Prepare to be entertained: Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) and his motley crew are back to save the galaxy (again) in this lighthearted romp through space and time. The plot is simplistic at best, but when the emotional pay-off comes I bet you’ll tear up all the same. This is a fun night out for almost anyone. 4 out of 5.
After their last adventure the Guardians have become not just a team, but a family—with all the devotion, bickering, and dysfunction that implies. When the mystery behind Peter’s parentage is finally revealed, will his newfound ties to his biological family destroy his relationships with his friends? Or when push comes to shove, will the Guardians come together to save the galaxy… again?
Baby Groot. I mean, seriously. SO adorable. The cutest character since Olaf in Frozen. And such an important member of the team, which is pretty impressive for a miniature walking tree whose vocabulary consists of only three now-legendary words: “I am Groot” (voice of Vin Diesel). You just can’t help but smile at the feisty little guy. But not just Groot—the other characters hold their own. The Guardians are a fascinating mix of personalities and species but even minor characters bring a lot to this table. Favorite moments have to include hilariously awkward conversations between Drax (Dave Bautista) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff).
The music also works—and I’m not just talking about “Awesome Mixtape #2.” That is a good blend of tunes, but even better is the way music is used throughout the movie to heighten humor or add pathos. All good scores do that of course, but this one works particularly well. Especially when a certain golden personage is making what she intended to be an impressive entrance.
You know by now not to leave a Marvel film before the lights come on in the theater, but this one has particularly interesting credits. Things pop in and out from all sides and up the middle, and that’s all in addition to the five (5!) extra scenes. You’re going to want to stay put and pay attention.
The big battle near the end of the movie, where the fate of the universe hangs in the balance and all that, drags on longer than necessary. I get that there are a lot of characters and we need to know that each and every one of them is in imminent mortal danger, but there’s only so much slamming bodies against boulders this viewer can take before it gets old. Additionally, there’s not much in the way of plot; this is more of a sitcom than a feature film. The see-it-coming-a-mile-away story doesn’t keep this from being an enjoyable experience, but a plot twist or two would have been most welcome.
Christian Worldview Elements / Spiritual Themes
This is a tale about family: what that can look like and what it means to be part of one. Betrayal, forgiveness, misunderstandings, sacrificial love—it’s all there. There are even some neat little lessons about how prickly exteriors can hide soft centers and what it really means to be a parent.
A character who describes himself as a “small ‘g’ god” says he came to Earth because he “wanted to find out what it was like to be human,” but any potential Christ-figure comparisons end there.
CAUTIONS (may contain spoilers)
- MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language, and brief suggestive content
- Language/Profanity: There is ‘strong’ language scattered throughout. Most every word you can think of shy of the f-bomb makes an appearance: hell, da**, sh**, bas**rd, di*k, and several “son of a…” but that last phrase is only finished once.
- Sexuality/Nudity: Quite a bit of sexual humor, more light-hearted than coarse. There’s a lively discussion about penis, a man is outed as being sexually attracted to a woman of his acquaintance, and yet another man incorrectly assumes a female is coming on to him and goes on at length about how much he dislikes the idea. A scene is set in and near what appears to be a strip club/brothel staffed by robot-like creatures. A male character mentions an issue with his nipples but not in a sexual way and it’s played for laughs.
- Violence/Frightening/Intense: Multiple deaths but virtually no blood. The body count is high, with entire squadrons perishing in ballet-like dances of death. The galaxy and everyone in it—including our heroes—are in danger of being destroyed. Brief scenes of torture and hazing.
Drugs/Alcohol: Characters drink and sometimes get loud and ugly as a result.
The Bottom Line
RECOMMENDED FOR: Anyone who grew up in the 80s, for the music alone. Marvel fans, comic book readers, and people looking for a movie filled with laughs, action, and just a little heart-tugging emotion. Parents with step-children should consider seeing this one with their bonus kids.
NOT RECOMMENDED FOR: People who don’t appreciate the fun of dysfunction, are turned off by high body counts, or who can’t relax and enjoy a fun story (even when it’s obvious how it all will end).
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, directed by James Gunn, opens in theaters May 5, 2017. It runs 136 minutes and stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Kurt Russell, Elizabeth Debicki and (voices of) Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper. Watch the trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 here.
Susan Ellingburg spends most days helping to create amazing live events and most nights at the movies, at rehearsals, or performing with vocal ensembles in the Dallas area. This leaves very little time for cleaning house. A natural-born Texan, Susan loves all things British, Sunday afternoon naps, cozy mysteries, traveling with friends, and cooking like a Food Network star (minus the camera crew).
Publication date: May 4, 2017
Image courtesy: ©Disney-Marvel