It’s officially the start of the Summer Blockbuster season and there’s no better way to start with some A-holes like the Guardians of the Galaxy. Back in 2014, Marvel released Guardians of the Galaxy which was a lesser known group of superheroes opposed to The Avengers. But thanks to James Gunn and his amazing effects team, that film became not only one of the best movies from the MCU but one of my favorite superhero movies of all time right next to Winter Soldier and The Dark Knight. It was irreverent to the Sci-Fi genre which made it fresh and fun. It was an unexpected surprise and an immediate success. Due to that success, of course, Marvel had to warrant a sequel. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 brings back some old faces like Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, and new faces like Kurt Russell, Sylvester Stallone, Pom Klementieff, and Elizabeth Debicki. Will Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 be a great sequel like Captain America: Winter Soldier or will it be another Iron Man 2 and Thor: The Dark World? Well….
James Gunn has come a long way from writing those Scooby-Doo movies. What I love about this movie is one of the things I loved about the first that carries into this film: the characters. Not only the Guardians I got to like in this but also other characters old and new. By the end of the first movie, we got the guardians come together to officially become a team. In this, we establish that though they’re a team they’re far from becoming a family due to the constant bickers between Rocket and Quill. Thanks to the love and care that Gunn put into his script for this film, not only do we get to sympathize with the Guardians but also with characters such as Yondu and Nebula. This might as well be a Fast & Furious movie because this film is all about family.
The cast is fantastic as before and the new additions are welcoming. Mantis is a fun new character who’s cute and funny. Nebula becomes more of a show stealer than Gamora at times, because of how dimensional growth. And Yondu (who I never really liked in the first movie), is damn near perfect as he’s a turned around guy. He’s actually smart and wise opposed to him being an a-hole in the first movie. Kurt Russell as Ego is charming and fun to watch mainly because he’s Kurt Russell and who doesn’t love Kurt Russell? Okay maybe after this movie, no one will.
Instead of being a sequel that relies only on action and humor, the movie tries its best to develop its characters. Instead of being a Thor 2 and have us follow these characters running around doing things nobody cares about, Vol. 2 manages to have these characters kick back and show their true colors. You can say as if we were watching the Guardians attend a group therapy session. But honestly, this movie thoroughly works because it still reminds you why you give a crap about these characters and develop more than five opposed to DC’s Suicide Squad where they can’t fully develop one. I’m sorry but when you try to be a Guardians of the Galaxy ripoff and not give us one fully likable character, you know you screwed up.
This feels like it wasn’t a sequel primarily made to develop the Marvel Cinematic Universe but to develop its characters in the Guardians of the Galaxy Universe. Not only this movie builds up the main characters, side characters, and everyone that we were introduced to in the first movie. Damn near everyone has a surprising depth of character even down to Yondu’s right-hand man Kraglin. This doesn’t really tie into the MCU’s main storyline at all, but that’s perfectly fine.
These movies are easily the best 3D converted films Marvel has ever produced. Besides Doctor Strange, Guardians Vol. 2 may be one of the best IMAX 3D Experiences you could ever enjoy. If the first movie didn’t win an Oscar for best visual effects, this one should because the visuals are as beautiful if not even better than the first. This movie really takes place in one planet but effects team took a lot of care into making Ego’s planet bright, colorful, and gorgeous. You might as well just want to take a resort vacation there. The action is still glorious to look at especially in its opening sequence which would make you want a Baby Groot toy 3x more than you wanted one before.
For a sequel, this movie still manages to be innovative as many times it gets its chance to be. For example, when Quill’s Milano is chased by enemy spaceships you see people at the Sovereign base remote controlling the ships through a simulator that plays like Galaga. Small moments of creativity like that makes a lot of the humor in this worthwhile. Only if they had the guy from The Avengers in this, it would’ve been awesome.
The humor in this is very scattered but in the best way. Though the jokes are laugh out loud funny whether it be a visual gag or a physical joke, the verbal comedy is mostly a full circle joke where one line that’s mentioned once as a quote comes back to become a punchline. but yet some of the jokes are random and funny as hell. It sticks with the regular tropes and setup of comedy. It goes against it by satirizing with dark tropes that you see in something like a DC movie, but then it just gets silly, but I’ll be damned if the comedy wasn’t true to the characters. Peter makes 80s references, Drax is dumb and speaks whatever is on his mind, and Rocket is a jerk.
I love when an action sequel has the action take the back seat and gives room for its characters to grow. For the most part, this reminded me so much of 2016’s Star Trek Beyond the same way that it’s a sequel that has its action and story take the backseat as it relies more on both the comedy and the dynamic of characters. Like this, it doesn’t take itself too seriously but doesn’t have a genuine shift. It’s weird to say for a big summer blockbuster it plays as an indie movie by the way Gunn develops these characters and have the entire film take place in limited settings. Instead of showing us different parts of the Galaxy in the first movie, we have limited settings but still managed to create a beautiful world. It’s weird to compare it to this, but since he singlehandedly wrote this I might as well It’s like the 2002 Scooby-Doo movie where the entire movie took place in one setting and managed to show us every corner of the resort the Mystery Gang was staying in. Like Star Trek Beyond the majority of the film is set on one planet instead of having us see more universes of the galaxy and because of that, we see our favorite characters grow in dimension which do lead to you most likely crying at several points. There’s even a moment my fiancee was tearing up and I turned to her and I asked, “Are you crying?” And she goes, “you’re crying too!”
In every Marvel movie, the biggest complaint is the villain and how he has no depth. That was pretty much everybody’s biggest issue with the first Guardian flick. While I do enjoy Ronan, I understand why some people don’t. I’m glad in phase 3, the MCU has fixed their villain “problems”. And I wish I could go into depth more but the villain is truly breathtaking.
In its predecessor, the majority of the film had an equally balanced tone where it knew the right times to be comedic and the right times to be serious. With a plot that’s pretty deep as this, the tone has to have its dark moments. Where the first executed, the tone is hardly ever balanced. When it needs to be serious it stumbles at times. There’s a lot of drama with this story and its welcoming. If you go into this expecting a big, dumb summer blockbuster, then you’ve walked into the wrong movie. This does not have the same excitement as the predecessor and that’s perfectly fine. If only if the movie knew when the just stop the comedy for more than three minutes and give some emotional drama, a lot of the story elements would’ve been more effective when some plot points are revealed.
Though not as great as its predecessor, James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 offers creative action, a deep story, gorgeously colorful visuals, and enough characters to grow and love. The First one had you hooked on a feeling, the second one will have you hooked on the feels!
SUPERSAM RATING: ★★★★★