After the events with the infinity stone in Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 sees our heroes on new adventures as they travel across the cosmos. The Guardians must battle to keep their newfound unit together as they solve the mystery of the true parentage of their leader Peter Quill AKA Star-Lord (Chris Pratt). Old enemies become allies and fan favourites from the source material will come to the aid of these guardians of the galaxy as the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expands its reach across the stars and beyond. Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Baby Groot and Rocket are back, joined by Yondu, Ego, Mantis and many more. It’s freaking great.
As “Guardians of the Galaxy will return” was plastered across the screen at the end of the first film in 2014, I knew when Vol 2 was cast, I’d be pleased because Marvel don’t cast badly. When Kurt Russell (Deepwater Horizon) was cast as Star Lord’s dad Ego The Living Planet, it was obvious that Marvel would be using the antagonistic cliche of “evil dad goes awol”, not that I’m complaining. Many are saying the humour is overkill in the sequel. And to those I say, did you watch Age of Ultron or are you selectively forgetting that the Avengers sequel was stuffed full of forced humour? Much of it from a villain that was difficult to take seriously in many places throughout the film.
I was blown away by the first. And I was taken aback by the second. And I’m intrigued how Gunn’s trilogy will pan out now. We’ve had two awesome movies in this trilogy, a first for Marvel in my opinion, since the Marvel trilogies have remained inconsistent, but that’s another conversation. I was anxious in going to see this film. Would it follow the track record of the Iron Man Trilogy and Thor films of suffering from sequel syndrome? Thankfully, it did not. It lives up to its predecessor and more. Though, I must say, in the opening shots with the Guardians fighting that octopus creature I wasn’t happy that Gunn focused a lot on Baby Groot. He is just fine, nothing more.
We are witness to more of the same charm and humour. The Marvel formula is on display again. Well if it ain’t broke… Though, the big change between the first and second film is it’s an origins story (again) for Peter, as he meets his father Ego (Kurt Russell) who conveniently shows up, as Rocket pisses off Ayesha (The Night Manager’s Elizabeth Debicki) who sends a legion of ships after them. If you loved the first, you should love the second. James Gunn delivers a space opera that is worth every bit of hype. If Vol 2 is any consolation, I think we should have no fear in the quality of Avengers: Infinity War (2018) or Thor: Ragnarök (Nov. 2017).
From start to finish, this is a wonderful movie. We are given more character development in terms of Peter and Gamora, as well as the origins of Ego and his relationship with Peter’s mother. If you liked how they did young Hank Pym in Ant-Man, you’ll like what they did with 1980 Ego. Baby Groot is adorable, and that’s all he is. Yet, Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Nebula (Karen Gillan), Yondu (Michael Rooker) and even Mantis (Pom Klementieff) were excellent. But Mantis and Gamora were my favourites. And I relished in the sisterly relationship between Nebula and Gamora, and how Nebula is not as hard as she makes out to be.
The CGI, cinematography and colour pallet were beautiful to look at. Much alike to certain scenes in other Marvel movies, there’s plenty of dumb fun (Drax in the creature’s stomach). “The beast’s hide is too thick to be pierced on the outside… Then I must cut through it from the inside!” But there’s also a lot of emotion in the relationships. I liked the rapport between Drax and Mantis, Peter and Gamora but the best of all was Nebula and Gamora. This was Gamora’s film. Sure, there were plenty of action scenes and whatnot, but this superhero movie was character-driven and that’s a great thing. When you see these characters in this way, it really warms the heart.
Again, I can’t fault the mixtape. Kudos to those who put that together. I will be acquiring the soundtrack in due course. After watching films like T2 Trainspotting, 20th Century Women, 13TH, Hidden Figures and musicals like Beauty and the Beast and La La Land, it shows how important song choices are, whether they are part of the narrative or not. The sequel’s soundtrack is as good as the first, if not better. Whether the songs are written for the movie or chosen for a movie, it is still possible to make awful judgement. But in both the trailers and the feature film, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 shows us when a soundtrack is done right.
This whole scene with Rocket and Ravagers is brilliant and wonderfully constructed. I can only imagine the amount of banter Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook) had whilst reading those lines. Again, Cooper gives a great performance as Rocket. Seriously, when will the Academy introduce categories for Voice Performances and/or Motion Capture Performances? Bradley Cooper was born to be this not-a-racoon-but-looks-like-a-racoon character. I’ve watched him reading his lines on YouTube. He’s very animated. Why is this guy not doing more voice roles? Seriously, what the frick? He’s a great talent and this needs to be exploited.
With the exception of Baby Groot, I really loved this film. It’s a good bit of fun and Gamora continues to be my favourite guardian. Also, we didn’t need five post-credits scenes. Though that one with Stan Lee talking to a few guys of the Big Brother variety was interesting. Despite the action and excellent effects, this very much a character-driven story. And to those giving the film shit without any good reason, unto you I say: