Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 - My 5-point video review

As much as my heart belongs to the written word, one thing I learned painfully last month was that vlogging is the future. Or, it's the current future flavour - with PR companies increasingly reaching out to fresh-faced YouTubers over the conventional media to promote their properties. For better or worse, video is colourful, exciting and incredibly easy/passive to consume.

So I'm dabbling in the medium again.

My differentiator is that I'm not a conventional "genki" vlogger. I'm older, I'm more introverted, but I offer considered opinion and commentary in a compact form. My videos should rarely cross the 5-minute mark because ain't nobody got time for that. Also, my work is fully scripted, so if you don't want to look at my consternated mug, you can just read the transcript, which I will also make available online.

To start, here's my low-tech 5-point review of Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2:

Hi again.

I’m back with my low-tech, short, 5-point movie review series. Today those 5 thoughts and observations will be applying to Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2.

Yes, those A-holes in space are back in the sequel to the sci-fi superhero film that is probably the greatest surprise hit of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

…Because it is based on one of the least well-known comic properties, and it’s pretty damn nuts – mixing super powered action with science fiction and comedy.

In short, I went into the cinema with no expectations this time around, and I thoroughly enjoyed Volume 2. Probably more so than the 2014 original. Reasons why?

1) The pitch perfect world.  I don’t know what it is about Guardians of the Galaxy but I unquestionably accept the world. No heavy exposition required. You drop in and just it makes sense. Sort of like Star Wars. You just accept green skinned people and bug ladies with antennae. Guardians has a very relaxed, matter-of-fact attitude to world building, and I think audiences pick up on that and appreciate it.

2) A great sense of humour. Look. A lot of the comedy in Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 is of the pranky pubescent boy variety. That won’t work for everyone. It can get tiring very quickly. But there are some absolute one-liner gems courtesy of Dave Bautista’s deadpan Drax. I love him. Also, I loved the gold-skinned Sovereign as dangerous but delightfully ridiculous villains who take themselves too seriously. I thought they were a great fit for the story. Guardians of the Galaxy succeeds because it has a strain of irreverence that runs consistently through pretty much everything.

3) Loads of heart.
I didn’t cry with Volume 2 the way I did with Volume 1, but the tears certainly threatened. Guardians of the Galaxy doesn’t shirk away from emotion, which is a huge plus and differentiator as a superhero film. It gives characters space and screen time to explore their feelings and develop psychologically. Which I appreciate. Special shout-outs to Karen Gillan’s Nebula, and Michael Rooker’s Yondu, who both have really moving, at times actually anguished arcs.

4) An overall tighter focus. Some people may disagree with me on this, but I felt Volume 2 benefited from being more constrained. It felt cleaner and simpler. Family was the theme at the core of the movie, and it came through strongly in every single character arc. Also I dislike movies where there is a lot of haphazard running about. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 had maybe 4 locations in total, and all movement was headed to Ego’s planet. That’s the home world of Star-Lord’s father, played by Kurt Russell.

5) Drawbacks. OK. Guardians definitely isn’t perfect. Not unlike every other Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, Volume 2 gives in to CGI bloat in its final act. I confess these days I switch off when the explosions start. Also, the middle portion of the film on board the Ravager ship could really have been trimmed down. Also, pity Zoe Saldana’s Gamora is still stuck being the Guardians’ dull straight man as it were. She’s incredibly competent, but I don’t think she’s been utilised to her best ability yet, although I did really enjoy the exploration of sisterhood that her relationship with Nebula allowed. That was better handled than I thought it would be.

Gripes aside, Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 was better than I expected it to be. If you enjoyed the first one, totally check it out. It’s fun and heartfelt, and I had a great time.

See you soon.


P.S. Back in March, I did something similar with Logan, the finale film for Hugh Jackman's take on tough-as-nails mutant Wolverine. Here's my post-viewing reflection:


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