Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Tom Awesome’s Review Score: 9.25
Guardians of the Galaxy would be a tough act to follow. The surprise hit that brought together somewhat obscure heroes from the Marvel Universe to end a cosmic threat while injecting humor and a retro soundtrack showed that Marvel can effectively shake up the superhero format and still produce a hit.
With established characters and relationships going into the second film, my personal expectations were high. I was somewhat concerned after the hilarious trailer that showed an end-boss style monster and some exceptional jokes. Would Vol. 2 maintain the fun and adventure of the first film, or did the film shoot all its bullets in the trailer? Without spoiling anything, I am happy to report that the trailer spoils virtually nothing, and it seems the movie was cleverly crafted to create a misdirection for the trailer.
The film opens with the Guardians fulfilling a contract to stop a monster from destroying some precious trinket for the Sovereign (gold) people. Instead of graciously accepting their reward, the guardians manage to piss off the entire race, and end up being pursued throughout the entire movie.
If you recall, they also managed to piss off the Ravagers in the first film, and they continue their pursuit throughout the second film. It leads to the Guardian running wildly from one sector of space to another, trying to keep their ship flying. It doesn’t work, and they end up getting shot down on the forest moon of Endor, or some other space planet with a buttload of trees. I thought I saw a speeder go by, but maybe I was wrong. I’ll let you know when the special edition Blu-ray comes out.
From here, the party splits, pairing up: Star-Lord and Gamora; Drax and Mantis; Rocket, Baby Groot and Yondu. Each group faces their own hardships as both Quill and Gamora learn more about their families, the blue and woodland creatures get captured, and the empathist is paired with someone who takes everything literally.
Without spoiling anything, I was presently surprised by the cosmic threat in this movie. While most of the conflict stems from the factions mentioned above, it was almost too late when I realized where the real danger was. The final showdown was intense, funny and emotional.
If you’re wondering how Baby Groot plays over the course of a full-length film, it turns out pretty well. He is charming, funny and I didn’t get sick of him. I think that his portrayal in Vol. 2 will be one of the most unique and enduring performances in the Marvel cinematic universe.
The Good: Take your pick: Guardians is very funny, there is great character development and the soundtrack is amazing. Expanding the cast with two more main characters works as the party is often split, and you get to see smaller groups working together.
The Bad: It is surprisingly difficult to find issues with this movie. I thought one scene was a little over the top with the violence. Star Lord seems to swing between embracing his heritage and defying it on the drop of the hat. Also, I thought the Soverign people with their video-game inspired remote controlled ships were pretty silly. The first two can be explained away as character growth.
My Bold Prediction: WARNING – POTENTIAL SPOILER IN THIS PARAGRAPH Nebula plays a surprisingly big role in this film, essentially becoming one of the main characters. Am I the only fan of Infinity Guantlet, who was wondering if Nebula would have the same role in the movie adaptation as in the comics? I expect her to pop up in more Marvel movies leading up to Infinity Wars, and I am optimistic that the movie will be faithful to the ending of the iconic comic series.
The Verdict: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 is a terrific movie, and a must-see for fans of the Marvel cinematic universe. It’s funny, it has good action and you could potentially bring your kids to it, if you are ok with exploding ships and the non-gory death of a number of bad guys.
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Photos courtesy of Marvel.