All original written content is (c) 2017 Mike Pascale. Visual content is (c) its respective owners. Bru-Hed art is ©2012 and a trademark of All Ages Media and Mike Pascale.
NEWBIES: If this is your first trip here (welcome!), here’s the QT on what these reviews are.
THIS WEEK: The galaxy guardians are back as promised! The rag-tag team/family of Star-lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, and too-cute Baby Groot is joined by Nebula (Karen “Amy Pond” Gillan) and Yondu (Michael Rooker), who meet up with possible daddy Kurt Russell and his gal-pal, the empath Mantis (Pom Klementieff), while on the run from evil golden babe Ayesha (Elizabeth “Man From U.N.C.L.E.”) Debicki), high priestess of the Sovereign People, and Yondu’s (former) gang of Ravagers, both of whom are trying to vaporize the misfits before they can save not just the galaxy, but the known universe!
Written and directed by James Gunn (based on the Marvel comics written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning and the team originally created by Arnold Drake and Gene Colan)
- All the action and humor are back, plus the same kickass special effects. The last is turned up even higher while the first two give way to more characterization, backstory and foreshadowing for future arcs.
- The mystery of Peter Quill’s outer-space pater is finally and completely revealed (and resolved), which is also the main story arc. Rare to have it all in one film, rather than stretched out for two or three as usually happens.
- Kurt Russell fans (like yours Bruly) get another dose of The Computer Who Wore Tennis Shoes (ask your parents) one month after FATE OF THE FURIOUS 8. He doesn’t disappoint, even though his role is completely different here. (Plus, we get to see him as his 34-year younger self as well! Digital magic is, well, magical.)
- Former baddies become guardians, even if only temporarily.
- Baby Groot is blood-sugar-spiking sweet, as well as “aww-shucks” adorable, ticklingly tough and frustratingly funny.
- It’s obvious that Nebula and Gamora are sisters when they embrace, because you can see they both have nice heinies covered in leather. Hoo haa!
- Opening battle with the Guardians (after the initial earth scene) is epic, and the opening credits sequence is hilarious (or sickening, depending on your tolerance level for cuteness). (I even liked the new “Marvel Studios” animation that starts as 2D comics and turns into 3D film scenes.)
- More Drax, more Yondu, more Rocket (especially his ingenuity/inventiveness). A bit more exploration of the Star-lord/Gamora thing.
- Cameos of Sly Stallone and David Hasselhoff! Though sadly not in the same scene.
- Despite all the volume and violence, the underlying theme of the importance of family is actually a pretty decent message. (Not unlike a certain fast and furious franchise.)
- COMIC GEEK FUN FROM MIKE:
- Stan Lee cameo is not only funny, but doubled! That’s right, two of ’em (stay till the end), and with a group of characters Kirby FF fans will dig. Same with a certain living planet for Thor fans.
- Speaking of bonuses, we get not one, not two, but technically five post-film buttons! From the beginning of the main credits to after the end crawl. Fans of the FF, the 70s Guardians Of The Galaxy, Jim Starlin, and just plain comedy, these are for you. So stay put and take note of all the amazing skilled people who brought you this film, and be rewarded for it!
- Avengers fans will be happy to see Mantis on the big screen, at least in appearance.
- Though they fly by at the end crawl, there are “created by” credits for Star-lord (Steve Englehart and Steve Gan), Drax and Gamora (Jim Starlin), Groot (Stan Lee, his brother Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby) and Rocket Raccoon (Bill Mantlo and Keith Giffen), plus “Special Thanks” listing a dozen or so artists and writers of the various series and characters. (I didn’t see if Gene Colan and Arnold Drake were listed but hopefully so.
- Because everyone expects this to be funny again, some of the jokes/funny scenes feel forced and come off cheesy. One comes out of nowhere, almost like they had a joke and needed a setup for it. So not as originally funny as the first flick.
- Suspension Of Disbelief Department: A scene involving Yondu’s super-lethal arrow out-maneuvering dozens of guys and guns, and one with Drax hanging out of the ship on a line, each push if not break the boundary of believability. There’s also the great scene in the preview with Rocket trying (in frustration) to teach Groot how arm a bomb. When the big event does occur, Groot’s action really makes little sense, especially since considering other ways to have done it that would’ve been more entertaining (and funny).
- Less Gamora, no Thanos, less overall action. To the Quill/Gamora “shippers,” don’t get your hopes up.
- The Mantis I remembered from the “Bronze-Age” Avengers comics kicked butt; this version is very wimpy and innocent. Perhaps she was changed later in the comics, but I much prefer the original.
- There’s a drawn-out joke sequence with a character named “Taserface.” Yet it’s not explained how the hell an alien thief and a synthetic raccoon from the future know what the hell a TASER is and does, as it’s a device made exclusively from one company on earth, which changed its name in 2017 (to Axon) and stopped emphasizing sales of that specific product to focus more on cameras!
- Same great classic 60s-70s music, but less rock ‘n’ roll. More easy listening/dance stuff.
- No idea why they bothered casting Vin Diesel as Groot, especially Baby Groot, because his voice is so electronically distorted you can’t tell at all. Why not just get a regular SAG voice-over actor and use the extra dough for other cameos or effects? (Or just give to me?)
- Lots of expository chatter, especially from Kurt Russell’s character. And not all of it makes total sense. (Check out his galactic “disguise” choice, for one, which isn’t explained.) And some of the plot may seem overly complicated to some–especially if you’re concentrating on drinking beer and not spilling popcorn like I was!
If you saw the first GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (and if you didn’t, why the hell not?) you’ll enjoy this one too. The characters and dialog are great, even if some parts aren’t as good. But there’s more emotion and depth to the characters this time, even if there are too many characters to keep track of. You may want to BUY IT, just for the cameos/gags and behind-the-scenes stuff. NOTE: I wanted to see it in DFX so I had to pay for 3D; the effects were awesome, but again, the glasses darkened everything (and that four-eyed Pascale griped that the lenses were too small to cover his giant specs), so don’t bother. See Vol. 2 in 2D and have some fun the second time around!
P.S.: With so many characters, you’ll want to get at least ONE of them drawn up just for you! Either for a pinup, or maybe a friend/loved one as one of the characters for a gift! (Wouldn’t Mom just love to be drawn as Gamora for Mother’s Day? Or with Baby Groot?) Just ask Craig here!