When my friend Kate and I came out of James Gunn’s first Guardians film we both narrowed our eyes and agreed “hmm… that flattered to deceive a bit, didn’t it?” It looked great, and thanks to Quill’s mixtape sounded even better, but those tunes and the charm of Chris Pratt and Vin Diesel’s Groot did a lot of the heavy lifting.
Most disappointing for me – and it’s something that’s often praised rather than quibbled – is the script. It’s littered with lines that have the cadence of gags, but feel like placeholders. For me, it doesn’t compete with Iron Man III (“what happened to the first mouse” etc) – a film not pushed as a comedy, but which has bags more wit.
And I feel the same about GotGVol2 – lots of one-liners feel a bit flat, and ridiculously it’s Chris Pratt who’s least well-served. In fact, in a film not blessed with much plot, it’s probably Quill who has least to do overall, with others coming to his aid once the story does kick into gear.
So the script could do with a tune up, but luckily dialogue’s not really an issue when it comes to Baby Groot. He’s all physical humour, and it’s brilliant. He’s cute, mischievous, and delightfully dumb – while you’re waiting for a storyline, his sketches will keep you entertained. Stick this near-silent clown in a Pixar film and we’d be hailing it as genius.
And I adore the look of the thing. It’s overwhelming but that’s the point – big, brash, day-glo, high-contrast, psychedelic, cartoonish, Technicolor extravagance. For all my reservations, I’d still say that if you have any interest at all go see it on a big screen – enjoy the low-stakes ride for the first half (zero plot, but loads of fun) and bathe in all that light and glitter.