Broken People Find Family in the Excellent ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’

The Guardians are back because the first movie made a ton of money and sold a ton of toys. Also, the first movie was a lot of fun too, so that helps.

This time around, Rocket Racoon steals from a planet of gold-encrusted douche-bags who, in return, set out across the cosmos to destroy the Guardians to teach them a lesson that stealing is bad. Meanwhile, Peter meets his father and discovers where he came from and, yet, underneath the reunion, a secret brews that will probably make a pretty kick-butt third act.

The theme in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is family. The relationship between Peter and his father, Gamora and Nebula, Rocket and Baby Groot, and Yondu and Peter are all explored. In many ways, in a world where sequels are expected to be bigger and more explosiony, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 refreshingly bucks the trend to deliver a movie that, while still full of action and humor, spends a lot of time fleshing out who the characters we’ve grown to love are. It totally works too in a nonconforming way.

It’s very interesting to see how these characters have fallen into a family dichotomy so effortlessly. Even Nebula, who spent most of the last movie being a crazy blood-thirsty killer, gets you to believe where she’s coming from. It’s really about broken people coming together like some messed up puzzle and I love that about this movie.

Sure, it’s not as good as the first in that I felt that the pacing was off and stretches of the movie slightly — and I do mean slightly — dragged. The flow of this movie just isn’t as clean as the last, but the humor and light-heartedness of the entire affair makes up for any pacing deficiencies. These are characters I enjoy watching and I actually care about… that seems to happen so rarely for me nowadays, to become this emotionally invested in make-believe people, trees, and raccoons. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy it.

I mean, come on… a month ago, I couldn’t have given two cents about Bato or Major or what happened to them in Ghost in the Shell. With Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, I got worked up over a talking racoon’s existential and emotional crisis.

Does it have pacing problems. Yes. Is the ending derivative? Sure. Is it a great movie? You bet. Any film can be forgiven of a few minor misteps if it has fun and lets me have fun too and this movie has fun written all over it in glow in the dark spray paint. It’s sci-fi escapism that is weird and wonderful and goes nuts and I love that. I love these characters. I love this universe.

There’s nothing else to say, really, other than… I am Groot!

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