I liked the first Guardians of the Galaxy because Rocket Raccoon is the closest thing I’m ever going to get to a spirit animal, and I went to the second one hoping they’d go heavy on the Rocket and light on everything else. Nope. Once again, the gang have to save the whole galaxy. I liked it that Rocket at least pointed out that if they did it twice they could jack up their rates. As usual in Marvel world, saving the galaxy involves a stupid amount of CGI, allied in this instance to a stupid inability to see that their best value on CGI is Groot and Rocket. In fact, someone may already have figured that out, since there’s a lovely opening sequence of most of the gang fighting a huge CGI monster just out of focus in the background while Baby Groot dances to Mr Blue Sky in the foreground. I’m going to pretend that was a coded message to the suits about what really works in these movies.
Other than that, way too much of this movie is about two of my least favourite movie things; saving the universe and fambly. GoG Vol 2 came hard on the heels of Fast and the Furious Vol 8, and both have Vin Diesel, Kurt Russell, and way the hell too much angsting about fambly along with way too many CGI explosions. Kurt Russell actually has tonnes of things to do in this movie, mostly bad things. I don’t ever remember seeing him as a villain before, unless you count Overboard and I bet even Kurt’s hoping we’d all forgotten that. Anyhow, for those of you who harbour the feeling that Starlord was kind of a douche-bag scraping by on superficial charm, GoG Vol 2 is the movie which explains where he got the DNA for that. If that was all the family-ing it would still be too much, but you get his alternate dad thrown in along with a sibling rivalry plot for Gamora and Nebula. As you can imagine, this doesn’t leave anything like enough room for my spirit animal to do his thing.
Which is a pity. Rocket is part of a movie which would be fun to watch; mean-minded low-lives in a weird sci-fi world just doing mean-minded low-life things and getting buried under the consequences of their own stupidity. There’s a whole sub plot about just that, and it even has Elizabeth Debicki as the retributor in chief. Rocket vs Debicki would have been a fun movie all on its own. Consider, if you will, one of the great dumb movies of long ago; Kelly’s Heroes. A bunch of lugs set out to steal a tonne of gold, and have many adventures as they try to ignore World War II. If you made that today, stealing the gold would be a side-plot, and the heroes would be torn away from their simple self interest into some crazed quest to stop Hitler from getting a H-bomb.
But, you say, it’s Guardians of the Galaxy! They have to, you know, guard the galaxy. Dude, they totally don’t. Nothing would be funnier than a group of guys who called themselves the Guardians of the Galaxy but never did anything other than knock over small town bank branches while drunk. That would make a great running joke. Or maybe it’s too much like modern politics.