A good measure of how decent a set is going to be can be puzzled out from the LEGO [email protected] listings… though being able to measure it requires you to have a good handle on marketing speak. Say what you want about LEGO, they have a marketing department that can spin a word salad with the best of them. With this set… I’m not sure they even tried. There are nine bullet points in the product description: three of them are just measurements, two (and parts of another) are trying to explain to you what that red blob is.
Guardians of the Galaxy involves a character named Ayesha. Her head is gold, and she does want some sort of revenge. I believe that is where the similarity between this set and the movie ends in any practical form. Okay, that’s not fair. Most of the parts of this set do have things you can point to in the movie… it’s just that they feel like they captured the wrong parts of the movie to give us. The ship was in there, but it is lacking the things that made it memorable in the movie. Ayesha was wearing a suit, but that’s not how you’re going to remember her. There was a cliff, but at no point in time did it resemble that little pile of random red bricks.
Still, this set comes with 323 parts and runs a nice $29.99 (and is frequently on sale… while I’m writing this it’s sitting at 20% off on Amazon), it’s the only way to get Yondu, and it comes with a Baby Groot in an outfit that was from one of my favorite segments of the movie. There are some very nice parts tucked into the set to… but the first impression that this set suffers from the same problems that most of the Super Heroes sets based on the movies do at this point. They have pretty much nothing to do with the source material past some minifigs.
Oh, and spoilers, because a lot of this review will be a rant about why the movie and the sets don’t seem to have much to do with one another.
I’ll talk about it a lot more about this when I review the Milano, but these sets have a disadvantage compared to pretty much every other Super Heroes set. While I enjoy almost all of the Marvel movies and seriously wish I enjoyed all of the DC stuff (please don’t be bad, Wonder Woman, please don’t be bad… I’m begging you), there is an aspect about the movies that sort of blend together. There are good scenes in all of the movies, but also something that comes off as a bit generic in a lot of ways. There’s a style to them, but they all have the same style and that means certain stuff just kind of fades together.
Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 does not suffer from that problem. It’s a movie that is effectively a collection of memorable scenes. Not for a comic book movie, either… just for a movie. The first movie was a clinic on how you can actually kick off a movie with an ensemble cast and make it work (Suicide Squad ignored every lesson that movie offered); it didn’t have the benefit of several movies setting up like the Avengers did, but it still somehow worked. I mean, seriously… We Are Groot. I loved the first movie, but a confession… I think I love the sequel even more. I reviewed Ravager Attack before seeing the movie, but the other two sets after… and the sets do not live up to what the movie gave them.
We get three and 1/4 minifigures in the set: Baby Groot in a Ravager outfigt, Yondu, Star-Lord, and Ayesha. All certainly appear in the movie, but the mix of them all like this doesn’t make a lot of sense. I’m not sure if this is trying to capture the end scene (which explains Star Lord and Yondu… but not Ayesha or Groot) or the stuff aboard Yondu’s ship in the middle (which explains Groot and Yondu).
Yeah, that is just adorable. Though I’ll admit, part of me almost wishes they would have gone more of the route of the baby mini-minifigure from the City People set. The arms are a bit “wish they weren’t on different levels,” but I understand it from a play aspect. Also, I fully expect to end up losing him at least once, so maybe I’ll have to aftermarket a couple extra of them.
I would have loved if Yondu showed up in the original sets, but it would have been a crime to omit him from the second (you know, like how they have omitted Ego and Kraglin). He was fun in the first one, but did so much more in this one… and did it well. As a figure, I like pretty much everything we get, though the smile could have shown the teeth off a bit more. I know they’re capable of printing in that level of detail, they just opted not to, I guess. Unfortunately, the printing sort of matches up the torso and pants, so it doesn’t get a lot of re-use, but at least we get some more blue hands.
The fin is clearly a highlight here, and was a plot point of the movie (also explaining the arrow a bit). Also, given how the movie ended, you probably want to get this figure before the Vol. 3 sets hit, cause, well, LEGO never makes more sets for the Super Heroes movies.
This is the figure that I feel is both the most interesting and the biggest miss in the set. Like I said above… maybe she was wearing blue** (though I don’t remember here ever being in anything other than gold or white), but it certainly wasn’t an outfit that was memorable or iconic. Most likely, this was based off a comic book look, but even that doesn’t make sense. Because of production times, we usually assume they likely based on early concept art; for Ayesha they released the concept art that was used and it had a a color palette of gold, bright gold, yellow gold, more gold, and really gold.
**Note: After I wrote this, I found a picture of the drone and it shows her in a blue/gold costume, it’s just pretty dark, so the suit is more accurate than I thought.
I would have loved to see this fit into almost a Queen Amidala type mold with the dress and headdress. Don’t get me wrong, that hair in pearl gold (or flat gold… I can never keep them straight) is awesome, but the character had an attitude and look that was very memorable in the movie and this figure doesn’t capture it. Unlike Yondu, though, I can see a lot of application potential for this figure and its parts in other places.
I like this more casual version of Star Lord, and I like it, but wish there was some printing on his shirt. The backpack is an interesting addition as well, though after watching the movie, it mostly lets us know we are missing out the “space suit” for Yondu. Still, it should be on Yondu, not on Quill, but I can see them not knowing that without seeing it.
I like this figure with the simple pants over the long-jacket one we got in the sets from the first movie, or even the “armored” version we get with the new Milano set. Mostly because I’m just not that big of a fan of leg printing in most cases. We also don’t get his helmet in this version, though an alternate version of it in trans-blue would have been pretty cool (though impossible to use with alt-faces).
Okay, so this ship does appear in the movie, more or less… the Laser Drill features in the “rescue” that happens in the last third of the movie. It was a lot bigger, since it could seat Yondu, Rocket, and feature a Baby Groot, but this is very much a solo affair of a ship. The laser drill was a very stylized ship done up in yellow, with a lot of curves, but the big problem is one that would be very hard to capture in LEGO… the notable (and simply awesome) thing about the ship was how the lasers could re-position as needed on rails that worked around the ship.
Here, the drill is all on the front with a spring-missile on the bottom. I’m not exactly sure how they could have made it work, but something like a tube with a sliding laser or something on it comes to mind. The much smaller size is what hurts the build here, making it so there isn’t a lot the ship can do.
In one of the weirder build features I’ve seen in a LEGO spaceship, it has a bubble canopy that’s effectively locked into place. Instead, a lot of stuff was added to allow you to slide the bubble forward, letting you place Yondu or whoever is going to fly it. We also get some stickers that feel a bit needless. I get that they want to make the whole thing looked dinged and dirty, but given that the rest of it is shiny and pristine, it just draws attention to how not dinged and dirty it is.
There are some thrusters on the bottom, though unless you’re holding it, there will be two positions, straight down or at a 90 degree angle like wheels. I tried to keep them a bit more inclined, and the weight of the pod eventually pushed them down.
I suppose this really isn’t all that bad of a ship… it’s just missing the most memorable thing about the ship in the movie in the laser drill parts. I get that they added it to the front, but the problem is that, much like what we got in the Mantis set, they just found something that looked enough like the set for the first movie (the mining pod, in that case) and remade the set. That makes sense in Star Wars, City, or things like that where the customers age out and they want to make things available for the next kids.
But in sets like this, where they’re actually trying to capture something from the new movie. There isn’t a need to rely on sold designs or being locked into Legacy stuff… it feels far more like LEGO is just being lazy at best, or simply out of ideas at worse. The LEGO Movie Batcave had the exact same problem as this set does… it didn’t capture the movie source it just represented the least work needed for the set.
With the Golden Drone used by the Sovreign, we are a bit closer, but it feels a bit too blocky compared to the movie. And here’s a phrase I’ve probably never used before… but this ship desperately needed a sticker. It actually needed a whole different solution for the front section, using a windscreen, but it should have had a sticker of Ayesha on the front. That was a key aspect of these ships, and a perfect and inexpensive way for LEGO to capture the ship from the movie.
Still, those curved macaroni plates are just delicious, and I look forward to getting them in all of the colors. On the plus side, while trying to find an example of this ship, I did find a picture of Ayesha in her blue costume.
Of course, this also really highlights the problem with the front of this not getting a sticker. The ship itself was very round, and the seemingly extra arms on the back are best just removed from the whole thing. They may be in the movie, but mostly these were memorable for basically being a video game.
I’ve spent a lot of time writing about shoving features into a set to try and develop play features, but I’m not sure there’s ever been anything as bad as this “cliff face” that comes in the set. Not the shooters in Weathertop, or every over-complicated flick-fire mechanism, or whatever stuff they put into every Batcave. Perhaps this is just a response to how much I’ve made fun of the mini-catapults, I don’t know, but this could have been left out entirely and changed nothing about the set. Even as a feature, it just doesn’t work. Knockout out that one little cliff part? Sure, that’s like seeing a planet get ripped apart, why not? It’s just a waste, and it’s not even all that fun. I usually judge play features based on how my daughter enjoys them, and this one got rated as “it doesn’t do much.” I suppose it’s not all that many parts, and it’s cool to get some dark red slopes… but really, just why?
Like I stated in my intro, the real problem with this set isn’t that it doesn’t line up with the movie. Most everything in the set had something to do in the movie… it’s just that there were better applications of every single one of them. Yondu shined when he was taking back his ship (seriously, the genius of Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 cannot be overstated… it got us to laugh at the slaughter of dozens and dozens of Ravagers while he and Rocket were escaping). Ayesha flew the drone, but her scenes on the throne or visiting Yondu on the planet with the robots of ill repute or the end with Adam (every time I think of that, I nerd boy squee a bit… one of my favorite characters) are all better examples of the character.
Groot in the outfit he has is nice, but doesn’t belong here… it’s like the sets needed to be rearranged. Taserface, Yondu, Kraglin, Groot, and Rocket in a set built around the base would have been so much nicer. Potential for play features just abound there, instead of being wasted here. Ayesha belongs in the Milano set, since she features very quickly in the set. Mantis probably belongs here, and it probably should have had Ego as well. This set isn’t quite as bad as Ravager Attack, and even though I haven’t reviewed it quite yet, as just hideous as the Milano set, so I’m going to call it a three out of five. The only thing really saving it is the figures and the $30 price point, but the whole thing just isn’t that exciting.
What I Liked
- Yondu… I think we all can agree the we need more Michael Rooker in our lives
- Some very nice parts tucked in here in good colors
- $30 price point is fairly attractive for what we get
What I Didn’t Like
- The Golden Drone could be made so much better with a different front part and a sticker of Ayesha
- Ayesha as a figure could have been so much better and more special… instead they picked the least interesting outfit she appeared in
- The Laser Drill was an incredibly cool ship in the movie, but the LEGO build lacks anything resembling what made it cool