Guardians of the galaxy vol

C- SDG Original source: National Catholic Register

Here’s the thing: You haven’t even seen Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 yet, but you’re already an incipient fan, aren’t you?

I’m no different. The original (retroactively Vol. 1) had us (most of us) from the unexpectedly exuberant opening credits, with Chris Pratt’s Peter Quill, or Star-Lord, casually strutting and grooving khổng lồ Redbone’s “Come và Get Your Love.” Or, if it didn’t have you, then this sequel isn’t for you, và neither is this review.

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Directed by James Gunn. Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Karen Gillan, Michael Rooker, Pom Klementieff, Kurt Russell, Sean Gunn, Elizabeth Debicki, Sylvester Stallone. Disney/Marvel.
Artistic/Entertainment Value
Moral/Spiritual Value -2
Age Appropriateness Teens và Up*
MPAA Rating PG-13
Caveat Spectator Much intense sci-fi action violence; crude và sexually themed language and humor.
About These Ratings

And if it did, and if you thought baby Groot was adorable in the post-credits sequence of the original, then you’ll be rooting for Vol. 2 & grinning in anticipation as Baby Groot jams through the opening credits khổng lồ ELO’s “Mr. Xanh Sky”, the joke being that Groot’s dancing is foregrounded while in the background the remaining Guardians are engaged in a pitched battle that we don’t quite see all of with some extremely large extraterrestrial Cthulhu-ish beastie. You see, you already want it khổng lồ be awesome, right?

Returning director James Gunn clearly knows which side his bread is buttered on. If Groot was the muscle the first time out, Baby Groot is the cuteness (again voiced by Vin Diesel, this time on digital helium rather than the opposite), with everyone smiling & cooing over him, even heavies.


Vol. 1’s sincerity was embodied by a minor character played by John C. Reilly: a Nova Corps officer named Rhomann Dey who arrests our outlaw heroes in an early scene on Xandar, but winds up fighting on the same side as them, even going lớn bat for them with Glenn Close’s Nova Prime.

Audiences loved Dave Bautista’s socially oblivious Drax blithely uttering inappropriate things and the misanthropic trash-talking of Bradley Cooper’s Rocket, so there’s plenty more where that came from. (Oddly, Drax’s literalism, a reliable source of humor in Vol. 1, has fallen by the wayside.)

There are expanded roles for popular supporting characters, notably two blue-skinned (but unrelated) aliens who are each dysfunctional-foster-family of sorts to two of the main cast: Michael Rooker’s space buccaneer Yondu, an antagonistic father figure khổng lồ Peter, và Karen Gillan’s cyborg Nebula, an even more hostile foster sister khổng lồ green-skinned Gamora (Zoe Saldana).

Of course there’s lots of nostalgic cultural references, from Cheers lớn Knight Rider, and mostly apt musical choices from Fleetwood Mac’s iconic “The Chain” lớn Jay and the Americans’ “Come a Little Bit Closer.”

And there’s lots of crude humor and vulgarity, which was true of the original, though it’s worse here. Vol. 1 could be viewed as a sort of superhero counterpart of the crude thắm thiết comedies of Judd Apatow (Knocked Up) và the Farrelly brothers (There’s Something About Mary), whom Stephen Whitty dubbed the “Crude Romanticists” — films that use dirty jokes as a foil to smuggle a sincere longing for true love & happily-ever-after past viewers’ cynicism.

Vol. 1’s sincerity was embodied by a minor character played by John C. Reilly: a Nova Corps officer named Rhomann Dey who arrests our outlaw heroes in an early scene on Xandar, but winds up fighting on the same side as them, even going to lớn bat for them with Glenn Close’s Nova Prime.

In the over Dey gratefully thanks the Guardians, telling them, “I have a family who are alive because of you.” We even see him reuniting with his wife & children. Reilly’s small but telling part plays an important role in anchoring the film’s flights of fancy khổng lồ the stuff of ordinary life.

Alas, Reilly doesn’t reprise his role — nor is there any comparable figure with a similar function of grounding the story in emotional reality.


We’re meant to lớn root for Peter và Gamora as a couple, but the writers haven’t bothered to define her character or his arc in such a way that he has anything to lớn offer her.

Vol. 2 still shoots for sincerity, and sometimes it works. Gamora and Nebula’s relationship is poignant, & there’s an unexpectedly moving denouement that brought tears lớn my eyes (no great feat, my children will be happy to lớn tell you).

What doesn’t work, alas, are the big things: the main story involving Peter and his real space dad, played by Kurt Russell, & the lãng mạn “unspoken thing” between Peter and Gamora.

We’re meant to lớn root for Peter và Gamora as a couple, but the writers haven’t bothered to define her character or his arc in such a way that he has anything to lớn offer her. Their relationship coasts on the first film, in which Peter saved Gamora’s life in prison shortly after she tried to lớn rob him & later almost died saving her from death in space.

In Vol. 2, Gamora gives to Peter, encouraging him khổng lồ pursue the possibility of reconnecting with his real dad — a leap of faith on her part, considering her crushing issues with her own quasi-demonic foster father, Thanos.

Peter, though, is wrapped up in his own affairs; his interest in Gamora is basically selfish. He doesn’t even apologize for not listening to her entirely justified concerns và calling her a jerk.

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Then there’s Peter’s dad, whom Peter’s dying mother Meredith (Laura Haddock) pronounced “an angel composed of pure light,” but whom Yondu called something much less flattering. Vol. 2’s drawn-out middle act turns on the question of who was right about Peter’s father, Meredith or Yondu.

A being of seemingly godlike power, Peter’s father calls himself “Ego” and says he’s a “Celestial,” which will confuse no one except comics fans who know who Ego is and who the Celestials are, and for that matter who Peter’s father is in the comics, none of which matters here.


If Yondu was right and Ego is the other thing, then that casts a far more tragic and pathetic shadow over the memory of Peter’s mother, whom Peter remembers as “the most wonderful woman in the world.” bởi we want her to lớn become just another female victim of a powerful, abusive man? It’s becoming a hallmark of this franchise.

Ego almost seems lượt thích he could be a counterpoint to Thanos: a divinely powerful but kindly patriarch of a world as paradisiacal — part Maxfield Parrish, part Salvador Dalí — as Thanos’ world is bleak & lifeless. (Soundtrack selection for Ego’s planet: George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord,” early verses with “Hallelujah” và not “Hare Krishna,” etc. Is Ego really a god? “Small g,” he smiles self-deprecatingly, “at least when I’m feeling humble.”)

But if Peter’s mother was right và Ego is an “angel,” then why was he absent for all that time? The longing for an absent father and the wish for a happy reunion is a powerful fantasy, but is it one khổng lồ celebrate & affirm? vì we want to lớn make an ideal, quasi-divine figure of a man who fathers a child and then disappears until the child is grown?

But if Yondu was right và Ego is the other thing, then that casts a far more tragic and pathetic shadow over the memory of Peter’s mother, whom Peter remembers as “the most wonderful woman in the world.” vị we want her khổng lồ become just another female victim of a powerful, abusive man? It’s becoming a hallmark of this franchise.

Both Gamora and Nebula grew up brutalized and tortured by Thanos. In Vol. 1 there was Carina, the red-skinned, emotionally battered slave girl of Benicio del Toro’s Collector (and her predecessor). (Perhaps we might also địa chỉ cửa hàng Peter’s one-night stand, whose name he couldn’t even remember.)

Spoiler alert: Vol. 2 adds at least two more lớn this list. One is the naive alien empath Mantis (French actress Pom Klementieff), who in some ways evokes the slave girl Carina. Like Carina, Mantis is terrified of her master, but must behave as if she isn’t. The first time we see her Mantis even strikes a pose similar to Carina’s hand-wringing stance. Both also chia sẻ a certain little-girl quality, Carina because of her pigtails và Mantis because of her naivety. (There’s even a visual echo between Carina’s pigtails & Mantis’ antennae.)

Of course this means (still spoiler alert) that the other is Peter’s mother, and that Ego is another evil father-god, lượt thích Thanos. In Vol. 1 Peter’s bond with Gamora was explicitly tied khổng lồ his longing for his dead mother. Now Peter’s father must be destroyed — his real father and his sky-father. How much more Freudian can you get?

Well, you could địa chỉ a lot of phallic symbolism and below-the-belt jokes, I guess. In Vol. 1, the crudest jokes were oblique enough lớn go over kids’ heads. Here there’s explicit dialogue, mostly driven by Drax, regarding Ego’s male member, its role in Peter’s conception, Peter’s discomfort talking about this, the physiology of male arousal và so on.


Despite this, these two socially graceless outcasts form a bond of sorts. Is all this a reflection of the PUA (pick-up artist) technique of insulting a woman to hook her interest?

If only Peter had been “thinking with your brains instead of what’s between your legs,” Gamora shouts after a disastrous bit of flying that nearly gets them all killed. Peter then proceeds to opine on how he could have flown the ship with what’s between his legs if he had a hand there.

Remember that when Yondu ridicules Peter for limiting his superpowers lớn what he can think of, pointing to his own masterful use of his remote-controlled arrow-missile: “You think I use my head, boy?” Later on he adds that he doesn’t use his head to lớn control his arrow, he uses his… but he gets cut off. If you mentally supplied “heart,” please sign up for remedial Freud.

Along with all this phallocentricity and locker-room frankness is a queasy backbeat of misogyny going beyond sexist elements in Vol. 1. In addition khổng lồ the theme of used & abused women noted above, consider the unfunny running gag involving Drax harping on how physically repulsive he finds (the attractive) Mantis. At one point he even begins retching at the thought of intimacy with her, which he gratuitously assumes she wants one night when she wakens him.

Despite this, these two socially graceless outcasts size a bond of sorts, & in the over Drax generously tells Mantis that she is beautiful — on the inside. Is all this a reflection of the PUA (pick-up artist) technique of insulting a woman to lớn hook her interest?

Along with the vulgarity, there are also elevated levels of violence. A couple of space battles are reduced to video-game stakes by making the enemy ships remote-controlled, but a long, artfully shot phối piece in which Yondu savors the orchestrated killing of scores of mutineers is all about bullet-time shots of his arrow piercing bodies & corpses falling like hailstones around him. Another scene celebrates Rocket’s technical problem-solving genius by having him play with hired guns coming for him lượt thích a boy pulling wings off flies.

I must admit, having said all that, that Vol. 2 is still fitfully entertaining, often visually appealing and well-designed, sometimes funny và occasionally stirring. Themes of loyalty và sacrifice are if anything more movingly done here, and goodwill from the first film carried me through a lot of the weaknesses in this one.

But the spell is broken. Vol. 1 was one of the brighter spots in the Marvel universe, & I hoped that Gunn would compound his success into a model for how Marvel could avoid the tyranny of the rut. Alas, this time the rut wins.

*
đánh giá Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Guardians is a romp, a lark — rare descriptors for a popcorn summer movie, alas, in these days of dark, grim tentpoles from Maleficent to Hercules, Edge of Tomorrow lớn Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

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