That CGI Kurt Russell at the start is amazing. Everything about it evoked Starman and John Carpenter and those early, fun Kurt Russell movies that evener made money, but always enjoyed by people like us. I love and prefer golden-era Spielberg, but I also love that creepy Carpenter and Russell was his Tom Hanks who never QUITE hit the big time. Something always stopped Kurt R being an international movie star who could make money for a huge picture and James Gunn brilliantly tapped into it here. He was always a little uncomfortable in his own skin. A tiny bit untrustworthy, but warm at the same time. Unreliable. Even his most iconic characters share the unreliability and that’s what makes his casting as Ego so perfect.
I’ve never read a Guardians comic in my life and am totally unfamiliar with the Marvel cosmic characters outside of Nova (which I read for a few months when I was nine) and Adam Warlock I only know from the Topps sticker set when I was younger. Marvel minus Stan, Jack and Steve always felt weird to me because I grew up in reprints of the 60s stuff in the 80s and that 70s era never really had much of a connection for me. It always felt like it was a little old for me and then by the time I was checking it out in my 20s it all felt a little too young. So I come to all these characters cold, but still absolutely love them. This movie was perfection. Not quite as surprising as the first, but that was going to be impossible. As sequels go this is the Marvel gold standard.
A fascinating thing is that so many people stole this movie. Rocket was great. Drax was even better. The most laugh out loud scenes every time. But it’s Yondu’s movie. Not just the character arc, but also the presence. Rooker is just amazing. I’ve been a fan since I saw Henry when I was around 20 and he’s freaked me out in every movie since. The only guy, surprisingly, who doesn’t REALLY shine is Pratt. I love Pratt, but the thinner he gets, the THINNER he gets. I dunno. He had so much great and interesting characters around him he was kinda the straight man, but a brilliant supporting cast is a high-end problem for a movie. This movie works on every level, though I wonder if Pratt is going to be the mega-star he seemed destined to be a couple of years back. Jurassic World is a by numbers actioner and anyone could play it and his other choices have all been very poor. Man cannot live by Guardians alone so he needs the Indiana Jones to his Han Solo out there pretty damn quick.