|It's all good, and that's the problem.|
There's a possibly apocryphal, possibly misattributed bit of fashion advice from Coco Chanel that says that before you leave the house, turn around quickly in front of the mirror and remove the first thing you notice. GotG Volume 2 never, ever turned around.
I like the movie a lot. It's excellent, and well made, and huge and insane. But about halfway through the movie, there's one scene that really expresses the movie's only serious flaw. Baby Groot is trying to help Rocket and Yondu escape. What follows is a series of bits. Every single one of these bits is solid. But they easily could have and should have cut two of them. Any two.
The whole movie's kind of like that. It's like anyone with hesitation about putting in one more pop culture bit or over the top gag or song or anything looked at the success of the first Guardians and of Deadpool and just went for it. And the audacity is great and the fearlessness is great but the end result is slightly less than the sum of its parts.
Tonal shifts are nearly constant, from broad comedy to deep sadness, to the point where a bit involving a ball of energy really divided the audience I was with over whether or not it was touching or hilarious. I went with hilarious, but it wasn't unanimous.
On a related note, I don't know if James Gunn set out to make the movie with the most and largest Unresolved Daddy Issues in Hollywood history, but regardless of intent, he pulled it off.
Dave Bautista comes very close to stealing the entire fucking movie, by the way. He doesn't, because it's an unstealable movie, but man, his Drax, freed from the angst of the first movie, really shines comedically. Rocket, meanwhile has the most unresolved personal arc, which is fine. Gotta save something for the future.
The big question going in in my mind was, would there be too much Baby Groot? The answer is complicated. Yes, there is too much Baby Groot. But the Baby Groot excess is proportional to the excess in the rest of the movie, so the sense from the trailers and the marketing that he'd dominate isn't the case. He has three big bits of business, but apart from those three big set pieces, he's pretty much background the rest of the time.So that worked out OK.
All that said, again, the movie was mostly delightful - grand space opera, dense with ideas and jokes and character moments, and full of the bright and shiny. It's just a little too much of a good thing. I'd say I like it round as much, or a bit more, than Avengers: Age of Ultron, but I liked Age of Ultron more than most people. But it could end up being the worst Marvel move of the year.