Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Review
The Guardians of the Galaxy stands out as one of my favorite Marvel Studios films of all time. In 2014 most people didn’t even know who the “Guardians of the Galaxy” were. The niche comic made in the 60’s with lots of bright colors and steampunk meets outer space vibe had never really hit the mainstream. And certainly, no one ever thought they would be as big as the Avengers. But, $773 million later of worldwide box office cheddar proved the Guardians of the Galaxy to be a mega win.
We all loved the clumsy group of misfits with their dance moves, emotional baggage and epic mixtape from the first installment. It was nice to see they were completely different than the other Marvel Cinematic Universe heroes. But living up to that film was going to be tough for James Gunn, especially when sequels are hardly better than first installments. So what did the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 bring to the nerd universe?
My Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 Review from the Atlanta Premiere
There were a lot of battles being fought in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. There were also a lot of emotions being tapped. I laughed, cried and got angry. All things I never expected from an action-adventure film. But we’re talking about the “freaking Guardians of the Galaxy”. And I think we should all know by now, anything is possible from the ‘Guardians’ and Director James Gunn.
Humor, drama and galaxies came together as Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket and Baby Groot come back (in their own perfectly dysfunctional way) to save the universe from total destruction.
In Vol. 2 we see a few unlikely relationships form giving us a glimpse into the vulnerable sides of both villains and the Guardians. Further character development was chosen over intense plot. A move that some critics are dishing out flack on. A move I think is completely in line with who the Guardians of the Galaxy and the franchise started out to be… a film about a group of outcasts who do their own thing. And, they do it in outer space.
We see that Peter Quill AKA Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) discovers his lineage along with a few things he doesn’t want to discover about his father Ego (Kurt Russell). Gamora (Zoe Saldana) is still her badass self with a bit of sibling rivalry to work through with Nebula (Karen Gillan). Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) came in with a bit more comedy than before playing the friend who laughs at everyone’s fails including Mantis’ (Pom Klementieff). Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) is his usual cynical self but finds an unlikely bond with Yondu (Michael Rooker).
Last but not least of the Guardians, Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) quite possibly stole the show with his eyes alone. He certainly gave the Guardians a soft, babysitter-like vibe alongside galactic chaos. Finally, we can’t leave out the epic mixtape the film is so well known for. I feel like it in itself is another member of the Guardians. I won’t spoil the dance moves but I will say this, prepare for some serious vibes (and maybe a few moves of your own).
The film has a lot more “feels” than the first installment and highlights the importance of family, no matter where they come from, blood or not. I personally found this to tug on my heart strings a bit as a single mom who’s only son calls three men “dad”, my best friend “aunt” and has a dog for a sister. I think the film was relative to the family landscape we see now. Landscapes where kids may or may not have relationships with their parents, or in my case, may have relationships with multiple parents. There is a very clear message which is not a likely take away from other action-packed superhero films. Family is about who is there for you because they want to be, not because they have to be.
In Vol. 2 the Guardians of the Galaxy are fighting not just emotional battles but total galactic annihilation as they face not one but three enemies; the Sovereign, a gold plated race of super entitled aliens led by a golden goddess Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki), Ego, Peter Quill’s all being, super villain, realm dude father who’s very existence is centered around destruction and the Ravagers, the outlaw mercenaries from the first installment. We also see Stakar (Sylvester Stallone) come in as a supporting role to the Ravagers.
The costuming is astounding. Vibrant colors and unusual textiles take shape to the idea of riding a rainbow through galaxies and landing in Mos Eisley Cantina. I especially loved Ayesha and the Sovereign costuming. It was like they were dipped in gold. Think Narnia’s Ice Queen meets ancient Egypt.
There’s no way this film could have hit the plot depth and character depth without rolling out a four-hour film. I like what James Gunn did here. It was a perfect balance of interstellar adventure with a range of emotions and a concise meaning. Although critics have their opinions on this, I say it’s a great film, an incredible sequel and worth taking your kids to see (not young kids). In a world where nothing seems normal anymore, I think it’s very relatable.