The root of all evil may be money, but it took an adorable twig named Groot to spell it out in 3-D, and across the big screen. So, needless to say, after watching an early screening of the film, I was probably disappointed more than my fellow, 1973 Study Hall, Audio Visual Nerds.
For most people, Guardians of the Galaxy came out of nowhere, and made us laugh, while allowing us to feel connected to something more, sending it straight to the bank, and into $equels yet to come. Those of us from Marvel Nerdville, who did have a comic map, followed the inked journey, intrigued and curious at how the darkness in that Galaxy could translate to film. Happily, the results were high five nods to The Outsiders, The Waltons, Star Wars, Buck Rogers, and even a hint of The Addams Family. These unexpected souls captured our hearts, and let us love them.
The success of the first film goes without saying, because something was done right. We found a family in the odd mix of characters, and Groot, the selfless Yoda of tree growth, became an overnight sensation, marketed in everything from action figures to baby blankets. We couldn’t wait to see the team reunited for a new adventure, wondering how they had picked up the pieces, no Groot joke intended.
However, one time or another, we’ve all seen someone say the wrong thing, do something hysterical, or witness a pet or child do what no one thought possible. YouTube and television have made such moments forever memorable, with millions of views, and in some cases, lifelong fame. Tragically though, when you try and make such a moment, it is forced, obvious and often uncomfortable for the viewer when it falls flat…with that in mind, go see Volume 2 of the Galaxy.
If you look at the media today, you might ask yourself, why can’t a young girl just be herself? Why does she have to add make-up, bad behavior, implants and selfie overload on social media to be considered acceptable? Taking that same formula, turn to entertainment and ask why do we need overdone characters, that detract from what once made them memorable. Maybe it is because we have become a society that demands over the top in everything we experience, which is sad, because Mom’s Apple Pie still feeds the soul and the body, and if anyone took the time to notice…it is nothing more than simple ingredients that work great together.
Don’t get me wrong, there are a few moments, which I won’t spoil, that do reaffirm humanity in three of the characters, and you will shed a tear, or feel your heart beating, all because of these last minute developments, which in fact, do save the film. Notice that I said last minute, because yes, it all happens towards the end. The rest of the movie gives fraternity one-liners to the characters, playing only to the audience for cheap laughs, that have nothing to do with the story line, along with a couple WTF visuals, and beating a dead music lyric to death.
Imagine the sweet boy next door, becoming an ego-driven salesman, too full of himself to notice no one is laughing at his bathroom humor, and you get the idea of almost the entire film. Even Groot is overdone, and a visual $ell out, which was the saddest of all. Long gone is any Yoda styled companionship, he is now there only for $how. If you have seen any of the trailers, then you have basically seen him in the movie, and frankly, stop there…because as loving and selfless as he was in Vol. 1, those trailers make you want to hug him even more, not so much after the film.
Stephen King likes to sneak into his movies for a cameo, and until it is pointed out, some people don’t realize who it was. His character actually becomes a part of the film you remember, like in The Stand, when he calls out to the community, after sighting their weary survivors returning. Stan Lee however, does not get such a forever moment in Volume 2. Instead, he is almost an afterthought, in a laughable attempt of where to put the big guy. If anyone in the audience isn’t a knowledgeable fan, they will wonder who and why, there was a man with a fishbowl on his head, pretending to be Mr. Rogers…even if he does get an additional moment in the credits.
Basically, this film does what society, and all forms of entertainment consistently try to accomplish…if less worked, you must now push more and more, to get attention, and be the new flavor of the week. Guardians 2 leaves you with a story, that had potential, and a new cast of characters, although basically unexplained, but just thrown into the mix, ready for Volume 3, and a new $tory.
Sorry Marvel, but this Nerd likes apple pie, basic characters I can imagine and watch develop, as well as being wrapped up in a story, that leaves me wanting more. So, keeping that in mind, I have turned down the volume on the characters I dearly loved, but will still watch Volume 1…for about the 20th time, remembering what once worked.
I am Sad.