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since 1997 | by maryann johanson

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 movie review: 2 same 2 spurious

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 yellow light

MaryAnn’s quick take…
Thinks it’s edgy and transgressive, the punk little brother of all those other stodgy comic-book movies, but it isn’t. It’s just slightly more candy-colored.tweet
I’m “biast” (pro): big SF geek
I’m “biast” (con): wasn’t crazy about the first movie
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

You were insufferable to start with,” groans Gamora, the badass green chick who should be the hero of the Guardians of the Galaxy series, but who must give way to Star-Lord, aka doofy Earther Peter Quill, because he’s the boy and the boy always gets to be the leader, even in space. She says this, rolling her eyes — and oh, I so sympathize with her, and no, that does not make this movie particularly “female friendly” — after a revelation about Peter’s parentage that is at the center of the tedious, been-there-bought-the-T-shirt plot of Vol. 2.

The tee reads: “My dad turned out to be from outer space and all I got was this lousy T-shirt.”

The tee reads: “My dad turned out to be from outer space and all I got was this lousy T-shirt.”tweet

Peter, you see, has already been, since the first movie (and all the Marvel comics that spawned it), an embodiment of that fantasy that lots of kids have, girls as well as boys although girls never get to see it up on the screen, that we don’t belong in whatever dull place we’re stuck in, that nobody understands us, and that clearly we are destined for greatness, etc. Peter (Chris Pratt: Passengers, The Magnificent Seven) has been living the fulfillment of that dream, fully aware that even though he was born on 1980s Earth, his dad was a mysterious spaceman from some other planet, and now he lives and works out in the big wide galaxy, and hasn’t been back to his homeworld since he was snatched away by interstellar bad guys as a kid. Peter is the vindication of that childhood escapism: “See? His dad was from another planet! Maybe mine is too, and he’ll come and get me and we’ll have awesome adventures together.”

A revelation about Peter’s parentage is meant as astonishing, but it’s been-there-bought-the-T-shirt.
tweet

Now, you’d think it would be more than enough of a kickstart to an awesome adventure if you were merely a farmboy fed up with repairing moisture vaporators, or a hacker whose genius the world and its laws does not appreciate, or a kid whose dad really did turn out to be a spaceman. But that’s never enough, is that? You also have to be the last of the great warrior monks whose secret father rules the galaxy with an iron fist that only you can break, or a savior whose coming was prophesied as the only One who can free humanity from its digital shackles, or — in Peter’s case — as something even more pompously overblown. Peter’s space dad is played by Kurt Russell (The Fate of the Furious, Deepwater Horizon), and I won’t spoil what his big secret is (even though it was discussed at Comic-Con last summer!). It has nothing to do with the story of Peter’s parentage in the GotG comic, though it is something dragged in from elsewhere in the Marvel universe. Suffice to say that it is a ridiculous ego boost for Peter, and an even more, well, yes, insufferable and — worse — very familiar male fantasy.

“I am Groot.” (translation: “I command you to buy adorbs Baby Groot merch.”)

“I am Groot.” (translation: “I command you to buy adorbs Baby Groot merch.”)tweet

And this is my overarching problem with Guardians of the Galaxy, which was somewhat true of the first movie but is really a problem with Vol. 2: it thinks it’s weird and edgy and transgressive and something like the punk little brother of all those other stodgy comic-book movies, but it isn’t.tweet It may be slightly more candy-colored, but it’s just more of the same-old space battles and ravenous monsters and splosions and inexpressible manfeels (usually manifesting as splosions) and ironic posturing and monologuing villains and winking at its own presumed cleverness. It’s got poop jokes. It has tree-creature Groot, who is literally a one-note, one-joke character, who says nothing but “I am Groot” and has been newly recalibrated for manufactured cuteness and merch sales as Baby Groot. It has sexy sexbots, and suuuuure, women (or women-coded androids) as commodities is so unexpected. As a flight of fancy, Vol. 2 is shockingly limited in its imagination.tweet This is true of so many movies that get labelled science fiction, but this one particularly wants us to buy it as fresh and different. It’s nothing of the sort.

Snarky references to retro 80s stuff feel like eating the pop-culture seed corn.
tweet

Vol. 2 also seems to think it’s a comedy, but it just isn’t funny.tweet It wants Fleetwood Mac songs scoring space battles to be amusing, or Cat Stevens song scoring sentimental moments to be touching, but that just feels like a way to sell, ahem, a compilation soundtrack. It’s got geeky cameos that are intended as surprising and clever, but they just feel like stunts. And all snarky references to cheesy 80s TV shows and retro technology feel like eating the pop-culture seed corn: if we don’t start telling some new stories that can become tomorrow’s nostalgia, what the hell are we going to make ironic snarky allusions to come the 2040s? “I am Groot” is only going to take us so far.

But another major facepalm of Vol. 2 is how writer-director James Gunn (Movie 43, Slither) has gone overboard and over-obvious in attempting to remedy the “it’s not about anything” problem of the first film. This one is all about family, and in case you forget, it will remind you every few minutes. To underscore the problem of Peter and the lack of a dad that so deeply impacted his life (“of course I have issues”) — even though he had a surrogate dad in criminal Yondu (Michael Rooker: The Belko Experiment, Jumper) — Peter will get to play space catch with his space dad after he was just saying how left out he felt, back on Earth before Yondu whisked him away, when all the other boys got to play regular Earth catch with their Earth dads. (Bring Kleenex. No, not really.)

“Dude! You take that back! My mask is nothing like Iron Man’s!”

“Dude! You take that back! My mask is nothing like Iron Man’s!”tweet

In case you missed that Peter and his team — Gamora (Zoe Saldana: Live by Night, Star Trek Beyond), Rocket the cyborg raccoon (CGI with the voice of Bradley Cooper: War Dogs, 10 Cloverfield Lane), muscleman Drax (Dave Bautista: The Boss, Spectre), and Groot (CGI with the voice of Vin Diesel: The Last Witch Hunter, Find Me Guilty) — are an ad hoc family, someone will be there to remind us. (Funny how Luke and Han and Leia and Chewie and the droids never felt the need to keep telling one another how they were just one big family. Neo and Trinity and Morpheus and Switch and Apoc and Tank never needed to keep reminding themselves how they were just one big family. The Fast & Furious movies are guilty of the same thing. This is a bad storytelling trend that needs to die. Show, don’t tell!) It starts to sound a bit ominous and creepy, like when Don Corleone says “family.” Family. Except for Peter’s dead Earth mom. She’s still dead.

The trying-too-hard extends to the five — count ’em — mid- and postcredits scenes. If one or two is good, five must be better, right?

Of course mega-budget blockbuster movies like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 are carefully calculated and constructed, but they shouldn’t feel like they are. We shouldn’t see the puppet strings tugging on all the characters. We don’t need to have the themes explained to us.tweet For all the monster ichor and alien gardens and quite a bit of human(oid) blood flying around, nothing here feels very organic.


yellow light 2.5 stars

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) | directed by James Gunn
US/Can release: May 05 2017
UK/Ire release: Apr 28 2017

MPAA: rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language, and brief suggestive content
BBFC: rated 12A (moderate fantasy action violence, sex references, bad language)

viewed in 3D
viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, you might want to reconsider.

  • Allen W

    That fantasy you mention: isn’t the female implementation if that how Disney plots at least half of their animated movies (and the modern remakes)?

  • Poison Damage

    I’ve just seen the movie and this “reviewer” clearly didn’t understand the movie or better: she didn’t want to. The review is just some hate speech on the “evil men” from a delusional feminist who thinks she is oh-so clever…

  • Danielm80

    B2. Also B1.

  • Owen1120

    This reads more like a red-light review to me than a yellow-light one- what did you like about the film?

  • MidxMidwest

    Yeah, she sees everything through the tired “oppressed womyn/down-with-the-patriarchy” lens. I dropped by to see if Johanson’s critical eye had expanded at all. Not a bit.

  • Bohica

    Chris Pratt movies tend to trigger feminists of all genders. Plenty of chest thumping over Jurassic World, Passengers, Guardians of the Galaxy. I can’t wait till they are frothing over his next movie.

  • funkmasterrex

    Holy shit, that was impossible to get through.

    Dust off your vagina lady.

  • Dent

    Look out, we got a live one here guys.

  • Dent

    Are your eyes expanding? That seems like a serious problem that requires attention.

  • Dent

    No one I’ve spoken to have loved this movie. Maybe it just isn’t that good.

  • Dent

    Not really.

  • Bohica

    I see. If your handful of friends are like this reviewer, I am not surprised at all. If movies like the recent Fast and Furious sequel could make a billion dollars, I think GoTG 2 will do just fine. Perhaps you need to get new friends who aren’t so uptight about just enjoying a movie for what it is. We aren’t expecting “Citizen Kane” when seeing a space opera with octopus monsters.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I’m just glad I’m not the only one. I came out of the first one thinking, it’s pretty enough I guess, but these characters are all unlikable assholes with nothing clever or original to say. Even my eldest, who loves all things MCU (especially the Chrises) gave that one the hairy eyeball.

    Also, here we go again.

  • Bluejay

    I’ll hold off on reading the review until after I see the film next week. I’ll say this, though: If MaryAnn is criticizing the film from her reliably feminist perspective, then the misogynist troglodytes crawling out in the comments demonstrate EXACTLY why the feminist perspective is still necessary.

  • Bohica

    Seems if a movie isn’t a “Rogue One” with a woman leading the team, it is just trashed here. You must have conniptions over the male Hobbits being the central characters in LoTR from your “feminist perspective” (sic).

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    That was irony, right? You’re trying to be ironic? No?

  • Nina

    It’s hilarious how the meninist leptons get so defensive (or “triggered” if you will) about criticism of stuff they like, yet they project that defensiveness onto the person doing the criticizing.

    No one is saying that the film won’t do well. MAJ isn’t saying you’re a terrible person for liking GotG. She’s a film reviewer, and as such, is reviewing a film. I, personally, love the first movie, but I can still agree with the points she’s made about the film. I’m not insulted or offended by the fact that it isn’t her cup of tea. Because here’s the thing: you can enjoy something and still understand that there are problems with it.

  • Nina

    Gird your loins! I’m sure there’ll be loads in the days to come.

  • Bohica

    I wish I could say it was ironic. But I just read the long winded “feminist” criticism of Winnie the Pooh on here. I thought that was tongue in cheek, diagrams and all. Until I realized that it was but one of many such skewed articles. And dead serious. “Why aren’t there female Hobbbitttsss on the quest….” I picture the whine in a Gollum voice.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    *whoosh*

  • skwirrl

    I got through your first sentence and realized you’re a fucking dope. Congrats on being utterly irrelevant.

  • skwirrl

    That’s probably because they speak English as poorly as you. Foreigners tend to be stupid and can’t grasp these movies.

  • skwirrl

    You can agree with her painfully stupid point that Gamora should be the main character solely because the reviewer is a feminist drone?

  • skwirrl

    Feminists should be thrown off tall buildings like gays in the middle east.

  • Dent

    That attitude is pretty hilarious considering the film in question is one of the most easily digestible films in Marvel’s catalog. What is there to understand? Also there is the fact that Marvel and, by extension, Disney make quite a bit of money outside of the US. Oh but I’m sure they just watch it for the pretty colours. They couldn’t hope to grasp the inherently complicated genera that is the North American comic book film.

  • Dent

    So you’re saying that critics shouldn’t be allowed to point out that a low effort sequel is a low effort sequel?

  • Duder NME

    This sounds more like a -2.5 star review. What were the possible positives?

    I thought the first was amusing and distracting enough, but I’m glad I saw it at a friend’s place instead of paying for a ticket. Vol 2’s trailers indicate the same.

  • Duder NME

    Alt-left v. Alt-right: Dawn of WGAF

  • Dent

    Logistical nightmare.

  • Duder NME

    What a Fun-At-Parties guy you are!

  • Duder NME

    Plus, y’know, the paperwork.

  • Dent

    Drax can be entertaining, but that’s mostly Bautista’s completely ridiculous performance.

  • Dent

    You would totally watch that spin-off film. Don’t lie to yourself.

  • Duder NME

    It’s the great conundrum of our time: critics can make or break a niche indie, but have not effect on blockbusters, so why do blockbuster fanwhiners whine about critics? It’s a mystery right up there with “who was phone?” and “I kan haz cheezberger?”.

  • Nina

    No, I can agree with it because Gamora is the most competent character.

  • You’re not seriously suggesting that box office equates with quality, are you? Hahaha.

  • Congrats on being banned, you troglodyte.

  • Danielm80

    Not only that, but there’s a ripple effect. We’re also getting new comments on threads about whitewashing and Avatar: The Last Airbender and Winnie the Pooh.

    I flagged a few of the most abusive comments for deletion, but most of them are so hilarious that I want to keep them around for the historical record, in case someone asks, “What was it like to be on the Internet in the early 21st century?” “Well, it was exactly like this.”

  • Not at all. Which Disney characters are you thinking of?

    Belle wanted adventure in the great wide somewhere, and never got it. (And she didn’t turn out to secretly be the daughter of a king or a surprise powerful witch or anything.) Moana comes close — she does at least get adventure — but she is not The One or a Jedi or anything; at most, the fact that the ocean may have chosen her to do a big deed is down to her own actions, not to something inherent in her (like her parentage) that she had no control over.

    Sometimes Disney heroines have to actually *give up* their magical powers, or constrain them! Like Ariel and Elsa.

    Maybe Rey will turn out to have some extraordinary heritage, and will be destined for something great, but we haven’t seen her whole story yet.

    So, no.

  • Who said anything about “evil men”?

  • Awww, did I hurt your females by suggesting that men don’t deserve to be at the center of every story?

  • Sounds like you’re the one who’s triggered. What do you care what I think about this movie? How can it impact your enjoyment of it at all?

  • Banned.

  • It’s competently enough made, in a technical sense. The plot moves from A to B in a reasonably coherent manner.

  • Nina

    Winnie the Pooh?

  • I don’t think with my genitals. Do you?

    Also, you’re banned.

  • Danielm80

    Wow, that’s a really interesting typo.

  • Seems if a movie isn’t a “Rogue One” with a woman leading the team, it is just trashed here.

    Citations needed.

    Also, learn what “sic” means.

  • You’re adorable.

  • This sounds more like a -2.5 star review.

    Cool! Cuz that’s exactly the number of stars I gave it!

  • I dunno how that happened. But I fixed it.

  • Danielm80

    Some days I think that my spellcheck is an early version of Skynet that likes to embarrass me in public.

  • Danielm80

    Bohica mentioned this thread in one of his (or her) comments:

    https://www.flickfilosopher.com/2011/07/winnie-the-pooh-slayer-of-feminist-fantasies.html

  • Yolanda

    So does Fifty Shades of Grey. Well-made. Pretty good visuals and a central performance by Dakota Johnson. Plot moves from A to B.

    And yet that gets trashed and this silly, generic, irrelevant film gets a pass.

  • Danielm80

    Did you actually read her review of Fifty Shades of Grey? It explains in tremendous detail what she hated about the movie.

    https://www.flickfilosopher.com/2015/02/fifty-shades-grey-movie-review-neurotica.html

    But FWIW, you get a G5 and an O5.

  • Allen W

    MaryAnn,

    If the trope was limited to “secretly a princess/alien/Chosen One but partially raised mundanely”, then I’d admit my list would be very short:
    -Aurora (Sleeping Beauty).
    – Sofia the First (TV show).
    If we count live-action then also:
    – Mia Thermopolis (Princess Diaries).
    – Rey (no matter who her parents are, she’s the Chosen One).

    But using the original criteria, “that we don’t belong in whatever dull place we’re stuck in, that nobody
    understands us, and that clearly we are destined for greatness, etc. ” (and that we go on and achieve it), I’d add:
    -Belle (Wanted to live out a fairy tale. Did. I count a magical castle beyond the wolf-infested woods as part of “the great wide somewhere,” especially since no-one in town seems to have known about it).
    -Cinderella.
    -Rapunzel (Tangled).

    So, up to 7 protagonists. That’s not as many as I was expecting, I admit, but it’s something.

    Best of luck with the trolls.

  • Allen W

    I forgot about your Elsa comments. You see her as having to give up or constrain her power. While that certainly happens in the course of the movie, ultimately, isn’t her arc acceptance of and responsibility for her power?

  • Danielm80

    I haven’t seen GotGv2, so I don’t know which trope we’re arguing about, but you can’t specify “at least half of their animated movies (and the modern remakes)” and then count TV series and live-action films. Four is not half. It’s not even a tenth of Disney’s animated movies.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Maybe. I mean, Bautista isn’t an actor of much depth. His performance here is taking the lines (written with a joke-y premise) and reading them pretty straight. That makes it amusing, but just as one-note as Groot.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I also reported and blocked him through the Diqus interface. I recommend others do the same.

  • Allen W

    As I admitted, there were fewer than I thought. Some, though.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Rey (no matter who her parents are, she’s the Chosen One).

    I don’t see that as inevitable. She might just be “the last Jedi”, which isn’t nothing in the SW universe, but it doesn’t make her unique. Powerful, important, special even, but not unique as in “the one and only”. Anakin was the Chosen One (and we see how well that worked out).

  • Jabba987

    Can’t stand many of the Marvel films as they have developed over the years to become these all devouring blockbusters that are churned out factory-like at an annoyingly high rate, but Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (and 1) is just an entertaining, light hearted romp. It has fun, likeable characters, some dazzling set-pieces and bundles of humour with a great soundtrack.
    I’m just commenting to say one thing about this review, and it’s that opening paragraph where the reviewer mentions that Gamora should be the hero of the movie but “must give way to Star-Lord, aka doofy Earther Peter Quill, because he’s the boy and the boy always gets to be the leader, even in space.”. Gamora is a great character, but that opener just seems so hateful – a kind of childish comment similar to “I didn’t win the school prize because a boy pipped me to it”. The film doesn’t quite deserve that kind of vitriol. I thought the film is very respectful of its female characters- much, much better than most of the Marvel films where women are usually stage dressing or just given a thankless love interest role (e.g. Natalie Portman’s character in Thor). It’s refreshing to have such strong characters – both male and female – in this film and its predecessor. It just seems that there is this agenda in this review that has tarnished the reviewer’s enjoyment. Is it so bad that Gamora isn’t the lead? She gives no ground to the male lead whatsoever, and is the coolest, toughest character in the film by far – isn’t that something to be commended?

  • Kman387

    “The bad ass green chick who should be the hero of the Guardians of the Galazy series”
    “Because he’s the boy, and the boy always gets to be the leader, even in space”
    “I so sympathize with her, and no, that does not make this movie particularly “female friendly”

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    YMMV on “fun, likable characters”, “vitriol”, and “better than most of the Marvel films”.

    She gives no ground to the male lead whatsoever, and is the coolest, toughest character in the film by far – isn’t that something to be commended?

    You’re just begging the question, why isn’t she the lead?

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    My, but you’re delicate.

  • Kman387

    I don’t care either way… just don’t try to pretend like this review isn’t heavily biased just because her feminist viewpoints didn’t get met. She barely spent any time talking about parts of the movie that didn’t have to do with “male fantasies” and “women not getting to be the leader.”

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Oh, I won’t no worries. I understand and appreciate the biases of all critics I read. Just as long as you stop pretending that calling out those three quotes as supporting the “evil men” assertion doesn’t identify you as the most triggered of snowflakes.

  • Danielm80

    I want her to be the lead because she’s one of the few characters who doesn’t get on my nerves.

  • Kman387

    lol ahhh yes everybodies favorite word “snowflake.”

    When the entire basis of why you didn’t like this film is because Gamora wasn’t the leader… that’s pathetic.

    I’m not sure how Im supposed to take those quotes other than “men and their ideas made this movie bad.”

    Even this reply… “Awww, did I hurt your feelings by suggesting that men don’t deserve to be at the center of every story?” Who said men have to be the center of every story? Are there no strong women centric stories out there in the comicbook/science fiction movie world at all?
    Why are you reviewing a film if you barely even want to talk about the actual movie?

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Well, that was irony. People have trouble with it, it’s ok.

    When the entire basis of why you didn’t like this film

    You literally stopped reading after the very first sentence, didn’t you?

    Are there no strong women centric stories out there in the comicbook/science fiction movie world at all?

    Ooo, you wanna go there, huh? Well, consider: GotG2 represents the 15th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe series. A woman has been the central character in… let me see, if I carry the 2… none of them. There is one, in pre-production: Captain Marvel, slated for March 8, 2019. Hmm, early March, when Marvel releases all the good movies, like…. um… well, CA:Winter Soldier came out in early April? Over at DC we do have Wonder Woman coming in a couple months. That’s good! Of course, DC/WB likes to go back to the well often, seeing how since 1978 we’ve had 7 Superman movies, 7 Batman movies, and… uh… no Wonder Woman, except for a small role in BvS. Hmmm. But, y’know, lets look outside of the major series. Then we find Catwoman, Elektra, and Supergirl. Yay?

  • Danielm80

    The “But Alien!” is just going to be epic, isn’t it?

  • Kman387

    I read all of it and she came back to the same point every time.
    You’re bringing up films from the 80’s and 90’s when there clearly was an issue with women in those older films. We
    I guess Catwoman, Electra and Supergirl (which also has a TV show that is doing well) don’t count because they weren’t very good. Doesn’t matter if they existed or not.
    You also have Marvel TV which had Jessica Jones (completely centered around her) and a movie like Kick-Ass 1 and 2 where the guy is the wimp and the girl is the totally kick ass (for lack of a better term) and an equally, if not more, important character. And Margot Robbie being a leader of the team in Suicide Squad (whether you like her role or not, is a different story) And the new Star Wars franchise focusing around Rey (who I think is great).
    I’m not trying to argue that women haven’t gotten their due in the past and recent past, because they haven’t and absolutely deserve it. And there are great actresses like Brie Larson who I cannot wait to see play Captain Marvel.
    But to shred this movie with your main point being Gamora isn’t the leader and this is all just “male fantasies” rather than talking about the actual film and telling us every movie doesn’t have to center around men… is childish and misleading.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Dude, you said movies. This review is of a movie. TV is a whole other thing. Just ask anyone working in TV.
    I had to go back because there’s literally nothing in the last decade.
    Those three movies are more than not very good; they are epically, unwatchably, legendarily bad.
    Hit Girl is not the central character in Kick Ass; neither Harely Quinn nor Amanda Waller are the central character in Suicude Squad. (Seriously, you are like the first person I’ve seen even suggest the latter.)
    Yes, between Rey and Jyn, Disney is getting ahead of the curve with Star Wars. Still back in the pack with Marvel.
    I too am looking forward to Captain Marvel. (I’m practically coming out of my skin for WW.) But that film is 2 years and 6 MCU movies out. It will be the 21st film in the series before a woman is the central character. (I’m not holding my breath that Ant Man and the Wasp will give Evangeline Lilly equal attention to Paul Rudd.)
    You’re still not selling me on the idea that you read the entire essay.

  • Kman387

    I’m not trying to sell you on anything. I didn’t even address you at all. I don’t like the way this review was written and that it didn’t really focus on the aspects of the actual film and was completely hung up on Gamoras role and how much we hate Peter Quill. It has an agenda and that’s fine I guess, I’m just going to call it out for that.

  • Danielm80

    Here’s something you can try. You know those comments about Gamora at the beginning of the review that bugged you so much? Try skipping over them. Pretend the review starts about four paragraphs in, with the section that begins:

    And this is my overarching problem with Guardians of the Galaxy…it thinks it’s weird and edgy and transgressive and something like the punk little brother of all those other stodgy comic-book movies, but it isn’t. It may be slightly more candy-colored, but it’s just more of the same-old space battles and ravenous monsters and splosions and inexpressible manfeels (usually manifesting as splosions) and ironic posturing and monologuing villains and winking at its own presumed cleverness.

    Now you’ve got a review that focuses on the aesthetic flaws of the movie and hardly talks about feminism at all. It says that the movie is unoriginal and full of clichés, that it spells out its themes in the most blunt, repetitive way possible—as though the audience were too stupid to grasp them—and that the jokes aren’t funny.

    There’s the review you said you wanted. If you still think that it doesn’t focus on the content of the actual film, you’re really not looking hard enough.

  • Bohica

    “sic” is appropriate because what you think is a “perspective” is actually a “jaundiced eye”. If you don’t know what that is, learn what that means.

    You start of your review by placing this hyperbolic assertion

    because he’s the boy and the boy always gets to be the leader, even in space.

    Over the past decade we’ve had (in the action/sci fi genre since GotG falls in that category) the Resident Evil movies (6). The Underworld movies (5), the Hunger Games movies (4), The Divergent movies (3) , the first 2 Terminator movies and going back to the 70s and 80s and 90s, we’ve had the Alien movies (4). And there have been one off movies like Contact and Gravity. There are others like Tomb Raider (which is being rebooted now) and the new series of Prometheus/Alien movies. All of which have had female characters in leading roles. So from where are you inferring this boys are “always” the leaders, when there are so many long running movie series spanning decades that have always had female action leads ? Why are you ignoring them ?

  • Bohica

    (Funny how Luke and Han and Leia and Chewie and the droids never felt the need to keep telling one another how they were just one big family.

    Speaking of family, Luke made out with his sister so there is that creepy undertone that still makes audiences squirm and R2D2’s beeps and tweets were no more comprehensible than Groot’s “I am Groot” phrase.

  • I trashed *Shades* because it is actively horrendously offensive. That’s not the case here.

  • Belle did NOT want a “fairy tale.” She wanted “adventure in the great wide somewhere.”

    And we’re gonna have to disagree on the others. (I’m certainly not counting TV, which is a different beast entirely.)

  • It is. But we rarely see such humility from male characters, who most often embrace their godlike powers and use them to defeat great evils. The only “evil” in *Frozen* is Elsa herself. She doesn’t do some great good with them. She just refrains from doing bad.

  • The film doesn’t quite deserve that kind of vitriol.

    Our pop culture absolutely deserves that vitriol, and that is where the comment is aimed. I’m tired of being told I should be happy to constantly see awesome female characters play second fiddle to jerks.

  • Where is “evil men” even implied in any of that? If women are great, men are bad? If I’m tired of men *always* being at the center of stories, that means I think men are evil? What?

  • Who the hell is pretending that my review isn’t full of feminist rage?

  • When the entire basis of why you didn’t like this film is because Gamora wasn’t the leader… that’s pathetic.

    That would probably be true. Except I said nothing of the kind. It’s clear that you didn’t read past the first paragraph of my review.

    Who said men have to be the center of every story?

    Hollywood has said that.

    Are there no strong women centric stories out there in the comicbook/science fiction movie world at all?

    Ah, so you think if there’s even just *one* movie with a female protagonist, that means there’s no problem?

    I suggest you explore my Where Are the Women? project. you can start here:

    https://www.flickfilosopher.com/2016/04/where-are-the-women-crunching-the-numbers.html

  • I read all of it and she came back to the same point every time.

    That’s called building a thesis around a central point. It’s kind of like how a tree trunk supports the tree’s branches: they’re connected, but also separate. In this case, let me make it all more explicit for you: the laziness of this movie extends out from its basic premise, a premise we have seen a gazillion times before. That doesn’t mean that the other lazinesses of this movie aren’t also lazy on their own, but tie them all together, and we can perhaps guess at *why* the whole film feels so lazy and familiar.

    a movie like Kick-Ass 1 and 2 where the guy is the wimp and the girl is the totally kick ass (for lack of a better term) and an equally, if not more, important character.

    Thanks for pointing out yet ANOTHER movie in which a useless doofus guy is the hero supported by a “strong female character.”

    Here’s some more reading for you: “I hate Strong Female Characters” (not by me).

  • You don’t have to like my review, but it’s pretty standard stuff around here. There are literally thousands of other critics you can read instead.

  • I’m going to invite you to check out my Where Are the Women? project. You can start here: https://www.flickfilosopher.com/2016/04/where-are-the-women-crunching-the-numbers.html

    You had to go back to the 1970s to name a handful of films with female protagonists. We get as many with male protagonists in the space of a month… every month.

  • No, you’re wrong about R2’s beeps and tweets. They have *clear* expression to them: no one is like another. Unlike Groot, who literally says the same three words in the same tone of voice over and over again.

  • Joker

    Silly dumb,generic and irrelevant movie is Fifty Shades of Shit for dumb horny teens and housewifes that want roguh sex but put finger in the ass and they will say not because it hurts xD.”You taught me how to fuck but she taught me how to love” This i the most silly and dumb line i heard in a movie for a while xD.

  • Allen W

    The “evil” is selfishness, as personified by Prince Hans and the Duke of Weselton; and fear, starting with Elsa’s well-meaning but terrible parents. Elsa overcomes fear (her own) through love. Which I agree is not a typical male story arc.

  • Bohica

    One could flip what you wrote around and say that unlike a faceless , eyeless rolling metal trash can, Groot was an animated humanoid with eyes and a face to add greater expressiveness to his catch phrase.

  • Dent

    No no the A:TLA thread! When will it end.

  • Bohica

    But your article started with the assertion that men are “always” playing the leader. I pointed out the number movies with a science fiction theme where women had the central role. So men are *not* always in charge.

    I pointed out that a movie series like Alien that started in the 70s and still is popular today with women playing central characters. So one of most popular genre defining movie series has for 40 years had women in lead roles in genre defining movies.

    There is a vast difference between your article’s content and saying ” boy always gets to be the leader” which is what you say here. You are contradicting your own article.

    From the Oxford Dictionary

    Used in brackets after a copied or quoted word that appears odd or erroneous to show that the word is quoted exactly as it stands in the original

  • Dent

    Have you been here before? MaryAnn did a whole review series specifically using the feminist lense. It’s a valid way to critique film.

  • Bluejay

    She’s closed the comments section there.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    No, you using “sic” is just a reminder the failure state of “clever” is “asshole”.

  • Bohica

    I’m sorry .. and just who are you ? Were my comments addressed to you ? Seems you must have some syndrome causing random outbursts with people who wouldn’t give you the time of day. I wouldn’t recommend trying that in real life. Now run along and look up “mind your own business”. Have a nice day.

  • Bohica

    And don’t rip off John Scalzi in your verbal tics.

  • Nina

    He’s triggered!

  • bronxbee

    i think one, unexpected (by Luke), kiss does not constitute”making out.”

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Can I use don’t be a dick?

    How about better to keep silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt”?

    Or just methinks the lady doth protest too much.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Hi, and welcome to the Internet. You seem to be new, so let me help. This is called a “comment section”. In it, you can write and “post” your thoughts on the topic of a web page. But be warned, other people can see and, if so inclined, also respond to you. If you think you’re going to find this disagreeable, I would recommend not posting to comment sections.

    Thank you, and enjoy your time on the internet, asshole.

  • Bohica

    I daresay that applies to you, being a tiresome and unoriginal bore who tries to sneakily rip off other people … guess what you just proved that you are the fool and a fraud. Go cry now . Something you must do a lot in real life. Don’t get your tears and snot all over the keyboard.

  • Bohica

    Yeah who’s the asshole Mr I-rip-off-Scalzi-to-appear-clever. Your “clever” comment is taken from somebody else. Too dumb to be clever on your own “Dr” ? How telling. Go choke on your own pomposity, douche bag. You are welcome.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Ooooooo, you busted out the dictionary. Well, gee, I guess that means you… um… have a dictionary. So, now go dig just a little deeper, and you’ll realize why your use of it was just you being an asshole. C’mon, now, you can do it.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Oh, have we gotten to the “let’s make fun of screen names” phase already?

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    MaryAnn was right, you are freakin adorable

  • Hans and Weselton are minor characters. They barely figure into the main plot.

    Your point about fear is a good one, though. Still, Elsa’s power is not used to save the world but to save herself.

  • I’ve closed it, so now it has ended.

  • Still, you are using “sic” wrong. I am no longer going to argue with you about it.

    I have discovered that you are another regular commenter here using a sockpuppet for unknown reasons. That combined with your abuse in this thread has earned you a ban. Do not attempt to return to comment at this site again.

  • “Bohica” is “Rico Suave” and they are both gone.

  • Bohica1

    Says the person who jumps in the the middle of a conversation that doesn’t concern them and calls a person an “asshole” ? And now you complain?

  • Owen1120

    How do you find that out? The same IP address?

  • Not just that. I’d rather not be more specific, so as not to let others who attempt the same thing to be able to take it into account in their sneakiness.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Was he now?

    Color me trolled. *sigh*

  • Jurgan

    So what did you like about it? How did this movie get a yellow light if your thoughts are 100% negative?

  • bronxbee

    not that guy *again*?

  • And maybe it would be better if I didn’t need to use lights and stars!

    But as it is, the lights and stars are part of the reviews. I don’t know why anyone would presume that any review is all I have to say about a movie, and that’s certainly the case here. I didn’t say everything I could have said: I said the most important things.

    Is it not obvious between the lines here that there’s nothing actively offensive in the movie, but that its familiarity means there’s nothing special about it, either?

  • You must REALLY hate historically inspired movies like Saving Private Ryan. Too man boys in that film. And white. Die cis scum. I agree. The person who shot Tom Hanks character in the heart should have some kick ass German chick whom Hanks character oppressed earlier in the film. But seriously, I pray you don’t have a son. I hear white liberals are REALLY bad at breeding.

  • izzyarch

    Interesting and relevant review, MaryAnn. I saw the film without having seen the first or read any reviews. The brief sex-bot scene really bothered me; such a joyless scenario showing bored ‘female’ prostitute droids still meeting the needs of unpleasant men even in future-worlds at the far-flung reaches of the galaxy. Sigh. Gratuitous and wholly regressive. The thought of a 12yr old girl going to see this is just depressing, there’s nothing inspirational. Keep calling it.

  • I’ve got to admit I’ll never understand the mewling and butt hurt Mary Anne’s reviews seem to elicit. So she didn’t like that Gamora was not the main character. Why is this so hard to handle? She is reviewing the material from her point of view. If you don’t like her point of view, why are you here?

  • “The trying-too-hard extends to the five — count ’em — mid- and postcredits scenes. If one or two is good, five must be better, right?”

    HOLY. SHIT. Are you serious???? Talk about burying the lede.

    Here’s my review of this movie without having seen it: “Five (5) credits scenes. 0 stars.”

  • IntrepidNormal

    Why do fanboys get so damn butthurt when women air their grievances with the way Hollywood treats them? Same with ethnic minorities. Do those assholes think so called sjws aren’t actually put off by those things and just making shit up to annoy them? I’ve disagreed with this site many times (I for one loved the first GotG, and didn’t think Harley’s costume in SS, was that big of a problem) but I can argue why I’m not personally offended by things without insisting that everyone feel the same way I do. For those who are so against outrage culture they sure get outraged easily.

  • IntrepidNormal

    I personally didn’t think Gamora should have been the main character because I didn’t find her all that interesting, just another example of the female character who’s way more competent but way less fun than the men. So I guess I found it sexist in a different way, although I still enjoyed the movie overall.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I just want to know where the hell this movie gets off being so painfully, nauseatingly sentimental? There is literally not a single named character (well, maybe not Tazerface) who doesn’t get a maudlin little scene with some other character. And I’m just sitting here not giving a shit. Yondu got kicked out of his space gang? Who gives a shit? Nebula has a sad? Who gives a shit? Rocket finds a friend? Who gives a shit?

  • Because FAMBLY!

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    2.5 stars is generous

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  • Patrick D

    I’d rather watch either “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie than watch JJ Abrams and his acolytes re-hash “Wrath of Khan” and “A New Hope” over and over and over again like their day-old airline food.

    The GoG movies aren’t perfect, but the effortless chemistry between the actors/characters is undeniable and it’s been ages since I’ve seen a popcorn movie that I actually enjoyed and found fun. It gets top marks from me.

  • Patrick D

    And yes, I know it’s “they’re” instead of “their”. I can’t edit the comments after a goof-up.

  • Danielm80

    In the old days, the studios used to release more than three movies a year. It’s a shame they’ve had to cut their budgets so drastically that you’re forced to watch a mediocre space opera.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Meh, I’ll deny it: these actors have zero chemistry.

    And “their” works fine.

  • I don’t see the chemistry either. And Chris Pratt is one of the least charismatic actors Hollywood ever tried to foist on us.

  • Danielm80

    I finally got a chance to see the movie. For the most part, the men were goofy troublemakers, while the women were ultra-competent and ultra-serious. (Mantis was a different sort of cliche.) If they’d allowed the women to have a sense of humor and given the men a few more moments when they weren’t “loveable rogues,” they might have been a little more believable, and a lot less irritating.

  • Yarberger

    “Vol. 2 also seems to think it’s a comedy, but it just isn’t funny.”

    Each to their own, of course. I’ve seen it twice – once with my wife, and once with my niece and nephew. Audience laughter (including gales of laughter from my companions) was a constant on both occasions.

  • Danielm80

    B1.

  • Yarberger

    That means nothing to me, sorry.

  • Danielm80

    It’s the first square on the Bingo board. (See the link just above.) It means: Your opinion is worth no more and no less than MaryAnn’s. But MaryAnn has been reviewing movies for about 20 years, so she has a pretty long track record. We can see her reviews and decide whether we agree with her taste and judgment.

    We’ve never met you, or your wife or your niece or your nephew, so all we know is: You’re a person with an opinion.

  • Yarberger

    ‘Each to their own’. I disagree with MaryAnn’s assertion, but that does not mean I believe she is wrong to hold that opinion. I’m simply pointing out that the audience reaction on the two occasions I watched the film did not reflect her position. Can’t dissenting views help shape a conversation?

  • Danielm80

    Not when your opinion is, “Well, I liked it.”

    The movie sold a huge number of tickets, so clearly someone enjoyed it. Lots of people like lots of things. To quote Groundhog Day: “…people like blood sausage, too. People are morons.”

    Speaking personally, I generally agree with MaryAnn’s taste in super-hero movies, so I want to know her opinion, and I want to hear the reasons behind it.

    If you’d like to tell us what aspects of the film you enjoyed–maybe quote some memorable lines of dialogue or talk about the comic timing or the complex characterization–then we’ll have some idea whether we’re likely to agree with you. Otherwise, you’re just one of the 28,101,900 people (according to Box Office Mojo) who bought tickets to the movie.

  • Yarberger

    Perhaps the prevailing view here is that people who enjoyed GOTG2 are morons. If so, more fool me for continuing.
    Still, Drax’s OTT deliveries, his interplay with Mantis and Star-Lord, Groot’s exchanges with Rocket, Rocket’s booby-trap scene, the futility (and ensuing angst) of Kismet as she tried to exact vengeance upon the Guardians… in my view, it all added up to good fun and great laughs. But again, each to their own.

    I seldom comment on MaryAnn’s reviews (in fact, ‘Passengers’ is the only prior occasion on which I’ve weighed in). However, I enjoy her writing very much, even if I don’t always share her sentiment. Here, I do agree with the broad premise of her review, despite taking issue with the singular point that ‘it just isn’t funny’.

  • But you did not offer a dissenting view.

  • Yarberger

    See below. I explained that I/we found the film funny, and I offered examples of why.

  • Nadia Enrique

    Yes to all! This (and vol. 1) was nothing but a bunch of jokes made by a teenage boy (and not the most clever of the class). Robot prostitutes? Really? Also, the first one embodied the smurfette principle in all its glory. It’s 2017, guys, you can do better.

  • Tonio Kruger
  • Tonio Kruger

    Ay Dios! This was a horrible movie. Any indication that it might prove otherwise was dashed to pieces by the opening sequence which managed to make what could have been an exciting action piece seem dull.

    Also any movie that has Michelle Yeoh play second fiddle to the likes of Chris Pratt is seriously flawed. Plus Dr. Rocketscience has a point about the movie’s unlikable characters. It doesn’t help that they’re given dialogue that makes the Three Stooges sound like refugees from the Algonquin Round Table. Even the obligatory rip-of–er–homage to North by Northwest doesn’t work.

  • Johnnnyboy

    It does in a general sort of way but not always.

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