Bigger, Bolder, and nearly as awesome.
Upon seeing the first Guardians of the Galaxy, I was immediately obsessed. It is without a doubt my favorite film of the MCU – The characters, visuals, feel, and, of course, the soundtrack came together to make a film unlike any I had ever seen.
When I heard that there was going to be a sequel, well, let’s just say that I ran to the movie theater like –
The film opens with a bang – the Guardians fight a giant tentacle-y space monster thing in the background, while Baby Groot jams to “Mr. Blue Sky” in the foreground.
It’s hilarious, dazzling, and an altogether fitting way to start the film. We pick up right where we left off – the Guardians, now infamous for their adventures in the first film, have been hired by “The Sovereign”, a race of perfect, golden humanoids that are hilariously self righteous. Everything goes wrong when Rocket steals the batteries they were hired to protect from said space-monster.
This sets off a course of events that sends the Guardians to the far reaches of the galaxy to be broken up, and eventually brought back together again.
The story takes the characters in new, mostly good directions.
Where the first film can survive and thrive off of novelty alone, Vol. 2 needed to bring something new to the table. Slow-mo montages can only do so much!
The overarching plot of the film revolves around Starlord (played by a ripped as ever Chris Pratt) meeting and building a relationship with his father, Ego, a sort of god who has the power to manipulate matter and create life. Ego has motivations of his own, though, and the slow-moving second act brings his motivations to life.
My favorite parts of the film were the actually the subplots – specifically Yondu’s.
It’s tragic, touching, and the dark horse that elevates the film.
Although there are plenty of holes to pick at (Gomorrah is relegated to being a silly, inconsequential character, Chris Pratt still can’t act), the film is held together by lighting-fast, hilarious dialogue, eye-popping visuals, and a terrific ensemble – Dave Bautista’s Drax and Karen Gillan’s Nebula are given elevated roles, and Yondu is promoted to a main character. Kurt Russell is great as Ego, and the characters like Mantis add hilarity and depth to the film.
Disney obviously went all-out with this one, and it paid off, literally, in the theaters. I would say it paid of well in regards of following up the first film in terms of story. I felt as if Ronan, the villain in the first film, was fairly bland, and the third act was weak. In Volume 2, the second act was the longest and the weakest, but the terrific third act makes up for the blunders in the second.
The CGI work is some of the best I’ve ever seen, and the screen is filled from corner to corner with dazzling colors and intricate designs in every frame.
The humor, visuals, and new directions more than make up for the loss of novelty from the first.