Review: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ Wants That Loving Feeling

These introductions are fairly chaotic, which is the usual blockbuster way. The point is to telegraph the movie you’re about to watch — the threats, fights and winks followed by more threats, fights and winks — as well as to reintroduce the crew members, their skills, traits and foibles. Alternately bulgy and sleek, hairy and shticky, they make for often-amusing company, even if this time Zoe Saldana, as Gamora, the green-skinned Amazon with grave daddy issues, feels more sidelined than before. One problem, it seems, is that Mr. Gunn is still holding off on developing the romance between her and Peter that was teased in the first movie, probably because he’s saving it for the next installment.

The larger problem, as it becomes progressively evident, is that this series lacks a resonant origin story, a myth, on which a world, multiple stories and a fan base can rest. The Guardians’ personal stories are continuing to emerge, and the meme that’s in circulation is family, which at times makes it feel as if the movie is taking cues from the “Fast and Furious” franchise. This explains the testy, at times violent and generally dreary exchanges between Gamora and her sister, Nebula (Karen Gillan), a bald badass itching to deliver payback for their rotten childhood. The performers look fierce as they slam around, squaring jaws and giving good side-eye, but it just feels like narrative filler.

Photo

From left, Zoe Saldana, Pom Klementieff, Dave Bautista and Karen Gillan in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.”

Credit
Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

For the most part, Mr. Gunn puts much of his storytelling energy into filling in Quill’s origins, after having already dispatched Mom in the first movie. This doesn’t sound promising and isn’t, alas, despite the good will that Kurt Russell brings to the part of Quill’s father, Ego. At…

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