THE Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Review
It’s difficult to win the lottery but that’s exactly what writer & director James Gunn did with the first Guardians of the Galaxy film. Gunn has struck the lotto once more but the jackpot isn’t as high.
Don’t worry folks, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is extremely good; it’s just not great. Marvel Studios has released 15 films since 2008 within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, from Iron Man (2008) to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. And if this Guardians sequel is a premonition of things to come, fans will be in for a long, glorious ride.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 takes place a few months after the events of the 2014 movie. The tales of the Guardians’ odyssey has spread, making them in demand more than the A-Team. While working for a golden arrogant species called the Sovereign (lead by Ayesha), Rocket steals the very items the Guardians are hired to protect. Ergo, they are named public enemy number 1 by the conceited race. They are chased, and nearly killed before being saved by a mysterious entity. Turns of this being is a Celestial named Ego, Peter Quills’ father. Peter has more issues than sports illustrated, but growing up not knowing his father is his biggest. He’s curious to know more about him, but is very cynical in the process. And so it begins. Gamora and Drax join Peter when he agrees to go off with Ego. Rocket and Groot stay behind and eventually end up with Yondu and Nebula. Because of the ground work set in the fist film, this simply works. We get two different arcs that makes the audience care more about the group via humor and tragedy. If they all some how stayed together I don’t think it would have worked. You never want a movie to seem like characters are fighting for screen time. The team split allows characters to receive their time to shine.
While the two arcs develop more supporting characters, whom at the very least aid in augmenting the main theme (more on that later) are established. The snob Ayesha and her Sovereign race, the megalomaniac Taserface and his Ravagers, another Ravagers group, and Ego accompanied by his servant Mantis. I liked actress Pom Klementieff portrayal of Mantis. Her interactions with Drax are some of the best comedy scenes in the MCU. Elizabeth Debicki’s character Ayesha was a great casting choice. Her character gives off a “Paris Hilton I’m better than you” type vibe. Watching her continually put in her place made me smile. And of course Kurt Russell as Ego was great, he’s Kurt Russell what would you expect? Russell’s take on the character has a charming way to make you intrigued about him; which isn’t easy to do considering the motley crew of characters in this movie.
GOTG2’s main theme is family, James Dunn pretty much beats you over the head with it. Some might not like it, but it’s superbly written. It’s a good theme which grew well from the seeds of the first film. If the first Guardians movie was about finding a new family, then part two is about staying with them through thick and thin. Families have their issues and this movie doesn’t stray from that premise. We’ve all had bonds with our family tested, and Dunn did a good job pulling on that thread.
Having now seen both films, I can say GOTG2 is by far funnier than volume 1. But even though I love comedy, I don’t need a gluttony of it in these types of movies. Sometimes less is more; this movie seems to be over compensating for having a weaker story then its predecessor. Some jokes seemed forced, and some callbacks were overkill. Mixing in comedy when Peter finds out who killed his mother was the wrong path to take. Also, GOTG2’s climatic “all hope is lost scene” in the final battle seems a little too much like the first movie. I guess being the “Guardians of the Galaxy” will put you in those situations, but the emotion of the climatic battle sequence in GOTG1 seems almost impossible to top, so why try? Guardians 2’s attempt worked, just not as well. These gripes weren’t deal breakers for me, the movie is good, it’s just not as fresh as the first one.
Some people will complain that GOTG2 does too much of what we loved from certain characters in the last movie. Yes, we get a lot of Baby Groot acting like he did in the the post credits of Guardians of the Galaxy, and Drax once again has a plethora of inappropriate comments, but that’s who these characters are. Groot and Drax are there to make you laugh, and those characters have a certain way of doing it. I was never sick of them during the movie and their comedy relief was never overdone.
It would be a crime not to mention that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has some beautiful special effects. Some of them will make you think you’re in the 1970’s while on psychedelic drug. The music matched up nicely with the story. Gunn is a pro when it comes to writing a song into the script. It was a nice touch to add more obscure songs rather than well know pop hits.
If you despise bridge movies, you need not worry. This is a Guardians movie that doesn’t tie into other franchises in the MCU. Which is surprising considering the Avengers will soon meet the Guardians of the Galaxy in Avengers: Infinity War. This movie has it’s faults but I really enjoyed it. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 never bored me. I never thought the pacing was off, and I never was sick of seeing any character. The development of the characters over the course of the story is on point. Even though the humor is too much at times, Guardians 2 does a good job setting it up. If something strange is being said, there’s going to be a reason for it down the line. Trust me, like I said before this movie will make you laugh more than the first one. This franchise is by far the funniest and most emotional of the movies in the MCU. I never thought I would laugh so much at a raccoon holding his own in verbal combat while making me feel sorry for him. This latest MCU film will make you laugh, your heart strings will be pulled, and you be interested in seeing more of the franchise.
FYI, make sure you don’t miss all the end credit scenes.