Janes Gunn’s original Guardians of the Galaxy took Popular Culture by storm in 2014. The impression it left has only grown as each day passes by. More and more people have poured their hearts over the joy they shared while watching this original Space Opera, only arguing about why their favourite moment is better than yours. Because of this, the announcement of a Guardians sequel sent both hardcore and casual fans in to raptures at the prospect of seeing their favourite characters back in the Marvel’s ever growing Cinematic Universe. But could it possibly live up to the success of the original? Or has the last laugh already been had?
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 takes place 4 months after the events of its predecessor, positioning the Guardians as Heroes for Hire under the monicker of protecting the Galaxy in which they reside. Each character is pretty much as we left them, the only difference being Groot is now of Toddler age, joyously acting as such (but more about that shortly).
After fulfilling the duty bestowed upon them by the might Sovereign race, Star-Lord and his band of A-holes instantly find themselves at the wrong end of a righteous cause, instigated entirely by their own actions. This in turns sets about a chain of events that has the potential to significantly effect the welfare of all living beings the universe over.
This sounds like standard fare so far right? Wrong. Although James Gunn’s strengths are obviously in his character development, his ability to tell a condusive story without the typical shackles of the MCU makes for a very enjoyable viewing. Speaking of which, as I’m sure you’d expect, this is a very funny addition to this ongoing saga of films. I’ll admit that there are occasional moment where the jokes do few forced. However, for every miss, there are 4 or 5 solid cracks of the whip.
The only issue I had while watching Guardians Vol. 2 was that there were certain moments where the comedy didn’t befit the scene it was in. On at least 3 occasions, an individual scene would include sadness, humour, affection and resolution in rapid succession. Although this might not be the most pressing of issues, it took me away from the overall experience.
ROUND 1 SCORE – 8/10
Round 2 – Characters
So, as I’ve mentioned, the benefit of watching a James Gun movie is that you can rely on fleshed out characters incorporated into a witty, and often wonderful, script. Thankfully, Guardians Vol. 2 continues this trend.
The original addition to the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise introduced us to the misfit band of outlaws we as a public have grown to know and love. Its successor allows this burgeoning family, although still relatively infantile, to willingly incorporate new faces to its cause with ease and comfort.
The introduction of Pom Klementeiff as the innocuous Mantis allows Dave Bautista’s Drax to be both hilarious and ridiculous in every scene they share together. Chris Pratt continues to bring his charismatic excellence to life again, bringing the best out in everyone he shares the screen with. And yes, that includes the exquisite hair of Kurt Russell too. As the seemingly pensive Ego, Russell adds an extra air of credibility without ever phoning his performance in. Unlike the ridiculously unnecessary Sylvester Stallone. The less I say about his appearance the better.
The remaining cast bring their best to the front in the sufficient time they are given. Both Karen Gillan and Zoe Saldana create an excellent dynamic between the two warring sisters of Nebula and Gamora. Bradley Cooper’s Rocket shines more often than not and Vin Diesel’s Toddler Groot incorporates the actor’s complete repertoire to the 3 words he speaks at any given time.
ROUND 2 SCORE – 8/10
Round 3 – Overall Enjoyment
What I’m about to say is probably going to shock you. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a rip-roaring addition to Marvel’s continually successful franchise of beloved Comic Book movies. The opening sequence is probably the most entertaining combination of action, comedy, music and credits I’ve ever seen, and trust me, I openly dislike opening credits.
From here on the movie does not relent in its intention to force a smile on to your face. Sometimes, not often, the jokes do feel forced however. I’m ok with being made to laugh, just not every 5 minutes please. Unfortunately, there are also minor issues with the need to force empathy on to the audience. The continual abuse of Groot was heartbreaking at first, however by the end, it became less of an endurance and more of an expectance that something torrid will occur to what is essentially a small child, regardless of the fact he’s a tree.
Don’t be confused in to thinking Guardians Vol. 2 is anything but another comedic addition to the runaway success of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. The jokes are hard and fast, the stakes for once feel genuine, and the story is mercifully allowed to exist of its own right without ever pressing too hard on to the overall plan for The Avengers.
ROUND 3 SCORE – 8/10
Final Score – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 wins by Decision 24/30 (80%)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 may not be everyone’s cup of tea, I can appreciate there are some people out there that find it to be a lesser version of an already perfect film. But why should we be too judgmental of a film that only lives to serve the rabid need of a fanbase eager to see what their favourite characters are up to? It is simply an eventful, intimate story, supported immensely by the overwhelming portrayals of some of Marvel’s most charismatic figures.