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CINEMA: Star Bored

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NEW YORK MAGAZINE: The saddest thing about the second Guardians of the Galaxy movie, which carries the official title Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, is that it’s going to make a lot of people think they’re happy. “Hold on,” you say. “Think they’re happy? If they think they’re happy, then they are happy.” Which is often true, but not always. I think I’m happy eating a Quarter Pounder with Cheese and a large fries. But a few minutes later, when my salt/sugar/fat high has dissipated into self-disgust, I realize that what I’ve paid for is mainly bloat. The ruling aesthetic of the Marvel universe is now bloat. Which isn’t to say that the first Guardians wasn’t fun. By Marvel standards, it was a modest affair, a goofy break from the dark nights of the soul/tortures of the damned experienced by Captain America, Iron Man, the Hulk, et al. (Never mind the kiddie Macbeths and Oedipuses in the even more grandiose DC universe.) Chris Pratt’s Peter Quill, a.k.a. Star-Lord, was a likable screw-up; the wisecracking raccoon had some good comebacks; and there was a jolly, B-movie vibe that brought me back to the days of the old (admittedly terrible) Flash Gordon serial, as well as the first Star Wars movie and Joss Whedon’s much-missed Firefly. The Guardians might have been saving the galaxy but for once what was absent was the weight of the world. This one is heavier, man. It has, Gods help us, a theme, not to mention a god — or demigod, the deistic hierarchy of the Marvel universe being opportunistically elastic. MORE

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