I’m a writer, not a movie critic, but I just had to say something about this movie that’s rocketed to the top of my “top ten movies of all time” list. I’ve seen it five or six times in the theater already, and I’m planning to buy it literally as soon as it appears in stores. I enjoyed it that much.
I know I’m a bit late to the GotG Vol. 2 party, but to be fair, my family and I didn’t see the movie until late into its theater stay. Mostly because I was nervous and didn’t want the sequel to ruin a movie I loved. I still remember Iron Man which, while not my favorite movie of all time, was still a great movie. Then Iron Man 2 and 3 happened, and it all went downhill. So, I don’t really trust the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s ability to make good sequels.
But holy guacamole did I not have any reason to worry about GotG 2. It’s funny, the characters are well-written, and it has a great soundtrack — the very first movie soundtrack I ever purchased on iTunes for my phone. But while all of that helped, it wasn’t the whole story.
One thing that really surprised me when I first watched the movie was how, well… touchy-feely the movie was. There’s a whole bunch of familial undertones. Between Gamora and Nebula’s sister relationship/shared daddy issues, Peter’s daddy issues, and Rocket’s everyone issues, we had enough drama for an episode of Days of our Lives. But, you know, with exciting stuff actually happening.
Now, you could argue that “well, there are a bunch of action-y movies out there that handle family themes, aren’t there?”. And, yeah, I guess. There’s Star Wars and its constant reminders that the main 3 (Luke, Han, and Leia, because I refuse to acknowledge anything but the original trilogy to be true Star Wars) are a family of sorts, then Luke and Leia turn out to actually be family, but… I don’t know. It didn’t really resonate with me.
Same thing with the Fast & Furious series constant undertones of “the family that races cars and breaks the law together stays together”. But that just felt shallow. Maybe it was just because the actors had no chemistry, or because they were all criminals (unlikely, considering I got a bigger feeling of family from the Dark Brotherhood quest line in Skyrim, and they’re all unrepentant assassins), but it felt empty.
Then there’s the reveal of the newest movie where Dom turns on the others, and seriously, what is with so many movie series having their main heroes turn into villains? First Transformers with Optimus turning evil in Last Knight, now this? But that’s beside the point.
In truth, I don’t know why Guardians‘s family theme resonated with me while these others didn’t. Maybe it’s because I like the characters better. Maybe it’s because I’m more of an MCU fan (still hate Iron Man 3, though) than a Star Wars/Fast & Furious fan. Or maybe I just really have a thing for movies that don’t try to take themselves too seriously.
I like movies that aren’t afraid of handling the more mushy-gushy, touchy-feely aspects of life, without having it devolve into a giant sob-fest or love triangle (I’m looking at you, every YA romance ever). It’s something I’m trying to emulate in my own stories; the more emotive aspects of being human, without sounding like something a twelve-year-old girl would write in her diary about her crush. Who even says “he has eyes deep as the moon”, anyway?
And Guardians, despite its more emotional undertones of “what is family?”, is still definitely an action movie at heart. There’s stuff blowing up, shooting things, shooting spaceships, shooting things with spaceships, laser beams, giant shoulder-mounted cannons… I could go on.
The kickass soundtrack only helps.
There are a lot of people online saying that, while definitely not a bad sequel, that the first movie is still better. I disagree. While I do like Guardians 1, Guardians 2 is where the story really shines, and I enjoyed every scene from credits to credits.
Also, guess who wants an “I’m Mary Poppins, y’all” poster for her birthday? This gal, right here 🙂