So, because spoiler tags are what they are on the current version of the site, rather than including this in the next Guttermouth post when my opinions aren't as fresh or typing this out but having to have very heavy spoiler markings in the post (because copy and paste into spoilers isn't here yet) I'm just gonna do it now.
As is the vogue I'll go non-spoilers for a bit and then go into hidden spoilers.
Also, as a note I saw the 3D basic matinee. Let's begin.
This is another good Marvel movie and a very good follow-up. Greg Miller said the same thing in their review, but it bears repeating: this is like the second story in a comic series in terms of flow. We're back into some new action with the old crew on the same tone. After you see a plot-setting scene the next step is a scene on par with the old movie. And from there you have good Marvel-world-building and mile-a-minute shotgun comedy up until the well earned climax where everything ties together.
The visuals are fantastic, direction is good, the writing is very solid (though some dialog is clunky but not at all bad) and the music is (like that last one) very well used. Oh, and this one doesn't have them jumping away from an explosion in slo-mo every action scene. All the characters (villains included) work and have driving points and/or arcs that make sense and leave you satisfied. Personally I like Rocket and Groot most but I didn't not like a single character. Let's just say here that this also is how a big cast movie is done well with only two movies to establish them. There are 10-13 main characters depending on how you look at it, but it doesn't feel like too many and each one is dealt with completely for what's needed.
If you want a fun and very solid movie, go see it. You'll enjoy yourself. It's also a Marvel Sequel that really worked so fans will like that too. I saw the middle-level audio-visual version for cheap and I will say, that's the way to see it. Unless you're looking for the very best, the visuals are beautiful but don't hinge on 3D at all. I'd have been completely fine with 2D and if I buy this one (I have to pick and choose with Marvel and I don't have Guardians 1. If there's a decently priced two pack I'll get it. But don't get me wrong, it's worth going to see for sure and your personal investment is just how much more you want to see of it.
Alright, now to get to the traditionallier sweary-shouty part that gives Guttermouth its non-pun meaning.
Groot technically said "fuck" so I can too! There's the sweary bit. The rest will be rather loud enthusiastic talking because how I feel about this movie is more or less what I just said. Its very good. Very very good.
I'm not going to do a full story review because I do want you to go see it yourself but the plot works as well as it does based on the deeper ramifications of the first point I made: This is a comic-series turned into a movie. From the second scene onward you KNOW this is in a continuity with things that happened before and set-up for things that will happen after the final credit scene (of which there are more than two (we'll get to those)). But it's all earned and the inclusion of these things is based on the plot going on. But enough vagaries. The story starts with the Guardians working for the Sovereign and Ayesha who are set up as they are in the comics, desiring perfection. It's very soon into the movie that the audience and all the characters learn they still have room to grow. This pushes them to A) want to kill the Guardians, and B) try to make their race more superior.
Nebula and Gamora have emotional arcs (hell, everyone in this movie has at least one scene of genuine and heavy-hitting emotion (one more point I'll get back to)) but it's more surprising that it's Nebula who incites this plot and you can tell she'll be important again down the line. The central theme of the last movie carries through about family, working together, and understanding your own flaws. The movie does this well because instead of re-hashing it, the point is advanced.
Also, a big shout-out for this movie taking three discrete villains and aligning them without ever being forced. Ego, the central bad guy by just a smidge over the other two has a bit of a formulaic evil plot but he cares and you care because of it. Ego is also a great way to jump into the changes they made. There's quite a few, but what they don't change, (which is my criteria for good adaptation) is the central cores of the characters and stories in a way that fits the world the adaptation presents. Quill isn't the son of the Spartax Prince, he's Ego's son and now has Celestial powers. This is important the world Marvel Studios is building and keeps him a hybrid hero while allowing him to be the major player he is in the universe. It also fits the central plot's theme of family (especially fatherhood) very well.
BIG spoilers, Yandu's sacrifice at the end was a very emotional way to underline this point and it is earned by main character #7. He also in the main reason for the third villain, Tazerface, and his, Rocket, and Groot's escape is one of the highlights of the film from its inception to its final stroke.
What you may expect me to talk about is the comedy in this film. It's fantastic. It's so much a part of the film though that if I really were to start I'd quote a whole film at you. Highlights include Rocket and Drax, arcade culture, Stan Lee's cameo. David Hasselhoff, a human toe, Mary Poppins, Pacman, a Zune, and Baby and Teenage Groot of course. A big plus for me was just how much of the film rode on one of my favorite Yacht Rock songs (Brandy by Looking Glass). This movie was simply a beautiful combination of all of these weird elements that worked as a whole and as a part of a continuity. Please go see it.
AFTER THE CREDITS:
-The reunion of the original Guardians of the Galaxy (save for Yandu) is a great nod. One more point for continuity.
-Ayesha being the one to make Adam Warlock is another big change to continuity but one that makes enough sense. It would have been hard to have the Infinity story without him. How this will fit into the story and change it, I don't know, but I'm looking foreword to it.
-And finally, Stan Lee's Cameo. STAN LEE'S CAMEO HAS A SECOND PART BUT BOTH OF THEM ARE SO FUCKING AWESOME. Quite possibly the biggest nod to Marvel's fans since the entire Deadpool movie, Stan Lee is seen conversing with the Watchers. They didn't outright make him Uatu like some people thought but in one solid stroke they made every cameo he has in every Marvel film justified and awesome. I don't mean just the MCU films either but Marvel has pretty much said that the Multiverse of the Marvel Films includes every single one made without directly saying it for copyright reasons. I want that image from the in-movie part of his cameo framed very large on my wall. That's how great it was. It was funny too.
And there you have it. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was a very solid B+ to A level movie and just a whole lot of fun. I can't wait for the rest of them.
Hope you enjoy it if you see it too,