“So, we’re saving the galaxy again?” – Rocket
Love it, or hate it, you can’t ignore it. Marvel Studios’ “Guardians of the Galaxy” is now an official franchise we’ll be seeing a lot more of in the future. When its 2014 release hit, it hit hard. Questionable seeing as no one really knew what to think of it, director James Gunn provided a smooth, solid, strange piece with a taste of retro. Unique characters, sarcastic humor, and overall interesting narrative, Marvel confidently presented something way, way different than what we were used to. And even though it didn’t feel like much of a tie-in with the rest of the MCU, it was and is.
Well received by both critics and moviegoers, “Guardians of the Galaxy” made a mark. So much, a sequel was quickly green-lit and here we are 3 years later as the world gears up for “Vol. 2” – the next installment for Marvel Studios latest display of the world’s favorite band of intergalactic misfits picking up where they left off. Continuing its thrill ride of action-packed space adventures, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) aka Star-Lord and his gang of weirdos (Drax [Dave Bautista], Gamora [Zoe Saldana], Rocket [Bradley Cooper], and Baby Groot [Vin Diesel]) patrol around protecting the universe and doing mercenary work in the name of the popularity and fame they garnered from saving Xandar. Working it hard to an all-new backdrop of “Mixtape #2,” along with some bumpy run-ins, the Guardians also must fight to keep their newfound family together as they’re stopped in their tracks and try picking apart a mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage (Elizabeth Debicki and Kurt Russell). As they embark on this cosmic-coaster ride, old enemies become new allies, while unforeseen encounters introduces new characters.
Let’s keep it real, people: you can’t repeat a big surprise. Nothing will ever replace the Guardians first exposition. And like most titles, a number 2 usually falls flat. Not always, but most times they do. But it gives me great pleasure to say that “Vol 2” doesn’t suffer the dreaded S-curse. I really enjoyed it. Although I found myself a lot more drawn and in awe by the first film as a whole (especially with its tighter story), this one doesn’t hold back on living up to its anticipated hype. Clearly Marvel is comfortable with James Gunn, therefore, allowing the man to be all loosey-goosey in expanding more within the franchise’s interplanetary appeal of what the Guardians stand for, as well as its characters. It doubles down on everything fans enjoyed and want to see. The whole playing along to Peter’s mixtape is very interesting, nostalgic, and fun to listen to as the story moves along. I would have wanted a stronger plot and more of a touch in terms of a real villain, but it worked out fine. This one rides more on the bond of family and connection/acceptance among different beings. A lot more emotional than the first, too. A bit edgier and darker and most definitely “psychedelically” weirder in a CGI, absurd, funny way. (A lot of laughs) “Vol. 2” gives us more in terms of interesting cameos as well as grants Nebula (Karen Gillan) and Yondu (Michael Rooker) their respect by providing more than they did in the first one. Oh, and lest we forget… Baby Groot!
As a whole, it’s surprisingly enjoyable and witty in its own chaotic way. Now it doesn’t mean it’s the best Marvel movie to date, but it delivers in a way that it knows it’s outrageousness, doesn’t deny it, and pokes fun at itself. Therefore, allowing the audience to embrace all its overly ambitions absurdity. Which, in turn, starts anticipation to see the Guardians and the Avengers unite in “Infinity War.” Now THAT’s going to be fun. I can already see and hear Rocket and Tony Stark exchanging trash talk. That said, enjoy the ride and don’t forget to stick around after the credits – not 1, 2, or 3… but 4 post-credit scenes!
Grade: A / Genre: Sequel, Sci-Fi, Action, Adventure / Rated: PG-13 / Run Time: 2:17
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Kurt Russell, Vin Diesel, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff
Directed by: James Gunn
© 2017 Marvel Studios/Disney