I was excited for ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ after seeing the first major trailer which showed the original cast (including the likes of Chris Pratt, a green-skinned/sexy Zoe Saldana, an excitable Dave Bautista, a CGI-raccoon with Bradley Cooper’s close-to-Italian accent, and a tiny version of one of everyone’s favorite repetitive could-be annoyances in tree form.) doing some action/comedy exercises intercut with Sweet’s ‘Fox on the Run’. I was given more exciting action, humor, brightly colored footage compared to the first ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’s dimly lit cinematography, and excitement that thrilled me.
I finally went to see my most anticipated movie/sequel yesterday evening with a friend (plus a 10-person group that had us join them in their rows) and we all enjoyed ourselves. While the theater of an almost-full crowd were sitting there laughing at every scene, I ended up joining in with each joke, and 80’s reference that director James Gunn (who also directed the first film) and his crew of hard workers at Marvel Studios decided to inject. One of its major problems is how every joke seems to hit, yet in a brief second afterward is joined by a frown. I think when Gunn was also writing the screenplay, he decided to put in a brief second (or moment depending on scene) of seriousness to try to balance the quips and conflict these characters are experiencing.
From what I have seen yesterday evening, I came to the realization that ‘Vol. 2’ is an improvement over its predecessor. While the characters in the first film had their quirks, most were injected with either ridiculous energy or annoyance that could have made me enjoy it less and see ‘Guardians’ as one of Marvel’s weakest films. (I actually claimed ‘Guardians’ to be not only my favorite action movie, but also my favorite addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.) In ‘Vol. 2’, I have noticed a more mature film that knows when to get excited, and hits you with emotion while exploring the backstories of certain characters. Compared to the first film, ‘Vol. 2’ succeeds at being an emotional, yet mature offering while having a lot of fun in the process. I need to mention that Gunn has gotten better with writing and directing this sequel.
The Guardians are not really explored as heroes as much as they were when the first film was near conclusion. In fact, the title sequence shows them taking on a space creature while the camera focuses on Baby Groot (Voice of a chipmunk-pitched Vin Diesel) dancing to the ELO song ‘Mr. Blue Sky’ while the characters show up every now and then to interact with him. The plot involves them being tasked by a gold high-priestess (Elizabeth Debicki) to take Nebula (Karen Gillan), sister of Gamora (Saldana) on their ship. Yet, trouble starts when Rocket (Voice of Cooper), being the thief he is, steals some of the batteries from the High-Priestess people for fun, leading them to track down Peter Quill’s (Pratt) ship causing them to crash-land on a planet where Quill eventually gets to meet his father Ego (Kurt Russell), a planet who created himself to be human. While Gamora and Drax (Bautista) get acquainted with Ego’s assistant, Mantis (Pom Klementieff), an insect-like empathic who feels other’s emotions through touch (which leads to a very funny scene which was shown at the end of the major trailer). While Rocket and Baby Groot have to deal with Nebula, and Yondu (Michael Rooker in a surprisingly likable, yet sad performance), who was tasked with bringing the Guardians to the high-priestess in order to prove himself, but has turned out to be completely different.
Despite being an improvement, I cannot say that ‘Vol. 2’ is the greatest in Marvel’s collection of films. It has its flaws that were hard not for me to mention. It has to deal with the plot involving these gold people chasing down the Guardians with Quill facing his father, who left him when he was a child. Also dividing the Guardians into two different scenes caused me fatigue when the film put its focus on one segment. I can’t really say what happens in its plot, but the payoff of Ego’s true nature isn’t really good despite Russell being perfectly cast. I will mention that the one thing that makes ‘Vol. 2’ mature is the way it handles the question that every estranged child has always wondered “What if my biological parent is not who they appear to be?”. It also handles abandonment issues in a very emotional way.
In conclusion, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ was not as great as I expected it to be, but it did manage to be a good sequel that was brave enough to take a new path in the ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe’. Important Note! Be sure to stay through the credits. There are five post-credits scenes that are all entertaining.