Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

A new review from The Movie Snob.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2  (D).  The first Guardians movie was a surprisingly fun, comic space opera.  The second, unfortunately, is neither fun nor funny.  The relentless special effects and earsplitting soundtrack add up to, as another critic put it, a “visual and aural assault”—and one that lasts over two hours, for good measure.  There’s a lot going on here, but the main plot involves the encounter between affable space scoundrel Peter Quill (Chris Pratt, The Five-Year Engagement) and his long-lost father Ego (Kurt Russell, Big Trouble in Little China).  It’s always great to see Russell doing his amiable big-lug routine, but even he can’t save this bloated trainwreck.  Almost lost in the clutter are nice supporting performances by Michael Rooker (Tombstone) as the blue outlaw who raised Peter and Elizabeth Debicki (The Great Gatsby) as a beautiful gold alien whose genetically perfect species is remarkably inept at tracking down and blowing up the Guardians.  Skip it.

Guardians of the Galaxy

From the desk of The Movie Snob.

Guardians of the Galaxy  (B).  I did not have particularly high expectations for this sci-fi special-effects extravaganza, so that may have helped me enjoy it all the more.  I’m afraid a plot description will make it sound a little flat: a bad guy is searching for an ancient artifact of immense power that will help him rule the galaxy, and a band of misfits (the Guardians of the title) must try to stop his genocidal plans.  But it’s more clever than it sounds, and it’s generally a pretty light-hearted romp.  Likeable everyman Chris Pratt (The Five-Year Engagement) stars as Peter Quill, a Tomb Raideresque scoundrel who is really hoping his self-proclaimed nickname “Starlord” will catch on.  Zoe Saldana (Star Trek Into Darkness) is his enemy-turned-ally Gamora.  Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook) has many of the best lines as a roguish raccoon named Rocket who has somehow acquired the power of speech and the ability to fly spaceships.  Other notable faces show up, such as Glenn Close (The Stepford Wives), John C. Reilly (Walk Hard), and Benicio Del Toro (21 Grams).  The film is rated PG-13 for intense sci-fi action and violence and for some mild language.  I guess that’s about right, although I don’t really think mature 11 and 12-year-olds would have a problem with it.