Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

The audience at the screening seemed to laugh maniacally at all the shenanigans (well, aside from the two 3-year-olds in attendance that just kept talking). My wife and I laughed a few times, but we were really disappointed. For a movie that lazily relies on classic rock hits for hip cred, I can use a band as an analogy. You love their debut album and even enjoyed their concert. You’re anxiously awaiting the second release and…it’s not very good. There might be a few songs that are okay. A decent guitar solo on track #5, but overall, a disappointment and something you’ll never listen to again. Yet people will be convinced this is a great comedy. It’s a mix of being easily amused, and also thinking that when you’re supposed to laugh — you do. It’s why those annoying laugh tracks on TV shows worked in the ‘70s, and why when Kramer opened Seinfeld’s door to barge in, you laughed. It wasn’t all that funny, but you knew you were supposed to laugh, so you did.

Chris Pratt is again the poor man’s Han Solo. He flirts, boasts, and is always willing to bust chops. He has a few good lines, but more often than not, director James Gunn’s idea of a punchline is having him reference something from the ‘80s. Sometimes it works (David Hasselhoff), most times it doesn’t. It’s a shame, because Gunn did a terrific job with the first movie, as well as the underrated superhero movie Super (Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page).

Baby Groot starts the movie off with the terrific opening title sequence. The great ELO song “Mr. Blue Sky” plays while he boogies, and the rest of the crew are fighting for their lives. It’s a shame the rest of the film isn’t as good. It’s also a shame they relied so much on Baby Groot. Less is more sometimes.

It was also disappointing that Rocket the raccoon (Bradley Cooper) is never really funny. He’s just non-stop insults. In the first movie he was hysterical.

The muscular Drax (Dave Bautista) had exactly two funny lines. The rest of the time, the film relied on jokes like how big his turds were.

Gamora (Zoe Saldana) is occupied with her evil sister (Karen Gillan) that wants to kill her. She also has to act like she’s not interested in Star Lord.

There are two actors that bring some heft to the proceedings. Ranger Yondu (Michael Rooker) and his whistling arrow, have a few interesting fight scenes. His character also has an emotional story arc that works well.

Kurt Russell shows up as Ego, the long, lost father of Star Lord. Nothing can put a smile on the face of a guy that grew up in the ‘70s more than seeing him in 1980 driving a Ford Mustang Ghia (the ugliest model ever), and blasting the Looking Glass song “Brandy.” It’s even more enjoyable later when he explains to his son how the lyrics are similar to their journeys.

The action sequences are boring and all over the place. The 3D didn’t add much to all the things swirling and exploding around us.

Elizabeth Debicki (The Great Gatsby) plays the leader of a race of gold colored folks that look like Bond women from Goldfinger. Her crew is after the Guardian crew for batteries the raccoon stole.

It would be nice if that’s all the plot involved, but there’s a lot more. It made this almost two and a half hour movie feel like five.

Dad plays catch with his son — and it’s a blue orb. It’s surprising they didn’t use Harry Chapin’s “Cats in the Cradle.” (they did later use Cat Stevens’ “Father and Son”). Yet it’s not just showing his son how to throw a baseball that he’s interested in. He wants to tell him a few galactic tricks that he’s got up his sleeve.

One of my movie complaints with comedies is when sequels recycle jokes from the first movie. An example here would be the raccoon making fun of the nickname “Taser Face.” It would be a humorous sequence if we didn’t have the same joke with the “Star Lord” name in the first film.

The opening credits tell us Sylvester Stallone is in this. He has two scenes, and about one minute of screen time total.

It’s more interesting watching the fun Stan Lee cameo, and trying to spot two famous Rangers (Seth Green, and heavy metal legend Rob Zombie).

I mentioned the lazy use of classic rock songs. It was also a shame they picked uninteresting ones (My Sweet Lord by George Harrison and The Chain by Fleetwood Mac…with the ever popular slow motion shot of the crew walking). It was great to hear one of the best songs ever: Bring it on Home to Me, while Star Lord says, “Sam Cooke is one of the best Earth singers of all time.”

Agree.

If critics are going to make fun of the Adam Sandler video game movie Pixels a few years ago…they can’t then laugh at the dumb Pac Man and ‘80s video game references here. They’re equally unfunny.

And maybe I got burned out on this phrase from the last Fast and Furious movie, but they use it here, and it needs to be retired. It’s the “We’re family” line.

Make sure you stay for the entire credits. There are at least four scenes sprinkled throughout.

This gets 2 stars out of 5, but as I said earlier…most people will be tricked into thinking this is a great comedy. So don’t take a cynical critic’s 2 stars to heart. I’m sure you’ll love it.