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It’s always hard to be critical of something you love. I loved the first Guardians of the Galaxy and I was positive I was going to love this one.  There was no doubt in my mind it would be fantastic. So let me get this out of the way…

IT WAS FUCKING INCREDIBLE. I LOVED IT. I WANT MORE OF IT. GIVE IT ALL THE OSCARS. I LAUGHED, I CRIED, I DIDN’T WANT IT TO STOP. GO SEE IT NOW, AND THEN SEE IT AGAIN.

Yes it was awesome. But was it a good movie? I’m not so sure. I sat around thinking about it for a while, weighing the factors in my brain, and I couldn’t decide. So I did what any red-blooded American would do- I pirated it and watched it again through a shaky camcorder lens. That’s when I made my decision and realized that Guardians answered an age old question I just made up:

Can a movie have a bad story but still be good?

Yes. Guardians is awesome and was a good movie, but the story kinda sucked.

Spoilers ahead
The concept was alright, but of all things to base the movie on I don’t think Peter’s father being Ego the living planet would have been too high on my list.  Maybe I’m being too hard on them, but I just don’t care about Peter’s backstory to that level. Ok we now know that Yondu was hired to bring Peter to Ego, but Yondu realized what was up last minute and kept him for himself to save him. And now we know Yondu raised him and it wasn’t just a child abduction. Cool that’s good to know, but Yondu’s dead and so is Ego and that little revelation could have been summed up in 20 minutes tops. Not a feature length movie.

Ego killed Peter’s mom by putting that tumor in her brain? Ok great, thanks for turning the sad cancer story into a sick murder-by-cancer story. Really upping the good feelings there.

I guess my biggest gripe with this story is the lack of consideration towards a balance. On paper, by itself, the story isn’t so bad. It doesn’t have any holes and it’s pretty heavy on the feelings side of things. The right execution could have made this a very powerful movie… but that’s not Guardians. It’s off-brand. Guardian’s success comes from humor, retro music, light explosions, and witty banter. Having the heavy father figure drama didn’t mix well in my opinion.

“But Sheehan, you’re just shitting on this so far. I thought you loved it?” GAWD I’m getting to that.

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What made it an incredible movie? The characters. This crew of misfit characters are so perfect for each other it hurts. A friend of mine called them the “Space Avengers”, equating Gamora/Black widow, Drax/Thor, Rocket/Ironman, Groot/Hulk, and Starlord/Capt America. It’s a convincing argument and it all makes sense, but the Avengers don’t have the chemistry that these guys do. Because despite the continued ensemble movies they still are just single characters working alongside each other instead of becoming a team. Guardians is real team, complete with a PG level of locker room talk and ball busting that never gets old.

This movie brought us several new dynamics that only strengthened each characters’ story. One of my favorites is the sisterly battle between Nebula and Gamora. Not since Elsa and Anna has a sister relationship based in animosity captured the hearts of the masses.  If these two can hug it out after years of trying to murder each other’s faces then there’s still hope for all the teenagers out there fighting over stolen tops.

Drax who was once just the meathead hell-bent on avenging his family has developed into a meathead yoda of love. Mantis doesn’t stand a chance with that smooth talking man. “This gross bug-lady is my new friend!”

I’m glad Yandu is dead. He was turning into the John Gruden of the cast. If I heard “boy” a few more times I would’ve been #done with Yondu, so thankfully he’s dead so that doesn’t happen. They tried weaving him and Rocket together which made sense to an extent, but not the right move. You know that saying “shoot first and ask questions later”? Well in Yondu and Rocket’s case it’s more like “shoot everything and talk about that shooting after” so trying to crack open and connect their backstory seemed off. Glad they kept it to a minimum.

Peter and Gamora… will they be Marvel’s Jim & Pam?

I’ve made a mental note for my end of the year movie wrap up, this movie has 2 strong contenders for “scene of the year”… That opening number with Groot dancing to ELO was MAGNIFICENT. So much going on. You could watch the foreground or background and be entirely entertained, but not miss anything if you watched one over the other. You knew what was happening on both ends.
But my favorite scene by far was Yondu murdering EVERYONE. Bad-ass to the max, but the song “Come a little bit closer” made it laugh out loud funny. I could watch it all day long.
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Groot…. my god Groot was the true star here. He stole the movie, sold it on the black market, then stole it again. He dominated every scene he was in. He introduced comic relief with a single wave of his hand.
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I’m not a parent but after watching this I think I finally understand what parents mean when they say their kids are growing up too fast. I had hoped Groot would be this size for at least another movie but then the extra scene in the credits who him as a teenager and BAM baby Groot is already gone. Remember at the begining when I said I laughed and I cried? Well I almost cried when baby Groot was getting crushed.  I recorded it off my tv from the shitty camcorder version I watched yesterday, it doesn’t capture the single tear going down his cheek. FEELS.

Critic Rating: 86%
Entertainment Score: 6/5 Popcorns

I had to give the critic rating a bit of a hit because of my opinion they went a little off-brand. They tried to get too real with the feelings and I don’t think it played like they hoped. But I’m giving my first ever 5+ popcorn rating because the entertainment level was OFF THE CHARTS.