Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 is the sequel to the widely successful first film from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film Returns to the rag-tag group of space criminals as they try to fight an inter-dimensional space monster and carries on from there in the same comedic action style that was fantastically done in the first film, with a great soundtrack and fun science fiction, but also adds a theme of friendship and family. This film focuses on Starlord meeting his father, and what that means for himself and the group, as well as the whole rest of the galaxy. All the same characters from the first film are back, with Yondu and Nebula having greater roles as Starlord’s surrogate father and Gamora’s rival sister, to greater support the theme of family. If you like marvel films, or even just sci-fi or comedy, then I think you already know that you’ll like this one. The Guardians of the Galaxy is currently my favourite sub-series in the MCU, and while Vol. 2 lacks in some areas when compared to the first film, it improves on it in others. The film is directed by James Gunn, and stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel as Starlord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket and Baby Groot, with supporting roles from Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, and Kurt Russell.
You can tell that the cast has a lot of fun with these characters. All the performances are full of charisma and energy, and the actors mesh together perfectly. If you’ve seen the first film you know what type of characters these are, and they haven’t changed much since then. Starlord is the cocky, wisecracking human, Gamora is stubborn, professional, serious, and cold, Drax is literal, brutish, but with an added love for comedy that has emerged since the first film, Rocket is the lone wolf (or raccoon) with a love for crime and guns, and Groot is an innocently cute tree. The dynamic of the group is being pushed to the limit at the start of the film, especially between Starlord and Rocket, whose constant one-upmanship and closed off nature puts a strain on the relationship of the team. I especially loved Dave Bautista as Drax in this film. His literal nature in the first film was funny enough, but in this film he has so much fun laughing at uncomfortable moments, and as he doesn’t have a complete grasp of comedy it makes it so much funnier. I liked Michael Rooker as Yondu in the previous film, and he played a larger and more complex role in this team which I really liked. You also get to see much more of his badass flying arrow which is a plus. Karen Gillen as Nebular was one of the weaker parts of the last film, but she is given more depth in this film which improves her character a lot. Kurt Russell is also a great addition, his relationship with Chris Pratt is fun and emotional, and it brings out more in Starlord’s character than there was in the first film. I don’t want to say much more about him though because it goes into spoiler territory. Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldana are both just as good as before as well. The only character that I thought was a tiny bit lacking is Baby Groot, and that is only because he has lost the giant power that he had in the first film in place of the more comedic miniature version. I get that it made sense story wise, and he was incredibly funny as the tiny tree, but I did miss him demolishing hordes of villians, like he did in the first film, a little bit. Yondu and his flying arrow fills that role though so the need for mass destruction was still satisfied. I liked how the film made an effort to remind us that these people aren’t traditional heroes. They’re violent criminals who end up saving the galaxy, and probably the only anti-heroes in the MCU. Gunn makes an effort to show how much Rocket enjoys violence and killing, or that Yondu is a thief, or Starlord a womanising jerk at times. It adds a deeper layer to the team rather than them just being space heroes. I also liked the underlying subtext of family a lot. It added a lot of emotion to a film that could have just been comedy and action. The effects are, obviously, top notch, as all Marvel films are now-a-days, and the colourful, slightly psychedelic style is fun and fits the film perfectly.
There were a few disappointing things though. Firstly, I thought the soundtrack was a bit lacking. One of the things that was so special about the first film was its excellent music and perfect integration into the film, and while this film does have some great songs, especially at the beginning, it felt a bit like the B-side of a compilation disc. The music wasn’t as frequent as the first film either, which wasn’t bad but just was noticeable. There was a race of aliens that appeared regularly throughout the film, they were basically just gold, self-important, people, and they really got on my nerves. Their design was lazy when compared to other things from the series, and they were all over acted to the point where they felt like they belonged in the Star Wars Prequels. The final battle was very CGI heavy as well, like all the MCU films tend to be, and it wasn’t bad I just think a more personal, intimate, conflict would have suited the rest of the film’s themes better.
Overall, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 was a lot of fun and great edition to the MCU. The characters and performances are all top notch, the action looks good and is very entertaining, and it is hilarious. Definitely worth spending your money on.
P.S. apologise for not posting a review the previous two Mondays, I still did movie Mondays but didn’t review then as the last two films I saw were Going In Style, which is a very good and funny film but I struggled to write a full review as I was busy and there wasn’t a lot to say about it other than it was fun, and Boss Baby, which was crap, and there wasn’t much more than that to say either. Reviews should return to normal either this Monday or next Monday.