- A full range of emotion from full out comedy to intense drama and everything in between.
- Deep character development on providing backstory for multiple characters
- A grooving soundtrack
- Powerful acting performances and chemistry that leaps off the screen
- Can dive into potty humor at times
- Potentially not different enough from the first one in style.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Review
Marvel Studios recorded its fifteenth entry to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) Friday with the release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. The movie is a follow-up to the surprise hit from late summer 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy. There are minor spoilers in this article, but overall the movie is worth your time to see. (Listen to a full, spoiler review of the movie below)
Written and Directed by James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy), the movie brings back the core cast including Chris Pratt (Peter Quill / Star-Lord), Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Dave Bautista (Drax), Vin Diesel (Baby Groot), and Bradley Cooper (Rocket). After the events of the first Guardians movie, the team is quickly wound up in a quest to discover Star-Lords Parentage and end up facing several challenges that threaten to tear their newly-formed family apart.
In truth, it is hard to write something bad about this movie. There are several times where the humor seems both too adult and incredibly juvenile. At the same time, the jokes almost always pay off and are in line with the character that delivers the punch line. There is a scene where Drax, a creature who takes everything literally, is amazed that human fathers do not repeatedly tell their children how they impregnated their mother. To the casual observer this may seem like a gratuitous joke, but it is certainly in line with the character Gunn set up in the first movie.
James Gunn and The Bechdel Test
One point Gunn bragged about prior to the release was that the film would certainly pass the Bechdel Test. The Bechdel Test requirements are that there are two women who speak to one another about something other than a man. It seems simple but there are shockingly few movies that actually pass the test. As Gunn promised, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 passes with flying colors.
Gunn brings back Nebula (Karen Gillan) to dive deeper into the childhood relationships of her and her sister, Gamora. Though much of their talk does center around their off-screen father Thanos, the pair shares some very intimate moments that have nothing to do with him.
Guardians 2 introduces Kurt Russel as Ego, the celestial being who fathered Star-Lord and then left him to be raised by his mother. As you’d imagine, Star-Lord wrestles with the introduction of this new father, especially given the male figures that have already raised him. Michael Rooker returns as Yandu and plays a fairly significant role in this process.
Even though Star-Lord is clearly the main character, his story never feels like it overpowers the conflicts of the other characters. This sounds like a bad thing, but it actually gives a certain amount of balance to the film that is often lost when there are too many characters. The movie tackles this challenge much better than Captain America: Civil War and I hope this will be the formula for Avengers: Infinity War – a movie slated to have at least 70 superheroes.
New Cast Members
Gunn took on an especially big challenge by not only further developing the original cast, but also introducing several other cast members. Pom Klementieff (Mantis) and Elizabeth Debicki (Ayesha) oth receive fairly large roles and simply nail every scene. We already know Mantis will be in Infinity War and thanks to a post-credits scene, it’s safe to assume Ayesha will make an appearance as well. I can’t wait to see these two ladies on screen again.
Marvel Cinematic Universe Implications
As promised, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 doesn’t even mention Infinity Stones. This actually comes as a bit of a welcome break, but the movie still does serve Marvel’s purpose in the lead up to Infinity War. We are briefly introduced to one of the wearers of the Infinity Gauntlet, the tool Thanos uses to control the six infinity gems that control time, space, power, soul, mind and reality.
And if all of that sounds like gobbity gook to you, therein lies Marvel’s challenge. Like most MCU fans, the things I know about the Infinity Stones have been learned over 8 years and 15 movies. When Avengers: Infinity War comes out in 2018, Marvel will have to condense that knowledge down to bite sized chunks for the first-time fan, while also not dumbing down the fans who have invested time into the franchise. That doesn’t even include all of the character explanations that will have to happen.
Final Rating: 9/10
Overall Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 is a treat for Marvel fans. If you didn’t see the first movie, you may miss out on a few moments, but you’ll at least be able to follow along. If you have seen the first movie and enjoyed it, then you will enjoy this one. At worst this is as good as the first. For me, the character development gives it a little bit of an extra edge.