Showtime a-holes! Phase three so far has not disappointed, it’s lived up to the hype and tall task set in stone by Kevin Feige three years prior when the upcoming slate of films was announced. Granted – this is the third film in this new phase but the tone for how this phase was going to play out was set with Captain America: Civil War. The question is can the sequel to the incredibly puzzling yet successful first Guardians follow in its footsteps or does it crash and burn. What the first Guardians does unbelievably well is the character development all thanks to the only man who should be trusted with this franchise – James Gunn. Gunn is able to build on these relationships more so by pushing the boundaries with how the characters interact with each other.
There is a ton of yelling and arguing and difference of opinions but that’s what a family does. This group of unlikely creatures has become a family – the only family a couple of the members have ever known. That is a major theme in this franchise and James Gunn vividly expresses that from page to screen. Guardians kept throwing the question out there – who is Peter Quill’s (Chris Pratt) father? We know he isn’t of Earth but as the plot unfolds we see him for what he truly is. The film isn’t following the comics i.e. Peter’s father in the comics is Emperor Jason of Spartax. The film and James Gunn go a different route making a being named Ego the Living Planet (Kurt Russell) Peter’s father.
This is where that saying “Blood doesn’t always mean family” comes into play. Yondu (Michael Rooker) is more of a father figure to Peter not because Peter is skinny enough for thieving but because he knew how maniacal Ego is in his quest to destroy the universe. Yondu’s redemption is what makes this sequel memorable among other Marvel Cinematic sequels. Their relationship is what makes Yondu’s arc special leading up to the final moments of the film. Gunn made him an anti-hero to make this emotion considerably more impactful. It’s not just Yondu and Peter’s relationship that gets highlighted in Vol. 2, it’s the entire team.
“He says, “welcome to the frickin’ Guardians of the Galaxy”. Only he didn’t use “frickin’”
Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper, portrayed by Sean Gunn) and Yondu have powerful scenes together, Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Nebula (Karen Gillan) seemingly mortal enemies in the first film, embrace each other and get past their differences about sisterhood and their father Thanos. Drax (Dave Bautista) and newcomer Mantis (Pom Klementieff) bond in a way that at first doesn’t come off great for Drax’s character, but by the end of the film the two become close. The amount of bickering can feel tiresome at points especially when majority of the dialogue involves arguments and projected voices from more than one person at a time. Do the Guardians need an off camera therapist? Maybe.
As far as villains go this is just another film with a mediocre villain. Ego has no reasoning or motive for his diabolical plot. Kurt Russell was a fantastic choice for the role as Peter’s father. Three quarters of the film he’s the good guy, the dad that shows up when it’s convenient for him and then he proceeds to destroy the one thing Peter loves the most in this world – his mom. If there is anything you could say that would cause you to be viciously hated by the one person you need to take over the universe, it’s always about the mom. That one line of dialogue alone makes Ego one of the better villains out of the MCU regardless that his development is still poor.
Another thing that Vol. 2 misses the mark on is the amount of running jokes. Characters who aren’t supposed to be humorous have way too many jokes and it takes away how that character was established in the first film. Drax’s constant laughter sounds like a jackhammer. Don’t get me wrong the film is pretty funny and offers laugh out loud moments, it just needed to be dialed back significantly. The film also feels overstuffed with characters and plot. Anything with Taserface (Chris Sullivan) should have been cut out. His character is merely comic relief that just wasn’t necessary. The Sovereign was completely misused while most of their characters scenes break up the pacing and momentum the film gains.
“Sometimes, the thing you’ve been looking for your whole life is right there beside you all along.”
Going into Vol.2 expectations are pretty high for the next Awesome Mix. The music in Guardians makes every scene more poignant eliciting deeper meaning. Vol. 2 doesn’t have that same emotion from the music that made Guardians beloved. Not to say the music choices weren’t good, they just didn’t give the same type of rush as the first one had.
Vol. 2 succeeds with its color palette. Every color pops off the screen as if its fresh from a tube of paint. The visuals are stunning to get lost in as James Gunn flawlessly makes these worlds feel completely realistic. The nostalgia factor could easily take you out of the film but its used subtly and minimally making it feel organic and natural. Peter Quill would 1000% turn into Pac Man. Gunn smartly added cameos of the original comics run of the Guardians team by the likes of Starhawk (Sylvester Stallone), Martinex (Michael Rosenbaum), Charlie-27 (Ving Rhames), Aleta Ogord (Michelle Yeoh), Krugarr and Mainframe (voiced by Miley Cyrus). Howard the Duck (voiced by Seth Green) has a brief cameo.
Stan Lee has probably the best cameo he’s ever done. A servant of the Watcher’s. in the comics, The Watchers are a race of extraterrestrials (fictional, of course) that watch over the multiverse. It basically confirms that Stan Lee is playing the same character in all his cameo’s while watching over the events of the Infinity Saga play out. It’s quite brilliant – the man that created it all, watches it all. There is no new infinity stone, we are still at 5 that have been shown still, the missing one is the soul stone.
“And that I did. My river lily who knew all the words to every song that came over the radio. I returned to Earth to see her three times. And I knew if I returned a fourth, well, I’d never leave. The Expansion, the reason for my very existence would be over. So, I did what I had to do. But it broke my heart to put that tumor in her head.“
Vol. 2 offers five, yes five post credit scenes. One teases the coming of a powerful being named Adam Warlock created by Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) who was teased to play a major role in the next Avengers film. That never panned out. Another scene shows that Kraglin (Sean Gunn) takes over Yondu’s arrow and hilariously stabs Drax with it. The third scene shows a teenage Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel, portrayed by Sean Gunn) heavily involved in a video game. The next scene shows the Watchers leaving Stan Lee on the meteor to fend for himself.
Overall, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 centers more on the extraordinary character development and relationships of our beloved misfit team. The visuals are gorgeous, and the villain isn’t as bad as previous villains in the MCU. The film is a tad overstuffed with characters that don’t matter or are completely irrelevant to the story as a whole. The music doesn’t pack the same punch from the first film but it’s a great selection of hits, nonetheless. Vol. 2 is a solid entry to the Marvel Cinematic Universe with some of the most important characters in the next couple of films. If I were to rate Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, I’d rate it a 4.25 out of 5.
So, tell me guys, have you seen Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and if so, what do you think about it? Do you agree or disagree with me? Comment below or send me an email and let me know what you think.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is written & directed by James Gunn is Rated PG-13 and has an 85% on Rotten Tomatoes. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was released on May 5th, 2017 and has a runtime of 2 hours and 17 minutes. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 can be streamed on Disney Plus.
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The Guardians of the Galaxy will return