I can’t help but vet any movie I’m actually going to go see in theatres via RottenTomatoes score. My general rule is superhero movies need to be over 80%, big budget comedies over 60%, obviously offensive comedies either over 50% or UNDER 20%, RomComs over 70%, hate watches under 10%, heist movies over 0% and Oscar Bait over 90%.
So, when we saw Guardians 2’s 80+ RT rating, my dad and I figured we’d go on one of our juvenile movie dates and check it out. We both liked Guardians 1 and even the Metacritic rating for 2 was in the high 60s, implying that it didn’t earn the high RT by just getting a bunch of tepid but not negative reviews.
I kinda enjoyed G2, but were all of the critics watching a different movie? It was basically a dumpster fire redeemed by Bradley Cooper as a raccoon…
The movie, which attempts to further Chris Pratt’s origin story by delving into his daddy issues, begins with a CGI young Kurt Russell (a la Paul Walker in Fast 7) conceiving Starlord behind a Dairy Queen (SPOILER).
From there, we get a great opening credits scene with the Guardians fighting some monster while Baby Groot dances to Guardians 70s jams (and the jams are almost as good as in Vol 1. – ❤ u Fleetwood Mac).
Drax (wrestler Dave Batista) plays the lumbering oaf who does lumbering oaf things and is supposed to be funny because he doesn’t understand social nicety or nuance. His plot for the film revolves around him learning to understand emotion from an Asian alien with antennae (creatively named Mantis) who can sense the emotions of others by touching them – heartwarming stuff.
Gamora (green Zoe Saldana) continues to play her Lana Kane-esque, overly competent straight man character w/ sexual tension w/ her Sterling Archer analog (Starlord), which is never resolved, because that’d ruin Guardians Vol 3. She spends most of the movie hashing out sister issues w/ her not-so-evil robo sister who had been imprisoned by a bunch of highly sentient, sarcastic, genetically perfect, gold-skinned humanoids.
Then, there is Baby Groot, who continues to say “I am Groot” to everything, which apparently makes sense to Rocket. His one role in the movie is to be too dumb to complete tasks, kinda like Charlie Day in It’s Always Sunny. If you think people being inanely incompetent is funny, then Groot’s your guy. Otherwise, not so much…
Starlord’s plot… well… I can’t even begin to explain it. Kurt Russell (dad) is some sort of celestial entity who wants his demi-god son to join him in taking over the universe by coopting all matter within it via strange plants. Starlord really wants to have a daddy, but when he sees how evil the whole thing is, he balks, and we get a big space battle. In the end, he realizes that Yandu, the blue guy smuggler from Vol. 1, was truly his father, even if not by blood. It’s mildly compelling stuff, but forced.
With that said, I really did like large portions of the movie and think it’ll be one that I watch on cable in snippets for years to come… and the reason for such is twofold: 1) Rocket (raccoon Bradley Cooper) is so damn funny and engaging that you want him to be on the screen the whole time and 2) when the Guardians are all in a room/spaceship together just hanging out, their banter is really really funny, witty and sharp. You just wish they spent more time lounging and less time fighting celestial overlords.
All told, I was a little disappointed in Vol. 2, and really don’t know how so many critics could justify giving it such high marks when it had so little story and such poorly developed or cohesive subplots… but I liked it… and I like spending time with the Guardians… and that is perhaps more important than all of the rest.
But, can we please do a Rocket spin-off movie?
Grade: 45% Chaz