Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

The sequel to the unlikeliest of success stories, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 picks up a few months after the events of the first film. The James Gunn directed sequel once again features the titular Guardians — Peter Quill, aka Star Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Drax (Dave Bautista), along with Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) — as they protect the Galaxy from various threats… all in the name of making some good money. With the space-pirates known as the Ravagers, led by Yondu (Michael Rooker), Gamora’s half-sister Nebula (Karen Gillan) lurking nearby, and the mysterious Ego (Kurt Russell) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff) arriving on the scene with some startling revelations of their own, the Guardians are forced to make some tough decisions.

+ none of the actors are bad, though some were better than others. Bautista and Klementieff were my personal favourites, particularly in their scenes together. Cooper’s voice role as Rocket was again a standout. Kurt Russell as Ego was a fantastic addition, as both a character and in a meta-sense. Sylvester Stallone’s very limited role as Stakar was another welcome star-power addition
+ I really enjoyed that the various heroes were given more individual backstories. We knew the basics from the first movie, but this film gave us more personal details, and really added new layers to characters have grown to feel for, whether those feelings are good or bad
+ the film certainly could have gone overboard with the comedy which was well received in the first, but thankfully it did not. The biggest “could haves” were Drax’s missing the point, and Baby Groot being adorable, but both of these things were kept well in check to allow other moments to flourish
+ the movie is just gorgeous to look at. The various environments, huge space battles and then smaller-scale fist-fights are all a joy to watch. The Guardians spending more time apart also allowed for a wider variety of environments to explore

– I was very surprised there was not a bit more continuity between the films. Aside from the characters, there were very few references to the previous film (eg. no real look at Xandar following Ronan’s attack, and no look at how The Collector is handling having his whole collection blown up). I am also still surprised there have been no real scenes of Thanos, though that is MCU-wide, not just this film
– a few of the run-on jokes fell flat from the beginning, but due to their nature kept being repeated. Humour is obviously subjective, but I felt a few of the jokes were brought up at times they would have been better left alone
– another item of the ‘subjective’ list; I really didn’t like any of the songs in this. None managed to catch that ‘space opera’ theme like the first film’s music did. It is an interesting note that this film featured more of characters listening to music in the film, rather than it being just the soundtrack

> one line in the film, in particular, seemed to really affect the audience in my cinema. I’ve not heard an entire theater gasp or hold their breathe as I did for this in a long time
> another Marvel movie, another Stan Lee cameo. Amusingly, this one seemed to be an actual character

Should you see this film: Yes. This is a different kind of film to the first, with more emphasis placed on the teammates as individuals compared to working as a team. Instead of replicating the success of the first film, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 tries something new, and succeeds in nearly every way.

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