Guardians of the Galaxy 2: Review
Awesome Mix Vol. 2 has new songs but a familiar sound
When the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie was released in 2014, Marvel gambled on producing a lesser known comic. Guardians of the Galaxy did not have any ties of nostalgia with various 1990s cartoons, or video games like X-Men or Spider-Man. The most exposure this comic had prior to its movies was when the character Rocket Racoon appeared in a niche video game called “Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3” -- and that was back in 2011.
Despite all this, Guardians of the Galaxy was a huge success. It was critically acclaimed for its visuals, direction, humor, action, and of course, its soundtrack. It had everyone singing the song “Come and Get Your Love” by Redbone, and other soulful classics all summer long. Part of the film's charm was its obscurity. No one knew what they were in for with this movie. The posters and trailers for it did not come off as your average “superhero” movie. No one in the film was wearing a costume. Everyone seemed like a rude, crass, sarcastic individual, and nothing close to a super-hero.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 has a lot of expectations to live up to. Not just as another comic book movie, but as a sequel, too. And at a time when studios seem to release comic book films constantly, it’s hard to make them interesting and stand out. Director James Gunn needed to show that his first movie wasn’t a happy accident.
Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol.2 plays out like an album you’ve been looking forward to But at this point the sophomore effort in the franchise doesn’t try to do anything too experimental. It plays it safe with more of the same -- but on a larger scale.
All in all that works perfectly fine. The film kicks off right where it left off with an adorable dancing baby, Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel). His dancing is accompanied by “Mr. Blue Sky”, by Electric Light Orchestra, while in the background the rest of the team is battling a huge monster. Without giving everything away, the film is essentially two subplots that go hand in hand as it reaches its climax.
This movie doesn’t really do anything groundbreaking, and I wasn’t really expecting it to. I walked in hoping for a fun adventure set in space, and I got what I wanted. In terms of plot it’s relatively simple, but that's not the driving force of the movie. This film is really focused on the backstory of Peter Quill, also known as Star-Lord (played by Chris Pratt). Though the movie devotes a good chunk of time focusing on Peter Quill, all the other main cast members also have moments that flesh out their characters. There's a central theme of togetherness and making a family out of the people that life throws at you.
All the things that made the first movie in the franchise work so well are brought back in this film. Its signature off-kilter humor returns tenfold. There are so many jokes to be found in this movie. A lot of its dialogue segues into a joke, and if you don’t pay attention, you might miss it. A lot of the gags have a set up of something my professor always says, “How would you explain this to an alien?” The film's soundtrack is stellar. It has a lot of hidden gems, and songs that are new to me despite their age.
Visually this movie is incredible. It’s easy to get lost in it. Everything is so vibrant and colorful: the people, the action scenes -- both on the ground and the dog fights in space -- the scenery. Rocket Racoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) looks amazing. You can see all the individual hairs in his fur move. Then there’s baby Groot. His animation is incredibly, buttery smooth as he parades across the screen.
The only complaint I had with this film was its run time. It clocks in at a little over two hours. I found myself thinking “Okay, it’s gonna end soon”, only to sit through another 30 minutes; it does overstay its welcome a bit. A lot of that time is taken by the film's filler -- the jokes that I mentioned earlier. They just fall flat and go on way too long. Any other complaint would just be nitpicking.
Overall I really enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. it’s more of the same, but that’s not a bad thing. It reunites us with the characters we fell for in the first film. Even with all its jokes, the movie still finds time for character development and some really good heartfelt moments. They're accompanied by some fast-paced humor, and a soundtrack that we will all probably download when the credits roll. This is a good movie. You can skip out on the after credits scene unless you're knee-deep invested in the comic book lore.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2. Starring Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Rated PG-13, Running Time 2 hours 18 minutes, Now Playing.