Release Date: May 5th, 2017
Directed by: James Gunn
Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Batista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Karen Gillian, Michael Rooker, Kurt Russell.
Rating: PG-13: There is a little language and some crude jokes
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is the sequel to the 2014 Marvel blockbuster. The first thing that I noticed about this movie is that it is even more gorgeous to watch than the original. The shots of outer space, on the various planets, even the action scenes are detailed, colorful, and beautiful. While I did not see a 3D showing, that is undoubtedly the intended format.
The movie picks up 3 months after the events of the first movie, with the group taking on jobs from whomever will pay. This is a common “space pirate” theme. The opening credits scene will have a familiar feel if you’ve seen the first movie, and is equally, if not more so entertaining.
Vol. 2 focuses a lot more time than the previous film fleshing out most of the main characters, and you learn a lot of their motivations that shaped them into who they are. Of course, the most time is spent on Peter (Chris Pratt) and his relationship with his dad, Ego, played perfectly by Kurt Russell. The definition of “family” is the main theme running throughout the movie.
There’s a new race introduced that act as one of the antagonists, called the Sovereign. They serve their purpose decently enough, but are easily the most forgettable part of the movie. This movie takes a slight departure from having a villain who is simply “evil for the sake of being evil” that happens so often in comic books and it works well.
If you want just a straight up action movie, you may leave a little disappointed as there is much more character development this time around. However, I thought it was great. These characters, while in the same universe, are not as well known as Ironman, Thor, Captain America, and the rest of the Marvel crew. If you’re a movie or comic nerd like me, you already know the Guardians will be teaming up with the Avengers in Infinity War, so it was a smart move investing time now to dive into their past and motivations. While the Guardians are still that wacky team of space pirates that make a lot of jokes, this movie does a great job of expanding them beyond that to characters who have just as much depth and importance as Marvel’s main superheroes.
Something that came to mind while watching this movie is how far the acceptance and enjoyment of comic book movies have come since I was a kid. It use to be that if a movie studio wanted to make a movie based on a comic book (and also make money), they would have to leave out or change parts of the original story to make the movie marketable to the widest audience possible. Fast forward to May 5th, 2017 and we have a movie that will undoubtedly make a shit ton of money with an insane cast that includes a talking, walking, dancing baby tree, a smartass raccoon with a tendency to steal for no reason, a cyborg, and a god/living planet. Marvel has become the masters of making any of their characters fun and enjoyable for almost anyone to watch.
This movie is definitely funnier than the first movie. Baby Groot steals the show with his cute innocence (dumb baby). Drax actually has most of the jokes this time around. The fact that his race doesn’t understand metaphors and are “completely literal” is pushed to the limit. I had tears laughing at some of his lines.
There are some great cameos in this movie. Stan Lee’s cameo is a cool nod to a popular fan theory relating to him being The Watcher (if you’re not sure who that is, it’s interesting to look up). If you’ve seen any of the Marvel movies you know to stick around after the credits, and this one is no exception with 5 scenes that take place throughout the credits sequence. I won’t spoil it, but one of the scenes introduces a new character from the comics that will surely be in future movies. The credits themselves are fun to watch as well and are filled with several tiny easter eggs.
9.5 dance-off’s out of 10
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a great follow up to the 2014 original. More laughs, more character development, and much more baby Groot…and who can be upset about more baby Groot?