Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, and Kurt Russell. Directed by James Gunn. Produced by Marvel Studios.
In 2014 Marvel Studios took a chance on a relatively unknown director, which paid off…773.3 million USD to be exact. More impressive than box office, was the fan and critic response to the film. Not only was James Gunn not yet mainstream, neither was his subject matter. Guardians of the Galaxy was a Marvel title only known among the most die hard of comic book fans. Armed with a solid cast and aggressive marketing strategy, the film became a financial and critical success. Part of the key to this success was that Gunn and Marvel veered away from the famous and true tested Marvel formula, allowing this film to have its unique identity. Fans have been patiently waiting for 3 years through many rumors, casting announcements, and multiple high octane trailers for the sequel. The wait has finally ended with Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 opening this last weekend.
The most notorious band of misfits in the Marvel Universe are back to save it once again, fueled by a new soundtrack of forgotten hits from the 70’s. Peter, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, and (baby) Groot must protect the galaxy from new and familiar foes all while trying to keep it together within. As if they don’t have enough on their plates, there is also the mystery of Peter’s lineage, which will soon be revealed.
Within the first 15 minutes you slip back into an old comfort that you have not felt since the first film. It has the feeling of hanging out with old friends you have not seen in years, but you pick up like it was just yesterday. The opening credits hit you like a truck full of nitrous oxide, bringing both the explosions and the laughter. Thirty minutes in you continue to grin, wondering how bad your face will hurt in the morning.
The film does lose some momentum in the slower second act, offering multiple opportunities to run to the rest room or refill your commemoratory popcorn tins. There was still some key action scenes and plenty of laughter, but it still seemed like a bit of a miss. A lot of time was spent to build a plot that was a little light by Guardians standards. A plot that departed some from comic cannon and focused more on relationships than going for the big and obvious story line. Each character had something going on personally with them that helped greater define their role among this band of misfits. Because of this added depth the film had to make some sacrifice to the action. A void they filled with humor, making this seem a little more comedy and slightly less action.
This, however, is something that this series could afford to do and needed to do. To make Guardians of the Galaxy a great franchise, Vol. 2 needed to separate itself from the first film, because if you remember it was its uniqueness from other Marvel films that made the first film what it was. Sure they could have picked a serious baddie with a fleet and many dispensable foot soldiers. Maybe even toss in an infinity stone. But then you would have the same movie and Bradley Cooper would have two Hangover 2’s under his belt. Instead, Gunn dared to stick to the theme of keeping Guardians of the Galaxy off the path of predictability and remembered the key ingredient to this franchise, fun!
There were some winning aspects that worked in the first film and it was obvious that due to their popularity we saw them again in this one. Those things are baby Groot and the Soundtrack. Since it was announced, baby Groot has been a major pain point for some fans and fantastic news for others. It would have been a merchandise blunder if they didn’t stretch baby Groot for at least one more film, which is why many dreaded this. You can relax, because though his cuteness was almost too much too handle, it was not over done. He did have his moments, but he was not used as a scene stealer by any means.
The soundtrack probably had the highest expectations of all. Marvel may or may not have known that the first soundtrack was going to be such a global phenomenon. They did, however, know that this one needed to be big too. Initial reactions from when the playlist was released were mixed, but this was before it could be seen in context with the film. All in all the soundtrack was very well done. The one noticeable issue was how much more they stressed the music as part of the story line, as if they were trying to remind you that there was a soundtrack and it was great.
One thing that lacked hang ups was the third act. The first act was fun, the second act was serious and the third act was emotional. The last 40 minutes were so emotionally charged that The Ellen Show’s Instagram account got jealous. The final act was filled with action, sadness, and most importantly redemption.
In the end if you go into this film not expecting the exact same film as the first you will be rewarded. It had multiple well done action scenes that all had their own personality. The humor was stepped up even more from last time and the tunes stayed odd but appropriate. Also, it was just visually pleasing. The special effects were fantastic and creative. If you are looking for the greatest comic book movie of all time, you may be let down. If you are looking for a very good comic book movie full of easter eggs and want to have a good time, then this is worth the time and money.
- Guardians of the Galaxy 3000 and your nerdiest friend catching them.
- Soup! Soup!… Wham Bam Shang-Lang.
- Despite what Gunn said, we saw Ego the way comic fans wanted.
- Stan the Man.
- The end credits, just all of it!
- David Bautista must have been taking acting classes.
- Drax’s brutal honesty cut much tension.
- Every cameo, even Grandpa Quill (yeah see if you can catch him).
- Enders Game meets arcade goodness.
- I will call it Adam.
- Trash Panda.
- Rocket using “fricking” instead of “flarkin'”, big miss.
- Hipsters will now be buying Microsoft Zunes off Ebay for hundreds of dollars.
- Chedda Bob can’t catch a break.
- Some pace changes felt like making 700 jumps.
- Miley Cyrus.
- Kurt Russel’s weird pronunciation of Peter. “I’m your dad pidder”