Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

*. This isn’t how it’s supposed to work. The first entry in a franchise or series often comes in overweight because it has to give us all the back story before things can really get moving. The initial sequel is more fun just because it doesn’t have to take itself so seriously and can drop the origin myth. Think of Superman and Superman II, or Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan.
*. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 puts this in reverse. It’s actually longer than the first movie and includes more back story dealing with the totally uninteresting origins of Peter Quill (Chris Pratt). Making things even worse, it’s also more conventional than the first film, which I would have thought was impossible. Despite all the pinball special effects and Christmas lights on screen (Mark Kermode likened the look of the film to “the animated cover of a Yes album”) I was bored out of my mind with an hour left to go.
*. Does every Marvel movie featuring a team of superheroes (X-Men, Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy) have to include a group portrait shot? This has become such a cliché.
*. What a dull story. It turns out that Kurt Russell is a small-g god named Ego who seems the same sort of tin-pot entity as the crew of the Enterprise face off against at the end of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Ego is also Peter’s father, Peter being a son of whom he is most proud. We later learn that Ego’s other offspring have ended up on the scrap heap, or boneyard, of history. So Peter becomes one with eternity but then decides he prefers being human and likes his adopted family better than his real dad.
*. You have to be pretty dim not to see where every frame of this is going. The hokey message is all about self-sacrifice and the importance of (new) familial bonds. Groot is still tiny, but that just makes him cute. There are no funny lines but just the usual attempts at milking humour from the incongruous ’80s references. The lumbering Drax (Dave Bautista) actually manages to steal the show, even from Pratt. Sylvester Stallone shows up for a cameo that serves no purpose at all. I couldn’t figure out why they even bothered with his character. Howard the Duck is again glimpsed in the background. A sequel is announced (damn). There are four or five inter-credit sequences that play at the end, to help you get through the full naming of the army of technicians who put this noisy piece of crap together.
*. This may sound like I’m being harsh, but the thing is I don’t hate all the Marvel movies and I thought Guardians of the Galaxy was OK. Vol. 2 received generally good reviews, but if it isn’t a terrible movie then what is?

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