MCU Rewatch Issue #15: Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2

The Guardians are back.  But do they hold up to a repeat viewing?

tomkGuardians of the Galaxy Volume 2

Gamora: the only legitimately responsible Guardian…and as a result, she seems like the least fun member of the team.

jimmy: Geez Tom, you’re not finished yet? :-p

tomk: C’mon. The continuing misadventures of Taizerface is the spin-off we always wanted.

“Beautiful people never know who to trust.” How profound of Drax.

Does this movie have the highest MCU body count with the casual way Ravengers are killed off?

Huh. North by Northwest tribute.

jimmy: Oh?
Gamora in the field?

tomk: Nebula strafing Gamora sure looked a lot like the crop dusting scene.

jimmy: Ah

tomk: Who would have thought a guy named Ego could be such a dick?

So, here we have a movie that is all about parenting. Beyond Peter’s discovery of who his real father is on multiple levels, we see daddy issues for Gamora and Nebula, Mantis was raised by Ego, Rocket was abandoned by whoever made him, Yondu was sold by his parents, and Groot, well, he’s a baby whose daddy died saving the others. Interesting to note the other Guardians all take some time to act as a parent to Baby Groot, particularly during the opening credits.
Though it is weird that Drax, arguably the craziest member of the team, actually seems to have had the only loving father and a good childhood.
And is it me, or this the only MCU movie to actually kill off one of the good guys? Heroes seems to live charmed lives in most of these movies. The closest we’ve had to deaths thus far is Bucky (who got better) and Agent Carter (who was really freakin’ old and died off-camera).

jimmy: Yondu’s sacrifice and memorial really saves this one for me. It’s probably the worst Marvel offender for sequelitits as much of it feels like they tweaked or recycled laughs from the first movie. And some of the walking and talking on Ego is just plain boring. The effects are fantastic and the opening credits having the majority of a major CGI fight happen in the background was a bold move. And we get the introduction of Adam Warlock, who won’t be in Infinity War.

tomk: I’m fine with Warlock sitting Infinity War out, by the by.

jimmy: Me too. He really needs more of a set up to take on any kind of role similar to the Infinity Gauntlet comic storyline.

tomk: But that’s for later. The Guardians characters are so different from their source material, we should remember the MCU has never been particularly faithful to the source material. So, here’s Ego as Star-Lord’s father.

jimmy: Not from the comics I take it? Has comic Ego ever been anything other than a planet?

tomk: Not to my knowledge. Comic book Star-Lord’s father is the ruler of a galactic empire named J’son of the Spartox.
Not some space god. Star-Lord really is space royalty.

jimmy: Was his mother still from Earth and made at least one awesome mixed tape? (That second one is a little suspect.)

tomk: She was from Earth. Remember: Michael Rooker actually made the real awesome mix tape.

jimmy: And now he’s dead as fried chicken.

tomk: Well, frozen chicken.

Keep in mind that Star-Lord was originally created in 1976, well before a lot of those tunes were written, and he was a much more serious character until Chris Pratt played him. The MCU has had a fairly big influence on how a lot of Marvel’s characters have been portrayed in various comics, most notably Tony Stark.

watson: I’d say Mark Millar had the heavier influence Stark becoming a hedonist. In the Ultimates he was acting like that years before Iron Man. RDJ clearly based his take on Tony from there.

tomk: I’d say Millar took Tony’s best known story—Demon in a Bottle—and cranked it up to 11 as he is wont to do.

jimmy: For a now defunct line, the Ultimate Universe had a clear heavy influence on the MCU.

watson: Demon in A Bottle Tony was not really suave. His alcoholism was portrayed as pathetic and sad. Millar glorified it.
The Ultimate U went away? I guess after a while it just became more of the same. If you are going to do that, you cater to the continuity obsessed fanboy crowd.

jimmy: It’s been “gone” awhile, but really it was the recent Secret Wars that killed it and merged the last remaining title and character (Miles Morales) into the MCU. A few others have come along that have survived as well. But there is no Ultimate line.

watson: Of course they had to have a Secret War Infinity Crisis end it.
I fucking hate you, Jimmy!

jimmy: It’s not my fault! I told them to let Galactus eat the Ultimate Earth. But then Kiddy Pryde stopped him.

watson: I’m guessing the Watchmen were involved somehow…

jimmy: We’ll save that for the Watchmen rewatch.

On a completely different subject, I guess Watson and Tom’s friend were happy to see some of the original Guardians.

tomk: My friend probably wouldn’t watch this one either and claim they weren’t really the original team.

watson: This movie seriously did NOT hold up. It isn’t just the sequelitis either. What worked for me the first time I saw this, didn’t seem to work as well this time, and what I didn’t like then REALLY bugged me. This might be the biggest drop for me from first viewing to the rewatches.

jimmy: I thought it held up ok.
Better than Doctor Strange or Ant-Man.

tomk: Honest Trailers did a bit about last year’s superhero movies getting snubbed at the Oscars. They referred to this one as “the one you liked but forgot you saw”. That sounds about right.

jimmy: I can see that.

tomk: I thought it mostly held up, but it wasn’t quite as good as I remembered.

jimmy: I thought it was about on par with what I remembered.

On a somewhat related note: http://www.businessinsider.com/guardians-of-the-galaxy-is-the-best-marvel-studios-movie-2018-3

tomk: They misspelled “Winter Soldier”.

jimmy: It gets an honorable mention.

tomk: Being the best is honorable now?

jonathan: I still like it but nowhere near as much as the first couple times seeing it in the theater. It felt like they ramped up what they THOUGHT were the best things about the first, but not the subtle things that actually boosted it.
Also, the CGI slugfest at the end might be my least favorite climactic battle in the whole MCU. pretty bad.
Even the lesser films at least have whizbang boss battles (ie, Strange, Ant-Man. Hell, even Thor2.)

jimmy: The “boss battle” didn’t bother me too much, but I can see your point. What bothered me more was that that explosion was enough to kill a Celestial?

jonathan: Well, the explosion blew up his “heart”. Deux exhaust machina.

tomk: Celestials can be killed. Knowhere comes to mind.

jimmy: Yeah, but it seems like it should take more than a jirryrigged bomb by Rocket. Maybe the MCU Celestials aren’t as tough as their comic counterparts.
They’re definitely more handsome.

jonathan: Such majestic beards!

tomk: The comic counterparts have been beaten by Thor on occasion. It mostly involves cracking the armor, though I am not sure comic Ego is a Celestial.

jimmy: The only mention on Wikipedia of him being a Celestial is in reference to the film.

tomk: Then he should be more vulnerable.

jimmy: Perhaps. But he is a Celestial in the MCU. I know it’s silly thing to focus on.

tomk: How tough are those things anyway if Ego is the last one?

jimmy: Did they say he was the last?

tomk: I thought he did.

jimmy: Possible. I don’t recall.

tomk: They lacked that rockin’ beard so they died.

jimmy: And his flowing locks from the beginning. I thought they did a better job here de-aging Kurt Russell than they did Michael Douglas in Ant-Man.

tomk: They had time to perfect it. Plus, Russell being all man made it easier.

jimmy: Haha, true.

tomk: But I would say, even if the final boss battle was too busy, any scene showing Ravengers flying around dying worked very well for me.

jimmy: How many guys were on that ship?!?!?

tomk: None that were arrow-proof?

jimmy: Unlike Drax.

tomk: Hey, if that guy had better aim…

jimmy: I knew that would be your answer. 🙂
But yes, he’s no Yondu.

tomk: Mary Poppins might be.

jimmy: He’s cool.

watson: What I liked? Kurt Russell’s performance even though I agree the fight wasn’t epic. Still his performance and the concept of his villainy was Killmongeresque!
I also LOVED Michael Rooker’s Yondu. The emotional hook of the film. He IS Mary Poppins, y’all!
Finally, Drax and Mantis was inspired. Accepting her despite her ugliness was sweet and funny.
Mantis was a big addition to the team.
Which surprised me the first time because she annoyed me in the commercials.

tomk: I liked spotting Jeff Goldblum in the closing credits.

jimmy: Haha
I appreciated the fun of the credits and the multiple scenes sprinkled throughout, instead of sitting through 10 minutes of scrolling white text on black waiting for a 30 second scene that potentially is a joke.

tomk: I generally like Gunn’s design aesthetic overall. GotG films look and sound the most unique in the MCU. In fact, I think I read Gunn wrote all the Guardians dialogue for Infinity War to keep that going.

watson: Upon reflection, there was more I didn’t like than liked on second viewing once the newness wore off. One of the best parts of the original, Rocket, was utterly worthless here. His new moodiness of the first film became ennui in this one. Sucked the life out of his character.
Starlord was also maudlin this film. It actually made sense storywise and the choice Gunn made for the character was well-performed by Pratt but it didn’t work in contrast with the silliness. That’s the risk of having a foot in both serious and comedy. When done well, it is brilliant but when not, it doesn’t work. That’s why I thought Three Billboards was overrated a tad. Same principle.
Between Rocket and Starlord the whole chemistry the cast had in the first film was gone. And that made this film REALLY seem like an inferior carbon copy of the original.

jimmy: And the unspoken thing.

tomk: Howard the Duck?

jimmy: That was a nice call back, but also falls into the sequelitis aspect.

tomk: Would it have been better to just exclude Howard?

jimmy: It’s fine. But when it seems like everything is a repeat of the first film, it gets a little old.

And I think ve’ve come to ze time on Sprockets vhen ve grade!

tomk: I’m still waiting for Jenny’s contrary opinion.

jimmy: She loved the unspoken thing.

watson: I’m not.

tomk: In that case, I still dig the series’ look and it did a better bad guy this time, plus Yondu is gold whenever he opens his mouth. 8 out of 10 unnecessary bomb buttons.

watson: This was probably the biggest drop for me in a rewatch. I think I gave it a 9.5 the first time. Upon second viewing I give GotG Part Duex 7.5 “Brandys” out of 10. Not a horrible score, but definitely not a classic.

jimmy: I had some trouble grading this one. When I watched it last year I gave it an 8.5. This time around it felt like an 8 until the end with Yondu bumped it again to an 8.5. But 8.5 was what I gave the first Guardians, and that is clearly superior to this one. So I think I graded that one a bit too harshly. So to even out things in the cosmos, I will give this one 8 interstellar beards out of 10.

watson: Yeah. I wanted to give this a seven and realized I gave Iron Man 3 and Incredible Hulk 7s. Had to bump it up!

tomk: I think it was a straight 8. I didn’t like it as much this time, but I didn’t hate much aside from Rocket who we’re probably supposed to hate.

watson: I thought we were supposed to hate him during and sympathize with him at the end. I just hated him throughout.

jimmy: Well, as we wait for the Newmans, just a reminder that up next is Spider-Man’s first solo MCU outing.

watson: I already rewatched that this week in anticipation!

tomk: Jimmy already gave that one a 11.

jimmy: 1-1

tomk:  

jonathan: I give GotG2 8 Toes “Found” By Baby Groot out of 10.

jenny: Sorry!
Been locked in jail for the last few days.

tomk: Man, Kansas City sounds worse than I thought.

jennyGuardians 2 = 7.5 teenage groots out of 10

tomk:  Jimmy! Fire up the Calculon 2024! 

jimmy:
Captain America: The Winter Soldier 10.0
Iron Man 9.4
Guardians Of The Galaxy 9.4
The Avengers 9.3
Captain America: Civil War 8.9
Captain America: The First Avenger 8.7
Thor 8.0
Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 7.8
Ant-Man 7.8
Avengers: Age of Ultron 7.6
Doctor Strange 7.4
The Incredible Hulk 6.7
Iron Man 2 6.6
Iron Man 3 6.6
Thor: The Dark World 6.6

MCU overall 8.0
Phase 1 8.1
Phase 2 8.0
Phase 3 8.0

jonathan: Remarkably consistent for the phases. A couple of A’s, a couple of C’s, but mostly B’s. That’s pretty spot on.

watson: That’s the MCU value proposition. Play it safe. Solid, fun entertainment but it is rare when they deliver greatness. It’s the equivalent of getting on base a lot and then moving it along with an occasional home run.
Know what that is?
MONEYBALL!

jonathan: I’m a big fan of that strategy. To continue the analogy, they get on base a lot, don’t strike out often (I’d say only twice thus far), a few doubles, and one home run. That’s an All-Star caliber player!

watson: No Babe Ruths. Lotta Tony Gwynns.

jonathan: I LOVE TONY GWYNN!
R.I.P.

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