Guardians of the Galaxy remains one of Marvel’s absolute best films; it’s hilarious, it’s exciting and the cast are perfect. So with all that going for it, it’s no wonder that the hype for this film was so big. With James Gunn back behind the camera, we had high hopes for this intergalactic sequel. Sadly, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 doesn’t quite live up to it’s predecessor.
Following their previous adventure, the Guardians have been hired by the Sovereign race to protect some valuable batteries in exchange for Gamora’s sister, Nebula. But when Rocket decides to hang onto a few of them, the Sovereign race shoot them down, where they meet Ego (Kurt Russell), the estranged father of Peter Quill who isn’t quite what he seems.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is fun, but disappointing; it’s not too surprising when you consider the first one was essentially lightning in a bottle. It brings back all of our favourite things about the first one, but not quite as good. It’s funny, but it’s not quite as funny. It’s exciting, but not quite as exciting. It’s got a good soundtrack, but not quite as good a soundtrack. It’s all there but just to a lesser extent, which is fine for an enjoyable film, but underwhelming as a sequel. Many jokes fall flat, and the film reeks exposition, which is odd considering the first film introduced all these new characters who weren’t A-list characters and didn’t rely on exposition nearly as much. It takes away from the fluidity of the dialogue and slows the film down a little too much.
Despite the stakes being higher in this film on a personal level for many of the characters, there’s no real intensity or reason to be worried save for one moment that I won’t spoil that was admittedly very emotional. It offers a weak sub-villain in the Sovereign race, and perhaps worst of all, the film definitely feels sillier than before. There’s at least three unnecessary dick jokes that don’t hit, a poorly timed David Hassellhoff joke, some unnecessary references, a very odd travelling sequence that feels far too weird to actually fit into the film, and Baby Groot may be cute, but he’s offer absolutely nothing to this film, bar high toy sales. And whilst we love our Marvel after credit scenes, Guardians 2 offers five, none of which are funny or entertaining or even set up anything important (Except for maybe one, but as someone uneducated in comics, I couldn’t say for definite).
Having said that, this is by no means a bad film; what we do get in terms of action is cool to watch, and the jokes that do hit are fairly funny, especially those from Drax. The more emotional story lines offered in this film, often an unresolved family issue, are well handled, and all the performances are on point. Kurt Russell makes for a charismatic and interesting addition to this film – even though his character makes the most unbelievably stupid decision towards the film’s climax – and Karen Gillan brings a lot more this time around than she did before, but the absolute stand out is Michael Rooker. Yondu’s storyline is easily the best in this film, as is Rocket’s character development that crosses streams with Yondu’s. Yondu really comes into his own, and Michael Rooker owns it in the most beautiful and entertaining way. Let’s face it, we’re never gonna get sick of “I’m Mary Poppins yall!” While the quality of the soundtrack isn’t as up to scratch this time around, the way music is used in this film is still really damn good. The tracks aren’t as recognisable, but they way they marry the scenes to create enticing moments is undeniable.
Overall, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 doesn’t quite match what it’s predecessor offered, but it’s a perfectly entertaining entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and is still better than some of the other Marvel sequels.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 is out on DVD & Blu-Ray now!