Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a slapdash extravaganza careening through bluster and banality.
It takes the original source - Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), which had creativity and quality - and pumps it to inflated mediocrity.
Part of the reason is obvious. The original was such a commercial success, the sequel had to have the delusions of a blockbuster. The sequel cost an estimated $30 million more and is 16 minutes longer. It is smeared with the fingerprints of the front office. Such is commerciality.
In the movie theater, after watching 25 minutes of previews for coming attractions - all with the same flash and noise -, I was punch drunk. My tolerance had been stunned into submission.
I tried to get on the wavelength of Vol. 2, but it spurned me. I knew I was in trouble when at the beginning, the film began with the song Brandy.
Altman used Leonard Cohen; Nichols used Simon and Garfunkle; Demme used Neil Young - and the Boss; Peckinpah used Dylan.
And Gunn uses the Looking Glass and Brandy.
I realize writer/director James Gunn emphasized the music of the 1970s for effect, but emphasis for effect is not necessarily effective.
Gunn's musical composer is Master Tyler Bates.
If the music croons, the dialogue doesn't. There is a lot of yelling and a lot of vulgarity. Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) tells Peter/Star Lord (Chris Pratt) he may put a turd under his pillow case. Drax (Dave Bautista), who chimes in, "I have famously huge turds." Hysterical. Where's the laugh track?
This dialogue may appeal to middle schoolers. At times it seems we now live in a culture in which grade school education is superior to a Ph.D.
Maybe the scatological stuff is why the song Brandy appeals to Gunn, with its "doo-doo-doo-doo."
Much of Gunn's dialogue is on the level of Peter's call to the audience and crew, "Show time, A-holes."
The acting isn't strong. Veteran Kurt Russell is credible as Ego, but Chris Pratt is shallow. But acting and dialogue aren't crucial amidst the bombardment of visual effects.
2017 so far has been a dismal year at the movies. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 seems a harbinger of what is to come. Commerciality has taken over.
I must admit that it has gotten to me. I bought a Baby Groot for my wife on Mother's Day. What can I say?
"I am Groot."