Obvious Warning: Massive Spoilers Ahead!
I was so looking forward to this film!
The first Guardians of the Galaxy movie blew audiences away with its mix of humor, action, characters and special effects, and Volume 2 brings a whole lot more of the same!
The unbelievable success of the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie snuck up on everybody. Even I was surprised when I saw Guardians on Marvel’s list of projects. It had never been an overly successful comic book title with not well known characters so it seemed like a risky gamble to invest Scrooge McDuck type sums of money on. Give James Gunn and his crew credit for putting together some fun rides with tons of character!
The main characters from the 1st movie are all back: Peter “Star-Lord” Quill, Gamora, Drax The Destroyer, Rocket Raccoon and Groot, this time as adorable Baby Groot with toddler like qualities. (Remember he sacrificed himself to save the others at the end of the original and Rocket replanted him.)
The film opens to find our heroes hilariously defending some energy batteries from a super large space slug type thing. Things end well for our heroes and we find out that the Guardians were hired by Ayesha to defend the batteries in exchange for Gamora’s sister Nebula, who plays a larger role in this film. Rocket steals a couple of the batteries, the team is chased down by Ayesha’s Sovereign forces but are saved by Ego, a Celestial who claims to be Peter’s father. The team learns to work alongside old foes (Nebula and Yondu) to save the universe from an ancient evil. (I am doing my best to reveal as few spoilers as possible here.)
Marvel has this thing where they try to take popular villains and remake them into heroes (i.e. Loki), and they continue that trend here with Nebula and Yondu. Both character’s stories of redemption play heavily into the movie’s plot.
Nebula makes peace with her sister Gamora but still plans to hunt down their father Thanos, who she considers to be the worst father in the galaxy. Which may be true depending on what we find out about Luke Skywalker and Rey’s lineage in the upcoming Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The award for the Galaxy’s Most Deadbeat Dad may be going to Luke!
Either way, I imagine this will play its way into Avengers: Infinity War due out next Spring.
I did like the story of Yondu’s redemption. We learn that Yondu had been exiled from Sylvester Stallone’s Sons Of Anarchy: Outer Space Chapter (not their real name) for breaking their honor code by child trafficking the young Peter Quill (as well as other children) for the Celestial Ego. Yondu later found out the Ego had been killing the children, which is why he never delivered Peter to Ego.
I was impressed by the performance of Michael Rooker (who is usually typecast in one-dimensional roles) as Yondu. He did a terrific job communicating Yondu’s yearning to regain his gang’s acceptance and his love for Quill, whom he viewed as an adopted son.
Sylvester Stallone’s role was much smaller in this film than I anticipated, really just a couple cameos, which was disappointing as I was looking forward to a Tango & Cash reference or two, but important. Especially his post credit scene, which sets the stage for him and a few other pretty big names (cough…Michelle Yeoh…cough) to have a much larger role in the 3rd volume!
By the way, his post credit scene was 1 of 5 post credit scenes: Stay till the entire end!
As a parent of a 7-month-old, I loved Baby Groot! There were so many scenes where I sat back and said “that’s Lil’ G!” From his toddler curiosity to his sad faces, it’s fun seeing the other characters watch out for the little guy.
I can’t be the only one who see’s the similarities, right?
As a whole, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, much like the first movie, felt more like a Star Wars movie than a Marvel movie and that is a good thing! That, along with the grittier Netflix Series, illustrates the range Disney has with the Marvel universe characters.
It would be awesome to see some of Disney’s other space faring properties crossover with Guardians sometime in the future as well. Maybe Mandalorian armor in the Collector’s showroom or in the background at a bar or nightclub in a future Guardians movie. (Side note: Howard the Duck is just not going to happen.)
The Bad (which is not much)
The only negatives I would have about the film (and this is nitpicking, I know) is that this film was so similar to the first Guardians movie and the villains were a little weak in character.
Dave Bautista delivers Drax’s satire-oblivious lines just as humorously as the first film, Bradley Cooper delivers Rocket’s sarcasm and Chris Pratt is just as loveable as the first film, but it does feel very similar. Part of why the first movie blew everyone away was because it was so different than previous Marvel movies.
Also I thought the villains in this film were a little weak. Marvel has taken a lot of criticism for having one-dimensional villains in previous movies and wanted to set up a more in depth character from the beginning of the movie. I liked Kurt Russell as Ego but would have liked to have seen a bigger reveal that he was Peter’s father. The slip of the tongue by Ego that alerted Peter to his plan seemed a little too obvious as well.
Hey, speaking of one-dimensional villains…
While Ayesha and her Sovereign Army were visually stunning, they left a big plot hole. She said they hired the Guardians to protect the batteries because it was not worth risking their own lives to fight the space slug thingy, but then all their combat later was done via remote control drones. Why couldn’t they have fought the slug with the same drones? Maybe it will be revealed in Vol 3, which the character is already confirmed to be involved in.
She also has a post credit scene which I believe is a harbinger to seeing Adam Warlock in Avengers: Infinity War.
The first film had one of the best movie soundtracks ever. The soundtrack from the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie finished 2014 as the top selling Billboard 200 album, making it the first soundtrack comprised entirely of pre-released music to do so.
While I did not enjoy this soundtrack as much as the first, the producers did an excellent job scouring the 80’s for the right music to set the right moods throughout the film.
Vol 2, while a great movie and a fun ride, arrived with higher expectations than the first film did and I think lived up to expectations. Maybe even exceeded by a bit.
I left the movie wanting to watch it again, which is how I judge a superhero movie to be successful or not.
Overall, I give this movie a 4.5 out of 5 on the GeekyDaddy movie scale with the only thing holding it back from the perfect score being that it felt to similar to the first. I also give it a “mostly kid friendly” on the GeekyDaddy Sidekick scale (violence, language and on screen deaths).