Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 - 2017
The gang is all back in one of the few sequels the public really (** coughing sound, Smurfs! **) wanted from Hollywood. The follow up to 2015 Marvel breakout hit has landed and… you know what, NO! I won’t do the obligatory pun joke every single “critic” does now. I need to create SPACE between me and them. To write a good pun joke centered around the theme of the movie or the title, you would have to PLANET ahead, and I won’t sink that low. (Google Bill Hader’s Stefon from his SNL days and that’s my face while writing those stupid puns) Let’s get back to the review!
Sequels tend to fall into the same traps throughout history. Having the shadow of the first movie casting over them, they try to go bigger, funnier and with more explosions. While the same can be said for Vol. 2, they were able to focus on character development for all of them and expansion of the core group. Despite having a grand scale setting of them having to, well, guard or save the galaxy, the story is about family.
Vol. 2’s mixtape is just as great as the original. James Gunn has created a… galaxy… where the audience doesn’t second guess why that music playing over the action that I’m watching. I felt the opening sequence of Vol. 1 was superior to Vol. 2 but Vol. 2’s is still memorable and enjoyable. I loved how he integrated one of the songs into the plot of the story, creating a great metaphor for our protagonist. Happy that a new generation of kids will find the joys that is listening to Fleetwood Mac.
With a movie jammed packed with great performers, in my eyes Dave Bautista as Drax stole the movie. He has one of the most infectious laughs I have heard in a long time. I honestly think he only had two or three moments in the movie in which he wasn’t making the audience laugh. Bautista has become a great character actor and is the perfect fit for the Marvel Universe. Side note: I want to give an honorable mention to Baby Groot if we are talking funniest performance. My wife now wants a Baby Groot, not the toy the real thing and I don’t know what to do.
On the other spectrum, we have Michael Rooker as Yondu. He gave the movie a much-needed emotional punch to counter act the 30 quips per second the movie has. I truly did not expect that I would be walking out of this movie thinking about Yondu over the rest of the cast. He delivered a beautiful and unexpected character arch and the credit goes to Rooker and Gunn.
The rest of the cast is solid in their roles. I enjoyed the added player of Kurt Russell as Ego. Any movie can add Russell and reap benefits. The man is a national treasure. I was also pleasantly surprised by Elizabeth Debicki as Ayesha.
While Vol. 2 has, a lot going for it, it still had some issues that stuck out to me. The first one being the over use of CGI. Yes, I know it’s a super hero movie set in space that has a talking Racoon and a tiny tree. CGI is ever so needed to execute the story. But given the bright and neon color pallet chosen for this movie, it got to a point that my eyes got tired of the CGI. I would’ve appreciated a few more practical set locations. Another problem I found and I briefly mentioned it above is the amount of humor in this movie. Every single character now is now saturated with quips. Don’t get me wrong, I laughed a lot, but there was no true straight man to balance out this film. The last thing is the running time. The movie is two hours and eighteen minutes, and you start to notice it towards the end. I would’ve hoped for at least eighteen minutes less and I wouldn’t have noticed the run time.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was well worth the wait and a great sequel to what honestly was one of the biggest surprises of 2015. While I still prefer the original over this sequel, I find that it complements and expands on the… galaxy set by the original. James Gunn continues to deliver his vision in a Marvel universe, something that Edgar Wright found to be almost impossible. I can only hope that Thor Ragnarokhor is also the singular vision of its director; Taika Waititi. I was emotionally invested in a tiny humanoid tree and that’s why I love movies.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is currently in theaters. You don’t have to run, it will probably be there until New Years. Go watch it.
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