Last week, I was lucky enough to find the time to catch Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2. I went in with pretty high expectations, just as I am sure many fans of the first film (and many fans of Marvel’s foray into films as of late) also did.
So how did the film stand up to the first? Let’s dive in and take a look.
Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 takes place a few years after the first Guardians of the Galaxy, in which we see our heroes defeat Ronan the Accuser, turn an Infinity Stone over to the Nova Corps, and then branch off to do their own thing.
The film promised action, comedy, some character explanation, and a baby Groot.
The real question is…where to start?
Like the first film, Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 had solid bits of comedy. Jokes were plentiful, one-liners were in abundance (“I’m Mary Poppins, y’all!”), and there wasn’t a scene that didn’t have some element of humor, even if it was a visual gag interjected into a serious moment (like Pac-Man; you’ll understand it if you’ve seen it).
Unlike the first film, we see plenty more character development throughout this film. We are given some story details for Rocket (albeit more personality-based), we see more of the connection between team members, a plotline between Gamora and Nebula, Drax gets his moments to showcase his personality, there’s a massive upgrade to Yondu’s background, details about the overall universe (including the Ravagers) were spread throughout, and we see just how far down the rabbit hole you have to go to grasp Peter Quill’s family (and the problems therein).
We also see a large number of tugs on the heartstrings throughout this film. Oh dear gods, the feels. It’s hard to talk about this without spoiling it, but there are many moments that cause you to feel things that you wouldn’t expect from a comedy-filled Guardians of the Galaxy film.
As expected from recent Marvel films, the script is well done, acting is top-notch, and the CGI adds layers to the film instead of detracting. What’s not to like?
One thing that detracted my enjoyment of the film was, oddly enough, the music. I was born in the 80s, I’ve heard plenty of 80s rock, but I just couldn’t get into the music selection for Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2. At times I felt songs clashed with what was going on, while at other times I just didn’t feel it jived as well. The first film had a solid soundtrack with perfect timing, so I was let down on this one.
While the pacing was solid, there were a few times I was worried they were trying to cram TOO much into the film. Over the course of the movie, we see the comic-original Guardians of the Galaxy, the Ravagers, the Watchers, Howard the Duck, the current Guardians, a nod to Adam Warlock, a new race (the Sovereign), problems with Thanos (and hints to what we’ll see in Infinity War), signs of things on “the other side” (beasties like the one we see at the beginning of the film), and the actual plotline going on. For me, I was able to work through it (and had to look some things up later), but for someone who is not an avid fan (like my wife), many points were missed. Additionally, due to the sheer number of references, it is hard to pinpoint what is going to be important for a later film, and what is just there as fanservice.
Overall, I’d have to give Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 a solid 4 buns.
The biggest issues are within how much is crammed in the film and my complaints about the music, but overall the film is at least on-par with the first Guardians of the Galaxy. Some may say it is better due to the “better” story, but I would put it in the same ballpark with the first winning out just a bit due to the music choice.
In the end, I would suggest that anyone who enjoyed the first Guardians of the Galaxy do whatever they can to watch this. I would also suggest that anyone who’s enjoyed the Marvel films to date also do whatever they can to catch this film in theatres.
If all goes according to plan, I should have a review of 7th Sea Nations of Théah: Volume 2 for next week. I’m about halfway through the book due to the playtest slowing me down, but I am confident that I’ll have a review for it next week.
After that, the jury is out. My docket is still pretty full, so I am hoping to have time to read as much as possible to get reviews up as soon as I can. Stay tuned!