enjoyed the first film, and I was happy to say that the second was not bad. In fact, in some respects it was better than the first, though in other respects it wasn't. All in all it held up very well.

I have to say, one thing I really like about the Guardians movies is the tech. It's always very unique and kind of outside the norm of what most sci-fi movies do with technology. The movable cylindrical weapons on Rocket's ship (as well as some of his other tools), the interesting way they "jump" through the galaxy to get to different points - which is very different from the generic "hyperspace" or "lightspeed" of other movies - the way the people of the Sovereign pilot their ships, it was all very very cool. I guess what I am saying is that we are used to regarding these Marvel flicks as super hero movies, not so much sci-fi movies. And taken as a science fiction movie, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 was very good. Volume 2 felt much more like a science fiction story than the original. I actually think I liked it better...we didn't have to deal with Infinity Stones and Thanos and the whole baggage of the Marvel Extended Universe. It was just a fun, stand alone science fiction movie.

The plot was fairly interesting and had a different feel to it than the first movie. I was happy that it did not fall into the generic "must stop bad guy from obtaining super weapon" story line that is being repeated ad nauseam with all these super hero films. It was a bit more creative than that. Without giving anything away I want to say it felt kind of like...watching one of the weirder episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, although obviously with all the action and humor we would expect from a Guardians film. But in terms of using a bizarre encounter with unexplained phenomenon as an occasion for exploring deeper moral problems, it definitely felt like an old Next Generation episode. Which I thought was a good thing.

Another thing I appreciated was the plot did not feel too cluttered. It was paced well, without too much crap going on. It wasn't jammed with too many villains, nor did it introduce a bunch of new heroes. It was coherent and well put together. It also tied up all the loose ends from the first movie regarding Peter's parentage, but it did so in a very unexpected way. Some relationships are mended and some characters are redeemed.

I do have to mention there was a little bit more risque stuff in this one. There is a scene depicting Ravagers engaging sex-bot prostitutes (although it is implied than actually shown). There was more crudity in the language, like Drax talking about his "nether-regions" being "engorged", one character calling another "scrotum-head", and a few more such lines. Make of that what you will.

Oh, there's also a weird cameo by Sylvester Stallone. I could not quite figure out why they felt the need to put him in that role. It was really awkward.

Anyhow, I give the movie 2.5 out of 3 tiaras. Engaging plot, great production, lots of humor - but it falls short of 3 because it kind of pushed the limits with the crudity. Also, they did something with Drax's character. He kind of lost a bit of his somber, seriousness and was kind of buffoonish. He laughed way too much - he was laughing at everything, and it was very unnatural based on what we learned about his character in the first film. I found it hard to square the name "Drax the Destroyer" with the manner he was portrayed in volume 2.

At any rate, 2.5 out of 3.