Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 (2017)
A film that revels in it’s own joy, Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 is highly self-indulgent, beautiful to behold, witty like Star Lord, and whole a lot of fun. And though perhaps not as fresh or as groundbreaking as it’s predecessor, it manages to go deeper into it’s characters, exploring their past, while pushing them a bit further than before.
Guardians of the Galaxy operates outside of the mainstream, even though it is, completely mainstream. It revels in being itself. In being you, and in taking pride and ownership of that. Feeling cool about being you. A message that’s often lost but universal, and perhaps what draws audiences most to Guardians.
Guardians feels the love and wants you, to feel it too. Though some of it is quite familiar, Vol. 2 doesn’t have the staleness or over-predictability that comes with most sequels. It aims to challenge it’s characters a bit. We start to see the layers come off.
And when the film needs a bit of heart or humor, Guardians has them in spades. Dave Bautista is a scene-stealer as Drax, playing it straight and over-the-top with relative ease. Karen Gillian brings some real grit and determination, some real pain, to what could be a far less-memorable character in Nebula. The performances are always there in a Guardians film, a rare hallmark among modern blockbusters.
Chris Pratt is one of the greatest leading men of our time. Most movie stars have charisma, strength, or bravado. But not all of them have heart. Something to root for. A greater sense of self, something to aspire to. That, my friends, is star (lord) power.