Kyle J. Steenblik

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is Hilariously Groot [Review]

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PHi3FGAu4Fkdlm_1_lGuardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Directed by James Gunn
Written by James Gunn
Based on Guardians of the Galaxy by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki, Chris Sullivan, Sean Gunn, Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell
Running time: 136 minutes
Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language, and brief suggestive content

4 1/2 stars out of 5Set to the backdrop of ‘Awesome Mixtape #2,’ Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues the team’s adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mysteries of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel cinematic universe continues to expand. Courtesy Marvel Studios

The theatre was a constant storm of laughter, squeals, and some very well timed whoops from one enthusiastic fan two rows behind me—when you can make sweatpants and a fanny-pack look cool you can whoop in a theatre. I don’t know if I’ve ever used the word mirth to describe the feeling of a crowd of critics and fans exiting a theatre before, but the audience was absolutely mirthful as we paraded into the lobby to part ways. One thing was absolutely certain, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a full bodied sci-fi action comedy. While I’m unsure if a comedy is what Marvel Studios ordered from James Gunn, that’s what he delivered, and I, for one, am enamored.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 may be one of the finest, and funniest, sci-fi action comedies ever produced. Its predecessor opened the door and Volume 2 jumped through the window, as if director James Gunn received a full throttled green light to make one of the most enthusiastically cheerful and hilarious films I have had the pleasure to watch. While I am all in, and standing in line for my very own baby-Groot dancing robot for every room of the house I will need to momentarily remove my Groot shaped and colored glasses, because there are some tragic issues with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

This is going to be a beloved film, it deserves to be loved, and enjoyed, so I say this knowing it might hurt someone. Chris Pratt has reached the limits of his current skill as an actor, in many ways, stretching Peter “Star-lord” Quill into a character with a dimension beyond the bumbling stranger-in-a-strange-land trope was beyond him. Pratt has shown up now in and handful of dissimilar roles, and each of those performances is essentially interchangeable, and they are essentially just Chris Pratt being himself, were it not for an ensemble that carried him through the film, it might have been a tedious bore. For as much as Star-Lord was borderline annoying, Gamora, Nebula, Yondu, Drax, Rocket and especially Groot were captivatingly hilarious and endearing. While on the subject of annoying elements that might have impacted the enjoyability of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the plot takes a close second to Pratt. Had James Gunn not known exactly what he was doing when writing and directing this two-wheeled freight train of a film it would have rolled into a cornfield, exploded, and lost someone a farm. What I am really saying is while Gunn deserves the Groot’s share of credit, the entire cast kept the train on the track, rolled it into the station, unloaded the passengers, and kept on schedule. Except for Pratt, he was simply along for the ride, contributing next to nothing, aside from a cacophony of dialogue he managed to make sound unnatural.

That sounded harsh, and I’m sorry for that, I had to say it, and I hope that a second or third viewing changes, or softens my opinion on Pratt’s performance, and the overall plot of the film. However, I only have this one first viewing on which to base my opinion, fortunately, as I said, these weaknesses are more than compensated for, and are overshadowed by literally everything else in this film. Especially the talking, dancing, too-cute-to-kill Groot, who managed to upstage everyone.

A final word, there are 5 (5!) after credit/mid-credit scenes, and the credits are packed with easter eggs, so stay firmly grooted in your seats.

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