My Other Awesome Mixtape – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

More fun than a rocket filled with raccoons.  So everybody’s favorite band of misfits is back.  When Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) crosses paths with a man claiming to be his father (Kurt Russell), he’s got some soul searching to do so he can reconnect with his roots.  Now the first Guardians was such an unexpected hit, everybody wanted to see where Marvel would take the story next.  I sometimes flip on which film is my number one, but the original Guardians has always been in my top two favorite films in the Marvel universe since its release, so it is easy to see why this was most people’s most anticipated movie of the summer.  When considering the entire lineup for the hot months, I will throw myself into that camp as well (although I will say it is super close with those apes that are coming in July).  After watching this, I will still give a slight edge to the first one as far as playing favorites go, but this is still a raucous good time in its own right.

1They just know how to make being a rapscallion seem jovial and light hearted, and the Pirates series could probably learn a thing or two from this.

Now I know this is a group effort to be sure, but I really do feel like a lion’s share of credit has to go to writer/director James Gunn.  He has such an off sense of humor that he is the perfect brain behind the franchise, and really, to have a mayhem-crazed raccoon and a talking tree that can only say “I am Groot”, you have no choice to get somebody who has a different view on comedy.  This series is one of the rare ones that does not have a noticeable drop in quality like the other direct Marvel sequels.  The track record is still pretty good, but with Iron Man 2, The Dark World and the Age of Ultron, they are mostly passable at best.  In fact, until this movie, The Winter Soldier was the only exception to the rule.  This is a series that just has a ton going for it, and that is largely due to its terrific sense of humor.  Not even dwelling upon it, I can recall three scenes off the top of my head of well executed comedy that had me rolling in my seat because they know how to setup a joke, and given the fact that we are already well aware of these characters, all it does is enhance with sharp writing that bolsters the punch line just right.

2What more can you ask for in a sequel?

As per expected, the soundtrack to this is standout, and as soon as I heard E.L.O.’s Mr. Blue Sky highlight the film’s opening credits, I knew I had a movie that was after my heart.  From a story standpoint, it takes these characters to the next logical point for developing them.  Even though the stakes are technically even bigger, it still feels light, and I still don’t know if that is a critique or a compliment.  It’s well over two hours and you never feel the length, and you will be hard pressed to find a popcorn movie more crowd pleasing than this one.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) ****

– Critic for Hire

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