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Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

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I went in to Guardians of the Galaxy 2 with relatively high expectations; when the original came out a couple years back, I saw it in theaters at least 3 times. The first movie was a near perfect blend of sci-fi, action, and comedy, with well built characters, flashy visuals and hilarious dialogue. Its sequel does its best to recreate this magic, and although it comes quite close, I don’t think it quite hits the mark.

The first two acts of the movie pass without a clear villain, but a major twist in the third is more than enough of a payoff. Dave Bautista’s portrayal of Drax nearly stole the show, second only to Michael Rooker’s excellent performance as Yondu. My only major gripe regarding actor performance unfortunately is attributed to leading man Chris Pratt, a personal favorite of mine. Pratt has proven he can go above and beyond as both an action hero and a comedic wildcard, but his acting chops just don’t quite measure up when faced with a dramatic scene. What should have been the most emotional moment in the film was seriously weakened by Pratt’s weak emotional facial responses.

Another problematic issue which bothered me during the movie were the subpar green screen effects. Other visual effects were absolutely stunning, and the rendering of the environments were, for the most part, truly breathtaking. however, in far too many scenes it was painfully obvious that they were not in fact falling through the air. but laying flat on a mattress in front of a green screen. In a larger than life film such as this, immersion is vital.

Where this movie really succeeds, and nearly matches the original, is in the world building. The guardians travel to many locations and meet alien races, and the ones you were introduced to in the first are expanded upon, as well as some characters and their backgrounds. Unfortunately, you don’t learn as much as I would have liked to about some of them, some more information about Groot and Drax would have been very welcome.

Speaking of how the movie used it’s characters, many people took issue with baby Groot’s many appearances and scenes dedicated to him, and I can understand how this may impede the viewing experience for some, I don’t think they really overdid it. They come close to overusing the simple dumb humor of a tiny tree man saying “I am Groot” but it really isn’t all that bad. I just hope that they don’t keep this genuinely powerful hero as a tiny baby for the next installment he appears in.

The humor of the film worked very well, and included some great one liners and did a good job of devoting entire scenes to the comedy that made this intellectual property famous. At some times it seemed that characters were competing to be the comic relief. All that said, the film was a quality entry into the Marvel canon, and a genuinely enjoyable space flick. I look forward to see how the guardians will fit into the upcoming Infinity War

7/10

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Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2