Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Review

Who could remember the surprise that the first Guardians of the Galaxy gave us back in 2014? Almost a lot of us, who weren’t familiar with the comics, just brushed it off as it looked like it might be a huge misstep in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as it involves a talking tree creature and a raccoon. Sounds ridiculous, right? Not in the slightest. The first movie was great as it featured new characters, a nostalgic soundtrack, and an impressive story that’s a great addition to this universe while also gaining a new audience. And it came one of my favorite films in the MCU. Now being, by proxy, the beginning of the summer movie season, it’s an exciting way to bring back our favorite a-holes in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

Following after the events of the first film, the team struggles to keep its newfound family together as it tries to unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage in the outer reaches of the galaxy.

Not only was Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 my most anticipated movie of the summer, but it was second on my most anticipated list of 2017 because I was very excited to see this. As a sequel, this mustn’t be a mere copy of the first film, it needs to have an interesting story to hopefully latch on to. As my expectations were pretty high, I knew this wasn’t going to be as great as its predecessor. However, this sequel shines on so many levels.

Bradley Cooper, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, and Karen Gillan in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

The cast still has terrific chemistry with each other while also working together as a team. Chris Pratt still owns his part as Peter Quill/Star-Lord, Zoe Saldana still brought out greatness for heroines once again as Gamora, Bautista as Drax is much better in this, Bradley Cooper as the voice of Rocket Raccoon was killer. All of which provides great entertainment individually.

The humor is much funnier in this, which was unexpected. The first movie really showcased the type of humor it was going for, but this has more standards. Though most of the MCU movies lack the humor to be found in some of these films, the Guardians franchise takes its humor is a fresh way, and that’s a credit to James Gunn’s script. A lot of them came from Drax (Dave Bautista). His delivery of dry humor had me constantly laughing. He doesn’t have the most development out of the group, but this is the sense of humor that’s needed in this. Overall, a really funny movie.

When Kurt Russell appears on screen, he ensures the coolness I always thought of him. As Ego, the living planet, he really wants to regain that bonding with his son, as he never had the sun he never had. His performance has really good but he did make me question if he’s going to be shady or not. He and Pratt had really good chemistry. Alongside him, Pom Klementieff as Mantis, a guardian with empathic powers, was a wonderful part of the crew.

And Baby Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) was SO adorable that I want him beside me at all times. He was used at convenient times not being overused and he wasn’t annoying. Any moment when it involves Groot, there’s a childlike wonderment to be found.

One of the elements that stood out in the original was the soundtrack primarily known as “The Awesome Mix”. And I’ll say the soundtrack in here is good having some old-school music that’s to my liking, but it’s not as great as Volume 1. I mean if a soundtrack included Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain (primarily used in the Super Bowl and second trailer), I’m hooked immensely. Also, Tyler Bates score is a much better improvement over the last film.

Gunn as the writer/director really understands this universe so well giving us the things we loved before and bringing them in this follow-up. If you don’t crack a smile during the film’s opening credits as it’s set to Baby Groot dancing to ELO’s Mr. Blue Sky, then something’s wrong with you. He actually makes this not so bombastic than before. Although it has the action sequences that are to be expected, it more on a smaller scale as this concentrates more on the background of the characters. His direction is beautiful as it looks from the art direction of the sets to the cosmic scenery shown in space. The visual and makeup effects were amazing just looking real. Early prediction for next year’s Oscar for a Best Makeup nomination.

Gunn also had the chance to really get more development out of some of the characters. For a majority of the film, the team is separated on their side quest which made me think of The Empire Strikes Back in a lot of ways. We were given the chance to really find out more about who they are. The best that was fleshed out was Yondu (Michael Rooker). To start off, he was probably my favorite character in the entire film because Rooker really had some scene-stealing moments. When it ended, I actually cared about him and it kind of proved that he’s more than a Ravager. Rocket is given more depth about why he became a pest with everyone else and why he keeps stealing everything in sight. Both of them have a lot of screen time with each other. This gives why Nebula (Karen Gillan) is the way she is and it brought out sympathy towards her. Gillan still does an over-the-top performance here, I can honestly forgive it. Highly unexpected.

There were some problems I had with the film overall. First off, the villains, which these gold people are known as the Sovereign people, were pretty wasteful in the scenes they’re in and makes them unnecessary, to begin with. They pretty much show up occasionally to follow the Guardians. Even though some scenes that included them made me laugh, they took me out and made me question, “Why are you here?” Also, it was a bit too long mildly due to the second act’s pace. Thinkin’ if it could’ve shaved off seven minutes, it would’ve been better.

An ultimate theme that’s surrounding the film is family. Sure we can get that through The Fast and the Furious films, but it’s really shown throughout. Whether it’s Quill wanting to know more about his father, Gamora’s relationship with Nebula, or just the team itself, it’s well-realized when it’s discussed about their past. It’s that aspect that’ll get emotional.

Personally, nothing felt rushed as everything was on-point and it didn’t feel clunky, in my opinion. This is proof that the MCU hasn’t really made a bad movie after Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It isn’t the really anywhere near Avengers: Age of Ultron as making it bigger and better, but it settled out be something spectacular. Honestly, this is one of the best sequels in this universe. Within talks about Gunn wanting to do Vol. 3, I’m already down for it ‘cause I’m hooked on the feeling when it comes to seeing them again in the third installment and Avengers: Infinity War. Wasn’t as great as the first, but this was really entertaining from beginning to end.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a major blast for the franchise as it amped up the stylish action sequences, laugh-out-loud humor, and overall enjoyment.

Grade: B+

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