Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a laid back sequel that's totally fine doing its own thing. It's a little full of itself, but the electric and tight-knit camaraderie between the Guardians, combined with Gunn's expansive storytelling techniques and visuals makes Vol. 2 a worthy sequel.
James Gunn might’ve changed the Marvel Cinematic Universe forever when he dropped Guardians of the Galaxy on the world. Up until this point, most were still getting around to the idea of The Avengers and their more cosmic properties, such as Thor. But Guardians changed all of that, expanding the universe in a big and bold way, and Gunn helped ensure that it remained fun and fresh.
Now, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 enters the arena, after Marvel has had a few years to expand on their own universe and help introduce smaller, less-known properties, while still venturing off into the truly bizarre.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is both a minor and major Marvel property, easing back up on the stakes and giving us a much more relaxed outing, while also proving that not every new entry needs to lead up into the next Avengers film in a large way.
Most have either adored or disliked Marvel’s ability to connect every single film and character together. Some applaud them for their attention to detail and larger storytelling, while others have grown tired of having to sit through the credits to see either the next chapter unfold or a wink at a character that they might not be familiar with.
What Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 does is remind audiences that Marvel understands that sometimes it’s okay to take a little break. The story is still important, focusing on Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) reuniting with his mysterious father, named Ego (Kurt Russell), but it’s also about family dynamics and how they can bring a team closer. Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Nebula (Karen Gillan) are now forced to work somewhat together, despite their falling out in the previous film, while Drax (Dave Bautista) and Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) try their damnedest to keep the peace and unity, while still providing the film with its much-needed laughter and cuteness.
There’s also Rocket’s (Bradley Cooper) insecurity and Yondu’s (Michael Rooker) full-circle that help link Vol. 2 with the first film.
It’s safe to say that writer/director James Gunn tackles a heck of a lot with Vol. 2. He’s love and appreciation for these characters and their world is tested and proven and makes me excited to see where Gunn takes them with the eventual Vol. 3, but that isn’t to say that Vol. 2 works as well as the original film.
It definitely feels a little too confident and a little too full of itself. I enjoyed the soundtrack, but it felt a little too forced, versus the original film’s perfect collection of hits. Vol. 2 just didn’t seem to flow as organically and that admittedly rubbed me the wrong way.
But there is an achievement to be celebrated and that’s the fact that Gunn’s film is primarily about the characters within it and not about getting ready for Spider-Man: Homecoming, Avengers: Infinity War or even Thor: Ragnarok.
It’s very much a “B side” film that lets us sit back and soak up the characters and watch them struggle with each other and then eventually get on the same page. Gunn does this with grand visuals that make the film feel like one large acid trip.
Marvel is definitely channeling their inner 70s and 80s with this one and it works perfectly.
Vol. 2 might be a little less structured and occasionally saggy, but it’s not a bad film or a complete disappointment.
How could a film be a disappointment with the inclusion of Kurt Russell and Sylvester Stallone?
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 hints at future Guardians adventures and I’m sure contains a few less-known easter eggs for those ready to dive into the rest of the Marvel films, but it’s not as noticeable to the general public.
I respect it for that. I also noticed its flaws much more than the previous film.
That’s not to discredit the performances, which are equally engrossing and entertaining. Well, Dave Bautista‘s Drax might’ve been on another level of awesomeness, but that’s just my personal opinion.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 gives us more of those same unorganized and rarely competent characters that we’ve grown to love from the first film, but it also gives is a Marvel film that’s not immediately focused on raising the stakes and that’s either going to feel like a much-needed break for you or a slight disappointing shift in tone.
I think it lands somewhere in the middle. I dug it and will probably check it out again at some point in the near future, but I also wouldn’t place it anywhere near my top Marvel films list, which is okay, because not every film has to be perfect, right?