It has been a while since the release of Marvel’s latest entry into their shared universe and suffice to say that the force is still very strong with this one. It is by no means a perfect movie as I will proceed to show you but I cannot deny that it has heart, beautiful action, amazing visuals, lots of laughs and great character moments.
While watching Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, it was near impossible not to compare it with DC Extended Universe’s (DCEU) team up (I’m referring to Suicide Squad) movie and see just how far apart in terms of what made one work and the other fail. This is purely subjective of course as I am sure there are HUGE fans of Suicide Squad who believe that said movie is a masterpiece but I digress.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 marks the 15th entry for the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and is for all intents and purposes a stand-alone movie. Meaning that is doesn’t expand on the universe but instead dives into some of the characters and resolve story arcs from the first movie while opening up a few more. From the trailers, we already know that Kurt Russell plays Peter Quill’s (Chris Pratt) father so this isn’t much of a spoiler. What’s neat however is how cleverly Ego the Living Planet is incorporated into the story. It makes Peter Quill’s character all the more interesting while finally resolving his father issues (well somewhat).
Gamora (Zoe Saldana) finally gets to confront her sister and the way the series of scenes play out between the two siblings serve to make Nebula (Karen Gillan) a sympathetic and tortured character who will stop at nothing to defeat the Mad Titan Thanos. I like how Thanos played into the story here. He’s never shown like in the first movie but we are constantly reminded of him; of how sick and diabolical he is and this only serves to wet our appetites for the horrors and madness he’ll deliver next year against the Avengers in Avengers: Infinity War (please don’t mess this up!).
Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) is one of the standout characters in this film and while that’s a good thing, it was a bit of a let down that he seemed to have forgotten what drove him in the first film. That being said, he had by far the best lines in this film. His comedic timing is impeccable and he will have you laughing over and over again even as the credits roll.
I could go on and on talking about the character moments. They’re just that good. Yes it doesn’t transcend the freshness of the first movie, it doesn’t deliver anything new in the sense of scale or scope but it brings us closer to this ragtag team of heroes and makes us care for them all the more while teasing what is likely to come in the future.
James Gunn did a phenomenal job here and I dare you to see this movie and not like it. I saw this with a friend who had never seen the first one and she thoroughly enjoyed it. It allows the non initiated to enjoy the movie. They may not understand why Thanos is so fearsome but I daresay we can all relate with people having daddy issues and that subsequently fracturing the relationship between siblings.
All the above being said, I have one major gripe with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 and that’s in the structure. Usually, a movie has three distinct acts; the introduction, the setup and the finale/climax. Disney seems to be dispensing with this formula. Maybe because these movies are shared and so we are really moving towards the end game but it does feel a little jarring.
For the first hour or so, we jump from scene to scene that feel cut together, serving mostly to give us exposition peppered with set pieces (which are beautiful by the way) and then we hurtle to the end which lasts for about thirty to forty minutes. The beauty of this formula so far (see Captain America: Civil War) is that the final sequence more than makes up for all that has come before and makes for a very satisfying finish. On the downside however, it may not be for everyone but we’ll see how this plays out in future movies of the MCU.
The Marvel machine is alive and strong with this one and I don’t see them slowing down anytime soon. If you loved the first surprise hit that was Guardians of the Galaxy, see this. You’ll absolutely love it. If you don’t laugh even once, I’ll consider you near heartless (that’s how funny it is). It’s a good time at the movies, you’ll never watch the first movie the same way again and anytime you hear “Taserface”, it will cause you to break into a smile and maybe you’ll even let out a small chuckle (I know I always do).