The second “real new Star Wars”

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Having seen Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, I’m not compelled to review it. But since I mentioned Guardians 2 in my last post (“Life Rambles Ep. 3”), I might as well say something about it, and that is that Guardians 2 is a standard Marvel sequel, like Iron Man 2, Thor: The Dark World, and Age of Ultron, but it may be the most interesting of them.

While Guardians 1 begins these antiheroes’ paths towards nobility, Guardians 2 subverts this by ramping up the crassness and meanness. On the other hand, it also ramps up the emotions to the point where the film closes on a bold gut-punch. Of course, said ending is followed up by mid-credits scenes filled with gags and obligatory universe building (I actually got the first one’s Howard the Duck scene, but a couple of these left me scratching my head), but I’d be lying if I said the climax didn’t move me. The stakes of the third act (although, opposite X-Men: Apocalypse, the movie feels like a normal first act followed by a really long second act) are typically apocalyptic, but they’re given a bit more resonance than normal by a harrowing revelation for Peter Quill.

It may not lift the spirits in the end, or at least not for me, but there are plenty of moments of the original’s fun, especially the opening sequence where the Guardians are, while listening to “Mr. Blue Sky”, battling a giant creature that literally spits neon-rainbow clouds, and that’s only a taste of the film’s refreshingly striking color pallet.

Still, asking us to revel in antiheroism isn’t only mean but also a safe bet; what would have been bold, and would have helped me appreciate the somber denouement more, is if the story were about the Guardians’ further path toward true heroism, as long as it would have stood as well on its own as the version of this sequel we got. While Guardians 2 won’t be remembered as a classic like its predecessor, it’s a serviceable sequel of more of the same, if not always in a good way.

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2 thoughts on “The second “real new Star Wars”

  1. I agree that the somberness and sentimentality of the ending felt a little unearned given the characters we have (and was just Too.Long.). And the Pop Hits of Yesteryear motif is getting a bit tired. but otherwise I liked it more than the first one. The first was good, but also a little bit standard in a “Star Wars with jokes” sense. Whereas this one felt more like the sort of space opera I lean towards, with the characters dealing with something weird/alien, strange, baroque civilizations, etc. And I do like how the crux of it all hinges upon the dangers of a transcendence that is divorced from morality/love.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You put into words what I was trying to put into words. Sure, the first one set up the series’s underlying sadness by opening with the death of the mother, but Vol. 2’s ending went so dark and tragic that, even though I appreciate that Marvel allowed an ending that emotional, it didn’t fit with the romp that led up to it. Also, I wasn’t sure what to think of that last part you mentioned; I like your interpretation of it.

      Liked by 1 person

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