Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel’s Voice, Bradley Cooper’s Voice, Kurt Russell, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff
May 5, 2017 (US Premiere)
Summary for Moms:
Following the events of Guardians of the Galaxy, the Guardians are hired by the enigmatic Sovereign civilization but run afoul of them when Rocket (Bradley Cooper’s voice) steals some of their Harbulary Batteries. After an intense chase, they are saved by Ego (Kurt Russell) and his ‘pet’ Mantis (Pom Klementieff). Ego claims to be Star-Lord’s (Chris Pratt’s) long-lost father and is eager to show him his birthright. Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Drax (Dave Bautista) follow him, while leaving Rocket, Baby Groot (Vin Diesel’s Voice) and prisoner Nebula (Karen Gillan) to repair the ship and deal with the bloodthirsty Ravagers. The Ravagers themselves are in the midst of a power struggle which causes its own problems for leader Yondu (Michael Rooker). Meanwhile, Star-Lord is finding out his father isn’t all he claims to be…
I was less worried to show my mom Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 than I was the original. If you’ll recall, her reaction to the first Guardians, was fairly muted, and I ended up reevaluating the movie, a bit negatively. I expected a repeat of that with Vol. 2, especially since, upon watching it originally, I didn’t much care for what I felt were excessive jokes that took away from the heart of the film.
That’s what I expected. What I got was a complete 180.
My mom enjoyed this film and really got into it, and so did I, much more so than we did with the original Guardians. Of course, as the movie was beginning, she needed a bit of a reminder as to what had happened prior, but after that she was completely onboard and enjoyed the opening sequence, despite her aversion to monsters.
This was surprising to me, as Vol. 2, I feel goes even more out on a limb than its predecessors with some really kooky concepts, like the Sovereign and the fact that Peter’s father is a living planet. But they do work really well and nothing in that realm feels particularly out of place.
Kurt Russell’s Ego is a far superior villain than Guardians‘ Ronan the Accuser. Where Ronan seemed like a cardboard cutout of a character, Ego is well-developed with interesting ties to Peter’s past and a devious motive which makes him feel like a proper threat. My mom thought so as well, and was, once again, amazed by the de-aging process they slapped on Kurt Russell in the opening scenes. When he showed up as Ego in his present form, my mom was equally amazed as to how old he’d gotten.
While Vol. 2 has an interesting story, great character beats and a cracking bad guy, the real standout once again is James Gunn’s hyperinjection of humor. My mom didn’t much take to the jokes in the original Guardians. At the end she had admitted it was funny, but I took that to be more of a tepid non-reaction, since she hadn’t laughed once during the film. I was expecting more of the same this time around, especially since I believed some of the jokes veered into weird, cartoonish territory, but absolutely Vol. 2 knocked her out. She was laughing the whole time at “Drax’s crazy jokes”, absolutely loved Peter’s constant references to ‘Knight Rider’ and David Hasselhoff’s sudden appearance (since I was a big Knight Rider fan as a kid), and really latched onto Baby Groot. For someone who absolutely hated Pokemon since “they could only say one thing”, my mom was way too onboard with repeating ‘I am Groot’ over and over again by the end of the movie.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 marked a significant turn-around for my mom in terms of the Guardians, and she’s really come to embrace the jokes and is definitely waiting to see more of them. Her exact words were “I can’t believe they made a story out of this. People have to be so creative to put it together. They have to have good imagination.”
And her reaction really turned me around to the film, as well. I had only seen it once in theaters and felt like most of the over-the-top humor undercut a lot of the more promising emotional beats in the film. But, on second viewing, this wasn’t nearly as bad as I had originally thought. There were still some parts I felt went a bit too far, but now I think the film is a lot more balanced than I’d given it credit for. So, thanks, mom!
Mom Rating (Out of Five):
- My mom thought young Kurt Russell was Patrick Swayze and was confused that they brought him back to life.
- Sylvester Stallone speaks “better English in this than he did in Rocky”
- She thought Taserface was Mr. T. Now I think that’d be better casting, especially since they got Stallone onboard.
- She was rooting for Groot to “do the right thing” with the bomb.
- She loved the “Mary Poppins” joke, and was sad about Yondu’s subsequent death. Even with all the jokes, James Gunn knows how to pack a punch.
Post Credit Sequences:
- Kraglin’s shenanigans with Yondu’s arrow had her guffawing.
- She had no response to the Guardians 3000 cameo, which is esoteric, even for me, so I can’t blame her.
- Once they showed Adam Warlock’s cocoon she was immediately curious as to “who he’s going to be!”
- She adored teenage Groot and the fact that he’s “playing Nintendo games”.
- “Oh, that’s Stan Lee!”
- There may have been too many post-credit sequences.