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May 3, 2017

Guardians Sequel: Rare Improvement To A Great Movie

guardians-of-the-galaxy-vol-2

In the MCU’s first foray of 2017, we are given a sequel to one of the cinematic powerhouse’s biggest sleeper hits, Guardians of the Galaxy. Following in the tradition of (at least most) Marvel Cinematic Universe sequels, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 builds off significantly from its predecessors, with a stronger story, lots of humor-mixed action, fan service, and an awesome soundtrack.

Vol. 2 takes place after the events of the first movie. The Guardians have made a name for themselves as mercenaries specializing in heroic endeavors, however thanks to Rocket’s (Bradley Cooper) poor judgment, their latest job went awry and they end up being targeted by their former employers, a race of beings known as the Sovereign. The team crash lands on a nearby planet where they end up meeting Ego (Kurt Russell) and his insect like assistant Mantis (Pom Klementieff). Ego, by the way, happens to literally be a celestial body as well as the father of Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt). Meanwhile, the Sovereign hires the services of Star-Lord’s former mentor Yondu (Michael Rooker) and his crew of Ravagers to hunt down the Guardians and take back what Rocket stole.

Hijinks ensue, with Groot (Vin Diesel), Nebula (Karen Gillan), Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Drax (Dave Bautista) all back in the galaxy-saving saddle one more time.

I had a lot of fun with this movie. GOTG Vol. 2 took everything that made the first one special and added something extra to it.

Baby Groot brings the cute.

Baby Groot brings the cute.

The returning cast didn’t miss a beat. Chris Pratt’s charisma and wit were not in short supply and it felt like he grew a bit more, both in characterization of Star-Lord, and his acting chops, giving the right balance of seriousness and comedic delivery. Zoe Saldana is still laying the smack down as Gamora, portraying her as the “mother” of the Guardians, smacking the stupid manchildren upside the head as needed, and being the crying shoulder that those closest to her need. Bautista shows his growth as a comedic actor in this movie — he has some of the best delivery out of most of the cast, second only to Pratt. Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel are still impressive in their respective voice work. Karen Gillan’s versatility was able to shine through a lot more this time around, and even Michael Rooker’s Yondu was able to make me laugh and cry.

Newcomers Pom Klementieff and Kurt Russell fit right in with this motley crew; With Pom sharing great chemistry with Bautista. However, Kurt Russell is the MVP of this movie — he made me laugh, made me love him, and made me hate him. This was refreshing given the MCU’s tendency to have lukewarm villains. He managed to capture the most imposing aspects of Ego the Living Planet, while making the character his own, and he looked really good doing it — maybe he is immortal.

James Gunn’s eye for aesthetics is not lacking either, especially on the terrain of Ego. Where the last movie felt like more of homage to ’80s punk rock, this felt more like love letter to the ’60s from the golden-skinned society of the Sovereign race to Ego’s glaring similarity to the look of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Speaking of music references, I will be having the Awesome Mix Vol. 2 soundtrack on heavy rotation for some time. This soundtrack is the heart of a movie that is vastly superior to its predecessor, and reminds me why I love pop music as much as I do.

Most importantly, Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2 actually feels like a comic book movie this time around. There is no shortage of fan service, which I will not spoil for anyone reading this article. Just know that if you are faintly familiar with the lore of Cosmic Marvel, you will be grinning from ear to ear.

It’s only real flaw is the heavy reliance of exposition for characters like Mantis and Yondu. They were such interesting characters in their own right, and while I understand that it’s more of a time constraint issue, it just seems like a waste.

I can’t say much more, not without ruining it for people and that would be a great disservice. I give Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2 a 4.5 out of 5.



About the Author

Byron D. Zero





 
 

 
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